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Girls joining Boy Scouts Program: There will be limits

Girls will be able to join the Cub Scouts and integrate into the organization. (WHAM photo)

Allowing girls to join the Boy Scouts organization has led to more than a name change. It’s a seismic shift for the century-old organization founded to build the character of young men. While the same idea will hold true for young women, the inclusion of girls will have some limits.

Girls will form their own cub scout dens, and there’s expected to be enough of them to make up the larger packs. Boy and girl dens could share some bigger group activities but, for the most part, they will not share activities.

“It will be to boys’ detriment to have a coed environment “, says Stephen Hoitt, CEO of the Seneca Waterways Council. “Girls definitely develop a lot faster than boys, and we know that putting in a coed environment where we allow girls the opportunity to integrate with the boys, what’ll end up happening is that girls will volunteer for leadership positions, boys will sit back and say, ‘You go ahead, you do it and you get it done,’ and boys will not take on that leadership role.”

“The two organizations charted many, many years ago specifically to be single-gender for a reason,” said Girl Scouts of Western New York CEO Judith Cranston. “Our fear is that girls going into the programs that were not designed for boys, that they are not going to be the types of programming that girls can use, they’re not going to perhaps add that supportive leadership that we have here.”

That is not a concern for Mandy Pierson. Her five-year-old daughter, Lilly, can’t wait to join the same Tiger Cub Scout den of her older brothers. She already participates in activities of the Pack. For Mandy, it’s less a social statement to have her daughter join Cub Scouts and more about convenience.

Lilly plans to join Cub Scouts as soon as she is eligible on June first. Already, 10 girls have submitted applications to join. Next year, girls aged 11 and up will be able to join the Boy Scouts program. In February, the name of it will change to Scouts BSA to reflect the fact it’s no longer a “boys club."

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