Boy Scouts announce historic change to start admitting girls in 2018

Image Kate Patterson  The Washington Post  Getty Images

Earlier this year, the National Organization for Women urged the Boy Scouts to admit girls to the entire program, supporting the efforts of a NY teenager, Sydney Ireland, to attain the rank of Eagle Scout, as her older brother did.

The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that they will officially begin to allow girls into their ranks.

"Little girls have been on boy scout hikes and cub scout meetings for years".

In a statement about the monumental change, Michael Surbaugh, the Boy Scouts' chief scout executive, said, "The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, courageous and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women".

Starting in 2018, young girls will be able to join the Cub Scouts, and it's expected that they will be able to join the Eagle Scouts, the highest rank, in 2019. There are programs to allow Boy Scouts to remain until they are 20 years old.

"The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, courageous and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women", he said in a statement Wednesday. Earlier this year, the Boy Scouts took steps to allow transgender boys into its ranks.

Girls could previously be apart of other programs - Venturing and Sea Scouting, both of which focus on outdoor activities, the career-oriented Exploring program and STEM - but could not become Eagle Scouts, according to the Scouts website. Girl Scout officials have suggested the BSA's move was driven partly by financial problems and a need to boost revenue.

"We were disappointed in the lack of transparency as we learned that you are surreptitiously testing the appeal of a girls' offering to millennial parents", Hannan wrote to Boy Scouts President Randall Stephenson. She added that a co-ed model goes against "research supporting single gender programming". "It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls". Leaders can decided if they want to form a den for boys or den for girls.

Boy Scouts listen as President Donald Trump speaks during the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Summit Bechtel National Scout Reserve in Glen Jean, West Virginia, July 24, 2017.

Wonderful and timely news from @boyscouts on the #DayoftheGirl!

Both organizations have been rocked by a steady decline in membership.

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