Boy Scouts of America Will Now Allow Girls in a Move Toward Inclusiveness

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In a surprising move, the Boy Scouts of America announced yesterday that they would allow girls to join troops. This is the first time in the organization’s nearly 100-year history that certain programs will be 100% inclusive. Prior to the change, girls were allowed to participate in some scouting programs. However, they were barred from joining Cubs Scouts or Boy Scouts, and could not earn the prestigious Eagle Scout ranking.

boy scouts

Image: Facebook / Boy Scouts of America

Boys Scout of America have made other changes this year, in the face of declining membership.

Earlier this year, the organization began allowing transgender children to join. That decision was a stark change from their historical stance on gay and trans members; in 2013, they lifted their ban on gay scouts. And in 2015, the organization ended the ban on allowing gay scout leaders.

Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh hopes that allowing girls to join will bring more families into Boy Scouts of America.

In a statement released Wednesday, he said “The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women. We strive to bring what our organization does best — developing character and leadership for young people — to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”

Not everyone is happy with the decision. The Girls Scouts released a statement criticizing the move to allow girls.

boy scouts

Image: Facebook / Girls Scouts

In a statement to ABC News, Girl Scouts said, “The Boy Scouts’ house is on fire. Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA’s senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls.” Girls Scouts has also suffered from dwindling membership in recent years. The new Boy Scouts policy could affect those numbers even further.

People on Twitter are not feeling the new admission policy. Reaction has been generally negative, which comes as no surprise.

Not everyone is against the change, however. Ahmad Alhendawi, CEO of World Scouting, is supportive of the move.

No word yet on when the policy change will go into effect, or how existing troops will implement it. Also unclear on if this will mean more or less cookies to buy.

(Image: Facebook / Boy Scouts of America; Girls Scouts)