When asked what she wanted to show the world now that she was in Cub Scouts, Katia Dyrby said: “That girls can be a part of things, too.” Her friend and fellow Cub Scout, Paige, chimed in: “That girls can be brave and they can be strong and they could do what boys can do.” Standing next to her is fellow Cub Scout Leo Zhou. (Samantha Shanahan/KQED)
Graduation day for Cub Scout Pack 317 in San Jose was different from in years past: For the first time, girls were advancing through the ranks, following a historic decision by the Boy Scouts to let them participate in what had been, for more than a century, a boys-only program.
The pack was one of many Scouting units to make the change earlier this year before girls could officially enroll in June in all Cub Scouts programs nationwide. Pack 317 Cubmaster Chris Webb first broached the idea with the boys.
“There were a couple of them that gave me kind of a goofy, ‘yuck girls,’ kind of a response. But there wasn't a really big objection to it,” he said. “The parents were totally on board and we just decided this is the right thing to do. And so far, it's been great.”
“These girls are excited to be some of the first involved,” he said, adding that one of them could be the first Eagle Scout -- Scouting's highest honor.
That excitement was palpable on graduation day at Baker Elementary School in May, when the girls -- like the boys -- got their faces painted, received new badges and swapped out their neckerchiefs to show that they’d graduated to the next level.