Boy Scouts Hawaii CEO excited to add girls, but some have concer - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Boy Scouts Hawaii CEO excited to add girls, but some have concerns

( Image: Hawaii News Now ) ( Image: Hawaii News Now )
( Image: Hawaii News Now ) ( Image: Hawaii News Now )
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Since 1971, Boy Scouts of America has opened a variety of its programs to teenage girls.

On Thursday, the group made a special announcement: All of its scouting will now be offered to females.

Starting next year, young girls will be able to join the Cub Scouts. In 2019, older girls will be able to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. 

"I think it's a great opportunity," said Jeff Sulzbach, executive and CEO of Boy Scouts of America's Aloha Council.

The monumental move alters an organization that's been a boy's domain for over 100 years; Kyle and Stephenie Ladwig say they have a scouting family, even though two of their daughters are Girl Scouts.

"My daughters have been wanting to get involved in Boy Scouting, or that side of it, for some years now," Kyle Ladwig, whose son is a Boy Scout, said.

Sulzbach expects a smooth transition. 

"It's responding to our families and it's responding to the people in the community who say they want their girls to have a program like we offer in scouting," he said.

Girl Scouts of Hawaii CEO Shari Chang isn't sold on the change. She thinks accepting females into Boy Scouts won't be as good for girls as some people think.

"I think the girls will be the ones who lose out in the long run," she said. "I think the research backs that the Girl Scout leadership experience program is far superior to anything out there."

There are 12,000 Boy Scouts in Hawaii, and Thomas Wang leads 45 in his Cub Scout pack in Kaimuki. He welcomes girls to join his group, but expects challenges when they do.

"With more scouts, boys and girls, we're going to be looking for more parent volunteers to help as leaders," he said.

Boy Scouts of America has been accused of trying to stem the tide of falling membership by now offering membership to girls, but Sulzbach says that doesn't apply to Hawaii, where boys-only enrollment has steadily grown over the last five years.

As for whether Boy Scouts of America will change its name, Sulzbach expects an announcement.

"We don't know what the name of the program at the Boy Scout level will be called. That will be determined later," he said.

Copyright 2017 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

Powered by Frankly