SALT LAKE CITY — The Boy Scouts of America is opening its ranks up to girls. The National Board of the Boy Scouts of America voted unanimously to make the change. In a statement, Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said, “This decision is true to the BSA’s mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women.”
Under the change, girls will be able to enroll in Cub Scout “dens” that will remain, as the statement put it, “single gender.” The BSA intends to announce a program for older girls as early as 2018.
Locally, scout leaders praised the announcement. “A woman’s education and their skills are increasingly important as they try to sustain their lifestyle, their living, their ability to help their families,” Stan Lockhart President of the Utah National Park’s Council told the Doug Wright Show. “My take on it is that it is going to be an overall positive thing,” he said.
Bruce Hough, President of the Great Salt Lake Boy Scout Council said the values of scouting go beyond boys. “The values that are pertinent to scouting are pertinent to every young person,” he said.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, one of scouting’s largest participants, sent out a statement in reaction to the change. “The Activity Days and Personal Progress programs of the Church have long been in place to meet the needs of girls and young women in these age groups, and no change will be made in Church programs”, the statement read. “We recognize that the desire of the BSA is to expand their programs to serve more young people in the United States. The Church, too, continues to look at ways to serve the needs of our youth worldwide.”
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