Sioux Falls, S.D. - After more than a century of offering outdoors and leadership training solely to boys, girls age 11 to 18 are now able to join the Boy Scouts.
Many are calling it a historic decision.
“They’ve done everything the boys did, but they couldn’t sign up and they couldn’t earn the badge,” Sioux Council Boy Scouts of America Scout executive Tom Smotherman said.
As of last week, young girls all across the country were officially able to join the Boy Scouts.
Meaning many are now being able to realize their dream of becoming Eagle Scouts.
“There are millions of female Eagle Scouts out there,” Smotherman said. “The only thing they don’t have is they don’t have the badge. It’s now very exciting for those individuals that they have the same opportunity to be Eagle Scouts as their brothers, their fathers, or grandfathers did.”
Serving girls in Sioux Fall's local Boy Scouts chapter isn’t anything new.
“We’ve actually served girls for over 40 years in our older high school young adult program of venturing and exploring,” Smotherman said.
Last fall girls were officially allowed to join the Cub Scouts.
Girls can now enroll in all aspects of the Boy Scouts including Scouts BSA.
“This is the last of our program areas our middle school high school age youth, which used to be called Boy Scouts, is now Scouts BSA.
The Girl Scouts have been around for more than 100 years, just like the Boy Scouts.
So, what does this mean for the local chapter?
The Communications Director said nothing will change.
“At Girl Scouts we are just going to keep doing what we do and we know girls,” Girl Scouts- Dakota Horizons Communications Manager Stacey Andernacht said. “So we're able to provide a space where girls can be themselves, be supported even if they fail, really you know look into their interests, and explore them even further than they might have anywhere else.”
Andernacht adds an all-girl environment, like what the Girl Scouts offers, can be beneficial for young girls.
“There’s definitely a benefit and it gives her that courage to go into the workplace and negotiate her salary or try for a job that a woman might not have normally been in,” Andernacht said. “Or just continue to educate herself and continue to grow because she is that go getter.”
Now the Boy Scouts of America is not changing their name.
One of the programs under that umbrella though will now be called Scouts BSA.
Girls will be able to participate in all programs include Cub Scouting, Scouts BSA, and venturing and exploring.