Virginians react to Boy Scouts allowing girls to join Cub Scouts - NBC12 - WWBT - Richmond, VA News On Your Side

Virginians react to Boy Scouts allowing girls to join Cub Scouts

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RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) -

Girls joining Cub Scouts is a change that has been years in making for the Boy Scouts of America.

"My entire time with Boy Scouts of America, I've had families ask me, if their girls could join the Cub Scout program," said Brad Nesheim, Scout Executive, Heart of Virginia Council.

Nesheim has worked for BSA for 41 years and says the demand for girls in Cub Scouts programs has gotten more popular. On Wednesday, the organization announced their program expansion - which means girls in kindergarten through 5th grade can be in their own single-gender Cub Scout dens
that use the Boy Scout curriculum.

It brought about a heated discussion on NBC12's Facebook page. As we asked viewers thoughts about the decision, more than one thousand people answered a simple question: "do you agree with the decision?"

Most people say they are against the idea, but local Nesheim says the discussions in Virginia about girls in Cub Scouts have been positive.

"Girls who have brothers, older brothers  who are active as Boy Scouts, they saw their brothers doing all these cool programs, wearing a uniform, earning badges, going on camping trips, going on high-adventure treks," he explained. "They wondered, 'why can't I do that?'"

Nesheim says the choice to expand will ultimately be up to local organizations, but right now, the only co-ed scout programs don't start until age 14.

The Boy Scouts of America also announced Wednesday that a new program in 2019 will allow girls to earn the Eagle Scout Award.

In its latest momentous policy shift, the Boy Scouts of America will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and establish a new program for older girls based on the Boy Scout curriculum that enables them to aspire to the coveted Eagle Scout rank.

Founded in 1910 and long considered a bastion of tradition, the Boy Scouts have undergone major changes in the past five years, agreeing to accept openly-gay youth members and adult volunteers, as well as transgender boys.

The expansion of girls' participation, announced Wednesday after unanimous approval by the organization's board of directors, is arguably the biggest change yet, potentially opening the way for hundreds of thousands of girls to join.

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