By Olivia Bahou
Oct 11, 2017 @ 2:00 pm

The Boy Scouts of America announced a historic change on Wednesday: The organization is officially admitting girls into the Cub Scout ranks.

Beginning in 2018, girls will be able to join Cub Scout units (called dens). However, each den will be limited to a single gender. And from 2019 the organization will offer a program for older girls to reach the rank of Eagle Scout.

The board of directors on Wednesday voted unanimously in favor of the change, which comes after “years of receiving requests from families and girls,” according to a statement.

“We believe it is critical to evolve how our programs meet the needs of families interested in positive and lifelong experiences for their children. 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,” BSA Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said.

George Frey/Getty Images

Larger “packs”—which gather dens usually on a monthly basis—can choose to include only all-boy dens, just all-girl dens, a mix of boy and girl dens.

RELATED: These Girl Scouts Dressed as Female Icons Are the Best Thing You'll See Today

“This unique approach allows the organization to maintain the integrity of the single-gender model while also meeting the needs of today’s families,” the BSA said.

The Boy Scouts of America, founded in 1910, have offered co-ed activities since 1971 through the exploring and venturing programs.