CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. — As part of a national campaign by the Boy Scouts of America, the Cherokee Area Council says it is now welcoming girls to its troops.
A release says, "Young women will no longer sit on the sidelines while their brothers earn merit badges and achieve the rank of Eagle Scout. Starting in February 2019, the Boy Scouts of America will officially begin accepting girls into the Scouting program for older Scouts."
The national Boy Scouts of America made the historic change Friday officially dropping the 'boy' from its name for its program for young people between 11 and 18 to "Scouts BSA."
One newly-formed troop is Troop 1010, based in Cleveland.
“This historic move comes after years of girls attending and participating in activities with their brothers and parents, but earning no merit badges,” says Victoria Johnson, chief development officer of the Cherokee Area Council, Boy Scouts of America. “We are excited that these girls can now earn merit badges and the rank of Eagle.”
Using the same curriculum as the Boy Scout program, all Scouts BSA troops will run the same Scouting program, earn the same merit badges, and be able to achieve the same ranks. Scouts BSA troops will be single gender - all-girl or all-boy - because the BSA recognizes and celebrates that boys and girls develop differently, and there are times that single-gender learning is the most appropriate.
In 2018, girls began joining the Cub Scouts. Existing packs established a new girl pack, keeping dens single gendered – all boys or all girls.
The Cherokee Area Council says more than 77,000 girls joined the Cub Scout program nationally last year. For 50 years, girls across the U.S. have been members of Venturing Crews and Explorer Posts, programs designed for youth aged 14-20 to teach leadership skills and hands-on business training.
The Girl Scouts of the United States of America filed a trademark infringement lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America in November.
The organization argued that only it has "the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trademark with leadership development services for girls."
Girl Scouts also created a new campaign after numbers started to drop stressing "girl empowerment".