Boy Scouts announce historic change to start admitting girls in 2018

Codie Smith

Codie Smith

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

Starting in 2018, families will be able to sign girls up for the Cub Scouts by either choosing or establishing an all girl or all boy pack. The BSA board unanimously approved the new policy on Wednesday.

"We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children", chief executive Michael Surbaugh said in a statement.

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

"I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not now participating in Boy Scouts. and not consider expanding to recruit girls", wrote GSUSA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan in a letter to the BSA's president, AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson. But those programs have not offered a path to Eagle Scout for girls.

Boy Scouts has been primarily for boys for more than a century.

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"This is yet another step forward for the Boy Scouts of America". She said it was a "covert campaign to recruit girls" and described it as "reckless" and "unsettling".

Girls will be able to participate in Venturing, Sea-Scouting, Exploring, and STEM, focusing on science and math, allowing them to receive training in the same outdoor adventure skills their male counterparts have learned for many years. "It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls".

The Boy Scouts still finds itself in the national spotlight from time to time. "I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender".

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Five years ago, Scouts for Equality challenged the Boy Scouts of America to fully live up to its own principles and take the lead in making the organization a home to all Americans willing to live by the Scout Oath and Law.

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