Bay Area Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts might open their ranks to include girls. That’s because a handful of girls in Sonoma County say their boys-only policy is discriminatory.
The issue came up when girls began participating in Cub Scout campouts. Girls were not covered by insurance, so they’ve applied to become Cub Scouts so they’ll be covered.
Friday morning, in front of the top Boy Scout leaders in Santa Rosa, girls 10-to-13 years old handed their applications to a national executive of the organization to become Cub Scouts.
The girls listed several reasons.
"Because we get to learn more life skills and be outdoors more than Girl Scouts," said 10-year-old Daphne Mortenson.
The girls say Cub Scout program activities are more relevant to them than traditional programs in Girl Scouts.
"I’m learning to interact with boys, which I’ll have to do in a job, in college or high school," said 13-year-old Allie Westover.
The girls’ parents are challenging the Boy Scouts’ mission, which includes inclusive terms to describe participants. "Their own mission statement uses ‘youth’ and ‘young people,’" Danielle Jacobs said. "It doesn’t say, ‘boys.’"
Girls not covered by insurance posed a glaring liability to the Boy Scouts on campouts. Council members voted to ask the national leadership to address whether girls could join at all levels.
Herb Williams, Redwood Empire Council president, said "the council is being open and is willing to look into it." But change may not happen quickly.
This same Boy Scout council has dealt with discrimination before in the form of opening scouting to gays. That battle took more than 30 years and went into effect only two years ago.