Utah leaders respond to Boy Scouts changing from 'boys only' policy

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Utah leaders respond to Boy Scouts changing from 'boys only' policy (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) It’s no longer a boys club! The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday it will allow girls into some of their new programs, including the Cub Scouts.

"What we're doing now is providing the opportunity for folks to have a girls den and a boys den for cub scouting and that's a great opportunity," said president of the Great Salt Lake Council of Boy Scouts of America, Bruce Hough.

CEO of the Girl Scouts of Utah, Janet Frasier, said its agency will maintain the same high level of community involvement and personal development in their girls and the leaders they look up to.

"They're mentors to those girls and they are trained to be able to facilitate girl-led experiences from the very early ages,” Frasier said. “And it’s that girl-led experiences that end up delivering that amazing Girl Scout leadership experiences that women talk about for the rest of their lives.”

She was not concerned about a large number of girls leaving their program for the Boy Scouts.

“We serve a market that’s rapidly growing all the time. Girls are changing, their families are changing. So for the past decade, we have been acutely aware of our need to be innovative and meet girls and families where they are.”

Hough said some people in Utah might not understand the Boy Scouts already offer similar programs to older girls in the scouts.

“And I think that’s one of the things people, especially on this council, don’t understand, because it’s so dominated by the LDS culture that they don’t understand everywhere else in the nation that’s not LDS, it’s coed,” he said. “What I don’t totally understand yet is the idea of young women earning the Eagle award, but they’ve been earning what’s been called the Denali award. Young men and women have been earning that award, and maybe they’re just trying to simplify that system.”

The LDS church issued a statement Wednesday, saying:

"The Activity Days and Personal Progress programs of the Church have long been in place to meet the needs of girls and young women in these age groups, and no change will be made in Church programs. We recognize that the desire of the BSA is to expand their programs to serve more young people in the United States. The Church, too, continues to look at ways to serve the needs of our youth worldwide."

Both organizations agreed they would continue to work towards improving the character of scouts and the community they live in.

“All these great values, it makes them available to everyone in the community, regardless of their gender,” said Hough.