FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it will welcome girls into its Cub Scout program and will develop a scouting program for older girls that will allow them to advance and reach the rank of Eagle Scout.
The BSA Board of Directors unanimously approved the decision Wednesday after years of receiving requests from families and girls. The organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts and gained input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who have never been involved in scouting.
“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,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive.
“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.”
Mary Barneby, CEO of Girl Scouts of Connecticut, issued a statement on behalf of the 47,000 members in the state. “Girl Scouts is an organization over 100 years old with time-tested methods and research-backed programs that speak to the strengths of girl-leadership development. We are the organization creating —through our skill-building Girl Scout Leadership Experience — the female leadership pipeline," Barneby said.
"Girl Scouts is, and will remain, the scouting program that truly benefits U.S. girls by providing a safe space for them to learn and lead. Our programs are research and evidence-based and, from this research, we know that Girl Scouts excel in important aspects of life. Girl Scouts remains committed to and believes strongly in the importance of the all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment, creating a necessary safe space for girls to learn and thrive.”
Beginning in the 2018 program year, families will be able to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack. Cub Scout dens will be single-gender.
Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and is projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank.
The BSA will also expand programs that it offers for both boys and girls. Although it is known for its programs for boys, the BSA has offered co-ed programs since 1971 through Exploring and the Venturing program. The STEM Scout pilot program is also available for both boys and girls.
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