Boy Scouts of America announces it will allow girls to join

Image Kate Patterson  The Washington Post  Getty Images
Image Kate Patterson The Washington Post Getty Images
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12 October, 2017

Cub Scout dens, which are smaller units of six to eight kids within packs, will remain single-gender.

In a historic shift, the Boy Scouts of America will let girls enroll in Cub Scouts starting next year and allow them to eventually earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout through a separate program, the organization said on Wednesday. Cub Scout dens will each remain single-gender, either all-girls or all-boys. It hopes to have the program in place in 2019.

Please SHARE if you were a member of the Boy Scouts or the Girl Scouts, and if you think this is a step in the right direction!

"The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, fearless and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women", Michael Surbaugh, the Boy Scouts' chief scout executive, said in a release.

"Families today are busier and more diverse than ever". The organization has moved to become more inclusive, after years of declining membership - announcing in 2013 that it would admit openly gay youths and ending a blanket ban on gay leaders in 2015. "The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it's just not the program that I want to be part of".

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Earlier this year, the National Organization for Women encouraged the Boy Scouts to accept women, joining the efforts of NY teen Sydney Ireland in her bid to become an Eagle Scout. The Washington Post reported the Boy and Girl Scouts have lost around a million members each in the last decade.

The Girl Scouts did not immediately respond to a request for comment following the Boy Scouts' decision Wednesday.

The Boy Scouts board of directors, which approved the plan unanimously in a meeting at BSA headquarters in Texas, said the change was needed to provide more options for parents.

Venturing and Sea Scouting, geared toward outdoor activities; Exploring, a career-oriented mentoring program; and STEM, focusing on science and math. Officials said they went through "months of trying to engage with Leadership from the Girl Scouts organization" so they could "identify areas of opportunities for alignment in the future".

The BSA made the announcement on the "International Day of the Girl" which, according to the United Nations website, has been observed since 2012 "to highlight and address the needs and challenges girls face".


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