Do You Approve Of Boy Scouts Allowing Girls Into Certain Programs? NJ.com You are signed in as Edit Public Profile Sign Out Email newsletters The Star-Ledger The Times of Trenton The Jersey Journal South Jersey Times Hunterdon County Democrat >Do you approve of Boy Scouts allowing girls into certain programs? Updated on October 12, 2017 at 8:09 AMPosted on October 12, 2017 at 8:00 AM FILE - In this Monday, May 29, 2017 file photo, Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts salute during a Memorial Day ceremony in Linden, Mich. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 2017, the Boy Scouts of America Board of Directors unanimously approved to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program and to deliver a Scouting program for older girls that will enable them to advance and earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout. (Jake May/The Flint Journal - MLive.com via AP) By The Jersey Journal It's still unclear if yesterday's announcement by the Boy Scouts of America that they expanded their program to welcome young girls is a merger or a hostile takeover. Next year, girls will be allowed into Cub Scouts, a program for boys between 7 and 10 years old. The Dens, or small meeting groups, will be mono-gender -- all girls or all boys. The Packs, or umbrella group for the Dens, will be co-ed. Overnight camping will not be an issue for Cubs, as most Packs don't go camping and activities are more family friendly. A program for older girls is expected to start in two years and give them a path to the prestigious Eagle award. The Boy Scouts began drawing criticism several years ago when they banned openly gay youths and leaders from the organization. In the past several years, however, they've relaxed the rules and become more welcoming. In February, a Pack embraced Joe Maldonado of Secaucus as the organization's first transgender scout. Nonetheless, membership is hurting. At its peak in the 1970s, the BSA had about 5 million Scouts. Now it is down to about 2.3 million. Expanding eligibility beyond gender lines may provide a much-welcomed boost. "We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. We strive to bring what our organization does best -- developing character and leadership for young people -- to as many families and youth as possible as we help shape the next generation of leaders," chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America Michael Surbaugh said in a statement. The news, however, apparently caught the Girl Scouts by surprise. "We've had 105 years of supporting girls and a girl-only safe space," Lisa Margosian, chief customer officer for the Girl Scouts, told the New York Times. She added that the organization felt "blindsided" by the announcement. "So much of a girl's life is a life where she is in a coed environment, and we have so much research and data that suggests that girls really thrive in an environment where they can experiment, take risk and stretch themselves in the company of other girls." According to the Times, "In April, the Boy Scouts began exploring the possibility of opening more widely to girls after receiving inquiries from its members, a spokeswoman for the Boy Scouts, Effie Delimarkos, said. She said the group collected input from families over the summer and, on Wednesday, its directors unanimously voted to allow the expansion." Gender lines have blurred slightly in sports, where young women have had some - but very limited - success getting on traditionally boys' sports teams. But scouting isn't about physical capabilities. As the BSA says, it's about building leadership skills. The world has changed since the days when your father was a Boy Scout. But is this the right move? Vote in our informal, unscientific poll and tell us how you voted in the comments. >Bookmark >NJ.com/Opinion. Follow on Twitter >@NJ_Opinion and find NJ.com >Opinion on Facebook.