Boy Scouts to al­low girls to join

The Jerusalem Post - - INTERNATIONAL NEWS -

In a his­toric shift, the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica will let girls en­roll 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 has lost about a third of its mem­bers since 2000, which now stands at 2.3 mil­lion. BSA in­sisted that al­low­ing girls in 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, com­mu­nity-level “dens” will be sin­gle-gen­der. Larger “packs,” which are com­prised of dens, will de­cide whether to in­clude dens of each gen­der or not, the BSA said.

In a pro­gram to be an­nounced next year and pro­jected to start in 2019, girls will fol­low the same cur­ricu­lum as the Boy Scouts, which are for ages 11-17.

Sur­baugh in a tweet said, “To­day, the BSA opens a new chapter in our his­tory w/a unan­i­mous vote to wel­come girls to Cub through Ea­gle Rank.”

Af­ter the an­nounce­ment, the Girl Scouts is­sued a state­ment that did not men­tion the Boy Scouts or its move to in­clude girls.

“Girl Scouts re­mains com­mit­ted to and be­lieves strongly in the im­por­tance of the all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly en­vi­ron­ment that Girl Scouts pro­vides, which cre­ates a nec­es­sary safe space for girls to learn and thrive,” the or­ga­ni­za­tion said.

In Au­gust, a top Girl Scout of­fi­cial ac­cused the Boy Scouts of run­ning a “covert cam­paign” to re­cruit girls to in­crease its de­clin­ing mem­ber­ship, The Wash­ing­ton Post re­ported.

The pro­gram for girls older than Cub Scouts pro­jected to be­gin in 2019 will al­low them to earn the Ea­gle Scout rank, the high­est achieve­ment in the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

On so­cial me­dia, hun­dreds of peo­ple were crit­i­cal of the news, with many posts echo­ing the sen­ti­ments of Don­ald Trump Jr., the pres­i­dent’s son.

“Strange, I thought that’s what the Girl Scouts was for???” he said on Twit­ter.

Sing Old­ham, spokesman for the South­ern Bap­tist Con­ven­tion, said the an­nounce­ment con­tin­ued a “rein­ven­tion” of the Boy Scouts his group does not sup­port.

In Jan­uary, the Boy Scouts also opted to al­low trans­gen­der boys to join.

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