PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) – It’s official: Girls ages 11 to 17 can now advance to the rank of Boy Scout, the century-old organization says.
Girls have been allowed to join the Cub Scouts since last year, but starting Friday, they can take part in the older kid’s program. To reflect the change, the iconic program is taking on a new name, rebranding itself as “Scouts BSA” after nearly 110 years of only allowing boys.
The move opens a new door for young women like 16-year-old Kaitlyn Crowley.
“This is a huge opportunity for me,” Crowley said. “I’ve been watching my brother and my father go out on scout outings for years.”
Crowley says she is super excited to participate in activities with other people her age.
“They’ve gone on canoeing outings, backpacking outings, camping outings,” Crowley said. “I mean, my family goes, but to be able to go with a group of people that’s my age is like, wow, I can do this with people I know, people I love, so that’s what I’ve missed out on, and I now get to do.”
To commemorate the special moment, many national Scouts BSA leaders showed up at an event in Portland to share their stories.
Among those in attendance was the Deardorff family, two of which are fraternal twins.
The family says they have been waiting for this chance for a long time and they are excited to finally go out scouting together.
More than 14,000 girls are already part of BSA programs locally, but this change means they can now become Eagle Scouts, the organization’s highest rank.
There are some parts of the organization that won’t be affected by the change. Cub Scouts, the program for younger kids, has been welcoming girls since last year, with more than 77,000 signing up. That name won’t change, and neither will its parent organization’s name, the Boy Scouts of America.
Meanwhile, one group is opposed to the new policy; the Girl Scouts of America has filed a trademark lawsuit, claiming the name change will create confusion and cut into the Girl Scouts brand.
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