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On Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America announced huge plans for the future of the organization. One change in particular is to admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and to establish a new program for older girls using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts.

According to the new plan, Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. However the larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. The program which will include older girls, is expected to start in 2019 and will allow girls to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.

The Boy Scouts board of directors, said the change was needed to provide more options for parents. The change was approved unanimously by the board in a meeting at BSA headquarters in Texas

Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s chief scout executive said “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 values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women.”

The announcement follows many months of outreach by the BSA, who didn’t take the decision lightly.  They distributed videos and held meetings with the Boy Scout community to discuss the possibility of expanding girls’ participation beyond existing programs, such as Venturing and Sea Scouts.

In response to the change, the Girl Scouts of the USA criticized the initiative, saying it strained the century-old bond between the two organizations. Girl Scout officials also suggested the BSA’s move was driven by a need to boost revenue.

The president of the Girl Scouts accused the Boy Scouts of seeking to covertly recruit girls into their programs during the summer, while disparaging the Girl Scouts’ operations.

WRAL News reports Meghan Gargan, with the Girl Scouts of North Carolina Coastal Pines as saying Wednesday that their organization has no intention to allow boys to join.

Gargan said in a statement to WRAL News “Research shows that girls learn best in an all girl-led environment, which is why Girl Scouts- North Carolina Coastal Pines is committed to providing a safe, inclusive space in which girls are free to explore their potential and take the lead with programs designed for and with girls.”

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