The Boy Scouts of America may be in need of a new name: The organization’s board of directors unanimously voted today to allow girls entrance into the Cub Scout program starting in 2018. The Boy Scouts also announced plans to create a program that will allow older girls to earn the Eagle Scout rank, which they aim to launch by 2019.
“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive in a media release. “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.”
When the co-ed Cub Scout curriculum formally begins next year, leaders of individual packs will be able to decide whether they should open the doors to girls, create a new all-girl group or remain exclusively all-boy.
There’s good reason to hope most packs go with the first option: One of the expressed goals of the new programs is not just to make the Boy Scouts inclusive for girls, but also for minority groups and families in general. Now, brothers and sisters will have the opportunity to come together in one gathering of Cub Scouts—which promotes better sibling bonds and saves parents the task of shuttling kids to different meetings.