CHARLOTTE, N.C. – There are groundbreaking changes to the national Boy Scouts of America program, impacting families across the country as well as the Queen City.
For the first time ever, girls will be allowed to join the organization’s mainstream programs. The national board voted unanimously on the decision.
The scout executive at the Mecklenburg County Chapter tells NBC Charlotte they’ve been getting calls and questions about the decision just hours after it was announced.
Bottom line, he said, is the organization will now be able to serve the whole family.
“We as a national organization, a movement if you will, have an opportunity to serve the entire family,” said Mark Turner, scout executive of the Mecklenburg County Council of Boy Scouts of America.
The national board unanimously voted to include girls in the Cub Scout program, kindergarten to fifth grade, and the Boy Scout program, sixth grade to 18 years old.
“Our phone’s been ringing since one o clock this afternoon, exciting for some folks and challenging for others,” Turner said.
The changes raise fundamental questions about the organization for some people.
“Can a girl earn her Eagle Scout? The answer is yes,” Turner said.
Boy Scouts of America already has some programs that allow girls, but those programs aren’t as mainstream.
“Over the years, we’ve had families continue to ask and solicit the national organization and say, ‘Hey we want our girls to be involved in this leadership program also,'” Turner said.
It will be a new tradition for a century-old organization.
“What I’ve learned in my 53 years of living is there’s change always right around the corner,” says Turner.
The changes are expected to take effect fall 2018.