Girls can join the Boy Scouts starting next year

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Beginning next year, families will be able to enroll their sons and daughters in Cub Scout programs.

Additionally, the BSA will establish a program for older girls, announced in 2018 and likely available in 2019, that will allow them to reach the coveted Eagle Scout status.

Cub Scout dens, as the younger groups are called, will be separated by gender and allow the organization "to maintain the integrity of the single-gender model while also meeting the needs of today's families". Local scouting organizations can choose to have dens for girls and dens for boys.

The plan was unanimously approved by the Boy Scouts board of directors. But those programs have not offered a path to Eagle Scout for girls.

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In a statement, the group said that after "years of receiving requests from families and girls", it "evaluated the results of numerous research efforts" and came to its decision.

"The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, courageous and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women", Surbaugh added.

The organization announced in January that it would allow transgender boys to join.

The Boy Scouts already has certain co-ed programs in place, including Venturers and Sea Scouts, both billed as character-building programs, and Exploring, which focuses on career-building. "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". "Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing", the Boy Scouts of America statement said.

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"I just want to do what the Boy Scouts do: Earn merit badges and earn the Eagle award", Ireland told NBC News at the time. That didn't sit well with the Girl Scouts of the US, whose leadership accused the Boy Scouts of running a "covert campaign to recruit girls".

"Strange, I thought that's what the Girl Scouts was for???" he said on Twitter.

The Girl Scouts, established in 1912, and the BSA, established in 1910, are among a few noteworthy youth associations in the US encountering sharp drops in participation lately.

The BSA has almost 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and approximately 960,000 volunteers in local councils throughout the United States and its territories.

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