Boy Scouts of America explore new avenues
Boy Scouts of America recently opened their Cub Scout program up to girls, although this is not their first program open to girls, another has been around since the 1970s.
The Susquehanna Council is a part of Boy Scouts of America and serves Clinton, Lycoming, Northumberland, Snyder and Union counties.
Jon Brennan, scout executive and CEO, and Rick Morse, district executive that serves the Clinton and Lycoming areas, work with the Susquehanna Council and are excited to bring new, and old, opportunities to youth in the community.
Cub Scouts Welcomes Girls
Cub Scouts have been around since 1930 and are now accepting boys and girls in kindergarten through the age 10 1/2, or those who have completed grade 5. The program strives to be family-oriented.
In August, all Cub Scout packs will have the opportunity to adopt the new program of accepting girls, where some groups may be all girls and others may be all boys, said Brennan.
Currently, there are some packs that have adopted the program early and are accepting girls now.
Boys and girls will meet in separate groups, they are not co-ed; the girls’ groups are called “dens.” Morse’s daughter recently was enrolled in Cub Scouts.
“As a parent of a current scout, I would say scouting has a specific impact on your child’s life; give them experiences they aren’t going to get anywhere else,” said Morse. “From racing a pinewood derby car to climbing a mountain in New Mexico to a canoe trip through the Canadian backwaters. Exposing your child to those things that they may not get an opportunity to elsewhere.”
“However, there is a meeting once a month, called a pack meeting, where everyone gets together, and that is co-ed,” Brennan said.
Similarly, the overall Boy Scout program will be adopting girls into their program in 2019, which also will be a separate group from the Boy Scouts and will not be co-ed.
Boy Scouts is much more than camping. They teach leadership through citizenship, fitness and character development.
“When a child is growing up, they want to be close to a parent, but they also want to start developing their own identity, and the Boy Scouts is a great opportunity to do that,” Brennan said.
In the Boy Scouts of America, there are two co-ed programs, one is Exploring and the other is Venturing. Exploring has been around since 1970 and focuses on learning and gaining hands-on experience in potential careers.
A high school or college student, ages 14-21, could have the opportunity for an externship working a few times a month with CAD or drafting, getting the hands-on experience, Morse said.
Often times, the advisor of an Explorer Post will take students to a college in that career field, which shows them how to write a resume or a college application, Brennan said.
Explorer Posts can be in any field, whether that be law, law enforcement, hospitals, medical careers, accounting or engineering.
The Susquehanna Council is working with the Milton Fire Dept., 208 Race St., Milton. Explorers learn about firematic careers where the department provides expertise without making a financial investment while learning what a fire department is about, Brennan said.
Explorers are trained and have the opportunity to work the hose and ladder, while also getting “hands-on experience and basic training to enter into that field,” Morse said.
Students do not enter burning buildings.
There also is an Explorer Post through the Union County Sheriff’s Department to learn more about law enforcement.
Currently, the Susquehanna Council is “working on getting the leadership lined up and recruited to have (an Explorer Post) in the architecture and design area,” although the partnership is not official yet, said Morse. “We’ve also had conversations with local organizations about aviation.”
The Impact of Exploring
Earlier in Brennan’s career, he wanted to speak to a school about the Explorer program. He spoke with the guidance counselor, whose daughter happened to be in the program, which dramatically changed her life. Her daughter wanted to be a doctor, was enrolled in college and had joined a medical Explorer Post.
“One of the first program areas that they had was in the ER. So she goes into the ER and one of the things she saw was blood, at which time she fainted,” Brennan said. “She later became an attorney.”
Her mother was thankful for the program, as she hadn’t invested in medical school and had the opportunity to learn what this profession was about.
“All too often, we have students go to college, myself being one of them, and get a degree, and halfway through their college career, they realize they don’t want to be a teacher, or whatever they are going to school for,” said Morse. “With college degrees being as costly as they are now, this is a great opportunity for a student to get some hands-on related experience.”
To be enrolled in Boy Scouts, you do not have to have been in Cub Scouts prior. Similar for the Exploring program, Boy or Cub Scouts membership is not a prerequisite.
The Boy Scouts of America is a “resource to the community. All of the scouting programs are a resource to the community, and we would like to work with community partners to help them meet their needs,” said Brennan.
For more information about the Exploring program, or if interested in partnering with the Susquehanna Council to become an Explorer Post, call 570-326-5121 ext. 102 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.