Columbia, SC (WLTX) -- The Boy Scouts have announced plans to admit girls into the Cub Scouts.
The organization said they are also establishing a new program for older girls using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts. The announcement comes as a historic change to the Boy Scouts of America organization. It has been primarily boys since its founding more than 100 years ago.
Indian Waters Council Scouting Director, Doug Stone, said this change has been discussed but he wasn't expecting the announcement to be made Wednesday.
"It's welcome news," he said.
Starting next year, girls will be admitted into the Cub Scouts, and in 2019, there will be a program for older girls that will allow them to earn the rank of Eagle Scout. The Boy Scouts Board of Directors approved the plan unanimously.
"What was announced thus afternoon was very much aligned to what we heard from our scouting family," said Stone.
Stone said they have reached out to their scouting family for several months to get their opinions about expanding the program to include girls. He said this decision will be able to serve entire families.
"The parents are so stretched for time. The precious time they have with their children are so meaningful," he said.
Under the new plan, Cub Scout dens, which is the smallest unit, will be single gender - either all boys or all girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to be coed.
The organization already serves young women at the high school level with two programs: Venturing and Exploring, but these programs have not offered a path to become an Eagle Scout.
"I think this is a bold move and the right thing for young women and we will still be able to do the right thing for young men," said Stone.