Family Scouting Overview
The mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. For more than a century, BSA has proven incredibly effective in accomplishing that goal in the lives of boys through Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting. Since the 1960's that mission has expanded to both older boys and girls through Venturing and Exploring.
With the increasing pace of life creating barriers for more families, the BSA launched significant research into what parents were looking for in extracurricular activities. The feedback from families revealed that:
• Most are dual-earners.
• There are more single-parent households than in previous decades.
• Many underserved communities, including fastest-growing Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family.
• And, all families have less free time. More than one-third of parents feel they spend too little free time with their kids, and millennial parents are desperate to spend more time interacting with their kids.
Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting programs opened up to girls
The BSA believes we owe it to families to structure our program offerings in a way that fits into their busy lives to deliver character development and values-based leadership training that Scouting promises. For that reason, we are pleased to offer Cub Scouting to girls in Kindergarten through 5th grade and, beginning in February, the iconic Boy Scouting program to girls ages 11-17. To ensure that the program names make all participants feel welcome, the Boy Scouting program name will change to Scouts BSA in February 2019 and participants will simply be known as "scouts." The name of the overall organization will remain Boy Scouts of America.
Yet Cub Scouting and Scouts BSA remain single gender - not "co-ed"
Though Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts) are now being offered to both boys and girls, the BSA recognizes that one of the most valuable aspects of Scouting has been allowing boys to learn and grow among other boys. This single-gender nature is a critical aspect of the Scouting experience and something that it was important to protect. As a result, Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA will offer single-gender programs for both boys and girls but will not be co-ed.
At the most fundamental levels, these two programs will remain single-gender. Practically, though Cub Scout Packs may decide to offer program to one or both genders, Cub Scout dens (small groups of youth of same age) will all be single-gender. At the Scouts BSA level, troops will be for either boys or girls. There will be no girls being added to any Boy Scout troops. In this way, we believe that we can create the opportunity for all youth to benefit from Scouting while still gaining the advantages of a single-gender program.
What about those who disagree with this change?
The BSA respects the convictions of all of our chartering organizations, volunteers and member families. As a result, it has continued to protect the chartering organization's ability to reflect their values in the kind of Scouting program they charter. Chartering organizations may charter Cub Scouts Packs for all-boys, all-girls or boys and girls in separate dens. They may also charter Troops for all-boys or all-girls. There are no Scouts BSA Troops with both boys and girls. In this way, BSA protects a chartered organization's ability to continue to run a traditional all-boy program if they so choose.
How can I find a Pack or Troop for my son(s) and/or daughter(s)?
Visit our Join Scouting page to find a unit (Scouts BSA units for girls aged 11-17 not available until February 2019). You can either search for a unit yourself or submit your information and one of our staff will help you find the right unit for you.
Where can I get more information?
For the latest information, visit the BSA's Family Scouting page at https://www.scouting.org/familyscouting/.