KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- The Boy Scouts of America announced on Wednesday that girls are now welcome into the Cub Scout program, forging a path for older girls to pursue and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
The board of directors unanimously agreed on the decision.
“It’s news that causes a lot of confusion, and uncertainty about what is best for my child, girl in this case,” said Joy Wheeler, the CEO Of Girl Scouts Of N.E. Kansas And N.W. Missouri.
Wheeler said the timing of this news was a surprise, and she feels the way things were before were just fine.
“It really is the only place where girls are girl-led, it’s progressive girls, all the programming is focused on the needs of a girl,” Wheeler added.
The National Council Of The Boy Scouts Of America's board of directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program, and to deliver a scouting program for older girls.
“The program that is developed for Cub Scouts is specific to boys, and how boys develop and how boys learn, and the needs boys have, and we don’t agree that little boys and little girls are the same,” Wheeler said.
In a statement from the local chapter of the Heart Of America Council, it said starting in the fall of 2018, families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts.
The Boy Scouts say the decision is to meet the needs of today's families.
Locally, the Heart Of America Council said the decision will allow the Boy Scouts to serve more kids in the metro.
“We all know that children and adults act differently when they are in a mixed gender environment, and when you see little girls and little boys in the same environment, you can automatically see some of the behaviors that change,” added Wheeler.
Wheeler said what girls need and boys need are not the same, and keeping girls in a gender specific environment is in every girl's best interest, and same for boys.
“Girls are in a girl only safe space, where they are free to explore, make mistakes, learn from them, try new things, girls tend to be concerned about being made fun of, or looking stupid, or not doing it perfectly the first time,” said Wheeler.
Wheeler said Boy Scouts membership has been declining for years and that could be a reason for the change.