"So much of a girl's life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls".
The announcement follows many months of outreach by the BSA, which distributed videos and held meetings to discuss possibility expanding girls' participation beyond existing programs, such as Venturing, Exploring and Sea Scouts.
The Boy Scouts of America will start admitting girls as Cub Scouts next year and then open up a program for older girls in 2019. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. Every aspect of our programming (local and national) has been created to be girl focused and girl-led.
The Boy Scouts say the move is something families have asked about for years. "They reviewed the program types that we were planning on offering", Smith said.
Kenya says they even offer the equivalent of Eagle Scout rank.
"There's always been a little bit of 'Is there anything for younger girls, ' and I think that kind of suggestion coming from families has kind of driven this conversation", said Ron Gardner, scout executive for the New Birth of Freedom Council with the Boy Scouts of America. "Girl Scouts can use on their resumes and also on their college applications".
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The Boy Scouts of San Diego did not respond to multiple 10News requests for an interview.
"The girl scouting program is very different from boy scouting". "The family structure has changed since 1910", said Jon Brennan, Scout executive for the Susquehanna Council of the Boy Scouts of America.
"This decision is true to the BSA's mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law".
Founded in 1910 and long considered a bastion of tradition, the Boy Scouts have undergone major changes in the past five years, agreeing to accept openly gay youth members and adult volunteers, as well as transgender boys. In the interest of maintaining safe spaces for girls, boys will still not be welcome, Lopes and other GSUSA members said.
"Only 4 percent right now earn the rank of Eagle Scout", Skelly told VOA.
Hulet said she is excited about the announcement and agreed with Surbaugh in that the tenets of being a good Scout can apply to both boys and girls. "In our program there has been sister tag-alongs, they do everything but don't get the badges", Smith said.
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"My daughter was in Girl Scouts for years and as she got older she wanted more outdoor activities", Hulet said.
"All of our issues have weakened us to the point where the Boy Scouts now see opportunities", she said.
While there is a rough equivalent in the Girl Scouts - the Gold Award - the honor is not almost as well-known as the Eagle Scout distinction.
More than 2.4 million young men like Skelly have achieved Eagle Scout. It should be giving the girls' achievement - which requires working hard to build the same skills we celebrate so publicly in Eagle Scouts - the respect it deserves.
GSUSA said 90% of female astronauts, 80% of female tech leaders, 75% of the current female senators, and all female US Secretaries of State were girl scouts.
Though the Gold Award may not be as widely recognizable, it carries weight within the Girl Scouts and among employers who know about it, Else said. "For co-ed groups, it does say that there must be a girl leader when female troops are present and male leaders for boy troop members".
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