Flagship Scouting program now available to girls as well as boys

Published 7:01 am Sunday, May 5, 2019

Beginning in 1910, the Boy Scouts the Boy Scouts of America was formed to serve boys. In 1973 girls began participating in the Exploring program and in 1998 in Venturing. Even so, the bread and butter of Scouting, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, has been only open to boys.

That is changing.

Currently, both girls and boys can join all programs of the Boy Scouts of America including the flagship, Scouts BSA (formerly known as a Boy Scout Troop) and earn the coveted rank of Eagle.

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Since the autumn of 2018, Cub Scout Packs in Austin and surrounding areas have been slowly incorporating girls. Now one girl, Lydia Drees, is taking on the challenge of starting a program for girls after having seen two brothers grow up through scouting.

Lydia Drees

“In Scouts you can develop organizational and leadership skills by helping run the troop,” Drees said. “In Scouts there are activities for practically every area of interest. For years now, these opportunities were only open to boys. Now we girls have the chance to join in the fun.”

While girls have been incorporated into Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA, the programs are now co-ed. The activities and awards are exactly the same for girls and boys, but the boys are leading the boys and girls are leading the girls. Both programs can have both male and female leadership, but a Scouts BSA Troop for girls is required to have at least one female leader present.

Activities scouts participate in vary depending on the interest of the youth, but include snowboarding, rock climbing, white water rafting, rifle shooting, fishing, welding, constructions, learning about our nation, and so much more. While many think of Scouting as an organization that goes camping, the camping portion is just the outdoor classroom that helps to teach leadership skills, help build young people of character, and promote personal fitness.

An informational night is being held for girls and boys to find out more about Scouts BSA at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday in the IJ Holton Intermediate School cafeteria in Austin. Cost to sign-up is $2.75 per month. Additional activities are paid for through fundraising efforts later on. Youth must be at least 10 and have completed the fifth grade or be 11 years old to start, but not yet 18. Youth under that age can participate in Cub Scouts. Interested youth should bring a parent or guardian with them.

For questions or more information about Scouts BSA for boys or girls, contact Arlo Drees at 507-440-1530