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'It's Critical To Evolve': Boy Scouts Welcome Girls In 'Historic Decision'

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- The Boy Scouts of America is now welcoming girls into their iconic Cub Scouts program.

On Wednesday, their board of directors unanimously approved the decision which will enable women to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

This historic decision comes after years of requests from families and girls, according to organization which is made of up of about 2.3 million members between the ages of 7 and 21.

This decision is true to the BSA's mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. 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 BSA's Chief Scout Executive.

Surbaugh says it's "critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children."

While the organization is known for their boys programs, they have offered co-ed programs since 1971 through their Exploring and Venturing Program.

The Girl Scouts of Tropical Florida don't seem too warm about the decision, saying in part:

"The gender-specific environment offered by Girl Scouts creates an inclusive safe space in which girls are free to explore their potential and take the lead without the distractions or pressures that can be found in a coed environment. These benefits are supported by mounting academic research.

Our data-backed, time-tested programs are designed to meet the unique needs and specific interests of girls, including the way they learn best.

Put simply, Girl Scouting works. It is the best experience for girls in the world because it is girl-led. For us, girls are not an afterthought. Everything we do is designed with girls, by girls, and for girls." 

The organization clarified that while they can't comment on another organization's decisions, they think that sharing the program's focus could lead to certain things being missed.

"By sharing program focus, participating girls don't get the sort of girl-centered, girl-led experience offered by the best girl leadership development program in the world," the statement read.

Starting next year, girls will be welcomed into the Boy Scouts of America Cub Scouts program.


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