The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) are allowing a surprising group of members to join their ranks, girls.
The BSA Board of Directors unanimously approved the the addition of girls to their programs, and is creating a unique scouting opportunity for "older girls," according to a press release.
In a statement, Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive said:
“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. We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children.”
Starting in 2018, families can sign up both their sons and daughters for the Cub Scouts.
Existing "packs" of Boy Scouts can choose to add a new girl scout program, or integrate girls into existing groups.
The BSA will also be creating a new program for older girls that will be available in 2019. The program will enable girls to earn the Eagle Scout rank.
According to a statement, the BSA has had programs that include girls since 1971. This will be the first time however, that girls will be able to participate fully in the organization.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints sent Fox 13 News this statement:
The Activity Days and Personal Progress programs of the Church have long 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. We recognize that the desire of the BSA is to expand their programs to serve more young people in the United States. The Church, too, continues to look at ways to serve the needs of our youth worldwide.
The Utah National Parks Council, which is the nation's largest Boy Scout group, also released a statement following the news, saying in part:
"The Utah National Parks Council offers a variety of programs from Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts to STEM Scouts, Exploring and Venturing. Our chartered partners are in the best position to decide which programs most appropriately meet the needs of their youth. We provide support, training, materials, and venues for our partners to use the programs they choose.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, our largest chartered partner, released the following statement through spokesman Eric Hawkins: “The Activity Days and Personal Progress programs of the church have long 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. We recognize that the desire of the BSA is to expand their programs to serve more young people in the United States. The church, too, continues to look at ways to serve the needs of our youth worldwide.”
As a council, we continually strive to support the LDS Church in their Scouting programs for boys in Primary and Aaronic Priesthood quorums. We also work closely with local Church leaders to provide resources for their youth.
We are grateful to all our chartered partners as we work together to help the youth in our area."