LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) - The Boy Scouts of America South Plains Council officially welcomed girls into its Cub Scout program on Thursday, while kicking off their new family scouting model.
This comes after the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously decided to welcome girls into the program last year and launch a Scouting program for older girls with the ability for them to reach the Eagle Scout rank in 2019.
"The historic change came after years of receiving request from our own scouting family," said Lubbock Scout Executive Nathan Baie. "For decades sisters have been an integral part of scouting family but there has never been an avenue for them to officially participate until now. Two Cub Scout packs in Lubbock have agreed to become early adopters of this new program and we expect to register eight to 10 girls this month."
Baie said the change doesn't make BSA's program "co-ed."
"We acknowledge and celebrate that boys and girls develop differently," Baie said. "There are times when a single-gender curriculum is most important. We're simply expanding our time-tested program to girls and young women. To do this we have outlined a structured program that separates boys and girls into gender-specific dens."
Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain and all-boy pack. Lumpy Ball has served as a den leader and cub master for his son. He now welcomes his two daughters into the program to enjoy the benefits his son has been experiencing.
"I think it takes out some intimidation," Ball said. "We spend so much time keeping them apart, teaching them separately, even in schools. It's a great environment for some people and some people thrive in it. But, I also think that bringing them together and teaching them together to not to pay attention to differences and to just pay attention to the goal, and that goal is to have a better life, that gives them opportunity and I think it's going to benefit them."
Devin Ball is 8 years old. She told KCBD NewsChannel 11 that it was a little sad to not be able to officially participate in what her brother was enjoying. She said she is looking forward to learning about animals.
"It's really fun," Devin said. "We get to learn a lot of things. Most of the time I'm hanging out with all my friends and learning new cool things that can help me a lot in life."
Azalea Pair is also 8 and a new member of the Cub Scouts. She hopes other girls join, as well.
"I think girls should be not just a pretty little girl," Pair said. "I want them to be adventurous, explorers and all that stuff."
The South Plains Council serves 20 surrounding counties. Around 2,000 scouts were involved in its program in 2017. Baie expects to expand after opening registration to girls.
"We are proud to welcome the entire family into our ranks," Baie said "This decision is true to the BSA's mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law."
Baie said the Boy Scouts of America will keep its name the same and, "our brand will continue to be a source of pride."