First Time in More Than a Century of Scouting
For the first time ever the Boy Scouts of America will begin to allow girls to join the 107-year old organization. Younger girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scouts, in girls-only "dens." Cub Scouts are traditionally between 7 and 11 years of age. Starting in 2019 older girls will be allowed to reach the rank of Eagle Scout. There are currently well-over two million boy scouts in the nation.
"We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children," Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts, told NBC News, which first reported the story.
The vote by the Scouting board of directors was unanimous. The organization chose to make the announcement today, which happens to be the #DayOfTheGirl.
"The historic decision," the Boy Scouts said in a statement, "comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who've never been involved in Scouting - to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children."
"This decision is true to the BSA's mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women," said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA's Chief Scout Executive. "We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best - developing character and leadership for young people - to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders."
NBC News adds that "the National Organization for Women urged the Boy Scouts to admit girls to the entire program, supporting the efforts of a New York teenager, Sydney Ireland, to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, as her older brother did."
"I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do â€” earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award," she told NBC News. "The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it's just not the program that I want to be part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender."
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