Boy Scouts will admit girls, allow them to earn Eagle Scout rank


The Boy Scouts of America 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.

"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.

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

Starting next year, young girls can join Cub Scout units, known as dens. Local scouting organizations can choose to have dens for girls and dens for boys. "Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls," the organization said in a statement.

A separate program for older girls will be available in 2019, BSA said, enabling them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout.

Read reactions to the landmark announcement:

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Reactions to Boy Scouts admissions change
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Reactions to Boy Scouts admissions change
Strange, I thought that's what the Girl Scouts was for??? https://t.co/8Dhub01Ihi
Boy Scouts just made Girl Scouts irrelevant. https://t.co/t6VgMeqTad
I welcome @boyscouts decision to integrate girls in their programs. On #DayoftheGirl, we reaffirm #Scouting commitm… https://t.co/UxQdedPdly
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are two different orgs w/ two different approaches. Both are great, but I like that girls have a choice now.
Boy Scouts accepting Girls into their ranks? I see what's going on. They just want those cookies.
OUTSTANDING news. I'm not often proud to tell people I'm an Eagle Scout, but today, I'm proud of the Boy Scouts for this decision! #progress
If I were a social justice warrior, wouldn't I be mad that the Boy Scouts pretty much just made the Girl Scouts obsolete? #BoyScouts
How about this: Just merge the Boy Scouts And Girl Scouts. Call it “Scouts” and cut these idiotic gender plays off at the knees. Enough.
@theDoubleE18 @BSAchief @boyscouts I'm a cubmaster. I hear this stuff. But girls are already participating in cub s… https://t.co/nluLJfMmbx
I'm a #EagleScout I'm proud of my rank and the scouts. Today makes me even prouder @boyscouts though we might need a name change.
As an Eagle Scout, I say: Why not? #BoyScouts https://t.co/C621FEfuJM
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The Boy Scouts said the moves reflect the changing nature of American life, with more dual-earning and single-parent families than never before, adding to the appeal of a scouting program that can serve the entire family.

BSA said 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.

Related: Boy Scout Leaders to Discuss Offering More Opportunities for Girls

Girls are now part of four scouting programs — Venturing and Sea Scouting, geared toward outdoor activities; Exploring, a career-oriented mentoring program; and STEM, focusing on science and math. But those programs have not offered a path to Eagle 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 older 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 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 Boy Scouts, citing research which showed that many girls learn best in an all-female environment.

"We are unparalleled in our ability to build great female leaders who contribute to society at every level," said Andrea Bastiani Archibald, a psychologist who helps guide the Girl Scouts.

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President Trump speaks at Boy Scouts rally
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President Trump speaks at Boy Scouts rally
Boy Scouts listen as US President Donald Trump speaks during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump waves after speaking to Boy Scouts during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump waves after speaking to Boy Scouts during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
US President Donald Trump waves after speaking to Boy Scouts during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / SAUL LOEB (Photo credit should read SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JULY 24: (L-R) Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, and HHS Secretary Tom Price walk to Marine One to depart with U.S. President Donald Trump from the White House on July 24, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump is traveling to Beaver, West Virginia where is will speak to Boy Scouts at the at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree. (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)
U.S. President Donald Trump waves after delivering remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump reacts as he delivers remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia , U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to delivers remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives to delivers remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
U.S. President Donald Trump (2nd R) delivers remarks at the 2017 National Scout Jamboree in Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve, West Virginia, U.S., July 24, 2017. REUTERS/Carlos Barria
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