Irving-based Boy Scouts of America officially became Scouts BSA Friday morning and opened membership to girls.
The Boy Scouts of America had included girls in its affiliated programs, like Venture Scouts, for decades. Now, girls will be allowed to join the main scouting program and have the opportunity to pursue the rank of Eagle Scout.
The 100-year history of the Longhorn Council has been full of adventure for boys in North Texas.
10-year-old Emily Boisson is among the first generation shaping how the next century of the Boy Scouts of America will look.
“I see my brother doing it, and it's really cool,” she said.
“She's been tagging along and doing those things. Just not in a formal setting,” said Emily’s mom, Lydia Boisson. “So we were real excited when we heard that she could join.”
Boy Scouts of America announced in 2017 that it would soon allow girls in its ranks. Girls have already been able to join as Cub Scouts, a program for younger kids. But now, it's older youth program is simply called Scouts BSA and now features all-girl troops.
“Our mission is to instill values in young people so they can make choices throughout their lifetime,” said Longhorn Council Scout Executive John Coyle. “So the girls coming into the program are going to have the opportunity we've given boys for well over hundred years.”
Coyle says there's already 37 girl troops within its region that spans North and Central Texas. The number is only expected to grow.
“Part of scouting is that you make lifelong friends,” he said. “And this may the start of a lifelong friendship for a few people.”
After 100 years of scouting, the torch is passing to a new group of scouts.
“What we're looking for is just the skills and the comraderies and the friendship as well as the lifelong skills,” Lydia said.
Girl Scouts of the USA has criticized the effort, suggesting it's a move to bring in more membership and revenue at their expense. They insist they still have the best programming for girls. It's sued Boy Scouts over the name change to Scouts BSA.
Scouts BSA officials say they have different programming that they hope attracts families both with boys and girls.