Cub Scout Family Scouting Program

As you may already be aware, the BSA’s national board of directors recently approved a plan extend Scouting programs to entire families. Beginning in the fall of 2018, girls will be able to join Cub Scouts.  Girls will be in single-gender dens.  This way, the girls and the boys can learn and grow at a pace that is unique to their development.  Also, packs, along with their charter partner, will have the option to remain all-boy. Similarly, an all-girl pack could be formed, as well. The best source of information is where there is a terrific FAQ section that begins to address questions about policy and plans to move forward.

The purpose is to announce some of the next steps for Family Scouting within the Cub Scout program here in the Dan Beard Council. There are a few options:

  1. Regular Roll-out Option – Family Scouting will formally kickoff in the fall as part of Join Scout Night. To prepare for that, the council is planning to hold a large kickoff/training event in April or May. This event will be aimed at helping packs prepare for the fall. We’ll cover program requirements, tips on recruiting leaders, and previse any policy and program updates. The spring timing is to allow packs to prepare before summer break.The exact date will be announced in the weeks ahead. (We were hoping to announce it today, but we’re seeking some guidance from national on when a few resources will be available.)
  2. Early Adoption/Pilot Option – The National Council will be making an “Early Adopter” program available to packs that would like to start the program this spring. However, this option will only be available to packs that apply and are accepted. The National Council has put a number of requirements in place in order to participate in the Early Adopter program and the pack will need to meet all of them. These will be covered later in this note.
  3. Boy Only Packs – Packs, along with their charter organization, may elect to remain boy only. The council’s district staff will conduct a survey about this later in the spring.
  4. Girl Only Packs – Organizations wishing to start a girl-only Cub Scout pack may do so beginning in August. There is not an Early Adoption option for a brand-new pack.

Early Adoption/Pilot Option

Packs who are interested in participating in the Early Adopter program first must realize that this is a pilot. The uniforms and handbooks are the ones that are currently available, meaning that supplies that are for or feature girls will not be available until the summer.

The National Council provided the following set of requirements for packs wanting to participate in the Early Adopter option:

  1. Charter Partner Approval – The charter partner must approve the pack’s participation.
  2. Online Registration – Packs must use the BSA’s online registration system. This means that paper applications may not be used for the pilot. (This will not be the rule for the fall.)
  3. Training – All leaders in the pack must be trained. Additionally, the new den leader(s) of the new all-girl den(s) must also complete training before the program begins.
  4. Participation Level – The pack agrees to have a minimum of 4 girls in a den. Girls who are in grades kindergarten through fourth are eligible to join. Girls who are in fifth grade may not join as part of the early adoption program.
  5. Program Delivery – The pack must develop a program plan to ensure all participants can accomplish all rank requirements for a year-end rank (Lion, Tiger, Wolf, Bear, or Webelos badge) by May 31, 2018. A program schedule will have to be submitted as part of application.
  6. BSA Program & Supplies – The pack agrees to use the current BSA resources and program requirements.
  7. Provide Feedback – The pack agrees to share data with the BSA to help improve the formal roll-out. This material may be used in marketing materials.
  8. Youth Supervision – The pack agrees to the BSA policy that female adult supervision will be required for Cub Scouting activities that involve girl Cub Scouts. This supervision can be a parent or legal guardian of a Cub Scout who is youth protection-trained, but does not need to be a registered leader. This policy is similar to what is current in place for Venturing activities.

The application form with instructions is available at this link: Pack Application. Completed applications are due by 4pm on January 29. Notification of those units who are approved will be made by February 5, and programs could begin on a date of the pack’s choosing after February 12. The council will approve approximately 12 packs for participation. So, it will be important that the application be complete and submitted on time.

One question that we anticipate being asked is how to the pilot will impact summer camp. The Dan Beard Council plans to designate three sessions at Cub World Resident Camp as “pilot friendly” and all-day camp programs will be pilot friendly.  Details on pilot-friendly camping options will be in the Camp Leader Guidebook which will be made available on January 24 at the Cub Camp Program Preview event.