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Programs for Girls

Welcoming Girls to the BSA

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 announced on October 11, 2017 that girls going into 6th Grade and up will be able to register with a Boy Scout troop in early 2019, with an exact date forthcoming from National BSA.  This will include full program participation and the ability to work toward all rank advancements including the Eagle Scout award.

Packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack. In 2019, we will offer a program for older girls using the same curriculum as our 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.

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.

Implementation details are being developed – A Task Force of volunteers and staff are working hard to have resources in place and shared with stakeholders for the fall 2018 rollout for Cub Scouts and 2019 for Boy Scouts. Their focus is on three primary areas; facilities, program/training and marketing. It is being made up of local volunteers from all levels of our organization and various backgrounds.

There is an option to be an early adopter - Chartered organizations and Cub Scout Packs who meet specific criteria and demonstrate that they are ready to include girls may begin doing so as early as March 1, 2018. Reports from these packs will be made to our task force as part of our learning and planning process to be applied to our full rollout in the fall of 2018.

There will be many points of learning throughout the process and implementation and we will do our best to keep everyone informed using this webpage as our primary source of information.

Northern Star Scouting programs offer outdoor adventure, achievement based awards, leadership training and experience, career insights, as well as the opportunity for meaningful service to others – all with family and friends.

Here are our programs and the timing for when you can join:

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 can 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 (Boy Scouts) – Girls in 5th Grade to Age 18 – Early 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 brother, 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 (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 September 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. 

If you prefer to speak to someone to help you through this process, simply call our Scout Service Center during regular business hours at 763-231-7201 and we will be glad to assist.

For Cub Scout Leaders

To follow up on the BSA’s decision to allow packs the option of opening their programs to include girls in 2018, here are some next steps and resources.

  1. Set a time to meet with your unit committee and chartered organization to discuss and determine which option is best for your pack and community:
    • Become a family pack that serves boys and girls in grades K - 5
    • Remain an all-boy pack
    • Establish a new girl pack within the chartering organization
  2. If your pack is excited about this opportunity and have girls and families already waiting to join, you could consider becoming part of an “Early Adopter” program. This would enable girls in grades K -4 to start on March 1, in time to earn their Bobcat Badge and sign up for summer camp with your pack. Use the "Contact Us" information at the bottom of this page to inquire about becoming an early adopter pack.
  3. To help guide the discussion about welcoming girls into your pack, here are a few considerations:
    • Have you had parents of current members asking about involving their daughters and/or attending camp with your pack?
    • Based on interest and knowledge of families now involved as well as those who would likely be interested in joining, can you secure enough volunteers to serve the added members
    • Are there any budget or equipment factors to consider?
    • Is it time to consider an alternative meeting model? Some family packs are holding all their den meetings on the same night at a common location as separate dens and occasionally coming together for group events, service projects or specialty programs. Pack meetings take place on this same night and location once a month, making it easier for families to plan.
    • Is your chartering organization supportive? Are their physical facilities (if provided) able to handle additional members and both genders?

Updates, resources and additional information will be posted on this website

Boy Scout Leaders

The timeline for including girls in this program has a much longer window, with expansion to girls completing 5th grade and at least 10 ½ years old to age 18 beginning in the program year of 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.

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.

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 a limited number of packs choosing an early adoption option in March. Charter Partners and Cub Scout packs who believe they are ready to include girls into their unit and meet specific criteria may be  part of a limited number approved to do so on March 1.
  • 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 is creating 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 will be 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 with projected 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 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: 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:

  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. (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 will packs hear back from Northern Star Council of approval to be an early adopter pack?

Applications are due to the NSC office by February 15, and district leadership will notify 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 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. 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 apply and are approved as “early adopters” will be 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.

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