A big change is underway for Boy Scouts of America. It's getting its first infusion of "girl power" after announcing it would begin allowing girls to join last fall. Girls are being brought into the organization through pilot programs across the country including here in Southern Nevada.
Vivian Schwinghamer is exactly the kind of little girl the organization was thinking of when it announced it would accept girls into the program last October.
"My dad encouraged me to do it because I really want to be an Eagle Scout like my brother because I really want to be with him," she said during her first meeting at John Beatty Elementary school in Las Vegas.
William Rocheleau is the Committee Chair for Pack 130. He said there area a lot of girls like Vivian.
"The impetus for this is if you went to any Cub Scout meeting or event the last ten years about 1/3 of the participants were kid sisters or older sisters," Rocheleau said. "Always tagging along. Doing the same thing side by side, but not getting recognized for it."
Vivian's father, Scott Schwinghamer, said he wanted to be able to include his daughter in his activities.
"I think it's really good for her," he said. "She wants to get out there and do a lot of exciting things. She doesn't want to be left out when we go camping."
Younger girls can be Cub Scouts and older girls will be eligible to earn the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. The change has been controversial for some, but others say it's just an extension of coed scouting programs and a reflection of the times.
"I love this chance," Rocheleau said. "I love this opportunity. Scouting for all. That is what scouting is about."
The organization says this change will also allow busy parents to streamline their children's activities now that both boys and girls can participate.