Boys will be boys. Girls will be girls. And they'll all be Cub Scouts.
I was standing in the lobby of the Greater New York Council of the Boy Scouts of America with a member of my troop and Pack committee when my phone dinged. Being obsessed with my phone I took it out of my pocket. And then I saw the CNN alert that changed everything.
The BSA would be admitting girls into the Cub Scouts in 2018 and announcing a plan to allow girls a path to earning the Eagle rank in 2019. Wow. This was a game changer. The office was almost immediately a buzz. Everyone had just about the same info I just received.
The gears in my head started working and we began to think about recruiting and all the opportunities. I posted things on social media about how proud I was to be associated with the BSA. A sharp contrast to my posts during the National Jamboree in July. I texted my friend Gary, who along with his daughter have become the faces of the movement to allow girls in scouting here in the US.
As the months moved on we learned more about the timing and we were ready. Several of us took the required training and we set up a meeting with our institutional head. Then it happened. We were discussing the progress with the entirety of our Pack committee and we heard our first pushback.
Both our Cubmaster and Assistant Cubmaster both were not onboard with adding girls. Both women only have sons and like the idea that Scouts is something just for boys. Ok then. After the meeting the male members of the committee, committee chair, charters organization rep and Pack trainer (me) were in shock. Admittedly all three of us have daughters who would be eligible to be Cubs, a tiger and to Webelos.
This took me back to some of the informational meetings that our council ran before the news broke. And there seemed to be a lot of pushback from leaders, particularly women who only had sons. There argument was there isn't anything left for just boys. I don't know if that's true. But that is their opinion.
So it seemed that our Pack would not become an early adopter.
Part of the apprehension is that they feared that the program would change. I don't think it will. Perhaps some pronouns will change in the next edition of the handbooks. Another point is that boys and girls act differently when they are in single gender situations. While this is a valid point, but if the pack is committed to having gender separated dens this isn't a problem. The only times they would interact, would be during meeting openings and on trips (where siblings have been coming to anyway).
Week after week, there would be sisters coming to our meetings. And usually they would just be sitting on the sidelines. Whenever I would run a program, flag folding etc, I always called them over to participate. Guess what having a 7 year old girl folding a flag with a 8 year old boy didn't ruin the experience for anyone. We consistently had boys coming to check out the pack along with age appropriate sisters. But out of respect for parents who stepped up and took leadership roles, we were stuck.
But our CC, who is an expert diplomat was persistent. He came up with a plan and got our Cubmasters on board. We would give it a try, and we would be a lot less loose with our dens than we have been.
We have a Den leader ready to step up, and he's motivated to get the girls to rank up. I don't know how it will work. I guess we will know in the coming weeks. But seeing how it's been a success in other units I'm sure that the girls will have fun and that the program will not change for the boys.