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Boys Scouts to soon accept girls in their ranks

Andrew W. Griffin / Red Dirt Report
The offices of the Last Frontier Council in Oklahoma City.
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OKLAHOMA CITY – Beginning in 2018, the Boy Scouts of America will begin admitting girls to become Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with girls also being allowed to pursue becoming an Eagle Scout, Red Dirt Report has learned.

And while other countries, like Canada, have gender-free names like “Scouts Canada,” the American Boy Scouts will keep the “Boy Scouts of America” name, for the time being in any event.

This follows the recent policy changes with the BSA which now allow gay Scouts and adult volunteers, as well as transgender boys, reports note.

Reports CBS News: “Cub Scout dens -- the smallest unit -- will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. The program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the same Eagle Scout rank that has been attained by astronauts, admirals, senators and other luminaries.

Boy Scout leaders said the change was needed to provide more options for parents.

‘The values of scouting -- trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example -- are important for both young men and women,’ said Michael Surbaugh, chief scout executive.”

At the moment, girls are part of four scouting programs – Sea Scouts, Venturing, Exploring and STEM (Sciences).

The Last Frontier Council is one of over 300 BSA councils across America, and it serves Oklahoma City and much of western and southwestern Oklahoma, with more than 11,000 Scouts and more than 5,000 volunteers and adults.

One of those adult volunteers, Teresa Schumacher, helps with Scouts in Troop 68 in Oklahoma City. She told Red Dirt Report that she had just returned from a Scout leaders meeting and they were saying this change will be “good for girls” and that it will benefit families by having one organization or activity that all their children can attend.

Said Schumacher: “I think that the one big thing that Scout officials have not communicated is how will this affect the boys.”

Oklahoma City resident Alex Sherman achieved the rank of Eagle Scout when he was younger. Sherman said this news is exciting, giving the “stagnating” Boys Scouts of America a shot of needed diversity and inclusiveness.

“My experience in the scouts taught me practical outdoors skills and introduced me to new interests and challenges. Looking back, what I appreciate most are the adult volunteers (men and women) who gave their time to guide us in our activities and serve as role models,” Sherman said. “There is no reason that these benefits cannot be extended to girls and young women. I think that any effort to gather more young people of different backgrounds will only strengthen the mission of scouting.”

Chris Seiden, of Oklahoma City, made it to the rank of Life when he was a Boy Scout, a formative experience that led to his love of the outdoors.

Seiden applauds the change in policy.

“As far as I know, the US is the only developed western country that has not fully integrated our two scouting programs,” Seiden said in an email to Red Dirt Report. “Other countries do not have ‘Boy’ Scouts, they just have scouts. This is a big step in the right direction for our youth deployment in this county. It is time that we see everyone equal in rank and opportunity.”

Red Dirt Report reached out to Last Frontier Council Executive Jeff Woolsey, seeking comment, but our call was not returned by the time of publication.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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