SIOUX FALLS, S.D. – In what many are calling a historic decision, leaders of the Boy Scouts of America have voted to allow girls to join the Cub Scouts.
According to the Sioux Council Scout Executive, this is the most popular branch of the organization
This idea is sparking controversy on social media, but if you sit down with the people it affects, the issue seems quite simple.
According to Boy Scout officials in Sioux Falls, the national office has been surveying families and working to find out if it would fit pack needs for about two years.
This is Pack 151 and the scout moms say they are thrilled to hear about the changes coming to the Boy Scouts.
“As a scout mom with a boy and two girls I was very excited,” Nejla Smith Reynoza
Reynoza says for many scout families, if their son joins, their daughter participates too.
“There’s not always a care giver at home to leave the other children with,” she said.
Tom Smotherman with the Sioux Council Boy Scouts says the national organization is seeing that trend across the country.
“Families are pulled in several different directions and the opportunity to provide kind of a one-stop shop program for scouting seems to resonate,” Smotherman said.
He says it also allows girls to see their hard work pay off.
“I can tell you that there are hundreds and thousands of girls who have done everything their big brothers did in Boy Scouts, but never got the recognition for it because they weren’t allow to join,” he said.
“My five year-old daughter probably knows the scout oath better than half of the boys to be honest,” Reynoza said.
Girl Scouts have been around for more than 100 years, just like Boy Scouts.
So, what does this mean for the local chapter?
The CEO says nothing will change.
“The Girl Scouts remain committed and feel strongly about the importance of an all-girl, girl lead, girl friendly environment that the Girl Scouts provide,” Girl Scouts Dakota Horizons CEO, Marla Meyer said.
“I really hope that we don’t compete with each other for youth,” Smotherman said.
Other concerns have been raised about the co-ed dynamic.
“Our son would rather have it just be boys and our daughters were excited to hear about it,” Sioux Falls mom April Woody said.
Smotherman says boys and girls will learn the same programming but in separate groups.
“There will be dens of boys and dens of girls that will come together to form the Cub Scout pack,” he said.
And forming a united pack is important to these families.
“It helps our family bond even more with that connection,” scout mom Catherine Davis said.
The Boy Scouts of America say girls will be allowed to join another program allowing them to earn the Eagle Scout rank in 2019.
Girls have been participating in the high school level of the organization since 1971.
The Girl Scouts of the USA released a statement criticizing the Boy Scouts’ decision saying quote, “the Boy Scouts’ house is on fire. Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA’s senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls.”