ROCHESTER (WROC) – Boy Scouts is officially all-inclusive. As of February 1, girls ages 11 to 18 can now be part of the organization. This age group, formally known as Boy Scouts, will be called Scouts BSA, under the umbrella of the Boy Scouts of America.
Even though this is new for Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts has been letting girls in since September. Right now there’s 351 girls who are Cub Scouts in the Rochester area, and they’ll be able to move up into the Scouts BSA program as they get older.
The Scouts BSA troops are not co-ed, but the curriculum and advancement is the same.
“We are proud to welcome these young ladies and provide them with the character and leadership development training that has only been offered to boys, perhaps their brothers, in the past,” wrote Stephen Hoitt, Seneca Waterways Council, Scout Executive/CEO in a statement.
For 14-year-old Laura Noblett, this is a dream come true.
“I was always so wanting to be part of the program my brother was in, I looked up to him for years wishing i could have the same experience as him,” Laura said.
Her mother, Sarah Noblett, remembers her daughter attending a Cub Scout campout with her brother back in second grade, and that was when she started loving Boy Scouts. Sarah always loved helping out with her son’s troop, and when they announced girls could join, Sarah knew she needed to form a girl troop.
A lot of other families feel the same way. Four all-girl troops have already registered here in Rochester and they expect there to be 10 to 12 by the end of the month and 20 by the end of the school year.
The BSA’s decision to welcome girls into the Cub Program comes from input they received from Scouting families. Parents who were surveyed said they were interested in having their daughters involved in a program like the Boy Scouts.
Director of Field Service at Seneca Waterways Council, Marcus Ragland, said he is excited for girls all over the country, including his daughter, who now to get to have this experience.
“For decades families have been asking for us to provide the same opportunities for their daughters that we’ve been providing for their sons for over 100 years,” Ragland said.
He also said the organization has seen overwhelming support since they announced the addition of girls to the program.
As for Laura, she said she is excited to get to choose her own path and eventually become an Eagle Scout. But for now, she is looking forward to the journey.
“I’m ready to feel the fresh air, be in a tent for a week when it’s raining constantly, I don’t care I love it. I love the views, I love the mountain, I love the sky, I love the hiking, I never really got the opportunity to do that in my younger years and I just can’t wait,” Laura said.