KC troops react to Boy Scouts allowing girls to join

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — For the first time in a century, girls get to join the boys' club. The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that girls will be allowed in and given the opportunity to become Eagle Scouts. 

The organization said in the fall of 2018, girls can join Cub Scout dens, which will be separated by gender. Then, in 2019, a program for older girls will be implemented with a pathway to earn the coveted Eagle Scout rank. 

In a statement to 41 Action News, the Boy Scouts Heart of America Council had this to say:

"Locally, the Heart of America Council will adhere to all policies and procedures set forth by the National Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Today’s decision will allow us to serve more youth in the Kansas City Metro area and help us deliver the character development and values-based leadership programs that Scouting provides to prepare young people for future success."

But the Girl Scouts think the news just adds confusion to the marketplace.

"There is huge competition over children's time," Joy Wheeler, CEO of Girl Scouts of NE Kansas and NW Missouri, said. 

Wheeler added there are huge benefits to after-school programming where girls and boys are separated. While the Boy Scouts plan to divide dens by gender, Wheeler argued the program being presented doesn't address girls' needs.

"The program that is developed for Cub Scouts is specific to boys and how boys develop and learn," she said.

When asked if the Girl Scouts will consider adding boys to their ranks, the answer right now is a hard "no."

"It is exactly contrary to what we believe we need to offer, and that is the opportunity for girls to be with other girls and positive adult role models to help them develop what their specific needs are," Wheeler said.

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