Originally Published: October 15, 2017 6:01 a.m.
Arizona’s oldest Boy Scout troop, Troop 1, has seen a lot changes in its 101-year history, said Scoutmaster Mike Ortagus.
The most recent change to the Boy Scouts of America, according to an Associated Press story, is the unanimous decision announced Wednesday, Oct. 11, by the organization’s board of directors to admit girls into the Cub Scouts and establish a new program for older girls that enables them to earn an Eagle Scout Rank.
It’s the latest in a string of major changes in the past five years, including agreeing to accept openly gay youth members and adult volunteers and transgender boys, according to the AP.
Ortagus said he doesn’t have a problem with this decision or with any of the changes that have occurred in the last few years.
“A lot of people aren’t aware that the rest of the world allows girls into the full program,” said Ortagus, whose troop meets weekly in Prescott. “The United States is the only country that does not have an integrated program.”
Calls to local Cub Scout packs were directed to Grand Canyon Council Scout Executive Larry Abbott, who called the policy change fantastic.
The council has had a lot of people asking for family entry and it’s not at all about recruiting girls away from the Girl Scouts, Abbott said. In fact, the hope is to serve the kids that nobody is currently serving because those are the kids who need to be served.
Abbott was referencing how the Girl Scouts of the USA worked to stop the change from happening, according to the AP, which added that the Girl Scouts issued a statement that they are a single-gendered scouting program that benefits girls in the United States by providing a safe space for them to learn and lead.
Cub Scout packs will not be coed and will instead have separate dens for boys and girls, Abbott said.
As such, the packs will still be able to do things that are gender specific, but they’ll be able to do them as a family, he said.
“We really don’t want to take away leadership opportunities for the boys,” he said. “Girls will have separate leadership opportunities.”