IRVING, Texas (ABC4 Utah)- In a historic announcement Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America said they will be welcoming girls into some of their programs.

The BSA Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into the Cub Scout program and to deliver a program for older girls that will allow them to earn the Eagle Scout ranking.

The organization says the decision comes after years of research and interest expressed by families and girls nationwide.

“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,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive.

Starting in 2018, families can choose to sign up their sons AND daughters for Cub Scouts. The organization says existing packs may establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack.  Cub Scout dens will be single-gender — all boys or all girls. 

“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,” Surbaugh said.

For more information on this decision, click here.