The Boy Scouts of America says it will open membership to girls

The Boy Scouts of America says it will open membership to girls

As for older girls, the organization says it will announce a program next year that will enable them to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

Girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scouts - a Scouting program for those aged 7-12 - next year, while older girls will be allowed to join the BSA at a later date. Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to allow girls to join all their programs from Cub Scouts, up to earning the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh described the latest decision in part as an attempt to bring more families into the Boy Scouts, whose membership has declined by about a third since 2000.

"We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children".

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

After much deliberation and debate, The Boy Scouts of America voted and unanimously chose to allow girls into its programs!

Asteroid near Earth this week (watch it online)
While the Chelyabinsk event caught everyone unawares, TC4 is one of thousands of space rocks whose whereabouts are known. There's no chance the asteroid will hit the Earth, but its proximity will be used to test an asteroid warning system.

The Associated Press reports that Boy Scout decision makers say the change gives more options to families while Girl Scout leaders say the move creates a divide between the two organizations.

In August, the president of the Girl Scouts accused the Boy Scouts of seeking to covertly recruit girls into their programs while disparaging the Girl Scouts' operations.

"This is yet another step forward for the Boy Scouts of America".

Officials at western MA council of the boy scouts are excited about the news. She added that a co-ed model goes against "research supporting single gender programming".

It is yet another policy shift for an organization that long resisted substantial change to some of its rules and traditions, most notably a prohibition against openly gay scouts and leaders.

BSA at the time pushed back against such claims, explaining they'd always been discussing introducing girls into the program. That didn't sit well with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America, whose leadership accused the Boy Scouts of running a "covert campaign to recruit girls". "The Girl Scouts is a great organization, but it's just not the program I want to be apart of". Earlier this year, Girl Scouts USA reported 1.5 million youth members.

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