The 118-year-old organization, Boy Scouts of America has announced that they are changing the name of the group to be more welcoming to all youth.
Early last year, the Boy Scouts group announced that they would start letting girls into their organization, and in 2019 would allow them to become Eagle Scouts.
This morning, the Boy Scouts of America released a statement explaining the name change, citing a campaign called “Scout Me In” as their main reason.
The “Scout Me In” program was the first campaign from the organization which featured girls in their promotional and marketing items. “The Scout Me In campaign celebrates the BSA’s expansion to serve families and welcome girls and boys into Scouting in communities across the country,” the group said through a statement.
“It reinforces that the mission and core values in the Scout Oath and Scout Law are welcoming, inclusive and foundational for both young men and women.”
The name change was explained by Michael Surbaugh, who is the Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive. He explained the switch would take place in February 2019, but would only apply to Boy Scouts, and not to the Cub Scouts branch. Cub Scouts serves elementary-aged students, while Boy Scouts are geared towards middle schoolers and high schoolers.
Surbaugh explained that renaming the organization is important that the name is only a single name, like the Cub Scouts program.
“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible. That is why it is important that the name for our Scouting program for older youth remain consistent with the single name approach used for the Cub Scouts,” Surbaugh said.
This is not the first step the Boy Scouts have taken in a progressive, more ‘inclusive’ direction. They ended their ban on openly gay scout leaders, and also allow girls who identify as boys to join the Scouts.
As you can imagine, not everyone is pleased with the changes the organization is making. Many churches have stopped sponsoring scout troops over the changes, objecting to the national changes being made.
Those opposed to the changes, have even created their own version of Boy Scouts, and encourage those to join who believe in the traditional Boy Scouts organization. Trail Life USA was created in 2014, labeling themselves as an “unapologetically biblical” alternative to the new Boy Scouts of America.
Girl Scouts of America are also not happy with the changes the Boy Scouts are making.
“The benefit of the single-gender environment has been well-documented by educators, scholars, other girl- and youth-serving organizations, and Girl Scouts and their families,” stated the group last year.
“Girl Scouts offers a one-of-a-kind experience for girls with a program tailored specifically to their unique developmental needs.”