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: What research did the BSA conduct to inform this decision?
The BSA conducted extensive research, including two Harris surveys, as well as four
research efforts that included input from nationwide family listening sessions. The
results were overwhelmingly positive and supported the decision to welcome girls into
Cub Scouts and provide a path to earn the Eagle Scout rank. The research found that
parents not involved with the BSA showed high interest in getting their daughters signed
up for Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts: 90 percent are likely to get their daughters involved
in Cub Scouts and 87 percent are likely to get their daughters involved in Boy Scouts.
The BSA also surveyed young girls and found that 90 percent of girls age 11-18 are
interested in joining BSA programs. Plus, more than 90 percent of Scouting families and
leaders, on average, believe the BSA programs are relevant to boys and girls.
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
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: Can my unit decide to wait and register girls in the fall?
Yes. Your pack can decide to welcome girls and registers girls starting in the fall of 2018.
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:
- 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.
- 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. (Those packs approved for the limited early adopter program may begin recruiting girls in K-4th grade beginning March 1)
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: When did packs hear back from Northern Star Council of approval to be an early adopter pack?
Applications were due to the NSC office by February 15, and district leadership notified packs of approval by March 1.
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 email@example.com.
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. Currently many dens have only female leaders; there is not a requirement of co-ed leadership for meetings, only for activities and outings.
Q: How will girls register?
NSC will accept both on-line and paper applications. (Those participating in the Early Adopter Program will only be able to register via paper application during the spring and summer of 2018)
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. Packs which applied and were approved as “early adopters” were able to register girls in grades K-4th grade starting March 1, 2018.
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
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
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.
Q: Can both male troops and girl troops share the same committee?
A: A chartered organization can decide if they want the same or separate committee.
Q: Can a boy troop and girl troop meet at the same time?
Yes. Based on the preferences of the chartered organization, the boy troop and girl 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
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 boy troop and girl 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 boy and girl patrols make up a troop?
No. Troops must be all male or all female youth members.
Q: Must the leaders of a boy troop be men and all the leaders of the girl 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 boy troop and girl 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 boy troops and girl 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 girls?
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.