The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) unanimously voted to include girls into its program in October of 2017. Although girls had been allowed to participate in some scouting programs up to that point, they were not permitted in popular programs such as the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts, or earn the organization’s Eagle Scout ranking.
Since the decision was made three months ago, programs are beginning to form that will embrace both boys and girls in all scouting programs, including right here in Windham. The newly formed Cub Scout Pack 51 will be one of the first packs in Maine to host girls in Scouting since the decision was made.
Melissa Medina, who has been involved in Scouting as a volunteer for a number of years at the unit, district and council levels, is the brainchild of Cub Scout Pack 51. “I have seen the benefits of the program for my own children and others, so of course I want to involve as many youth as possible,” Medina said. “Cub Scouting, which serves youth aged five to 11, is very popular in the Windham community, so starting a second Cub Scout pack to give families an option makes sense.”
One reason the BSA decided to be inclusive of girls is the recognition that families are busier now than when the 108-year-old organization began. The consolidation helps make things more convenient for the whole family.
“We will accept girls in grades Kindergarten through fourth grade and boys in grades Kindergarten through fifth grade,” Medina stated. “The reason that fifth grade girls cannot register at this time is because they won't be accepted into the Boy Scouting Program until 2019, so with that lapse year, we've developed a plan for consistent programming for our new members. One of our goals is for families with youth of multiple ages to attend activities on the same evening in the same location.”
“Girls will not be eligible to register for the Boy Scouting Program until 2019, this gives the BSA another year to sort out the logistics of that decision,” Medina continued. “The one thing that is certain is the girls will be eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Rank advancement and the amazing programming opportunities will not change for girls entering Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts.”
Medina also explained that if girls, who are 14 years old or have completed the 8th grade, are interested in joining a high adventure scouting program now, they can visit www.beascout.org to find their local Venture Crew unit.
Medina will be among one of the individuals to host a joining night for those families who are interested in learning more about Cub Scout Pack 51. The meeting will be held on Monday, January 15 at the Windham Hill United Church of Christ, 140 Windham Center Road in Windham at 6 p.m. with activities to begin at 6:30 p.m.