Since the BSA announced that girls will soon be able to join what will now be called Scouts BSA (formerly known as the Boy Scout program), many enthusiastic Scouters have been calculating how long it will take until the first girl becomes an Eagle Scout. Some have dreamed of their daughters reaching the peak first. Others have been disappointed that their daughters won’t have enough time to complete all the requirements.
Both groups can now step back and take a deep breath. Or two. First, the BSA has announced that it won’t be publicly identifying the first female Eagle Scout. Instead, it will honor the inaugural class in the fall of 2020 (although it encourages local units to celebrate their first female Eagle Scouts). Second, the BSA is offering time extensions to any youth who are 16 or 17 on Feb. 1, 2019–the first day girls can join–and who register as members of Scouts BSA by Dec. 31, 2019. These extensions, which must be approved by the National Council, will allow both girls and first-time-joining boys to become Eagle Scouts after they turn 18.
I’m excited about both these announcements. I like that all new Scouts will be able to earn Scouting’s highest rank if they so choose, and I especially like that there won’t be an unseemly race to be first, where the destination, not the journey, would have inevitably seemed to be the only reward.
For more information, including the details on how to request time extensions next year, visit the Eagle Scout rank page on the BSA website. Details of the temporary transition rules are in this PDF document.
Need more great troop program ideas? Check out The Scoutmaster’s Other Handbook, which is available in both print and e-book formats at https://www.eaglebook.com/products.htm#scoutmasters.