ST. LOUIS, Mo. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Last year, the Boy Scouts of America made a landmark ruling allowing girls to join cub scouts for grades K through five. In February, they ruled that girls could join boy scouts, geared for kids’ ages 11 through 17. It’s a monumental change for an organization that’s more than a century old. Now that the gender barrier has been removed, we met up with one troop to find out just how well it’s going.
Boy scouts of America… a 109-year organization steeped in tradition.
“Scouting teaches life skills,” Rich Preston, Scoutmaster of Troop 46, told Ivanhoe.
But it isn’t just for boys anymore.
“It was something I never thought I’d be able to do or see happen, but … here we are,” Katherine Robinson, 13-years-old of Troop 64, said.
There’s no shortage of girls who want what scouting offers.
Katie Breaux, 12-years-old of Troop 64, said, “I like taking charge and i also like the adventure part of it.”
“I really like the leadership opportunities we have,” Hailey McGinnis, 15-years-old of Troop 64, said.
More than 77 thousand girls have enrolled in cub scouts, for grades K through five – and more than eight thousand girls have joined scouts b-s-a for ages 11 to 17.
“I was so happy. I could not wait to join,” Robinson said.
But change never comes easy.
“There’s still a lot of doubt countrywide, even in our own community,” Preston said.
All scouts follow the same program, but girl troops and boy troops are independent of each other.
Jane Becker, “The girls are definitely more confident than I thought they would be.”
For troops across the country, the change has been mostly a success.
“Once they see the boys and the girls actually participating and being active in the scouting. The skeptics become believers,” Preston.
In an organization known for raising leaders, it’s no surprise it’s the kids who have paved the way.
“The kids have been more accepting,” Sophia Hamilton, 12 years old of Troop 64, told Ivanhoe.
There are still plenty of skeptics, but the girls are proving they can handle them.
“Take that with you and use it even more to motivate you to do things that people think you can’t” McGinnis said.
The scout program, merit badges, and the path to earning the rank of Eagle Scout something only about four percent of scouts do is the same for boys and girls. The scouts assure us allowing girls into scouting is not meant to take away from the Girl Scouts of America. They are two different organizations that appeal to different types of kids. In fact, one girl we met is in both boy scouts and girl scouts. For more information on this historic change, visit scouting.org.
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Contributor(s) to this news report include: Stacie Overton Johnson, Producer; Rusty Reed, Videographer and Roque Correa, Editor.
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