“Mom—is this for real?”
That was the text message my Eagle Scout son, who was halfway across the country serving in the military, sent me on the day that became a life-altering moment for our family.
He was referring to the announcement that girls would be able to join all programs offered by the Boy Scouts of America (BSA). This was stunning news.
My 10-year-old daughter, Michaela, was in school at the time, so I immediately sent an email to her teacher asking her to tell Michaela these words: “You get to earn your Eagle.”
When Michaela first heard it, she couldn’t believe it. “I sat at my desk thinking it must be a joke. Then, I felt excitement rush over me like a wave. I get to earn my Eagle—just like my brothers!”
My two sons, now both in their twenties, followed the BSA path from Tiger Cub (age 7) all the way to Eagle Scout. From National Youth Leadership Training, to whitewater rafting, to mountain climbing through multiple states, they had experiences and gained skills that will help them throughout their lives. I'm also so happy they encountered leaders who played a role in molding them into the men they are today.
As a full-time HR director, time is always in short supply. Still, we make sure Michaela participates in tae kwon do, dance and Girl Scouts. When the BSA announced that Cub Scouts would welcome girls, there was never a question that Michaela would join that program too. She wants to do the things her brothers did: camping, fire building and feeling proud of their achievements. And I knew that with Michaela in Cub Scouts, I would be signing up as a volunteer leader for at least another 10 years. I want to help guide these trailblazing young ladies as they accomplish things no previous generation was able to realize. So, this new opportunity from the BSA has more meaning for my family than just another activity would.
I’ve been asked hundreds of times why we didn’t only do Girl Scouts but instead decided to also do Cub Scouts. While the Girl Scouts is an excellent organization, the programs are vastly different. We want the patriotism, leadership and skills that BSA delivers. I tell people, Girl Scouts is best for some girls. For others, the BSA is best. For some, like my daughter, both are completely doable. Michaela’s goal is to earn both the Girl Scout Gold Award and the BSA’s Eagle Scout Award.
Since joining the Cub Scouts earlier this year, we couldn’t have had a better experience. Michaela attended two overnight camps and two day camps over the summer. She said, “I only get one summer to be a Cub Scout; I need to make the most of it.” And she has. From passing her swim test, to improving her archery know-how, to making friends along the way, it has been an incredible, memorable time in our lives.
Soon, Michaela will advance from Cub Scouts to Scouts BSA (currently called Boy Scouts) when that program opens to girls in February 2019. We will then be part of the first female Scouts BSA troop in our area—and possibly in our state.
Michaela is so excited to share with all her friends what she has already done in Cub Scouts, and girls are flocking to us. Our Cub Scout den has already doubled in size this year. When asked why girls should sign up for the BSA, Michaela jumps in before I can answer and says, “Because it’s awesome!”