Getty ImagesAndy Lyons
The Boy Scouts are getting a new name. The Boy Scouts of America organization has announced that the name of its scouting program for older kids will soon be “Scouts BSA,” while the name of the organization will retain its current name.
The new names reflects a series of changes that have already been underway. The Boy Scouts of America announced in October 2017 that girls would be allowed into the Cub Scouts beginning in the fall of 2018, with an “early adopter” program to allow girls into councils that opted into integration to start the process as early as January 2018.
Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America, described the change this way in a press release:
“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. Starting in February 2019, the name of the older youth program will be ‘Scouts BSA,’ and the name of our iconic organization will continue to be Boy Scouts of America.”
According to a BSA FAQ on the Scouting program, the same curriculum will be offered to both boys and girls with no changes based on gender, but there will be separate boy and girl troops that can coordinate to varying degrees based on the decisions of their charter organization. BSA says that these different troops should have different scoutmasters, and that all patrols must be single-gender. Whether to have such troops meet at the same time and do joint ceremonies at the opening and closing of meetings, meanwhile, falls to the charter organization.
As the changes go into effect, charter organizations will have the decision of continuing an existing Boy Scouts program as Scouting for boys—essentially business as usual but with a gender-neutral name—with the option but not the requirement to add a program for girls as well.
The changes go into effect officially in February 2019.
By Eric Limer/PopularMechanics