The Boy Scouts will soon start accepting girls.

Leaders say they are responding to years of requests and it was time to make their leadership programs available to girls.

“I have no problem with it,” says former Cub and Webelos scout Bill Herold. “Maybe there is more to do. Maybe there are activities with the Boy Scouts the girls would like to do."

But the Girl Scouts say they were blindsided by the announcement and their data shows girls thrive when they take risks and experiment in the company of other girls.

“I really enjoyed being a Girl Scout,” says Lifetime Scout and Gold Award winner Abby Smith. “There is this comradery and girl power. I’m not quite sure how it is going to pan out. It could be really great or not the best experience for some girls.”

Girls will be accepted into the Cub Scouts in 2018. The Boy Scouts are developing a plan to accept older girls in 2019.

Accepting girls for the first time in their 100 year history may help increase the number of Boy Scouts. From a peak of over 5 million members in the 1970's there are now under two and a half million boys in scouting.