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Programs for Girls

Welcoming Girls to the BSA (Updated as of 9/13/2018)

As an organization committed to positive youth development, we are always looking for ways to better meet the needs and expectations of our communities' young people and their families. Expanding our programs to welcome girls is the result of this process.

The National Council of the BSA announcedin October 2017 that the board unanimously approved welcoming girls into Cub Scouts beginning in the 2018 program year and delivering a Scouting program for older girls in 6th Grade and up that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout in early 2019. The National Council has confirmed that 2/1/2019 will be the official start date for the older girl program. Registration will include full program participation and the ability to work toward all rank advancements. 

Working with their chartered organization, packs may choose to become a pack that serves both boys and girls, remain an all-boy pack or the chartered organization may decide to start an all-girl pack. Similar decisions will need to be made by troops and their chartering organizations in the fall of 2018 for Scouts BSA, the older girls program, which will use the same curriculum as our current Boy Scout program.

We realize there is much to do to prepare, yet we are excited to be able to offer what so many of our families, volunteers and chartered partners have been asking for. Prefer something visual? See This Scouts BSA Infographic

See Quickly What Is and Isn't Changing for Program Names

CBS News Piece featuring Mike Surbaugh

girl archery

Key Highlights of Program Expansion To Welcome Girls:

It is a choice and is optional - Chartered organizations, leaders and parents will determine what format best meets the needs of the young people in their community and unit.

It is designed to meet the needs of families and their children - This offers families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.

It is backed by research and requests – this expansion comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the evaluation of numerous research efforts, input from current members and leaders, as well as from parents and girls who've never been involved in Scouting.

It supports today’s families – Families are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than before, making one stop shop/convenient program serving the whole family more appealing.

Venturing and Exploring – For Girls 14 to 20 years old – Now!

Our Venturing and Exploring programs, offering career and high adventure experiences with adult mentors have involved girls and boys for years. Girls can join these programs today!

More Info on Venturing

Cub Scouts – Girls in Kindergarten to Fifth Grade – Fall of 2018

Girls were able to begin their Scouting journey starting in the fall of 2018 as members of a Cub Scout pack. Cub Scouting means "doing" and everything is designed to have girls and boys actively doing things at home, at meetings and at camp. Cub Scouts participate as individuals, in single gender dens (small groups of about 4 – 8 members) and in a pack (a group of dens all together) including the whole family. Cub Scouts have fun and go places with their family, friends, and neighbors, including our awesome camps. They earn awards while doing fun activities with their family and leaders, using a handbook as their guide.

More Info on Cub Scouting

Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts) – Girls in 5th Grade to Age 18 – Beginning on February 1, 2019

As Scouts, girls can take part in the leadership experiences, camping, outdoor activities, service projects, and a challenging, individualized advancement program mentored by adult volunteers. Whether in a single gender girl troop or paired with a linked, single gender boy troop, Scouts lead and run weekly meetings, being introduced to over 100 hobby and career choices through merit badges and to goal setting/achievement through an awards program that culminates in the rank of Eagle Scout.

More Info on Scouts BSA (Boy Scouts)

The Boy Scouts of America has helped shape generations of young people with an appreciation for the outdoors, for holding high ideals and for instilling an ethic of service to others – all while having a great time.

The programs are age-specific, with opportunities and experiences growing as you child does. The theme that runs throughout is “Prepared. For Life.” which includes being prepared for adventure, leadership, learning and service.

With the opening of programs to include girls beginning with Cub Scouts (grades K – 5) in fall of 2018 and for Scouts (completed 5th grade – age 18) in February of 2019, these opportunities will now be available to the whole family.

You can learn more about each of the programs by following the links in the "For Girls" tab.

Welcoming girls is an option individual Scouting groups choose, so you should be sure to look for the “Girls Welcome” indicator on the “Unit Finder” of our joining website: www.adventureiscalling.org, which allows searches by school name, zip code, address and unit number. Note - this feature will be added in the upcoming weeks as packs determine whether they will offer this opportunity. 

girl archery

Boy Scout (Scouts BSA) Leaders

The timeline for including girls in tthe Scout troop program has a much longer window, with expansion to girls completing 5th grade and at least 10 ½ years old to age 18 beginning on February 1, 2019.

National BSA has a team of top volunteers, educators and Scouting professionals working on the implementation process. The givens in this process will be that the advancement requirements will be the same, the outdoors and high adventure focus will be consistent, as well as the learn by doing approach to skills and leadership will be maintained. Updates, resources and additional information will be posted here a they become available. Check out the new Older Girl Program FAQs added to the FAQ Tab.

Venturing and Exploring Leaders

Since girls ages 14 – 20 are currently involved in your programs (and have been for decades), this expansion to girls at younger ages should have minimal impact. It may increase the number of young women who are interested in Scouting overall, as well as develop more leadership potential by increasing the number of youth members completing Grey Wolf and other youth leadership training courses.

As an organization committed to positive youth development, Scouting is always looking for ways to better meet the needs and expectations of young people and their families in our community.

As many of you have probably already heard, through various communications, the National Council of the BSA has decided to expand Scouting programs for girls to include Cub Scouting in 2018 and Boy Scouting in 2019. We realize there is much to do and we are excited to be in a position to respond to what so many of our families, volunteers and charter partners have been asking for.

girl archery

Important highlights of this new change:

  • This is a choice and will be optional. Chartered organizations, leaders and parents will determine what format best meets the needs of the young people in their community and their unit.
  • This change is to meet the needs of families and their children, offering families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children.
    • The decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the evaluation of numerous research effort results, input from current members and leaders, as well as from parents and girls who've never been involved in Scouting.
    • Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing.
  • It's new and implementation details are still being developed. Volunteers and staff will be working hard to have resources in place and shared with stakeholders in time for the fall 2018 full rollout for Cub Scouts, as well as for the limited number of packs choosing an early adoption option in March. 
  • Your Cub Scout pack leadership will contact you to discuss how your pack can best meet the needs of the families in your community in the coming weeks.
  • Northern Star Council created a task force to prepare for the opportunity and to support our youth, families, volunteers, chartered partners, units and council in three primary areas; facilities, program & training, and marketing. The task force and the sub-committees are made up of local volunteers from all levels of Scouting and various backgrounds.

There will be many points of learning throughout the process and implementation and we will do our best to keep this page updated and everyone informed as we learn.

If you have further questions please feel free to contact Colleen Brazier at 763-231-7210.

Q: What decision did the BSA make regarding girls’ involvement in the organization?

Starting in 2018, families can choose Cub Scouts for their sons and daughters, enabling them to take advantage of the life-changing experiences provided through Scouting. A program for older girls will be announced in 2018 for implementation in 2019 to deliver the Boy Scout program to girls, allowing for participating girls to earn the highest rank of Eagle.

The Boy Scouts of America is committed to serving youth, families and communities through programs that deliver character development and values-based leadership training for young people. To that end, the BSA continues to evaluate how to bring the benefits of Scouting to the greatest number of youth possible — all while remaining true to our mission and core values, outlined in the Scout Oath and Law.

Q: What do you mean by this is a "market driven" change?

The BSA has experienced renewed interest in Scouting, and we believe that is largely in response to program innovation and a more thorough understanding of what families want and need when it comes to extracurricular activities. In fact, recent surveys of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts.

Following an evaluation of what families and young people want and need when it comes to extracurricular activities and Scouting, the BSA welcomes girls into expanded programs from Cub Scouts to the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

Q: Is this change a departure from the BSA’s core mission and values?

No. In fact, this aligns with our mission and values. After all, the values of Scouting as outlined in the Scout Law — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent — are relevant and important for both young men and women.

Our mission is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. To achieve our mission, we create innovative programs and evolve existing ones that respond to the needs of today’s families and deliver them through dedicated volunteers in communities across the nation.

Q: How will the BSA respond to parents who don’t want coeducational troops/programs? Do chartered organizations or local councils have a choice whether or not to adopt the expanded program?

The BSA is committed to identifying and developing program options that will align with the needs of today’s families and young people. It comes down to providing parents with important choices that meet the character-development needs for their youth. There is research that indicates boys and girls together at the Cub Scout age in a nurturing environment have more benefits than single gender. At the same time, there is research that shows strong single-gender benefits – and we know parents have diverse perspectives on the topic, so we want to provide options with what best meets their needs.

When girls join Cub Scouting in fall 2018, packs may welcome them right away. An existing pack may choose to recruit girls or remain an all-boy pack. When creating a new pack, a chartered organization may form an all-boy pack, an all-girl pack or a pack of girls and boys.

Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls. Cub Scout packs, meanwhile, can include any combination of all-boy or all-girl dens. The choice is left to individual pack leaders in consultation with their chartered organizations.

This hybrid model builds on the benefit of a single-gender program while also providing character and leadership opportunities for both boys and girls.

Q: What updates to youth protection will be implemented to ensure the safety of boys and girls?

Youth protection and safety is paramount in all of the BSA’s programs. We invest resources and time to continuously strengthen our youth-protection program. At the Cub Scout level, the program is already designed for the family, and we’ve had sisters of Cub Scouts participating in activities for several years. As we deliver the program for older girls, we will be evaluating any changes needed to ensure the safety of all youth.

Q: How do leadership and youth protection standards change?

Two-deep leadership is still required for all meetings and activities. If a den/unit is going on an outing or an activity, it is still required that there be at least one adult who is a female if there are female youth, and at least one male adult is there is a male youth.

Q: How do the Girl Scouts feel about this new BSA opportunity?

We can’t speak on behalf of the Girl Scouts but what we can say is that:

  1. We continue to support the Girl Scouts and the programs which they offer, and we support any girls and their families who want to be a member of their organization.
  2. The programs and opportunities which have been offered to boys through the BSA are now also being offered to girls who want to join.

Q: What is the official process for a pack to recruit girls?

The Chartered Organization and the pack leadership must agree on how they are going to best serve the local youth and community. The Pack then needs to let the local council know the option they have chosen; serve girls and boys, remain serving all-boys, or interested in starting an all-girls pack. This information will be utilized in the online registration system for new parents looking to join a Pack. The program will begin with fall recruiting in August for girls in grades K-5th grade.

Q: Does our pack have enough leaders to handle the influx of new membership?

This is a decision your pack will need to make, based on the pack size and number of leaders you currently have. Your Unit Commissioner and your Program Relations Executive can help if you have questions. Remember, new youth members, both boys and girls, bring new parents who can be recruited to help your pack.

Q: Are there packs who are welcoming girls who we could contact for information or a visit?

Yes, this can be arranged by contacting Bob Thielen at bthielen@northernstarbsa.org.

Q: Will the leadership requirements change with the addition of girls?

Two-Deep Leadership is required for all Scouting activities and meetings. At least one of these leaders must be registered with the BSA and be current in their BSA Youth Protection Training. For activities and outings that are co-ed the leadership for those activities and outings must also be co-ed.

Q: How will girls register?

NSC will accept both on-line and paper applications.

Q: Will there be any changes to Cub Books / Requirements?

There will be no requirement changes for ranks or electives. Changes that will start to appear will be in the form of pictures showing girls, and text that is gender neutral.

Q: What are the grades of girls who will be able to join?

Girls in grades K – 5 will be able to join during the 2018 fall recruitment campaign.

Q: When will 5th grade girls be able to go to camp?

Girls entering 5th grade in the fall of 2018 will be able to attend any weekend camp once they have become BSA members. They will be able to attend summer camp in 2019.

Q: Recruiting girls – do girls have to have a brother already in the program or can we recruit new girls into the Pack with no previous affiliation?

While we expect many of the first girl members to have a sibling already involved in scouting, all girls are welcome to join.

Q: For Troops, what is expected for 5th grade girls who join a pack in the fall of 2018? Will they need to visit a troop / campout for Arrow of Light?

There should still be opportunities for 5th grade girls to visit a troop after they join in the fall to fulfill their Arrow of Light requirement.

Q: What summer camp opportunities are available for Packs in the early adopter program?

All Cub Scout Summer camps (Kiwanis, Phillippo, Stearns) will welcome both boys and girls who are registered with a Cub pack during the summer of 2018. Girls in the fourth grade who join a Webelos Den in the 2017-2018 school year are also able to attend Arrow of Light camp at either Stearns or Navajo (Tomahawk).

Update on Program for Older Girls - Scouts BSA

The National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America has confirmed a scheduled February 1, 2019 launch date for the program to serve girls, ages 11-17. This timing is intended to align with the programmatic timeline so that girls who join Cub Scouts in 2018 and will have earned their Arrow of Light are able to cross over to a troop to continue their Scouting journey.

The Board also approved the option of a linked troop structure that would allow existing boy troops and future girl troops the opportunity to be linked through a shared Chartered Organization Representative and troop committee.

NEW - Program for Older Girls FAQs - Scouts BSA

Q. What program is available to girls that are older than Cub Scout age?

Using the same Scouting program offered to older boys, the organization will deliver a program for older girls that is scheduled to launch in February 2019 through which girls will be able to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

Q: What ages would be eligible for the program?

Mirroring the ages served by the existing Boy Scout program, the program for girls would serve girls who have completed the fifth grade and are at least 10 years old, or have earned the Arrow of Light and are at least 10 years old, or are age 11 but have not reached age 18.


Q. Will you change the program to accommodate girls?

Our existing programs are relevant for both young men and women. After all, the values of Scouting as outlined in the Scout Law – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent – are relevant and important values for both young men and women. As such, the program for girls, ages 11 to 17 will be the same curriculum offered in the Boy Scout program.

Q: Will the Scoutmaster position change in the program for girls?

No, the Scoutmaster is still responsible for training and guiding youth leaders in the operation of the troop and for managing, training and supporting assistant scoutmasters in their role.

Q: Can a boy troop and a girl troop share the same Scoutmaster?

A: No. Chartered organizations should have separate Scoutmasters for their boy troop and girl troop. The two troops can however share all other leaders through the linked troop model.

Q: Can both male troops and female troops share the same committee?

A: A chartered organization can decide if they want the same or separate committee.

Q: Can a male troop and female troop meet at the same time?

Yes. Based on the preferences of the chartered organization, the male troop and female troop could meet at the same time and place.
 

Q: If a chartered organization is not able to establish a new unit based on the required number of same-gender youth needed, can boy patrols and girl patrols be combined to form a troop?

No. A new unit must be started using the current youth and adult requirements; however, chartered organizations can consider the linked troop model so that the newly-established girl troop will have the same COR and can share the troop committee.

Q: Can a male troop and female troop meet as one big troop?

Opening and closing of the meetings can be together or separate, depending on space and desire of the chartered organization and unit leadership. The other components of the Scout meeting should be run separately.

Q: Can male and female patrols make up a troop?

No. Troops must be all male or all female youth members.

Q: Must the leaders of a male troop be men and all the leaders of the female troop be women?

No. Adult leadership may be men, women, or both men and women together. All youth protection guidelines are to be in use no matter the make-up of the adult leadership.

Q: Can a male troop and female troop plan events together?

Yes, they can plan events together, as troops currently do.

Q: Can courts of honor be held jointly?

Yes, courts of honor can be held jointly if the chartered organization chooses.

Q: Can a council and district run camporees for male troops and female troops?

Yes, a council and district can run council and district events for both boy troops and girl troops if they are following the Guide to Safe Scouting and all current youth protection guidelines.

Q: Will all current Boy Scout troops be required to offer a program for females?

Chartered organizations can decide which programs best serve the needs of their community, which means that the chartered organization can continue to offer Scouting for boys, or they may choose to add a unit for older girls.

What is Scouts BSA?

Scouts BSA is the Scouting program for all youth ages 11-17.

Q: Why are you changing the name of the Boy Scout program?

As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible. That is why we’re proud to announce that Scouts BSA is the new name for the Boy Scout program. Scouts BSA perfectly represents the new, inclusive program for older Scouts that the Boy Scouts of America is proud to offer. Starting in February 2019, Scouts BSA, will continue to offer Scouting in single-gender troops, through which Scouts – boys and girls – can work to earn the Eagle Scout rank. The organization name will continue to be Boy Scouts of America.

Q: Are you changing the name of the organization?

No, our iconic organization name will continue to be Boy Scouts of America.

Q: When will the name change be effective?

The scheduled launch date for Scouts BSA is February 1, 2019.

Q: What will the members of the program be called?

Just as today, they will be called Scouts. For example, “I’m in Scouts BSA, so I am a Scout.”

Q: Will The Boy Scout Handbook be updated to reflect the new name?

Yes.

Q: How many (if any) women volunteers will be required for the linked all-female troop?

They need one at least one adult registered female.

Q: Does the scoutmaster of the all-female troop need to be a woman?

No

Q: Will it be necessary for the leadership to be in place before advertising a troop as welcoming girls?

No. This is similar to starting a new unit. They will be able to use the same leadership as the unit for boys or they could start an individual unit, not linked with an all-boys troop. They may have some unit leaders identified or they may be recruiting the parents of the girls who start. If they are a linked unit most of their leadership is probably in place already.

Q: Any changes to overnight camping requirements for Scouts BSA?

No, they remain the same as listed in the Guide for Safe Scouting: “Adult Supervision/Coed Activities - Male and female adult leaders must be present for all overnight coed Scouting trips and outings, even those including parent and child. Both male and female adult leaders must be 21 years of age or older, and one must be a registered member of the BSA.”

Q: Are we looking at creating more gender neutral camping facilities?

Yes, our camping and properties committees are evaluating our current facilities to identify where we can create more single-entrance bathroom and shower facilities. Once complete we will work to identify funding and resources to make needed improvements.

Q: Is there a standard plan for females who crossover from Webelos to Scouts BSA?

All girls who crossover into Scouts BSA will go through the same process that boys have been going through, typically in February. This is the perfect time with girls being able to start Scouts BSA in February of 2019.

Q: How are unit numbers for female troops determined?

Any linked troop could choose to have similar unit numbers, example:

Current Troop 9100; New Linked Troop 7100
Current Troop 3100; New Linked Troop 5100

Q: Are girls able to join the Order of the Arrow (OA)?

Yes, girls will be able to join the OA, starting with elections in February 2019. Each Scouts BSA troop will need to hold their own elections and will need to meet the current election requirements.

Q: Can linked troops have join OA elections?

No.

Q: How many girls do you need to start a new Scouts BSA troop?

Each new Scouts BSA troop need at least five youth of the same gender, at least 5 adults and a chartered organization. When starting any new unit, all adults and youth need to complete the appropriate paperwork.

Q: How are Scouts BSA troops run?

Scouts BSA troops, whether male or female, should follow the Patrol Method and use the current Scout Handbook.

Programs for Girls

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