The Boy Scouts of America is expanding its programs to welcome girls from Cub Scouts to Eagle Scouts into the organization. Doug Callahan with the Boy Scouts Great Rivers Council in Columbia tells KSSZ radio in Columbia that the new policy will begin next year. He says the decision is customer-driven.

Photo courtesy of Great Rivers Council’s Facebook page

“I think it’s a convenience factor, where a parent instead of having to drive four different places, if they can find one program where they can take both of their kids to, that works out easier for them,” says Callahan.

He says for years, parents have been requesting to let girls join.

“We’ve had a lot of requests from parents of our youth members that they’d like to have a program that serves both their sons and their daughters,” says Callahan. “Also in some of our harder to serve minorities, like the Hispanic community and the Asian community, they very much have a sense of family. They’re looking for a program that takes care of the whole family.”

Cub Scout dens will be single-gender, either all-boys or all-girls.

Beginning in 2019, older girls can become Eagle Scouts.

Brad Tregnago of Missourinet affiliate KSSZ contributed to this story.