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The Girl Scouts blasted the Boy Scouts' decision to accept girls


Updated October 12, 2017 10:54 AM EDT

The Girl Scouts of the USA on Thursday rebuked the Boy Scouts of America's decision to allow girls to join their organization.

"The Boy Scouts' house is on fire," Girl Scouts told ABC News in a statement. "Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA's senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls."

The Girl Scouts' statement comes a day after the Boys Scouts of America announced that it will allow girls to join the ranks of its Cub Scouts program.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on Wednesday made a historic change by announcing it plans on permitting girls in some of its programs.

The Boy Scouts will let girls into the Cub Scouts starting in 2018, with the program’s smallest unit – dens – remaining single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls.

Larger Cub Scout packs, meanwhile, will have the option of remaining single gender or featuring both boys and girls.

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A program for older girls is also expected to start in 2019 and will enable them to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout rank.

The BSA’s board of directors – which approved the changes unanimously at the organization’s headquarters in Texas – cited the need for more options for parents in explaining the move.

“The values of Scouting – trustworthy, loyal, helpful, king, brave and reverent, for example – are important for both young men and women,” said Michael Surbaugh, the BSA’s chief Scout executive.

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“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children,” he added.

“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.”

Some Twitter users on Wednesday praised the BSA’s decision, while other people on the social media platform were more critical.

The BSA was founded in 1910 and has experienced a sharp drop in membership in recent years due to factors including busy family schedules and competition from youth sports leagues.

The group says current youth participation is roughly 2.35 million people, down from 2.6 million in 2013 and more than 4 million in the peak years of the past.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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