Embracing a historic change, the Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday plans 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. Under the plan, Cub Scout dens — the smallest unit — will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to remain single gender or welcome both genders. The program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.
The Boy Scouts board of directors, which approved the plan unanimously in a meeting at BSA headquarters in Texas, said the change was needed to provide more options for parents. The Girl Scouts of the USA criticized the initiative, saying it strained the century-old bond between the two organizations. Girl Scout officials have suggested the BSA’s move was driven partly by financial problems and a need to boost revenue.