(WBRE/WYOU)- The Boy Scouts of American announced Wednesday that girls will soon be allowed to become Cub Scouts and to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, the organization’s highest honor, according to NBC News.
“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children, says Michael Surbaugh, chief executive of the Boy Scouts.
The scouting board of directors voted unanimously to make the historic change in an organization that has been primarily for boys since its founding more than 100 years ago.
A separate program for older girls will be available in 2019, says BSA, enabling them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.
The Boy Scouts said the moves reflect the changing natures of American life, adding to the appeal of a scouting program that can service the entire family.
BSA says it commissioned two nationwide surveys that showed parents not involved in scouting had high interest in getting their daughters signed up for both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.
GIrls are now part of four scouting programs: Venturing and Sea Scouting, geared toward outdoor activities; Exploring, a career-oriented mentoing program; and STEM, focing on science and math. But those programs have no offered a path to Eagles Scout for girls.
Earlier this year, 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 brother did.
“I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do, 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 a part of. I think girls should just have the opportunity to be a member of any organization they want regardless of gender.
In the past, the Girl Scouts have been cool to the idea of admitting girls into the Boys Scouts, citing research which showed that many girls learn best in an all-female environment.
Original story can be found here.