This is a season of change and opportunity for our movement. With the February launch of our new program for older boys and girls, we enter a new era. And yet, in a way, we simply continue a tradition of serving young women and young men that has been in place for generations.
We’ve had girls participating in Scouting since 1971, when we invited them to join our Exploring program, and we strengthened that position in 1998, when we introduced Venturing as an adventure program for boys and girls. For years, too, we’d been hearing about sisters unofficially participating in our programs. So, officially or unofficially, we already had been serving girls for a long time before we opened Cub Scouting to boys and girls in 2018. It was powerful to see how excited communities, families and the Cub Scouts themselves were when everybody’s participation could be recognized and celebrated.
We also have benefited from the service of many women volunteers and staff for many years. In this month’s issue, you’ll get the chance to meet some of the women of Philmont: four of the staffers who make adventures in that outdoor wonderland possible. These women — and those like them across the country — are foundational to our success as a movement.
Yet, even though women have long been integral to the Boy Scouts of America, it hasn’t always been obvious from the outside. So it’s important to me that, going forward, all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible and all women Scouters know they are welcome, recognized and appreciated. The program change will be effective in February, when young women will be able to register to join troops for girls, following the same process and tradition that troops for boys have followed for generations.
The Boy Scouts of America will build on a tradition of character and leadership development as we pave the future of Scouting. We will continue to offer youth unparalleled adventures, character and skill development, and leadership experiences on their path to Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, Star, Life and the highest rank of Eagle. These adventures will be valuable opportunities to challenge themselves, develop resilience, and build confidence in their abilities to contribute and lead. Time and again, youth will reinforce that the values of Scouting are important for everyone with every Good Turn.
We are a stronger movement when we serve and benefit from the talents and perspectives of our diverse communities — and our families, communities and country benefit when Scouting is strong.
I look forward to more generations of women and men having a deep connection to our programs and the values we hold dear. The Boy Scouts of America changes lives, and through all of our programs, we will help even more young people Be Prepared. For Life.
Yours in Scouting,
Chief Scout Executive