June 12, 2018 > Scout Me In: Cub Scout Pack 273 welcomes first all-girl Tiger Den in Tri-City
Scout Me In: Cub Scout Pack 273 welcomes first all-girl Tiger Den in Tri-City
Submitted By Lee Amon
A recent visitor to a meeting of Cub Scout Pack 273 in Union City might have noticed something a little different. It wasnt that there were girls at the meeting - that isnt new at all. Sisters of Cub Scouts have attended meetings and participated in Pack activities for years. For the first time, girls are officially part of Cub Scouts, learning the values of the Scouts and joining the ranks of boys who have contributed to communities throughout the U.S. for more than a century.
Pack 273 is one of a handful of Packs nationwide in the Boy Scouts of Americas (BSA) early adopter program, which welcomes girls into Cub Scouts before the official launch in June 2018. Now girls can learn skills, have outdoor adventures, and earn all the same awards and badges as the boys. When Gaganpreet Bains approached Pack 273 with the proposal to start an all-girls den for his daughter, Riya, and other six and seven-year-old girls, they jumped at the opportunity. As soon as we met Gagan, we could see how much he loved Scouting, said Vince Lee, committee chair for Pack 273.
For Bains, this was a dream come true. Scouting has been a part of his life for years. Bains earned the Eagle rank as a youth and volunteered in multiple Scouting programs as an adult. Scouting helped to shape me into the person I am today. As a Scout, I gained confidence in myself and learned how to be a leader. I was thrilled when I learned that I would be able to share Scouting not only with my sons, but also with my daughter.
The girls in the Tiger Den have already earned their first badge, raced Pinewood Derby cars, and gone on several outings including a nature hike at Coyote Hills Regional Park. For Riya and the other girls, it is all about having fun. I liked racing Pinewood Derby cars with my friends from school and I liked making a bird house even though we havent seen any birds eating from it yet. I like reading my Scouts magazine where it talks about Scouts in Action and how they are heroes for saving people and using Scout stuff to save them, said Riya.
Ken Mehlhorn, Scout Executive/CEO for San Francisco Bay Area Council, is excited about the change. So far the roll out of the new program has been smooth. Thousands of girls and their families are participating in the early adopter program across the country, having fun, learning, and creating memories that will last a lifetime. We are looking forward to June, when all packs can form girl dens, and February, when girls will be able to participate in our flagship Scouts BSA program [Formerly known as Boy Scouts].
There are three girls in the Tri-City area that are anxiously awaiting that date. Melody Fewx, Felicia Lim, and Sofia Petrova have been active in BSAs Venturing program, a program open to boys and girls that brings the Scouting values to life through high adventure outdoor activities, since 2016. When I was 12 years old, I went on a Cub Scout activity with my brother and my father, who was then Cubmaster, Melody said. I loved it and have wanted to do all the things the Scouts do ever since. As soon as I turned 14, I joined Venturing.
Since joining the crew, the three have competed in Scout skill competitions, gone wilderness backpacking, winter snow camping, and participated in National Youth Leadership Training.
Venturing has been great for me, said Felicia. I love being outdoors, and have learned so much about leadership and about myself. Before I joined the crew, I was too afraid to ever step up and do anything outside my comfort zone. Over the past year, I have learned to take charge of situations and lead with confidence.
While the three girls have loved Venturing, the lure of the Eagle rank is strong. Sofia said, I really want to earn the Eagle. Our time schedule is extremely tight, but we have been getting a lot of support and we are going to try our best.
Mehlhorn believes that the changes will improve the program and help spread the ideals of Scouting to a wider audience. The life lessons, character and citizenship development, and the ideals taught in Scouting benefit all youth. We are looking forward to welcoming these and other young women into our new program.
For more information about Scouting or to find a Scout Unit near you, please call Andrew Wilmes at (510) 577-9238 or visit www.Beascout.org.