Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that they will begin allowing girls to join the association.
Noticing the steep drop in enrollment, the Boy Scout Association is making historical changes. Starting in the Fall of 2018, Cub Scout programs will be available to all genders.
Cub Scouts Welcomes Girls to Expanded Programs: https://t.co/CijT16n4SU— The Cub Scouts - BSA (@thecubscouts) October 11, 2017
The programs will be single gender, so girls who wish to join will start as cubs in an all-girl unit. The association has not yet revealed if older girls can join BSA, and what paths of upward mobility female cubs will be offered. The scouts say they will announce the plan for older girls in the coming year.
The Boy Scout Association started in 1910. In the past two decades, enrollment across the board dropped with one of the organization’s most significant declines in its introductory youth program that start for boys at age 7. Admission into the beginner cubs program, known as the “Tiger Cubs,” is down by more than four percent since 1999.
The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A, which has also seen a drop in enrollment, criticized the Boy Scouts’ decision. In a letter obtained by BuzzFeed in August, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, GSUSA’s national president, told the BSA that the mission to include girls in their organization was a bad idea. Hannan called the decision unsettling.
“For more than 100 years, our organizations have worked in a respectful and complementary manner, and we have been mutually supportive of one another’s mission to serve America’s youth,” Hannan said. “It is therefore unsettling that BSA would seek to upend a paradigm that has served both boys and girls so well through the years by moving forward with a plan that would result in fundamentally undercutting Girl Scouts America of the USA.”