Starting in 2018, girls will be allowed to join Cub Scout dens and the program for older girls to work toward Eagle Scout will begin in 2019.
"We trust it is basic to advance how our projects address the issues of families keen on positive and deep rooted encounters for their youngsters", said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA's main scout official. Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack. Soon, young girls will have the opportunity to become Cub Scouts and even rise through the ranks to earn the highest honor of becoming Eagle Scouts.
The decision, made by the organization's board of directors, was reportedly unanimous. "The values of Scouting - trustworthy, loyal, helpful, kind, courageous and reverent for example - are important for both young men and women".
"This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single gender model while also meeting the needs of today's families", the BSA said in a statement.
The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls.
In January, the Boy Scouts chose to allow transgender boys to join and welcomed its first transgender member, a 9-year-old from New Jersey, the next month. The results indicated that families were ready for the Boy Scouts to be girl friendly.
GSUSA president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan in an email obtained by Buzzfeed News suggests the Boy Scouts have been attempting to bolster its own membership by reaching out to Girls Scout recruits.
"Strange, I thought that's what the Girl Scouts was for???" he said on Twitter.
The BSA's argument is that Scout Law requires members to be "reverent" while the Scout Oath includes the line, "I will do my best to do my duty to God". The Boy Scouts say current youth participation is about 2.35 million, down from 2.6 million in 2013 and more than 4 million in peak years of the past.