Boy Scouts open dens to fe­male Cubs next year

Pro­gram for older girls will come in 2019

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Bart Jansen @gan­jansen USA TO­DAY

The Boy Scouts of Amer­ica agreed Wed­nes­day to start ad­mit­ting girls into the Cub Scouts next year and to cre­ate a pro­gram for older girls in 2019.

The change calls for Cub Scout dens, which are the small­est groups, to have ei­ther all boys or all girls. Larger Cub Scout packs could ac­cept boys and girls.

The pro­gram for older girls is likely to al­low them to earn the top rank of Ea­gle Scout.

“The val­ues of Scout­ing — trust­wor­thy, loyal, help­ful, kind, brave and rev­er­ent, for ex­am­ple — are im­por­tant for both young men and women,” said Michael Sur­baugh, the group’s chief Scout ex­ec­u­tive. “We be­lieve it is crit­i­cal to evolve how our pro­grams meet the needs of fam­i­lies in­ter­ested in pos­i­tive and life­long ex­pe­ri­ences for their chil­dren.”

The plan was adopted unan­i­mously by the or­ga­ni­za­tion’s board in Irv­ing, Texas. The Boy Scouts has 2.3 mil­lion mem­bers rang­ing in age from 7 to 21.

The Girl Scouts of the USA crit­i­cized the ini­tia­tive after warn­ing in Au­gust that the boys were try­ing to re­cruit their mem­bers.

“I for­mally re­quest that your or­ga­ni­za­tion stay fo­cused on serv­ing the 90% of Amer­i­can boys not cur­rently par­tic­i­pat­ing in Boy Scouts … and not con­sider ex­pand­ing to re­cruit girls,” Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, pres­i­dent of the Girl Scouts, wrote in Au­gust to Ran­dall Stephen­son, the Boy Scouts pres­i­dent.

The Boy Scouts was founded in 1910 and the Girl Scouts in 1912.

The Boy Scouts framed the de­ci­sion as a con­ve­nience for busy fam­i­lies with both par­ents work­ing or with sin­gle par­ents.

PA­TRICK SEMANSKY, AP

The Girl Scouts of the USA warned that the boys were try­ing to re­cruit their mem­bers.

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