The Boy Scouts aren’t the Boys Scouts anymore.
The Boy Scouts of America recently announced that it will drop the “Boy” part of the name from its program for kids ages 10-17 in order to make it more inclusive to women. The Girl Scouts aren’t impressed. They said that although the newly named Scouts BSA is including girls, there are still no specific programs for girls.
Girl Scouts leaders are hoping that girls still will join with them instead of Scouts BSA or Cub Scouts, which is for kids ages 7-10.
Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, said in a statement:
“Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls. We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents.”
Leaders with the Boy Scouts of America insist that they are just trying to make the program more inclusive and that they are not trying to take anything away from other similar organizations.
Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh explained:
“We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward. We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.”
Cub Scouts will start allowing girls to join this summer, but there will be separate dens and packs for them.
The group also launched a marketing campaign called Scout Me In to tell people about the change. Stephen Medlicott, BSA marketing director, said:
“Cub Scouts is a lot of fun, and now it’s available to all kids, That’s why we love Scout Me In — because it speaks to girls and boys and tells them, ‘This is for you. We want you to join!’”
While some people see the inclusion of girls as a great thing, not everyone is onboard.
The Girl Scout troops feel that is could be taking members from their organization. Fiona Cummings of Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois said:
“How do you manage these strategic tensions? We both need to increase our membership numbers.”
The Mormons are also not happy about the changes.
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints recently decided to part ways with Boy Scouts. Leaders released a statement saying:
“The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Boy Scouts of America have been partners for more than 100 years. The Scouting program has benefited hundreds of thousands of Latter-day Saint boys and young men, and BSA has also been greatly benefited in the process. We jointly express our gratitude to the thousands of Scout leaders and volunteers who have selflessly served over the years in Church-sponsored Scouting units, including local BSA districts and councils.
“In this century of shared experience, the Church has grown from a U.S.-centered institution to a worldwide organization, with a majority of its membership living outside the United States. That trend is accelerating. The Church has increasingly felt the need to create and implement a uniform youth leadership and development program that serves its members globally. In so doing, it will be necessary for the Church to discontinue its role as a chartered partner with BSA.
“We have jointly determined that, effective on December 31, 2019, the Church will conclude its relationship as a chartered organization with all Scouting programs around the world. Until that date, to allow for an orderly transition, the intention of the Church is to remain a fully engaged partner in Scouting for boys and young men ages 8–13 and encourages all youth, families, and leaders to continue their active participation and financial support.
“While the Church will no longer be a chartered partner of BSA or sponsor Scouting units after December 31, 2019, it continues to support the goals and values reflected in the Scout Oath and Scout Law and expresses its profound desire for Scouting’s continuing and growing success in the years ahead.”
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It’s too early to tell what kind of effects will come from the new program or how it will change other programs.
Everyone is hoping for the best, and with the BSA’s reputation of such a strong organization, it will likely work out any issues that arise pretty quickly.
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