A girl at the helm of the Boy Scouts seems counter intuitive, but it is now a reality in Seattle, a city known for leading the nation in diversity. Sharon Moulds is breaking new ground as the highest-ranking female in the U.S. and the first woman to lead the Chief Seattle Council, Boy Scouts of America (BSA).
"There are many misconceptions about the Boy Scouts that I'd like to address," said Moulds. "I am thrilled to be leading the nation as a proponent of diversity in Scouting. Most people don't know it, but we even have girls in Boy Scouts of America and I think it is crucial for parents to know that we welcome youth and parents regardless of race, religion, economic backgrounds or social circumstances."
At the age of 17, Charlotte Heesacker is Moulds' prime example of a girl in the Boy Scouts. The Scout program, Venturing, is geared to be co-ed, where both girls and boys engage in high-adventure activities that tend to be more strenuous than the mainstream. "Climbing Mt. St. Helen's, kayaking in the Puget Sound and a 5 day bike trip in the San Juan Islands are my favorite adventures so far," said Heesacker. "I've become a leader with survival skills through the Boy Scouts Venturing program."
"Seattle is a role-model for where the national organization must go," says Wayne Perry, the president-elect of the National Boy Scouts of America and former President of the Chief Seattle Council. Perry will become the highest-ranking volunteer in the U.S. when he becomes president in 2012. "Seattle is like a mini-United Nations. Getting it right here will lead the way for the nation and that's why we support Sharon's enthusiasm for diversity."
Diversity initiatives are familiar to Moulds, who launched the Women's Resource Group in Chicago to resolve issues resulting in higher retention for women in Scouting. Nationally, less than 2% of BSA Scout Executive positions are held by females. Prior to Seattle, Moulds was Area Director covering 12 Boy Scout councils in Indiana, Ohio and Illinois.