MORRIS – At least one Cub Scout pack in Morris already has opened its enrollment to girls, and Boy Scout – now simply known as Scouts – troops will begin accepting girls in February 2019.
An estimated 3,000 girls already have joined the estimated 170 Cub Scout packs throughout the country in a rollout of the early-adoption program.
Sarah Crisman, 10, of Morris is happy about that.
Sarah joined Cub Scout Pack 480
in March and is loving it. Of the six girls who joined the pack this spring, she
is the oldest and holds the rank of Webelos 1.
For years, Sarah had watched her brother go through the Boy Scouts program, and she longed to learn the outdoor skills her brother did and earn the particular badges offered by the organization. But the Scouts did not allow girls.
She tried Girl Scouts, but the program just didn’t seem to fit her. Being able to join the Boy Scouts was a dream for her.
“I joined because my brother is in it, and he had a lot of fun, and I really wanted to do the stuff that he did,” she said. “I think I’ll like camping and racing cars.”
The Pinewood Derby is one of the opportunities that now is available for Sarah Crisman. She said she’s even looking forward to finding out what winter camping will be like.
“It’s something she’s always wanted to do,” said her mother, Cheryl. “I’m really happy she’s able to. She was in Girl Scouts for about a year, but it just wasn’t her thing. ... All along, she’s wanted to do whatever her brother’s done in the Boy Scouts, and this will give her that opportunity.”
The Boy Scout program offers many outdoor opportunities, which is just what Sarah enjoys, her mother said. Badges the older Scouts can earn include swimming, hiking, cycling, camping, first aid, archery, backpacking, bird study, canoeing, climbing, fish and wildlife management, fly fishing, forestry, geology, horsemanship, kayaking and orienteering.
“I’m looking forward to Sarah having those opportunities,” Cheryl Crisman said. “It’s right up her alley. ... She enjoys the outdoors. She’s my tomboy, and that’s what she’s always, always loved. She’s loved the things the boys are doing, and there’s no reason why she can’t do them, too.”
Sarah’s brother, Sam, is working his way to Eagle Scout and said he thinks it’s a good thing that girls are going to be allowed in the Scouting programs to take part in the opportunities he’s enjoyed so much over the years.
“I don’t really see an issue with it,” he said. “I think the more people you can get, the better.”
Angelique Minett is the den leader of the girls who just joined Cub Scout Pack 480. A Girl Scout herself for 10 years, she knows that both the Girl and Boy Scouts have good programs, but also that some girls feel they fit in better with the programs offered by the Boy Scouts.
She currently has six girls in the formerly boys-only Cub Scout pack.
“Girl Scouts is a great program, but the Cub Scouts and the Boy Scouts see things more through the lens of outdoor activities,” Minett said. “Everything is taught through outdoor skills.”
Minett said the girls’ and boys’ younger packs and older troops will be kept separate from each other in activities such as camping, and each will have separate Scout Masters.
Minett’s pack will have its first camping trip later this month, and the girls are all excited, she said. They have brothers in the Scouting program and are looking forward to being able to do what their siblings have been doing for years.
“Pack 480 has been working really hard in the past year to bring the program to its potential,” Minett said.
Its charter organization is the First Presbyterian Church of Morris.
Minett’s husband, Kyle, is assistant Scoutmaster for Troop 469 and Cub Scout den leader for Pack 480. He’s all for letting girls join the packs and troops.
“It’s long overdue,” he said. “I think this is a terrific opportunity, and I think it should have been done long ago. They’re more than capable of doing the things boys have done for years and years. ... It’s a wonderful way to build incredibly valuable life skills.”
The Minetts’ sons, Zeke, 9, and Caelan, 12, are in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, respectively.
“It’s really, really fun to hang out with friends and doing a bunch of activities,” Zeke said.
When asked about girls joining the pack, he said, “Yeah, it’s pretty fair. It’s really good because if there’s something Girl Scouts doesn’t do that Boy Scouts does, it’s nice also to let them do it.”