The Boy Scouts will change their name to “Scouts BSA” to reflect the fact that more and more girls are now joining their ranks, NBC News is reporting.
Officially, the Boy Scouts of America is an umbrella organization with multiple programs under its purview (more on that in a few paragraphs), but its flagship program has always been the Boy Scouts, the life-skills and social program that has been around for over a century. It’s that particular program that’s getting a name change. The organization at large and its other programs will retain the same names, for now.
For a while now, the BSA’s junior program, Cub Scouts, has been admitting girls. And in the coming years, those girls will be old enough to qualify for membership in the Boy Scouts. So Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said that a name change was in order.
“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.”
For now, girls will not yet be officially allowed to become Scouts. But according to a blog post on the organization’s website, that will change beginning at some point in 2019.
“A program for girls age 11 to 17 will be announced in the coming year with a projected introduction in 2019.”
— The Daily Caller (@DailyCaller) May 2, 2018
In case you are concerned that the name change and the inclusion of girls mean that Scout camping trips will now include mixed-sex sleepovers, don’t worry. The programs will still be segregated along gender lines, says the organization.
“Education experts have evaluated program content and confirmed the relevancy of the program for young women.”
The curriculum for both genders will remain the same, as will the requirements for Eagle Scout, the organization’s highest rank. Uniforms will also be the same for both sexes, although there will be differences in style and fit.
Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts of America’s other programs will retain their current names. Cub Scouts will still be Cub Scouts, though inclusive of both genders. Similarly, the sports- and adventure-based program Varsity Scouts, the academic and social Venturing program, the seafaring Sea Scouts program, and the honors program Order of the Arrow will all retain their names while remaining inclusive of both genders.
Meanwhile, Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of the Girl Scouts, says that her organization will continue to recruit young ladies and hopes that Girl Scouts will be the “first choice” for girls thinking about scouting.