Boy Scouts to let girls join, earn Eagle Scout rank

Boy Scouts to let girls join, earn Eagle Scout rank

"We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children", said Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts, in explaining the board's decision.

Effective in the 2018 program year, existing "packs" can either choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens, or remain an all-boy pack.

By 2019, some girls will be able to reach the organization's highest rank of Eagle Scout, the organization said.

"The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, fearless and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women", Surbaugh added.

Boy Scouts of America also announced a plan for older girls that will use the same curriculum used by the Boy Scouts and will allow for girls to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

"This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today's families", BSA said.

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The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday they'll be accepting older girls into programming. After allowing women to serve as Scoutmasters and volunteers for local groups in the 1980s (following a lawsuit), the organization has (since 2013) reversed its policies and allowed LGBT scouts and volunteers.

In the past, the Girl Scouts have been cool to the idea of admitting girls into the Boy Scouts, citing research which showed that many girls learn best in an all-female environment. That didn't sit well with the Girl Scouts of the US, whose leadership accused the Boy Scouts of running a "covert campaign to recruit girls".

The Girl Scouts, founded in 1912, and the BSA, founded in 1910, are among several major youth organizations in the US experiencing sharp drops in membership in recent years.

The admission of girls to the Cub Scout program will being in 2018. Reasons include competition from youth sports leagues, a perception by some families that they are old-fashioned and busy schedules that prompt some parents to despair of meeting all their children's obligations.

The Girl Scouts, established in 1912, and the BSA, established in 1910, are among a few noteworthy youth associations in the USA encountering sharp drops in participation lately.

The Boy Scouts already has certain co-ed programs in place, including Venturers and Sea Scouts, both billed as character-building programs, and Exploring, which focuses on career-building.