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Girls up to age 17 can officially join the Boy Scouts starting today and they're signing up
Heidi Gutman/ABC via Getty Images

Girls up to age 17 can officially join the Boy Scouts starting today and they're signing up

But not everyone is happy

The Boy Scouts of America began accepting girls into its organization starting Friday, and they are taking the organization up on the offer. But not everyone is thrilled with the idea.

What is happening?

The Boy Scouts, now known as Scouts BSA, is welcoming both girls and boys between the ages of 11 and 17. Under a new policy first introduced in 2017, the change was hailed as a way to allow girls to become Eagle Scouts, the organization's highest rank that can garner academic and professional recognition, KJRH-TV reported.

In fact, the first group of female Eagle Scouts will be recognized in 2020.

The program for younger kids, Cub Scouts, began welcoming girls since last year, and since then, more than 77,000 girls have joined, CNN reported.

Meanwhile, girls are signing up.

In Costa Mesa, California, for example, 22 girls have formed an all-girl Boy Scout Troop, according to CNN.

"I could not be more excited for what this means for the next generation of leaders in our nation," Chief Scout Executive Michael B. Surbaugh said in a statement to CNN.

"Through Scouts BSA, more young people than ever before — young women and men — will get to experience the benefits of camaraderie, confidence, resilience, trustworthiness, courage and kindness through a time-tested program that has been proven to build character and leadership."

In addition, the Boy Scouts' North Florida Council has 14 new girls-only troops across the 17 counties it covers, WJXT-TV reported. That includes Troop 291 in Ponte Vedra Beach.

"I learned about the opportunity to join Boy Scouts of America from my mother, and I am so glad I will be able to take part in the high adventure the Scouts BSA program offers," Marina Mitchell, who plans to become a scout with Troop 291, told the TV station. "My little brother started in Cub Scouts and is now a Boy Scout. Now I can join the same organization and earn my Eagle Scout rank, which I am really looking forward to."

Kaylee Russell also told WJXT that she has wanted to join for a long time.

"My brother was always a Boy Scout and in Cub Scouts," said Russell. "And they would always include me and I would do things like archery, swimming, shooting rifles. So much. And that encouraged me that I wanted to become a scout myself."

Any opposition?

The new policy is criticized as being over-the-top in political correctness.

In a letter first obtained by BuzzFeed, GSUSA President Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, suggested that BSA is including girls to boost its enrollment numbers.

GSUSA has also sued the BSA in a lawsuit that claims the organization name change from"Boy Scouts" to "Scouts BSA"is a trademark infringement, according to published reports.

GSUSA also said Friday that the Boy Scouts position does not "change the position of Girl Scouts of the USA or our mission to serve girls, and girls only, and to foster their amazing leadership potential," CNN reported.

"We remain steadfast in our knowledge that Girl Scouts is the world's single best leadership development program for girls," the organization stated.

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