Boy Scouts of America will now accept and register youth in the Cub and Boy Scout programs based on the gender identity indicated on the application.
Previously, the Boy Scouts held a policy that relied on the gender listed on a child’s birth certificate.
The change, announced Monday by the organization, signifies a shift in its attitude toward transgender children, and means children who identify as boys will be free to join.
Steve Wilburn, scout executive for the region, said he could not comment on what exactly would be changing within the organization.
However Wilburn added, “This does not affect the application process for a young person joining the scouts.”
Local scout leaders were directed via email to direct all calls regarding the policy change to Wilburn.
At the national level, in announcing the decision, Boy Scout leaders said its prior requirement that children were allowed in based on the gender listed on the their birth certificate is outdated. “That approach is no longer sufficient as communities and state laws are interpreting gender identity differently, and these laws vary widely from state to state.”
In the same statement, the organization also added that Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting are specifically designed to meet the needs of boys.
In order to meet this new policy change the organizations local council “will help find units that can provide for the best interest of the child.”
The news was not met with universal welcome.
The North Carolina Values Coalition took a stand against the Boy Scouts, saying “It is sad to see an important institution that has served over 110 million individuals buckle underneath the weight of political correctness.
“The reversal is most evident in how this act violates the Scout Oath which forms the core of the institution.”
The scout oath says — “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
Also, in the same statement, “It is clear that the Boy Scouts of America have lost their way. Many of you and your churches are involved in the BSA.”
Tami Fitzgerald, executive director for the N.C. Values Coalition, is also encouraging her supporters via Twitter to make their concerns known by contacting the Boy Scouts of America national office.
Alex Martin, pastor at Calvary Baptist Church, a sponsor of Pack 556, did not seemed worried about the policy change.
“We value or scouts. We value and trust our leaders who work with the young people. I think all youth can benefit from what the scouts teach.”
Martin also stated that their church had not had any discussion about no longer sponsoring for the Boy Scouts of America. “I anticipate to keep our program.”
No other sponsors could be reached for comment.
Surry County has 36 Cub Scout packs and Boy Scout troops combined and enroll 761 youth members. Fifteen sponsors are affiliated with houses of faith out of 19 total.
In 2013 when BSA announced it would be accepting gay youth members, several alternative organizations formed.
Trail Life USA is one of those groups, locally there is a troop at Fancy Gap Baptist Church.
The organization bases its statement of faith and statement of values on “One Tribune God” according to their website.
No one with the organization returned phone calls for comment by deadline.
Reach Eva Winemiller at (336) 415-4739 or on Twitter @ThePilotNC