Boy Scouts of Amer­ica to in­clude girls

De­ci­sion to start tak­ing ef­fect be­gin­ning of 2018

The Signal - - NEWS - By Gina En­der Sig­nal Staff Writer

The Boy Scouts of Amer­ica is not just for boys any­more. And many Santa Clarita par­ents are em­brac­ing it.

Af­ter a unan­i­mous vote by the group’s board of di­rec­tors, the Boy Scouts will ac­cept girls in their Cub Scout pro­gram for seven to 10-yearolds be­gin­ning in 2018, a de­ci­sion made af­ter years of re­quests to do so, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said.

The group will also pro­vide a scout­ing pro­gram for older girls al­low­ing them to ad­vance to Ea­gle Scout start­ing in 2019.

“We strive to bring what our or­ga­ni­za­tion does best – de­vel­op­ing char­ac­ter and lead­er­ship for young peo­ple – to as many fam­i­lies and youth as pos­si­ble as we help shape the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers,” BSA’s Chief Scout Ex­ec­u­tive Michael Sur­baugh said in a state­ment.

Boys and girls will still be di­vided into sep­a­rate dens, but can be in co-ed packs made up of dens with dif­fer­ent sexes.

Santa Clarita lo­cal Todd Wil­son said he looks for­ward to the op­por­tu­ni­ties this will pro­vide for both of his chil­dren.

“As an Ea­gle Scout, I can say I’ve never been more proud of the growth that Boy Scouts has achieved re­cently,” Wil­son said. “I’m thank­ful that I’ll have a chance to wel­come both my son and daugh­ter into the Ea­gle fam­ily even­tu­ally.”

Per­mit­ting girls to join al­lows them to take part in the Boy Scouts’ unique pro­grams and helps to unite fam­i­lies with both sons and daugh­ters, the state­ment from BSA said.

Va­len­cia res­i­dent Ash­ley Bouhebent said she would have en­joyed the op­por­tu­nity to par­tic­i­pate in the kinds of pro­grams the Boy Scouts of­fer when she was younger.

“When I was a kid I wanted to be in Boy Scouts,” Bouhebent said. “They did things more along the lines of my in­ter­ests. Glad lit­tle tomboys will have this op­por­tu­nity now.”

For Su­san El­lis Nec­es­sary, her chil­dren have had dif­fer­ent ex­pe­ri­ences in their re­spec­tive Scout troops.

“My son and my daugh­ter have had po­lar op­po­site ex­pe­ri­ence in Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts,” Nec­es­sary, a Va­len­cia res­i­dent said.

“My daugh­ter wished she was in Boy Scouts from the minute her lit­tle brother joined and she got to see how dif­fer­ent the two pro­grams are. She’s been jeal­ous for eight years and he has been lov­ing his time in Scouts.”

Lee Hess, a scout leader for 26 years, said he is thrilled to see the shift to in­clude girls. As the fa­ther of three boys and a girl, Hess said his daugh­ter would have been thrilled to go back­pack­ing and white-wa­ter raft­ing as her brothers did.

“It’s about time,” Hess, a West­lake Vil­lage res­i­dent said. “I am thrilled.”

Ac­cord­ing to Hess, the Boy Scouts pro­gram is set up per­fectly and con­trib­utes to com­mu­nity build­ing skills that both boys and girls can ben­e­fit from. Prior to the change, Boy Scouts of Amer­ica was one of the only Scout or­ga­ni­za­tions in the world that was not co-ed, he said.

He sees no prob­lem work­ing through any is­sues with the change and said if the Scouts can work through any con­flict in adding gay mem­bers as they did years ago, there should not be any trou­ble chang­ing the rules for girls as well.

Dan Wat­son/The Sig­nal

Boyscout Emory Hinze, 11, of troop 609-Ne­hwall scoops up the fin­ish­ers of the first race at the 14th An­nual Rub­ber Ducky Fes­ti­val to ben­e­fit the Sa­muel Dixon Fam­ily Health Cen­ter held at Bridge­port Park in Va­len­cia in Oc­to­ber 2016.

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