Boy Scouts welcome girls

By on May 2, 2018

On May 2, Cub Scout Pack 142 of Lititz had an open house recruitment meeting for new scouts. While this may seem ordinary, it’s the first step locally in a national change coming from the Boy Scouts of America (BSA).

The 108-year-old organization announced last October that younger girls will now be allowed to join Cub Scouts, while older girls will eventually be eligible to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. Effective June 1, Pack 142 will become a Family Cub Pack, meaning that the program will be open to boys and girls alike. Together, both genders will participate in-sync in activities such as Pinewood derbies, meetings, and outings.

“Pack 142 has chosen to become a Family Cub Pack because it is a natural progression for us,” said Melonni Shields, pack volunteer. “We have included siblings in our program for years.”
Each will be offered the Cub program laid out by the BSA, but will have separate dens at each grade level. A den is comprised of one grade level (kindergarten to fifth grade) and a pack is comprised of all those dens.

Lititz Pack 142 will host a joint event in June — including boys and girls — at Camp Mack with the hope to get more children involved in both factions of scouting.

“I see this decision as giving families more options,” says Ryan Geesaman, Pack 44 Committee Chair of Lititz. “It gives them the opportunity to participate in an established program as an entire family if they choose. I see the value and welcome any opportunity to expose more young people to the values and skills that it imparts,” Geesaman added. “I know that some people see it as trying to compete with Girl Scouts, but I believe it’s simply another choice in the same way that families have many different options in sporting programs.”

“As for Pack 44, we simply don’t have the space to create more dens at this time,” added Geesaman. “For that reason, we are not starting a family scouting program, but we’re thrilled that Pack 142 is able to offer that option to families in the Lititz area and will be pointing families in that direction if they are interested.” According to Geesaman, the BSA has given area packs and troops a lot of leeway in the how, when, and if to implement this new program throughout the country.

Two weeks ago, both genders of scouts participated together in the annual Camporee in the Lititz Springs Park. Beginning in 2006 and originally involving just Warwick area Boy Scout troops; by 2014, both boys and girl scouts were fully integrated into the weekend-long scouting event.

“Many of our scout’s sisters have joined us on hikes, camp outs, and summer pack events,” Shields said. “These sisters have attended den meetings with their brothers and participated in all activities, but have never been rewarded for their achievements.”

At the open house slated for this week, Pack 142 will answer questions and pass out information and registration packets. Additionally, they will have activities for the girls and boys to participate in while parents find information for the upcoming program and year. Other plans for local councils for the girl and boy scouts will be working together on recruiting. On June 30, they will hold a joint event at Camp Mack, with the hope to get more children involved in both factions of scouting.

Cory Van Brookhoven is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. He welcomes your comments at cvanbrookhoven@lnpnews.com or 717-721-4423. 

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