The Boy Scouts of America is inviting boys and girls to join Cub Scouts this year, and Acadiana’s scouting group is on board.
“The Evangeline Area Council is excited to welcome both boys and girls into Cub Scouting,” says Art Hawkins, Executive Director. “After all, the values of Scouting – being trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean, and reverent – are relevant and important for both boys and girls.”
Cub Scouts are open to kids ages 5 through 10 years.
“We’re here to celebrate a new, and what I personally, as a lifelong scout, eagle scout and father of two girls, is one of the most exciting chapters in the history of the Boy Scouts of America,” Hawkins said at a Wednesday press conference.
Hawkins said the decision was made after a new director of the national organization did some research as he tried to increase participation. He called the groups that had really large memberships for their school or church size, Hawkins said.
“They all said, “We’ll tell you, if you promise not to shut us down.” And they said that they were allowing girls to participate. They were allowing the sisters of their scouts to participate. They were going to meetings, they were going camping, they were doing everything the boys were doing, but they just weren’t getting recognized for their accomplishments.
“That is the basis of our change.”
Families now are very busy, and putting all the kids into the same program is something families want, Hawkins said.
Diogo Tavares, a scout leader and parent of three kids, said his family is ready for the change. His son is in Boy Scouts; one daughter will be joining Cubs this fall and another will join BSA in the spring, he said.
“Like a lot of people, when you hear it, as a product of program, it kind of throws you back a big,” Tavares said. “But as you realize things, and think about what a great program it is, and how it benefits our boys from a civic standpoint, a patriotic standpoint and a duty to God standpoint. – how could you not want that for your girls, too? We tell our girls they can do anything a boy can do – how hypocritical of me as a father would it be to tell my girls they couldn’t do something they want to do?”
The Evangeline Area Council will be hosting Cub Scout sign-ups throughout Acadiana over the next few weeks. Each Cub Scout den will be single gender — all boys or all girls. Cub Scout packs, meanwhile, can include any combination of all-boy or all-girl dens. This approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families, officials say.