News of the decision by the Boy Scouts of America to allow girls into their Cub Scout program and enable older girls to attain the coveted Eagle Scout honor was welcomed in New Hampshire after the new policy was announced on Wednesday.
The historic change means that starting in 2018 families can choose to sign up their sons and daughters for Cub Scouts.
According to scoutingnewsroom. Org, "existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack."
Dens, however, will remain single-gender.
Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts program, the organization will also deliver a program for older girls, which will be announced in 2018 and projected to be available in 2019, that will enable them to earn the Eagle Scout rank.
Many at both the national and local level said Scouting is just adapting to the needs of today's modern family, often with either both spouses working or with only a single parent bringing up the children.
New Hampshire's Daniel Webster Council issued a statement adding their support to the change.
"Today, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved and the Daniel Webster Council supports the decision to welcome girls into its iconic Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout," read a statement sent to The Rochester Voice that was issued by Chris Hopkins, the council's director of support services for marketing.
The statement also indicated that many groups currently underserved by Scouting, including the Hispanic and Asian communities, prefer to participate in activities as a family.
In fact, the wish to make the change was expressed in surveys that were circulated at many levels nationwide. Those surveys of parents not involved with Scouting showed high interest in getting their daughters signed up for programs like Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, with 90 percent expressing interest in a program like Cub Scouts and 87 percent expressing interest in a program like Boy Scouts.
Education experts also evaluated the curriculum and content and confirmed relevancy of the program for young women, Scouting officials said.
Kelly Barca of Milton, an officer with Troop 155, said troop leaders and administrators would be discussing the changes at their next meeting but didn't want to comment ahead of that meeting.
Coincidentally, Barca's son, David, has his Eagle rank induction ceremony on Sunday.
Boy Scout officials in Lebanon, Maine, and Rochester were unavailable for comment.
Although known for its programs specific to boys, the Boy Scouts have offered co-ed programs since 1971 through Exploring and the Venturing program.