Scouts BSA program welcomes girls

By on February 11, 2019

February 1 marked an historic day in the Boy Scouts of America as all its ranks were opened to girls. The Seneca Waterways Council welcomed four Scouts BSA girl troops into their membership with 40 girls registered and actively engaged in Scout BSA meeting and activities: Troop 2019 (Fairport), Troop 2020 (Monroe County), Troop 410 (Honeoye Falls/Mendon), and Troop 315 (Phelps). As interest grows among young ladies to join Scouts BSA, Seneca Waterways Council expects to have 10 girl troops registered by the end of February with an additional 25 to 30 girls actively participating.

Girl Troop 2019 chartered by the Bethlehem Lutheran Church was one of the first troops to launch. Committee Chair, Sarah Noblett, turned in her Troop’s application and proudly rang the ceremonious new unit bell.

“We are proud to welcome these young ladies and provide them with the character and leadership development training that has only been offered to boys, perhaps their brothers, in the past,” stated Stephen Hoitt, Seneca Waterways Council, Scout Executive/CEO. He added, “This is an exciting time for the Boy Scouts of America as we fulfill our mission to prepare (all) young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law.” The Boy Scout program for older youth ages 11 to 18 is now called Scouts BSA to reflect the inclusion of all genders. While the program name change has caused some confusion, the name of the organization – the Boy Scouts of America – remains intact.

The BSA’s decision to welcome girls into the Cub Scout program and to offer a program for older girls comes from input they received from Scouting families, as well as prospective Scouting families. A majority of parents surveyed said they were interested in having their daughters involved in a program like the Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. The BSA believes they owe it to families to structure their program offerings in a way that fits into their busy lives to deliver character development and values-based leadership training that Scouting promises.

As girls join Scouts BSA, the program will be single gender with all-girl troops or all-boy troops. This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single-gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.

The historic change in the Boy Scouts of America membership demographic began last September, when they welcomed girls into their Cub Scout program designed for youth in kindergarten to fifth grade.  At the end of 2018, over 350 girls were registered and actively participating in the Cub Scout program.

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