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NH Cub Scouts officially opens doors to girls, but individual dens will be single gender

By MARK HAYWARD
New Hampshire Union Leader

September 13. 2018 3:05PM
Past President of the Daniel Webster Council Ovide Lamontagne welcomes Scout Olivia Baker, 10, of Auburn at Camp Carpenter in Manchester on Thursday. The Daniel Webster Council held a press conference to highlight its inclusiveness after last year's groundbreaking decision by Scouts nationwide to open its membership to girls. (DAVID LANE/UNION LEADER)



Girls in New Hampshire are joining Cub Scouts. In this January file photo, a group from the Oyster River community learn about participating during a Cub Scout pack meeting in Durham. (KIMBERLEY HAAS/Sunday News Correspondent)

MANCHESTER — New Hampshire’s largest Boy Scout organization kicks off a new era today when it begins officially signing up girls as Cub Scouts, part of the groundbreaking decision last year by Scouts nationwide to open its membership to girls.

Leaders say the smallest groupings of Cub Scouts, the den, will remain single gender, either all boy or all girl. But Cub Scout packs can comprise dens of both genders, the 10,000-scout Daniel Webster Council said in a release. The council, however, gave no indication that coed packs would be mandatory.

In a statement, the council said the approach allows the organization to maintain integrity of the single-gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.

“For decades, families in our community have seen how the program builds character and teaches children valuable skills and life lessons that prepare them for success,” said Jay Garee, chief executive of the Daniel Webster Council. “The Cub Scout program is designed to make important life lessons, such as physical fitness, problem-solving and emotional growth, fun and memorable for children and families. We are thrilled to make this invaluable program available to boys and girls.”

In the spring, 100 New Hampshire girls signed up as Cub Scouts under the early adopter program.

For most of this decade, the Boy Scouts of America struggled with the politics of sexual identity. In 2013 it agreed to accept gay scouts, in 2015 gay scout leaders, and then in 2017 transgender boys.

And earlier this year, Boy Scouts of America announced that the name of its main organization would change to Scouting BSA.

Next year at this time, the Boy Scouts plans to introduce single-gender troops for older boys and older girls, allowing members to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. But the BSA website makes no indication that individual troops will be open to both males and females.

Other recruitment efforts include Join Scouting Night, which takes place in the Monadnock region tonight at schools and organizations. An up-to-date list of recruitment dates can be found at www.nhscouting.org

mhayward@unionleader.com


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