BSA leadership welcomes all: We’re saving a seat for YOU at the Scouting table

Hiking Philmont during a break at the "Finding your seat at the Scouting table" training course

Scouting is a movement, and movements don’t stay still. They grow. They improve. And they always keep going.

The proof is in Scouting’s own history.

In 1936, the BSA approved the position of “den mother,” created to help lead a Cub Scout den. It was the only position women were allowed to hold in Scouting.

By 1988, all Scouting leadership positions were open to women.

And in 2019, every program in the BSA welcomed girls into their ranks.

Now, there’s still work to do.

“To make Scouting vibrant and sustainable in the future, we must shift our culture to see the leadership contributions of women at every level of BSA as essential to the successful future of the movement,” says Cascade Pacific Council board chair Kaleen Deatherage.

“If every youth can’t see adults that look like them in leadership all over the movement, then we are sending a message that says to that child, ‘Scouting isn’t for people like you.’”

Last summer, Deatherage and past national commissioner Ellie Morrison led a training course at Philmont called, “Finding Your Seat at the Scouting Table.” The focus? To keep our sights set on welcoming and truly including women and girls from all backgrounds into Scouting’s programs.

Training can help you open doors for Scouting’s future

“Like a lot of things in life, you’ve got to stay at it.”

These are the words of Brad Tilden, chair-elect of the BSA’s National Executive Board, referring to the ongoing efforts to include all youth and adults, specifically girls and women, in the BSA’s programs.

Attendees at the "Finding your seat" Philmont training course

Through a series of interviews with three of the BSA’s most respected past and present leaders, Deatherage brought to life eye-opening, heart-warming and wholly optimistic views of where the BSA is headed.

While Deatherage conducted these interviews in preparation for last year’s course, they are a preview of the insights you will gain by attending this summer’s course, “Opening Doors: Women , Mentors and Allies.”

These videos have only been viewed by the attendees of last summer’s training. Until now …

Interview with Jim Turley, past BSA National President

Memorable quotes:

  • “We need to encourage people to bring their full selves to the movement … Be yourself. Be genuine. You and all the diverse candidates who are in the movement are here to help the BSA change. You are not here for the BSA to change you to fit our old mold.”
  • “It’s crucial to have both diverse perspectives and a culture that makes diversity come alive.”

Interview with Dan Ownby, 39th National Chair of the BSA

Memorable quotes:

  • “Scouting is a great program to get people ready for the real world. And in the real world, it’s a diverse world. We’ve got an opportunity to train young people to be ready for a diverse world.”
  • “We’ve got great, diverse candidates and opportunities for them. And so I think this class is going to be great.”

Brad Tilden, Chair-Elect, National Executive Board

Memorable quotes:

  • “Scouting is a movement. We’ve got to build consensus … Host a conversation. Ask questions.”
  • “There’s nothing bad in what we do … The Scout Oath and Scout Law are golden. We know we’re on the right track if we’re raising young people with those values.”

Where can you head for more info on welcoming Scouts and leaders from all backgrounds?

If these interviews have you hungry for more education and training, you’re not alone! This summer, June 18 to 24, you can take part in the follow-up to the course that sparked these important conversations.

Led by experienced staff, this course challenges you to embrace diversity in your council and across the Scouting movement. There’s even time for an exciting outing in the Philmont backcountry.

Sign up for the “Opening Doors” course on the Philmont Training Center conference page, and learn more about what you can expect from the training on the course Facebook group.


About Gina Circelli 52 Articles
Gina Circelli is the senior digital editor for Scout Life. She loves sharing news about Scouts who shake up pop culture or contribute to their communities in big ways.