Published: Thu, October 12, 2017
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Boy Scouts to admit girls into programs

Boy Scouts to admit girls into programs

The Girl Scouts of the US criticized the initiative, saying it strained the century-old bond between the two organizations. The changes will begin in 2018, when girls will be able to be enrolled as Cub Scouts.

"The Activity Days and Personal Progress programs of the Church have always been in place to meet the needs of girls and young women in these age groups, and no change will be made in Church programs", LDS Church spokesman Eric Hawkins in a statement released immediately after news broke of the BSA vote.

"The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, fearless and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women", he said in a statement Wednesday.

The change comes after years worth of requests for the organization to allow girls to join.

In making the decision, BSA released a questionnaire to parents regarding after-school activities and the response was overwhelming: 90 percent of parents surveyed expressed interest in signing up their daughters for a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent were interested in programs similar to Boy Scouts.

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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.

Michael Surbaugh, the BSA's chief scout executive, said reinforcing positive character traits is important for everyone. Existing packs, or community-level units, can decide to establish new girl packs or co-ed packs.

The organization announced in January that it would allow transgender boys to join.

Throwing the doors of their dens open to girls could, potentially, double their numbers.

"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.

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The Boy Scouts of America is going coed.

GSUSA president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan in an email obtained by Buzzfeed News suggests the Boy Scouts have been attempting to bolster its own membership by reaching out to Girls Scout recruits.

BSA at the time pushed back against such claims, explaining they'd always been discussing introducing girls into the program.

"I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do - earn the merit badges and earn the Eagle Award", she told NBC News.

There will still, however, be instances in which boys and girls will be gender-segregated.

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