IRVING – Girls who don’t want to sell cookies can now choose to become Boy Scouts instead, for real — same merit badges and ranks and all!
The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday the organization’s Board of Directors unanimously approved welcoming girls to the iconic Cub Scout program. BSA will also develop a Scouting program for older girls, enabling them to obtain the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
The decision comes after years of controversy over females not being allowed to join and achieve the same ranks as boys. BSA says after extensive research and years of receiving requests to join from girls and their families, they’ve figured out how they can make it happen.
“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.”
-BSA Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh
“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,” Surbaugh said.
Families can choose to sign up sons and daughters for Cub Scouts beginning with the 2018 program. Existing packs — clusters of dens — will choose to create new packs uniquely for girls or to combine and have boy-girl packs. All will use the same BSA curriculum for activities, merit badges, and rank advancement.
The program for older girls, allowing them to become Eagle Scouts, will be announced next year and is expected to be implemented in 2019. BSA says this model allows the organization to “maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families.”
BSA began offering programs for both boys and girls in 1971, with Exploring, Venturing, and STEM Scout pilot program, but none allowed girls to achieve the traditional Boy Scouts rankings.
Name change in the future? Time will tell.