The Buckskin Council is making updates to their troops. Cub Scouts are now allowing girls to join and beginning in February 2019, girls will be able to join Boy Scouts and earn the privilege of becoming an Eagle Scout.

Jeffrey Purdy, Scout executive with the Buckskin Council, was the guest speaker at the Rotary meeting on Wednesday. He gave a presentation on the new ventures the Buckskin Council is undertaking.

Recent surveys put out by the Boy Scout organization questioned families on what is important to them when it comes to signing their children up for extra-curricular activities. The answer was clear: Families are looking for convenience. Convenience of dropping off boys and girls at the same activity at the same time. An overwhelming 90 percent of those surveyed were interested in both their sons and daughters joining Cub Scouts and 87 percent were interested in placing their daughters in Boy Scouts.

“Parents want to be able to make one stop and have their sons and daughters be able to participate in the same things,” Purdy said. “It saves them time and makes their daily lives more convenient.”

Taking this information into consideration, the Boy Scouts decided to form Family scouting, which allows girls to join Cub Scouts. In the spring of 2018 they began this journey.

Parents were provided choices. They could sign their children up for an all-boys, all-girls, or co-ed troop. For the girls troops, there would be female leaders and boys would have male leaders. Even with a co-ed troop, the boys and girls would be divided. As long as there were at least five of each gender, they could form a troop. Every troop would participate in the same activities.

Since the option for girls to join came about, 61,483 girls have signed up nationwide. There have been 321 girls sign up in the Buckskin Council alone.

Another exciting venture taking place in BSA is the merger of the Allohak Council into the Buckskin Council. If the merger takes place the new council will be effective as of Dec. 31.

This proposed merger will reduce administrative costs and redirect focus on providing the services essential to keeping the BSA up and running. The council has seen a steady decrease in the number of youth joining BSA per year. In 1986 there were 430 scouts who signed up now down to 270 for 2018.

“It is our hope that this merger would help us get those numbers back up,” Purdy said.

Blennerhassett and Little Kanawha regions, which included Jackson County, will form the new Kootaga District. It will be the second or third largest district in the Buckskin Council. As of Dec. 31, 2017 there were a total of 1,356 scouts in these areas.

The scout shop will remain in Parkersburg and Camp Kootaga will be maintained for a minimum of three years. This is all dependent of the merger going through.

In other business:

• Saturday, Nov. 24 is Shop Small day. The community is encouraged to shop at the local small businesses.

• Luminaries will be available for purchase to “light the way” on Sunday, Dec. 23. Candles will be lit at 6 p.m. in hopes of transforming neighborhoods into beautiful winter villages. Luminary kits will cost $2 each or $15 for 10 kits. This project is in conjunction with The Charles Shaver Memorial Scholarship Fund and the Ravenswood Board of Parks and Recreation. For more information or questions, contact Kim Love by calling or texting 304-532-5590 or e-mail bktlove@yahoo.com.

• Christy Sizemore provided an update on the status of the Adopt-A-Family program. There are around 300 families on the list with more coming in everyday. The high schools are being contacted to see if they have clubs willing to sponsor families. There are still several families who need adopted. If interested, contact the Jackson County Community Foundation at 304-372-4500.