Maitland Cub Scout Pack 31 welcomes first girls
The more the merrier — that’s the feeling within Maitland Cub Scouts Pack 31.
Local elementary school girls now have a chance to take part in Cub Scouts, and a local pack is seeing the influx of new recruits.
Pack 31 has about 50 scouts and is chartered through Maitland Presbyterian Church, with most of the children recruited attending Dommerich Elementary School.
Girls now being included as official scouts is exciting for everyone involved, Cubmaster Kelly Strykul said.
“It’s a great thing to have both boys and girls, especially because Cub Scouts is really family-oriented,” she said. “It’s always been something you did as a family. We’ve really always had girls, they were usually just sisters that kind of came along. So now they get to actually earn the advancement and badges and things along with their brothers.
“I love the idea of having both, just because Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts are so incredibly different in the way they’re set up and the advancement of how they can earn different badges and achievements,” Strykul said. “I think it opens up a whole new realm to both boys and girls.”
Strykul said the pack learned about the change back in January, with recruiting now taking place. Now girls have a chance to participate in the many activities Cub Scouts offers and learn life skills that go far beyond camping.
“Certainly, there are lots of girls out there who want to learn the things that Cub Scouts has in place,” she said. “The scout law entails that Cub Scouts are honest and trustworthy and helpful and kind. … It gives kids an opportunity to do leadership. We do a lot of service projects — we do the Scouting for Food, but then we also make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches that are donated. We’ve also made up snacks and bags for the Maitland Police Department and Fire Department. It gives kids lots of opportunities to see how they relate to their community and the people that are in their community that are helping and giving to others.”
It’s a change that’s been a longtime coming after parents have asked about girls being allowed, Strykul said. Girls will be allowed in Boy Scouts of America next year, as well.
“The change came from people asking, ‘Can girls join?’” she said. “Especially people who earn Eagle Scout — that has such a big recognition to it. The Girl Scout equivalent I think is like a Gold Award or something, and it just doesn’t have the same weight.”
Strykul said the change may take some time to set in, but soon, more families will realize girls now are included and more girls will sign up.
“I’ll look at news articles and stuff like that and I’ve seen in other places in the United States where scouting has more kids in it, and there’s lots of girls that are already involved and have their own dens,” she said. “I think it’s just going to take a while to catch on here.”
The Cub Scouts is something that any child — no matter their gender — can enjoy and learn from, Strykul said.
“Nothing in Cub Scouts is just for boys,” Strykul said. “Nothing we’ve done is gender-specific. It is something fun for all kids and all families to participate in.”