NORTH SALEM, N.Y.-The Westchester-Putnam Council Boy Scouts of America has its first official all-girl den. Seven girls, ages 9 and 10, have formed a single-gender den of Webelos as part of Pack 164 in Yorktown Heights.
The girls, many of whom have been unofficially participating in Cub Scouting with their families for years, will now be able to officially earn rank advancement. The girls shared many reasons for wanting to join.
“It’s a brand new opportunity that I am one of the first to experience,” Kelly Griffiths said.
When asked what made her want to join Cub Scouts, Keira Mooney said, “I’m most looking forward to doing the activities and not just helping out.”
Chloe O’Brien added, “I want to try what the boys do and see how it’s different than Girl Scouts.”
Elaine Griffiths, the den leader, said that three of the six girls are in Girl Scouts and will continue to do both. The girls officially joined the Cub Scouts on Saturday, Feb. 9, at Brookside Elementary School, where they earned their first merit badge. The Bobcat badge is awarded to Scouts who learn the Scout Oath and Scout Law; show the Cub Scout sign, Cub Scout handshake and Cub Scout salute; and say the Cub Scout motto.
Griffiths said Cub Scout Pack 164 has about 80 boys in it and many of their sisters already informally participated in events, so earning this badge was easy. She said the girls are on their way to earning the Webelos badge. Over the next few months, they will be hiking, cooking outdoors and learning fist aid, among other things, Griffiths said.
On Jan. 15, the Boy Scouts of America changed its century-old bylaws and began admitting girls into its Cub Scout program for elementary school students. Griffiths has touted the positive effects this change will have on Yorktown families. For one, families with boys and girls will no longer have to bounce between Scouting groups, Griffiths said.
Family Scouting, as its called by the Boy Scouts of America, allows existing packs to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack. Cub Scout dens will be single-gender—all boys or all girls.
Pack 164 is part of an early adopter program aimed at addressing logistical issues prior to the official launch of the Family Scouting program in the fall. Pack 164 will welcome all girls in grades K-5 starting in September, Griffiths said.
Boy Scouts of America is a youth program focused on character development and leadership training, in order to help young people be “Prepared. For Life,” which is the organization’s motto. The Scouting organization has 2.7 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and more than a million volunteers.