IDAHO FALLS, Idaho (KIFI/KIDK) - The Boy Scouts made big waves yesterday with their announcement that they're letting girls in for the first time.
Many people have mixed emotions about this announcement. Some want girls to stay in Girls Scouts, while others welcome the opportunity for the girls to be with the boys.
The organization says they're looking forward to expanding and welcoming full family participation.
Scout Executive of the Grand Teton Council, Clarke Farrer stated, "Our society is constantly changing. And organizations like the Boy Scouts, if we don't change, if we don't adapt, we'll become obsolete."
While girls may have been involved in the past in programs for older teens, they were never eligible to be part of the Cub Scout or Boy Scout programs.
Starting in 2018, girls will be allowed in Cub Scouts. In 2019, they'll have programs for girls where they can get awards and rankings, such as the coveted Eagle Scout rank.
"The boys and girls, the brothers and sisters, all participating together, and everyone's doing everything, the only difference was the boys earned the awards, the girls didn't. Well, probably not fair when the girls are doing the same kind of things. Why can't they earn the awards?" said Farrer.
Farrer also pointed out that the Boy Scout mission statement doesn't specifically say 'boys'. It says it's for 'young people', which could include girls. While the Girls Scouts were surprised by this announcement, area leaders say they think the history of being all for girls will keep young women coming back to them.
Pat Pyke, CEO of the Girl Scouts of Silver Sage said, "Research shows that when girls spend enough time in an all-girls space, it increases their leadership, their self-esteem and their achievement, now and in the future. So, we think that those outcomes, those programs, that achieve those really great results, will keep girls in Girl Scouts."
The Boy Scouts already have a long history and they're welcoming the chance to add to it.
Farrer continued by saying, "The Boys Scouts is a great program. And it's, for over 100 years, blessed the lives of boys, and it's gonna do the same now for the lives of girls. And I think that's terrific."
Farrer stated they've already received a few phone calls from concerned parents. They do have a few logistical things to figure out, such as bathroom situations at Boy Scout camps, but they're excited for this new chapter.
Some have been wondering if the Boy Scouts will change their name now that they allow girls. However, Farrer said they haven't done so yet, and he's not aware of any plans in the future to do so.