Girls in Boy Scouts? Here’s what local leaders are saying about change


Girls have long been involved in Cub Scouts and should continue, a scouting parent and a local leader said Thursday, a day after the Boy Scouts of America announced they will admit girls to programs starting next year.

On Wednesday, the national BSA’s board of directors unanimously approved welcoming girls into its Cub Scout program, creating a path for girls to Boy Scout’s famed highest rank of Eagle Scout.

Both young girls and mothers already have been participating for years in the boys’ side of scouting, said Holly Vadnais, a mother of two boys who participate in Kettering’s Cub Scouts Pack 236. Sisters have always been present as “tag-alongs” in situations where parents have to bring them along — or simply want to bring them along — to scouting events, Vadnais said.

RELATED: Equifax steps back from ‘forced arbitration’

And mothers have always helped with leadership, fundraising and other duties.

“They’re right there with us all the time,” said Vadnais, who shares pack leadership duties with her husband.

The decision came after years of “receiving requests from families and girls,” the organization said, with both detractors and supporters reacting to it over the past two days.

“This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law,” Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s chief scout executive, said in a statement. “The values of scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women.”

» RELATED: Sprawling area could see transformation of course into housing

Boy Scouts have no desire to draw girls away from Girl Scouts, said Jeff Schiavone, scout executive and CEO of the Boy Scouts Miami Valley Council.

“It’s a family program,” Schiavone said. “So siblings of Scouts have always sort of been participating as a tag-along. They haven’t really earned the (Cub Scout rank) advancement, but they have been there.”

But for some girls, the boys’ side of scouting is a better fit.

» RELATED: German grocery retailer Lidl to expand to Beavercreek

“I grew up as a tomboy,” Vadnais said. “I would have fit in much better as a Boy Scout.”

Beginning in the 2018 program year, parents will be able to register sons and daughters for Cub Scouts packs and dens, the BSA said.

Existing packs may choose to create a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack.

In Cub Scouting, dens are smaller groups within larger packs.

“Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls,” the national organization said.

After the BSA announcement, the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio released a statement saying they remain “committed to and believe strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides, which creates a necessary safe space for girls to learn and thrive.

The national Girl Scouts organization reacted as well Thursday, emphasizing their top award or rank.

“The #gsGoldAward is the most prestigious award for girls — and it’s only available to Girl Scouts,” the organization tweeted (@girlscouts) Thursday.

Katelyn Scott, marketing manager for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio, declined to directly address the BSA decision, but she said research shows that all-girl environments are nurturing for girls, and that girls want those kinds of environments.

“We stand firm that Girl Scouts are all about girls,” she said.

The organization’s Western Ohio service area, stretching from Cincinnati to Toledo, has 42,000 active members, Scott said.

Schiavone’s council — which celebrates its 100th anniversary next year — includes five counties, in which about 5,000 boys take part in Scouting, from first grade to 12th grade — as well as girls who take part in high school-level Boy Scouting co-ed programs that existed well before Wednesday’s announcement.

Girls who participate in the co-ed programs don’t earn Boy Scout ranks or merit badges, Schiavone said. But they learn skills and participate in character-formation programs.

“Girls really have been part of scouting programs for a long time, with our co-ed high school programs,” he said. “This is really just an earlier entry point” for girls.

He agreed there’s no desire by the BSA to dip into Girl Scout programs. Any time a youth can be involved in a character-forming programs, there’s value in that, he said.

“We’re not in competition,” Schiavone said.

“They are one of a number of many competitors that we have,” Scott said, referring to Boy Scouts. “It doesn’t really change our focus.”

FIVE FAST BUSINESS READS

JOB LOSS: Local plastics manufacturer to lay off 57 workers

STORE CLOSINGS: 75 retailers expected to close on Thanksgiving

New hair salon, spa opens in Centerville

4 restaurants, retailers coming to vacant Logan’s Roadhouse

2 popular retailers open in Sugarcreek Twp.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Local

Passerby mistakes controlled burning of old barn for house fire in Clark County
Passerby mistakes controlled burning of old barn for house fire in Clark County

A passerby this evening mistook a controlled burning of an old barn for a house fire, prompting multiple fire crews to respond. The passerby reported that flames could be seen coming through the roof of a house on Milton-Carlisle Road in Bethel Twp. From a distance, it appeared the fire was coming from a house. But in reality, the flames were...
Beavercreek parents group raises money for security locks on elementary classrooms
Beavercreek parents group raises money for security locks on elementary classrooms

A group of parents in Beavercreek has raised enough money to have security locks installed on each of the classroom doors in the district’s elementary schools and now is hoping to raise money to do the same in the district’s other schools. The group was launched in April with the mission to raise $60,000 to purchase and install 335 locks...
$1.2 million worth of marijuana seized in Madison County
$1.2 million worth of marijuana seized in Madison County

A California man is facing a felony drug charge after Ohio State Highway Patrol troopers seized 250 pounds of marijuana during a Madison County traffic stop. The marijuana was valued at $1.2 million dollars, according to OSHP. On Nov. 19, troopers stopped a Penske truck with Indiana plates for speeding. A drug-sniffing dog reportedly alerted to the...
Ex-Butler County corrections officer arrested for bribery
Ex-Butler County corrections officer arrested for bribery

A former Butler County Sheriff’s Office corrections officer was booked into he jail on Hanover Street today on felony charges for allegedly bringing illegal items into the correctional facility. Brandon Moore, 34, of Hamilton, has been indicted by a Butler County grand jury for bribery, a third-degree felony, and four counts of conveyance into...
Man facing charges after tussle with police officer at McDonald’s
Man facing charges after tussle with police officer at McDonald’s

A Middletown man is facing multiple charges after he allegedly assaulted a police officer inside a Franklin McDonald’s. Chester R. Nichols, 39, of Wilbraham Road, was arraigned Tuesday in Franklin Municipal Court and was charged with assault on a safety officer, a fourth-degree felony; obstructing official business, a fifth-degree felony; and...
More Stories