The Boy Scouts of America announced Wednesday that it will begin welcoming girls into its programs next year in a move that some conservatives fear will make the Girl Scouts "irrelevant" while undermining the Scouts organization.
In a historic move, the Boy Scouts of America board of directors unanimously voted to admit girls into its Cub Scout program while crafting a Scouting program for older girls enabling them to achieve the coveted rank of Eagle Scout. Noting that the board members made their collective decision "after years of receiving requests from families and girls," the organization said in its press release that it sought "to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children."
"This decision is true to the BSA's mission and core values outlined in the Scout Oath and Law. The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, brave and reverent, for example - are important for both young men and women," BSA Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said in a statement. "We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children."
BSA National Board Chairman Randall Stephenson said that because the program's "record of producing leaders with high character and integrity is amazing," it was "time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls."
BSA made its announcement after several months of openly exploring whether or not it would be viable to welcome girls into the all-boys program. The Girl Scouts, however, met the outreach efforts with outrage when its president, Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, accused the Boy Scouts in August of undermining the organization.
"I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts ... and not consider expanding to recruit girls," Hannan wrote in a letter to Stephenson.
"For more than 100 years, our organizations have worked in a respectful and complimentary manner, and we have been mutually supportive of one another's mission to serve America's youth," Hannan continued. "It is therefore unsettling that BSA would seek to upend a paradigm that has served both boys and girls so well through the years by moving forward with a plan that would result in fundamentally undercutting Girl Scouts of the USA."
The BSA also noted that it would allow existing packs within Cub Scouts to choose whether or not "to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack."
"Cub Scout dens will be single-gender -- all boys or all girls," the press release continued. "This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today's families."
This wasn't the first controversial announcement the Boy Scouts have made in recent months. Back in January, the organization announced that it would allow transgender boys to join ranks, sparking widespread outcry among conservatives and Christians.
Although the BSA was lauded by many for allowing girls into its programs, many conservatives warned that this new move could represent a step in the wrong direction for the organization.
"Strange, I thought that's what the Girl Scouts was for???" President Donald Trump's son, Donald Trump Jr., tweeted Wednesday.
"Boy Scouts just made Girl Scouts irrelevant," Dana Loesch, a political commentator and National Rifle Association spokeswoman, tweeted Wednesday.
Matt Walsh, a columnist for TheBlaze, tweeted, "Breaking: Boy Scouts of America no longer exists."
"Boy Scouts lost me a long time ago when they banned water fights because they are 'unkind.' Wouldn't want to promote hyper masculinity!" Downhill editor and Fox News contributor Katie Pavlich tweeted.
Daily Caller reporter Amber Athey tweeted: "Instead of letting girls join Boy Scouts, they should just make Girl Scouts better. I quit because they wouldn't let us do anything cool."
Now that girls will be admitted to the iconic Boy Scouts, some liberals have begun clamoring for a name change.
"If the Boy Scouts let girls in, shouldn't they just call themselves the Scouts?" Media Matter for America author Alex Morash wondered.