AUSTIN, Texas (FOX 7 Austin) - Starting today, girls can now join Boy Scouts. The organization's older youth program called "boy scouts" has been changed to Scouts BSA to welcome girls between the ages of 11 to 17.
Kaitlyn Brice sorted through patches to find just the right ones to add to her cub scout uniform.
It wasn't till last year that girls were allowed to join Cub Scouts and now as she gets older she can join Boy Scouts too. "This is a bigger dream for her because it gives her the opportunity to branch out from being a girlie girl she's much more of a Tom boy and she likes to do all the activities a boy scout could do,” said Kaitlyn’s mother Karen.
The move is a milestone, said Charles Mead, Capitol Area Council Spokesperson. The organization has worked with more than 2-million boys since 1910. "We've heard from families for years and years and years that they don't have as much time they're under pressure they want to involve their entire family in the same program," Mead said. "This is the chance really for the first time for us to be able to serve an entire family mom, dad, brother and sister."
Not everyone was on board to welcome girls to BSA, including Girl Scouts of America who sued Boy Scouts over the name change. "I think you have some people who are worried that making a change like this means that the program would change,” said Mead.
"Girl Scouts of the USA took legal action to protect the Girl Scout mission and brand and prevent confusion in the marketplace about the difference between Girl Scouts’ and Boy Scouts’ programs for girls. Girl Scouts of Central Texas has taken no local legal action against any other organization. Our national organization, Girl Scouts of the USA, has primary oversight over our brand assets and intellectual property, and brought the action against Boy Scouts of America. Our council, Girl Scouts of Central Texas, will continue to focus on our main priority, cultivating the best leadership experience for girls across the Central Texas area." Girl Scouts of Central Texas
"One of the key parts of this is the program that people have known as a boy scouting program for years and years and years is remaining exactly the same. There is no difference in the awards, the rank advancement, the service projects than the girls will be doing."
Girls who participate can earn the highest ranking the organization has to offer, the opportunity to become an eagle scout. "We feel like we are as an organization the best resource for teaching young people, how to lead, how to be outstanding individuals and now we are expanding the opportunity to show even more youth these important lessons," Mead said.
For the first time, girls will join in the Boy Scouts March to the Texas State Capitol tomorrow beginning at 7 a.m. on the Ann Richards bridge.