By Annaleis Smith
Dec 12, 2018

Cub Scouting is NOT Co-ed and neither is Scouts BSA

That’s right girls can be Cub Scouts! Your daughter, granddaughter, sister, neighbor or friend, etc. can now register to be a Cub Scout. But let’s be clear—it is NOT a co-ed program. In Family Scouting, young girls, ages 5-10, can be Cub Scouts. The official start date was June 11, 2018.  And older girls, ages 11-18, will be able to join Scouts BSA officialy starting on February 1, 2019.  Let’s take a quick look at some of the basics of what this means for a Cub Scout pack.

3 Types of Packs

The type of pack is determined by the chartering organization.  They decide if they want to charter an all boy pack, and all girls pack or a pack with dens for both boys and girls.

The “All Boy” model is the one we are already familiar with. This is the way Cub Scouting has been organized since 1930 when the first packs were officially registered with the BSA. If this is the type of pack that you were involved with as a boy, a parent, or a leader it still looks just about the same as it did before.

The option to join or charter a pack that has only dens for girls is a brand new option. Girls in Cub Scouting complete the same Cub Scout adventures and earn the same Cub Scout ranks as the boys do. The only difference here is that the Cub Scouts are girls instead of boys.

You may join or charter a pack that includes both boys and girls. But notice in the images that the dens are still single gender. That means you can have a pack with both boys and girls but they have separate dens. One pack that serves both boys and girls. Technically, I suppose that an organization could also choose to charter 2 packs, 1 for girls and 1 for boys.

Need/want to know more about which ages join which dens etc.? You can read my recent article called Cub Scouting is Color-Coded for a quick overview.

What about leader requirements?

With the inclusion of girls in Cub Scouting, a few modifications or accommodations need to be considered when choosing your pack’s leadership. Here is something to be aware of:

From the Guide to Safe Scouting

So, keeping in mind the “2 deep” policy from the Guide to Safe Scouting shown above and the need to include a female leader when girls are present, what will that look like at den meetings?

Again, this is pretty much what we have been familiar with for years. The change is that an assistant den leader could be an 18-20 yr old before.  And, if you need/want a 3rd adult (another assistant) that assistant den leader could be 18-20 yrs old. Not much has changed.

The first column here shows the change needed. Since this is a girls’ den, there must be a registered female adult present also. So that means not just one of the girl’s mom unless that mom is a registered leader in the pack. And, I suppose that the assitant den leader, in this case, could technically be an 18-20 yr old since the 2 over 21 is covered by the female adult & the den leader.

How to find out more

So, those are just some basics. You can find out lots more by reading the FAQ on Family Scouting found on Here are just a couple directly from that document (updated June 2018) that I think many might be wondering about.

Q: Should dens for girls and dens for boys meet at the same time and place?

It is up to the chartered organization and the pack or the den to decide meeting times and places.

Q: Can the separate boy and girl dens work on the same activity at the same time together?

There is no set rule or guideline on this. If appropriate, this can be treated the same as two dens of the same gender working together. It will be up to the good judgment of leaders to decide what is best for their units.

Q: Are BSA programs relevant for girls?

Yes. On average, more than 90 percent of Scouting families and leaders believe the BSA programs are relevant to both boys and girls. What’s more, education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed that the programs are both relevant and empowering for both young men and young women.

Q: Why is the BSA recommending single-gender dens and troops units instead of a co-ed model?

The leadership of the BSA determined that the best way to welcome girls to serve today’s families is to offer a unique model that builds on the proven benefits of our single-gender program, while also providing character and leadership opportunities for both boys and girls.

What about older girls?

Girls can already join Venturing and Sea Scouts, in fact, those BSA programs ARE co-ed and have been for years.  If that’s the type of Scouting experience your daughter, granddaughter, sister, neighbor or friend wants to experience great!  However, if you know a young woman who has always wished that she could be an Eagle Scout she can join Scouts BSA and start working towards that goal very soon.

To learn more about the basic structure of Scouts BSA and the addition of girls read my article called “Scouts BSA is NOT co-ed and neither is Cub Scouting”.


And if you want to learn about why having girls in Cub Scouting is a great choice, read this story here about a brother explaining why he’s glad his sister can join too.


Author Annaleis Smith is a “stay-at-home” mom of 5 (3 boys 2 girls).  She has been a Cub Scout leader since 2003.  She has also been involved with district roundtables since 2008 and various council committees (including Akela’s Council) since 2010. Annaleis currently serves as a Cubmaster, Assistant Roundtable Commissioner, and president of the Commissioner College Cabinet for UNPC.


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One thought on “Cub Scouting is NOT Co-ed and neither is Scouts BSA

  1. AvatarRichard Stum

    Your introduction that says that Cub Scouts is not Co-ed is deceptive. Clearly, your pack option # three includes both boys and girls. Sure they are in different dens, but the pack is NOT.


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