LUBBOCK, Texas– In 2017, the Boy Scouts of America announced they would begin letting girls join what they renamed ‘Scouts.’
In February of 2019, when Scouts BSA officially registered girls, many in Lubbock quickly jumped on board.
“It says Boy Scouts of America, and being a girl and having to join, that is a big step,” said Olivia Needham, a Tenderfoot Scout.
Initially, the boy and girl troops were separated, but still learning the same curriculum. This helped integrate them into the organization, according to Charles Needham, the girl’s troop master.
In late April, girls and boys attended their first co-ed meeting.
“We went to our very first meeting with the guys and girls last week and it seemed pretty fun,” Needman said. “We had a great time.”
According to multiple Scouts, joining the organization allowed these girls to learn different skills not taught in the Girl Scouts.
“Going out hiking as hard as we do, and building rockets,” said Rayna Hester-Avila, a scout.
“How to be more well-rounded with outdoors and personal skills,” said Alyssa O’Brien, a tenderfoot scout.
It was also a great way to meet new people, O’Brien added.
“You just get really comfortable with yourself and everyone,” she said. “I feel if you are with one gender in the real world, you get outspoken because you are not use to that or you feel more uncomfortable.”
Tanner Hook, an Eagle Scout, honestly admitted he was not on board with the idea in the beginning.
“The reason is because Scouts was a place I could be with my guy friends,” he said.
However, since then, he said his sister has joined Scouts. He said Eagle Scouts provides many great life skills an opportunities he would not want anyone to miss.
Over time, Hook said he has seen a shift in many of the boys attitudes as well.
“There is a fact that Eagle Scouts gets you an edge, and I am glad these young ladies are getting this edge as well,” he said. “I see they are very hopeful and very encouraged to be a part of scouting.”
As the troops integrate together, many girls and boys encouraged newcomers to sign up.
“I think no matter what gender you are, no matter who you are, you have the right to be in the Boy Scouts if you want to be,” said Olivia Hodge, a Scout.