12 October, 2017
This is What's Trending Today....
The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) has made a lot of change in recent years.
The youth organization, which formed in 1910, agreed in 2015 to accept openly gay members, as well as gay adult volunteers.
It also now lets transgender boys join.
And this week, it announced that girls will soon be permitted to join the traditionally male organization.
The BSA says it will admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting in 2018. That group is for younger children. It also announced plans to create a new program for older girls based on the Boy Scout curriculum.
The Girl Scouts of the USA is another of the country's major scouting organizations. It had tried to dissuade the Boy Scouts from making the changes.
"Girl Scouts is, and will remain, the scouting program that truly benefits U.S. girls by providing a safe space for them to learn and lead," the Girl Scouts said in a statement.
Girl Scouts officials have also suggested the move was driven partly by the BSA's need to raise more money. They say some of the group's financial problems come from past settlements it had to pay in sex-abuse cases.
Membership numbers for both groups have been falling in recent years.
Under the new plan, smaller Cub Scout groups will be either all-boys or all-girls. Larger Cub Scout groups will have the choice to remain single gender or welcome both boys and girls.
The new program for older girls is expected to start in 2019. It will let girls earn the same Eagle Scout rank that has been reached by young men who have gone on to be astronauts, senators and admirals. It is the highest level of scouting in the Boy Scouts.
The announcement made the Boy Scouts a trending topic on Twitter, Facebook and Google.
Zach Wahls is an Eagle Scout. He played an active role in pressuring the BSA to end its ban on gay members.
Wahls wrote on Twitter about the BSA's most recent move. "So proud of this organization for doing the right thing. Yet another step forward for [this] American icon."
But, many on social media did not support the move, including another Eagle Scout, Charlie Kirk. He tweeted, "I am an Eagle Scout. Only boys should be in Boy Scouts. Only girls should be in Girl Scouts. Don't change things that work."
Many scouting organizations in other countries already permit both girls and boys. They use gender-free names, such as Scouts Canada. But for now, the Boy Scout name will remain unchanged, BSA officials say.
Public opinion studies carried out by the Boy Scouts showed strong support for the changes among parents not currently connected to the Scouts, including Hispanic and Asian families that the group has been trying to attract.
Unlike the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts have kept its girls-only status for all its programs. The empowerment of girls remains at the center of its mission.
Andrea Bastiani Archibald is a psychologist who helps with the development of the Girl Scouts' programming.
She said, "We know that girls learn [best] in an all-girl, girl-led environment."
And that's What's Trending Today....
I'm Caty Weaver.
The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English, with additional content. Hai Do was the editor.
Do you have similar organizations in your country? What do you think about the Boy Scouts' decision to welcome girls into their groups? We want to hear from you. Write to us in the comments section.
Words in This Story
transgender - adj. of or relating to people who feel that their true nature does not match their sex at birth
curriculum - n. the courses that are taught by a school, college, etc.
gender - n. the state of being male or female
status - n. the position or rank of someone or something when compared to others in a society, organization, group, etc.