525 Virginia girls join Boy Scouts

525 Virginia girls join Boy Scouts

RICHMOND, VA (WWBT) - More than 500 Virginia girls have joined the Cub Scouts now that the Boy Scouts of America began accepting girls this year. That’s nearly one fourth their total membership.

Girls were invited to begin joining Cub Scout packs, for ages seven to 10, learning the same survival skills, going on the same camping trips, earning the same badges as the boys.

"Campfire building badge, I know there’s like a food building badge, and oath and law badge,” said new member Zoe.

Cub Scout leaders say the decision came because sisters were already attending their brothers' Cub Scout activities.

“We’re a family organization already. On the camp-outs that we go on, most of the sisters were already joining us,” said cubmaster Michael Sos.

“I’ve been going on camping trips with my brother. I just really like it because it’s really fun,” added Zoe.

Leaders say the kids do some activities together, and some in separate boys' and girls' dens.

The Heart of Virginia Council explained it in this statement from its website: “The leadership of the BSA determined that the best way to welcome girls to serve today’s families is to offer a unique model that builds on the proven benefits of our single-gender program, while also providing character and leadership opportunities for both boys and girls.”

Some girls say they considered joining the Girl Scouts, but opted for the Cub Scouts instead.

“Then I’d be able to hang out with boys and girls, instead of just like girls,” said Zoe.

Some of the boys admitted they weren’t sure about having the girls join at first.

“At first I was worried about different things coming up because, like my little sister being in, I thought it would mess up the whole thing,” said Elliot, a Cub Scouts member.

But he said he’s now gotten used to it and that she didn’t mess anything up.

For many parents, it’s made life easier to have their kids in the same activity.

“They’ve got soccer, they’ve got baseball, they’ve got everything going on, plus scouts, it’s really hard to balance all of that and be able to go to multiple events during the week,” said Sos.

While the kids are learning another life skill: working and having fun together.

“Being able to roast smores and stay up late and build the campfire,” said Zoe.

Elliott says he now thinks of the girls like they’re just one of the boys. “They’re opposites, but the same thing,” he said

The Boy Scouts will start admitting 11 to 18-year-old girls starting in February.

Since the Boy Scouts of America announced plans to change its name to Scouts BSA, the Girl Scouts of USA sued the organization for trademark infringement over the word ‘scouts.’

The Boy Scouts issued a statement about the suit, responding, “We applaud every organization that builds character and leadership in children, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, and believe that there is an opportunity for both organizations to serve girls and boys in our communities.”

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