Boy Scouts welcoming girls

NEW YORK (AP) - In a historic change, the Boy Scouts announced plans to admit girls into the Cub Scouts starting next year and to establish a new program for older girls using the same curriculum as the Boy Scouts.

Under the plan announced Wednesday, Cub Scout dens - the smallest unit - will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls. The larger Cub Scout packs will have the option to welcome both genders if they choose.

The program for older girls is expected to start in 2019 and will enable girls to earn the coveted rank of Eagle Scout.

In the meantime, the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio released the following statement:

"Girl Scouts is, and will remain, the scouting program that truly benefits U.S. girls by providing a safe space for them to lead and learn."

Boy Scout leaders say the change is needed to provide more options for parents. The Girl Scouts organization has criticized the initiative, saying it strains the century-old bond between the two groups.