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Boy Scouts to let girls join, earn Eagle Scout rank
12 October 2017, 12:48 | Terri Saunders
CNN As of Dec. 31 2012 there were 108,971 units in the BSA
"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 values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, fearless and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women", said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA's Chief Scout Executive.
Girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scouts - a Scouting program for those aged 7-12 - next year, while older girls will be allowed to join the BSA at a later date.
"I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not now participating in Boy Scouts. and not consider expanding to recruit girls", wrote GSUSA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan in a letter to the BSA's president, AT&T Chairman Randall Stephenson. Eventually the programs will be extended so that girls will be able to earn the rank of Eagle Scout, the organization's highest ranking. But those programs have not offered a path to Eagle Scout for girls. "Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing", the Boy Scouts of Americastatement said. She added that a co-ed model goes against "research supporting single gender programming".
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.
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.
"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.
BSA at the time pushed back against such claims, explaining they'd always been discussing introducing girls into the program.
"Strange, I thought that's what the Girl Scouts was for???" he said on Twitter.
The Boy Scouts still finds itself in the national spotlight from time to time. The organization has moved to become more inclusive, after years of declining membership - announcing in 2013 that it would admit openly gay youths and ending a blanket ban on gay leaders in 2015.
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