Girls to be allowed in Cub Scout, Eagle Scout programs

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC-TV) - For 15-year-old James McGrath, scouting is a way of life.

"I started when I was in first grade; just a little tiger cub. I went through a bunch of ranks quickly and here I am now,” he said.

McGrath is on his way to becoming an Eagle Scout, the Boy Scout's highest rank.

And for the first time, girls may be joining him on the journey.

Starting next year, families can sign up girls for cub scouts.

Dens will be single-gender.

Existing Boy Scout packs will decide whether to establish a new all girl's pack, or remain all-boys.

And a new Eagle Scout program will roll out in 2019.

McGrath says the change is good.

"I think that now they can offer that to a whole range of youth is awesome.

 Leadership of the Girl Scouts of Western New York reacted with concern.

CEO Judy Cranston says there's a reason things are the way they are.

"I’m not sure what programing the Boy Scouts have for girls. It’s a boy program. It was designed for boys, whereas all of our programming was designed for girls"

Jason Long's son is a Boy Scout and his daughter is a former Girl Scout. He welcomes the change.

"I'm excited. I'm looking forward to getting my daughter into the Girl Scout program, whatever form that may take."

"The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls," Boy Scouts of America said in a statement. "[T]he organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who've never been involved in Scouting -- to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children."

BSA said the move is also aimed at helping busy families consolidate programs for their children.

"Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. 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 BSA statement said.

Boy Scouts of America has about 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and about 960,000 volunteers in the United States and its territories.

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