Boy Scouts change name to welcome girls

Last Wednesday, the Boy Scouts of America announced that its iconic program will be renamed Scouts BSA and will be welcoming female participants starting in February 2019. The name shift is representative of “the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh stated. 

For 108 years, the organization has been a boys only activity, holding the classic title of Boy Scouts. Girls who wanted to be involved in a scout program joined the Girl Scouts program, only for girls.  Now, the Boy Scouts program wants to eliminate gender barriers with a new name and the elimination of single-gender acceptance. 

As of February, the only Boys Scout group to have an altered name will be the elder group: the namesake Boy Scouts(11+). While other divisions such as the Cub Scouts (K-5th grade) and the adventure program called Venturing (age 14-20) already allow and encourage girls to join, these programs do not provide the opportunity to reach the coveted title of Eagle Scout.  By opening the “Scouts BSA” to girls, females will now have the chance to reach this rank. Boys and girls enrolled in this program will be placed in separate troops. 

This major shift in the scouting program comes along with a new slogan: “Scout Me In”. The phrase is designed to be more appealing to both genders and to show the program’s more inclusive views. 

The acceptance of girls and the gender-neutral name change is raising controversy and concern among citizens, as well as among the Girl Scouts leadership. This all-girls program has advocated for single gender scout organizations and is worried that the opening for girls in the Boy Scout Program will cut down on Girl Scout members.