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The Boy Scouts of America

Where Girls Go to Get GRIT

You heard that right!

Girls (and all genders) are welcome to join every level of the renowned Boy Scouts of America program.

Yes, it may sound confusing with a century-old brand name that starts with the word “boy.” But the voices of families with girls have been heard: girls too are welcome in the Boy Scouts of America!   

Not only that, but they are having an incredible time of adventure, growing in grit and experiencing unparalleled growth here in the Cascade Pacific Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Here are just some of their stories…

Timeline: the History of Girls and Women in the Boy Scouts of America

  • 1910—Boy Scout troops are for boys only. Girls can join the new Camp Fire Girls (no connection to BSA, but with significant input from a number of leading BSA officials). All adult positions are open to men only, and camping is for boys & men only.
  • 1911—The organization’s new handbook is called the Handbook for Boys (and later the Boy Scout Handbook). A new magazine aimed at Boy Scouts (and all boys) is called Boys Life. BSA buys the magazine in 1912.
  • 1912—Sea Scouting begins, for boys only. Girls can now also join the new Girl Guides of America (renamed Girl Scouts of the US in 1913; no connection to Boy Scouts of America).
  • 1930—Cubbing (later Cub Scouting) begins, for boys only. Dens are led by a Boy Scout ‘Den Chief’ with no direct adult involvement. The pack is led by a male Cubmaster.
  • 1935—Senior Scouting begins, consisting of Sea Scouting and Explorer Scouting (later adding Air Scouting). All are restricted to male youth and adults.
  • 1936—BSA adds the optional (and unregistered) position of Den Mother (from 1936 to 1967, Den Mother is the first and only position closed to men). The handbooks state that the Den Mother should be ready to help when needed “but she leaves the actual running of the Den to the Den Chief”. The “Den Chief” was actually a youth Boy Scout and this position was designed to give older Scouts the experience of leading and working with young Cub Scouts. (Even today, the BSA gives this leadership opportunity to Cub Scouts.)
  • 1948Den Mother becomes a registered position to lead Cub Scout Dens. By the mid 1950’s, the roles reverse and Den Mother becomes the actual den leader, assisted by the Boy Scout Den Chief.
  • 1954—BSA moves the Webelos program (started in 1941) from a regular den to its own separate den for the final six months of a boy’s time in the pack. The Webelos leader is a man who prepares the boys for entry into a Boy Scout troop.
  • 1967—Leadership of regular dens is opened to men, and the Den Mother position is renamed Den Leader.
  • 1969—Explorer posts (later development of Explorer Scouting) are allowed to admit young women as non-registered “associate” members. BSA allows women to serve on the national Cub Scout Committee.
  • 1971Explorer posts become fully coed , the first section of the BSA open to female youth. The successor Venturing program, and Sea Scouting, are also fully coed. At the same time, adult leader positions in Exploring are opened to women.
  • 1972—BSA opens troop committee positions to women.
  • 1975—Camp Fire Girls renames itself Camp Fire as it opens its membership to boys for the first time.
  • 1976—BSA opens the Cubmaster position to women.
  • 1988—BSA opens the Webelos Den Leader position to women, along with all other Scouting positions in all Scouting programs, including allowing adult women associated with a Boy Scout troop to be elected to the Order of the Arrow honor camping society.
  • 2018Cub Scouting opens to girls as well as boys. Packs could now choose to be male youth only, female youth only, or mixed. In mixed packs (called ‘family’ packs), each den had to be single gender. All Cub Scout handbooks have been revised to use non-gender-specific terminology and to include photos of male & female Cub Scouts.
  • 2019BSA begins allowing troops for Scout-age girls (11-17). 

Why Do Thousands of Youth & Adults Scout with Us?

Unparalleled personal growth, family activities and camping at nationally-recognized camp properties are just some of the reasons parents get their kids involved in Scouting with the Cascade Pacific Council.

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