Boy Scouts prepare for change to co-ed
Ever since she was little, Rosemary Jamison never shied away from the scouting lifestyle.
Coming from a family that boasts three Eagle Scouts, as well as a den mother, Rosemary never let her gender get in the way of enjoying the outdoors and what it has to offer.
Perhaps that’s why when given the chance earlier this year, Rosemary Jamison was more than happy to become a trendsetter.
By joining Boy Scout Troop 218 in Buda, Jamison became one of the first girls in Hays County to join the ranks of what was an all-male organization.
Her enrollment exemplifies a new vision brought forward by the Boy Scouts, which will soon change its name to Scouts BSA, to become co-ed.
In October, the organization announced that it would allow girls to participate in Cub Scouts and later continue to become an Eagle Scout. The national rollout of the policy to allow girls in the Cub Scouts will be official starting Sept. 1; girls will able to join higher levels of scouting starting in February 2019.
Gina Jamison, Rosemary’s mother, is the den leader for her twin brother’s pack, and said Rosemary would join and sometimes participate in pack meetings unofficially.
Rosemary Jamison would also tag along on the family friendly campouts and hike and fish alongside the boys. Now an official Webelos (We’ll Be Loyal Scouts) with her brother, Rosemary can follow on to become an Eagle Scout like her father and two uncles.
Charles Mead, director of marketing and public relations for the Capitol Area Council, Boy Scouts of America, said this is one of the reasons the program decided to go co-ed, to “serve the community better by opening it up to boys and girls.”
Mead said that for many years, people have been involving their daughters unofficially in the program, especially in rural areas where it is more convenient to bring the whole family to a far away meeting.
The Boy Scout program also offers girls a different challenge than what they have presented in existing programs, Mead said. An Eagle Scout rank carries a lot of weight with instant recognition for leadership skills.
However, Mead says they are not trying to drive the Girl Scouts out of business.
“All we’re doing is just expanding opportunities for girls to be part of the scout program, whether that be Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts,” Mead said.
“She was in the Girl Scouts for a few years, but she enjoys doing the Cub Scouts more,” Jamison said.
Rosemary Jamison was really excited about officially joining the scouts. She recently participated in her first official campout and now has her own uniform.
“She was really excited about it. She has been doing a lot of these activities anyway, but now she can get recognized. She used to feel like the odd one out, but now she’s working on her Whittling Patch,” Gina Jamison said.
Rosemary has yet to go to her first pack meeting, but once she does, she will receive her Bobcat Badge, which she will receive for demonstrating she understands the scout’s core values, and showing she has memorized the oath, the handshake and the salute.
When the Boy Scouts first announced this change in the program, there was some pushback online with some people upset about the change in a longstanding tradition.
Gina Jamison felt her group was more than welcoming when her daughter joined the ranks.
“In our pack, all of our families have been very welcoming and we haven’t felt any push back,” Gina Jamison said.
“I can’t tell you 100 percent of people are behind it, because nothing works like that, but overall there are more people who see this as a positive change than those that don’t,” Mead said.
The Girl Scouts organization has maintained that they are the best leadership organization for girls because they are an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment.
“We know girls, we’ve been supporting and encouraging girls for 106 years,” Public Relations Executive of the Girl Scouts of Central Texas Reyna Martinez said.