Beginning next year, young girls will be able to join Cub Scout units known as dens. Dens will however remain single-gender – all boys or all girls.
The Boy Scouts of America says girls will soon be allowed to become Cub Scouts and to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout, the organization's highest honor. The scouting board of directors has voted unanimously to make the historic change.
Chief Executive of the Boy Scouts Michael Surbaugh says that he hopes the change would "meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children." The organization has been primarily for boys, since its founding more than 100 years ago.
A separate program for older girls will launch in 2019, enabling young women to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. In a statement, the organization said the move reflects the "changing nature of American life." What’s the public reaction? Mixed and measured to say the least:
Officials from the Girl Scouts of America explain “The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today – and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success. The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth-serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families. Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs.”