Families with young girls looking to join Boy Scouts are now being welcomed with open arms. The Twin Rivers Council, which includes Fulton and Montgomery counties, is part of a nationwide decision that is changing the dynamic for scouting families. Mark Switzer, Twins Rivers Council Scout Executive and CEO, said for him, it means his daughters can take advantage of an organization that provides life changing experiences.
“This decision really opens a lot of doors for families, there is so much excitement,” said Switzer.
The Boys Scouts of America, or BSA, is now expanding programs to welcome girls from Cub Scouts to the highest rank of Eagle Scout. Parents can now choose Cub Scouts for their sons and daughters. Switzer said a program for older girls will be rolled out over the next year. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack, while dens will be either all boys or all girls. The choice is left to individual pack leaders.
“Each pack will look at their own enrollment and numbers, but ultimately and most importantly this change will provide even more youth with access to character development and values-based leadership,” said Switzer.
The Twin Rivers Council is one of the councils across the nation which have been given permission to start enrolling interested families immediately. Switzer said while nationally the organization has been contemplating the change for a while, adding it took about two years to get be ready to make the necessary changes. He said the response so far has all been positive.
“We have not heard of any negative feedback. Scout families are adaptive and ready to share the many opportunities that scouts can bring. It is a good thing for sure, “said Switzer.
One goal, Switzer said, is to get families with both sons and daughters involved in the program by spring so they’ll be able to attend Cub Scout day and sleepover camping programs this summer.
“The Scouting program has been proven to help young people learn and grow,” said Switzer.
Switzer said girls and boys will go through the same advancement program but will do so in single-gender Dens, explaining that this approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model, while still meeting the needs of families.
Girls can now be part of the from the academic advantages of Scouts as they are actively involved with STEM. STEM Scouts focus on a youth’s interest in technology through teaching new skills in an interactive environment. STEM Scouts work with STEM professionals, and STEM educators.
Within the Twins Rivers Council, The Mohawk District covers the Fulton, Hamilton, Montgomery, and Schenectady County, along with the Town of Clifton Park. The district serves approximately 800 youth and has over seventy units, including troops in the Johnstown and Gloversville areas.
Switzer said there are no plans to change the organization’s name, Boy Scouts of America, but said they will more than likely use the abbreviation BSA, more frequently.
The council plans to enroll as many interested families as possible between now and March 31st. Interested parents can find a Cub Scout Pack looking for girl Cub Scouts by going to the Boy Scouts of America’s “Be a Scout” website at https://beascout.scouting.org.
They can also call the Twin Rivers Council office at (518) 869-6436.