Local leaders react to Boy Scouts' announcement to allow girls to join organization
CHARLESTON, WV (WCHS/WVAH) —
A historic change for the Boy Scouts of America, which announced Wednesday it will be allowing girls to join the organization.
Boy Scout directors said this decision comes after a lot of input from families who want their daughters to have the same opportunities that their sons do and having on organization for both genders to be a part of is easier.
For Eagle Scout and Scout Master Matthew Blackwood, scouting is more than a passion.
“Once an Eagle Scout, always an Eagle Scout,” Blackwood said.
His sons have been involved in Boy Scouts and his daughter was a Venture Scout, a co-ed scouting program for ages 14 to 21, but Blackwood said he always wanted his daughter to have the same opportunities as his sons at a younger age.
"As a father of a daughter, I wish she could have been more involved in the traditional Boy Scout programs,” Blackwood said.
And although it's too late for his daughter, that change has come with the unanimous decision by the board of directors to allow girls to begin in cub scouts in 2018.
"I think it's a good move on the Boy Scouts of America to allow females to enter the programs so I completely support it, and to be quite honest it's about time,” Blackwood said.
Scout Executive of the Buckskin Council Jeff Purdy said the program will still be gender specific.
"A cub scout pack will have dens for both boys and dens for girls, but they’ll till meet at the same location at the same time for some of their activities,” Purdy said.
Starting in 2019, Boy Scout programing will be available to girls who will then have the opportunity to earn the title of Eagle Scout.
"Our scout families have indicated to us that they have a desire to participate in the Cub Scout and Boy Scout program and so this is a move by our national organization to try to better serve families who have scouts,” Purdy said.
Eyewitness News wasn't able to talk to any Girl Scout Leaders on camera, but the organization did release a statement saying "Girl Scouts remains committed to and believes strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that girl scouts provides, which creates a safe space for girls to learn and thrive."