Washington Parent spoke to Aaron Chusid of the National Capital Area Council to discuss the recent changes to Boy Scouts of America's program:

Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has been working for several years on making its programs more open and inclusive to all children, most recently adding girls into the Cub Scouting program. How long has this initiative been in the pipeline and what impact have you seen so far in the D.C. area?

BSA's decision to welcome girls into our iconic programs is the result of years of discussion and research. We found, unsurprisingly, that families today are busier than ever. More than one-third of parents feel they spend too little free time with their kids. We believe this new program structure will better fit into their busy lives.

One of the most interesting early accomplishments is [that] a den of female Webelos Scouts (4th grade) did the flag ceremony for a Nationals game this spring. They were the first girls to represent Cub Scouts at a Major League Baseball game, and as such, are now included in the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, New York!

How does BSA plan on recruiting girls into this program? Will any activities or events differ between the girl troops and the boy troops?

This fall our new member theme is "Hooked on Scouting!" Girls and boys interested in joining Cub Scouts are invited to attend local fishing events, where they will get a free piece of fishing gear, learn more about Cub Scouts and get introduced to some local packs.

As for the program, everything will be exactly the same for boys and girls. Part of the advantage of having single-gender dens is parents and leaders can customize activities to meet their sons' and daughters' specific interests, but the basic framework, awards and methods are the same for both.

With the inclusion of girls into the Cub Scouting program, how will the face of Boy Scouts of America change? Will the name of the organization remain the same?

The name of our organization is not changing. There is a lot of pride and history around that name, and we want to maintain our connection to it. The only name that is changing is our program for young people ages 11-18. Starting in February 2019, it will be "Scouts BSA". Our members will simply be called scouts.

The face of our organization is not changing. For more than a century, the face of scouting has been young people smiling while encountering new adventures, doing good turns for their neighbors and gaining confidence in their abilities. Family scouting is just giving more young people of both genders the chance to share that smile.

For more information on BSA and where to register your child, visit beascout.scouting.org/


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Christopher Dooly is a freelance writer from the Washington, D.C. area. He lives with his partner Olivia and pet dachshund Han Solo. He has a passion for theater and the arts, and enjoyed scouting as a member of Pack #1095 and Troup #93.