To: Greater Alabama Council Unit Leaders, Chartered Organizations, and Parents.
From: J.T.Dabbs, III, Scout Executive
Re: Family Scouting program
As you may know, the national board of the Boy Scouts of America decided last year to make available for those chartered organizations, who wanted to offer it, a family scouting option.
This option would include the following Cub Scout options beginning in June of this year:
· Packs could have girl dens and boy dens, but not coed dens.
· Packs could remain all boy and not serve girls.
· A new all-girl pack could be started.
Beginning in February of 2019 this option would also include an older girl program that models the Boy Scout program:
· A chartered organization that has an existing Boy Scout Troop could offer for girls in the community the same program in a separate troop for girls. There is no option for girl patrols or boy patrols, only a Troop for boys and a Troop for girls.
· A linked leadership structure would be available, you would have separate Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmasters for each troop, but the Committee Chair, Chartered Organization Representative, and committee members would be shared.
It is important to understand that the Chartered Organization, the entity that holds the charter to your unit, (usually a church or community organization) makes the decision on which option to offer. We suggest that unit leaders begin discussing now with your chartered organization what works best.
You will find in this special edition of the Digital Eagle links to all the documents and information related to the BSA Family Scouting program. Also, the website www.scouting.org/familyscouting has all of the current information and is updated with new information as soon as it is available.
Some key dates to keep in mind:
· June 1, 2018 – New Cub Scout Option for girls will be launched.
· June 1, 2018 – Updated program material available in Scout Shops.
· February 2019 – Program for older girls (Boy Scout Age) will be launched.
Thanks to each of you as you continue to serve the youth of our community. If you have any questions feel free to reach out to us.
Here is a one-on-one interview with BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh discussing and answering questions regarding the new program.
How to start a girl den within your pack or start an all-girl pack:
You start a new girl pack just like we have always started new Cub Scout Units, you can get step by step instructions here in the Unit Performance guide, located at https://scoutingwire.org/marketing-and-membership-hub/new-unit-development/unit-performance/
• The first step is to contact your unit’s Chartered Organization Representative to have the approval and direction of the Chartering Organization.
• Chartered organizations always have the option to select from the numerous BSA program offerings. They can select all or one of the BSA programs that they feel best meets the needs of their members and the communities around them.
• The starting of all girl dens within an existing Cub Pack will be to recruit and train your new Den Leaders. Most Cub Scout training modules along with the required Youth Protection Training may be found at https://my.scouting.org
• Your Unit Commissioner, District Commissioner, and District Executive are great resources for additional training for leaders.
• If your Chartering Organization wishes to start an all-girl pack, then contact your District Executive. This will be a separate unit in terms of registration and organization.
• An adult male can lead an all-girl unit, just as we already have adult females leading all-boy programs. Youth protection requirements still apply to both male and female participants. Two-deep leadership is required at all meetings, events, and outings. This is a minimum requirement and additional supervision may be necessary, depending on the nature of the activities and the size of the group.
How do we Recruit?
National BSA has begun to publish recruiting materials for the new Family Scouting Program for Cub Scouts.
Your unit may use these images and documents to help recruit. The Greater Alabama Council will also be printing flyers to use as well.
Camping, Delivering Scouting’s Promise
Camping is a hallmark of Scouting, and it is important that our Cub Scout Packs and the new program for older girls follow all of the BSA guidelines for camping. In Cub Scouting some camping activities are age appropriate and others are not, and anytime Cub Scouts are camping, make sure you are abiding by BSA camping policies found here:
The BSA Youth Protection policies also have important information related to camping, more information on these topics can be found in the BSA Guide to Safe Scouting, for example on all overnight activities where boys and girls are present, male and female adult leaders must be present.
The entire family can benefit from the camping experience, there are several resources and studies that you might find helpful. The American Camping Association has great information on the value of camp, that information can be found here: https://www.acacamps.org/campers-families/because-camp/benefits-camp/value-camp
Boy Scout Summer Camp, Benefits every parent should know, https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/marketing/pdf/02-448-3.pdf
For more about the impact of scouting on your family, take a look at the Tufts University study that looks at how Scouting builds character in 6 areas; https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/10/22/tufts-study-confirms-scouting-builds-character-six-critical-areas
Also if you are interested in a family camping experience at Philmont Scout Ranch this summer you can find more information here: https://scoutingwire.org/experience-best-scouting-like-never-summer/
Here is a good story on Cub Scout Adult Volunteer Jennifer Clutter and her all-girl den which is operating in the early adopter program.
Older Girl Update
As Scout Executive J.T. Dabbs, mentioned in his opening letter, the older girl program which will serve girls aged 11 – 17, will launch on February 1, 2019. Here is a link to the most frequently asked questions regarding this program.