Boy Scouts will al­low girls to join next year

The Hazleton Standard-Speaker - - FRONT PAGE - BY KUR­TIS LEE

The Boy Scouts of Amer­ica an­nounced on Wed­nes­day that it will ad­mit girls into the Cub Scouts start­ing next year and es­tab­lish a new pro­gram for older girls us­ing the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s same cur­ricu­lum.

In the his­toric move, Cub Scout dens — the small­est unit — will be sin­gle-gen­der, ei­ther all boys or all girls. Cub Scout packs, which are larger and in­clude a num­ber of dens, will have the op­tion to wel­come both gen­ders if they choose.

The Boy Scouts’ board of direc­tors voted unan­i­mously for the change on Wed­nes­day.

“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 im­por tant for both young men and women,” Michael Sur­baugh, the group’s chief ex­ec­u­tive, said in a state­ment.

He added that “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

char­ac­terand lead­er­ship for young­peo­ple—to as many fam­i­lies and youth as pos­si­ble as we help shape the next gen­er­a­tion of lead­ers.”

The pro­gram for older girls is ex­pected to start in 2019 and will en­able girls to earn­the cove tedrank of Ea­gle Scout.

In a state­ment, the group said that af­ter“years of re­ceiv­ing re­quests from fam­i­lies and girls ,” it“eval­u­ated the re­sults of nu­mer­ous re­search ef­forts” and came to its de­ci­sion.

The Girl Scouts of Amer­ica, which is sep­a­rate and in­de­pen­dent of the Boy Scouts, has been the pri­mary scout­ing al­ter na­tive for girls, and claims a mem­ber­ship of 1.8 mil­lion.

Re­cently, the Boy Scouts an­nounced that it will al­low trans­gen­der chil­dren who iden­tify as boys to en­roll in its boys-only pro- grams.

In re­cent years the group has found it­self em­broiled in larger na­tional de­bates about gen­der roles and sex­ual ori­en­ta­tion. These de­bates, in turn, have led the Boy Scouts—which has about 2.3 mil­lion mem­bers — to ex­am­ine longheld poli­cies that date to its found­ing days over a cen­tury ago. In some in­stances, change has come swiftly. In oth­ers, only af­ter years of le­gal bat­tles.

JAKE MAY / THE FLINT JOUR­NAL — MLIVE.COM VIA AP

Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts sa­lute dur­ing a Memo­rial Day cer­e­mony in Lin­den, Mich., on May 29. On Wed­nes­day, the Boy Scouts of Amer­ica Board of Direc­tors unan­i­mously ap­proved to wel­come girls into its Cub Scout pro­gram and to de­liver a Scout­ing pro­gram for older girls that will en­able them to ad­vance and earn the high­est rank of Ea­gle Scout.

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