Historic change: Boy Scouts to admit girls, allow them to earn Eagle Scout rank

PAYSON, UT - JULY 31: Boy Scouts work on a wood project at camp Maple Dell on July 31, 2015 outside Payson, Utah. The Mormon Church is considering pulling out of its 102 year old relationship with the Boy Scouts after the Boy Scouts changed it's policy on allowing gay leaders in the organization. Over 99% of the Boy Scout troops in Utah are sponsored by the Mormon Church. (Photo by George Frey/Getty Images)

The Boy Scouts of America’s board of directors has unanimously agreed to welcome girls into the Cub Scout program and to forge a path for older girls to pursue and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout, the organization said Wednesday.

“The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls, the organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who’ve never been involved in Scouting — to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children,” Boy Scouts of America said in a statement Wednesday.

BSA said the move is also aimed at helping busy families consolidate programs for their children.

“Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing,” the BSA statement said.

Boy Scouts of America has about 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 7 and 21 and about 960,000 volunteers in the United States and its territories.