By Guest Blogger Maddie Wilder
This August, Boy Scouts of America is opening Cub Scouts to both boys and girls for the first time, and many families are excited for the new change. Scouting embraces the outdoors with hands-on activities like camping, hiking and physical activities while focusing on strong values that build physical, mental and emotional character. By welcoming girls into the program, more youth will have access to the character development and values-based leadership that Scouting promises and be better prepared for future success.
Below is an interview with Shane Harterink, who led his son’s Cub Scout pack for several years and is now going to help with his daughter’s pack. His family is one of many delighted that their daughters can now join Cub Scouts.
Q: How long have you been involved?
A: I’ve been helping pack 934 at Mount Tabor United Methodist for about four years, but I’ll be switching this year. I’ll be an assistant cub master for pack 910 (at St. Paul’s Episcopal Church) to be with my daughter. 910 is launching girl dens for the first time, so they were looking for someone with Scouting experience to help mentor the new leaders coming in. I’ll be overseeing the girl dens as a resource to the adults without Cub Scout experience to help make sure everything runs smoothly and the girls are doing what they need to in order to advance. Plus, I’ll get to be with my daughter as she goes through the program.
Q: What age did your son start Scouting?
A: He started in first grade with the Cub Scouts program and is now getting ready to transition to Boy Scouts. He’s excited about the new activities and becoming more independent.
Q: What has he loved about being a Cub Scout?
A: He loves the outdoor activities like shooting a bb gun, hiking and camping. He also really enjoys being with a group of boys that are experiencing the same things. My daughter has been watching him do these activities for a while and wanted to join Venture crew, since that was her only option at the time, but now that Scouts is open to girls, she can’t wait to do that.
Q: Why does your daughter want to join?
A: She loves adventurous activities. We’ve been going on family camping trips since the kids were young, so she doesn’t mind getting dirty; she just wants to do the things her big brother does.
Q: Do you think the program will change with both boys and girls participating?
A: No. The program is the same one the boys have been doing since 2015, when the curriculum was last reviewed. The program does change as time evolves, but it will change uniformly across both boy and girl dens. Any rank the young girls earn will have the same requirements as the boys.
Q: How will the structure of Scouting change?
A: Not all packs are immediately adopting the boy and girl dens, but for those who are, the structure will remain very similar. Dens will remain one gender, and packs can be made up of all-male or all-female dens or a pack with both boy and girl dens.
Q: Why do you think the organization made this change?
A: They’ve done a lot of research and collected a lot of opinions that prove families want to do cohesive activities together. Research showed that families want to participate in activities as a group, rather than splitting up. Many families already attend Scouting meetings together, this new initiative will help them engage more as a family.
Q: What is your favorite part of being a pack leader?
A: I like the satisfaction of being involved with these kids and seeing how they learn. I like that I get to watch them grow up and that I’m a part of that.
If you are interested in finding out more about this new opportunity for girls or want to find a pack for your daughter or son, visit BeAScout.org to find a local cub pack in your area. Girls and boys ages 5-10 are encouraged to join.
- Sponsored by the Old Hickory Council, Boy Scouts of America