US boy Scouts al­low girls to join, earn so­cial me­dia frown

DNA (Daily News & Analysis) Mumbai Edition - - FRONT PAGE -

In a his­toric shift, the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica will let girls en­rol in Cub Scouts start­ing next year and al­low them to even­tu­ally earn the high­est rank of Ea­gle Scout, the or­ga­ni­za­tion said on Wed­nes­day.

The unan­i­mous de­ci­sion by the 100-year-old group’s board of di­rec­tors came af­ter years of re­quests from fam­i­lies and girls, it said, though the an­nounce­ment prompted a largely neg­a­tive re­ac­tion on so­cial me­dia.

“We be­lieve it is crit­i­cal to evolve how our pro­grams meet the needs of fam­i­lies in­ter­ested in pos­i­tive and life­long ex­pe­ri­ences for their chil­dren,” Boy Scouts Chief Ex­ec­u­tive Michael Sur­baugh said.

The Boy Scouts of Amer­ica (BSA) has lost about a third of its mem­bers since 2000, which now stands at 2.3 million. BSA in­sisted that al­low­ing girls was in re­sponse to the needs of fam­i­lies, not re­lated to de­clin­ing mem­ber­ship.

The Girl Scouts of the USA said girls thrive in a girl-only en­vi­ron­ment, and that “we are girl ex­perts”.

Start­ing in 2018, the Boy Scouts will al­low girls to join the 7- to 10-year-old Cub Scouts. Small, com­mu­nitylevel “dens” will be sin­gle­gen­der. Larger “packs”, which are com­prised of dens, will de­cide whether to in­clude dens of each gen­der or not, the BSA said.

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