Boy Scouts will allow girls to join ranks, including Eagle Scout

The Boy Scouts of America will now allow girls to join the organization, the group announced Wednesday.

The organization’s board of directors unanimously voted to let girls into the Cub Scout program and create a program for older girls to allow them to become Eagle Scouts, their highest rank, the BSA said in a release.

Girls will be allowed to join the Cub Scouts in 2018, and the program for Eagle Scouts is projected to begin in 2019, according to the release. Cub Scout dens will each remain single-gender, either all-girls or all-boys.

“The values of Scouting — trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example — are important for both young men and women,” Michael Surbaugh, the Boy Scouts’ chief scout executive, said in a release.

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best — developing character and leadership for young people — to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders.”