The historic Boy Scouts of America is making some changes to the organization following the inclusion of girls into the program.
Starting in February 2019, the name of the program for middle school and high school-aged youth will be dubbed “Scouts BSA.”
“The Boy Scouts of America has taken the Boy Scout program, which most people recognize when they think of boy scouts, little guys in khaki and green pants, that program is expanding in 2019 to where there will be a parallel program that will be girl only,” Capitol Area Council director of marketing and public relations for Boy Scouts of America, Charles Mead, said.
“Those youth, plus the new program for girls debuting in 2019, will now be called ‘Scouts,” Mead added. “They will be part of ‘Scout Troops.'”
“We know from a lot of from families over time that they have daughters who would in fact like to benefit from our program and like to take part in the high adventure opportunities we like to offer to earn the rank of Eagle Scout,” Mead mentioned.
Mead said the original scout programs will remain the same in terms of objectives, merit badges, requirements and values. He argues that men and women work together in the workplace, in politics, and in corporate America, so women should have the same laedership training and character development that the organization has offered boys for decades.
“From our way of thinking, the important part here is not what’s on the uniform as far as the name, it’s the kids inside of the uniform, how we serve them best and their families,” Mead explained.
Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh said in a statement the name change comes as the Irving, Texas-based organization enters a “new era.” The group previously announced girls would be invited to participate.
“It is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible,” Surbaugh said. “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.”
Jim Hampton was a boy scout for nearly a decade. He said his experience was a “lof ot skills building.”
“Boy Scouts really resonates with a lot of people because so many people have had experiences with it, and the name change is a big brand change,” Hampton said.
“Nobody likes it when something that they love and hold so close to themselves has a big transition like this, but really at the end of the day it’s about providing more experiences to more people.”
The overall organization will be made up of Cub Scouts, Scouts, STEM Scouts, Venturers, Sea Scouts, and Explorers. Cub Scout troops (K-5) may be boys only, girls only, or co-ed. The Scouts BSA program will include boys only and girls only troops of middle school and high school children. Venturers, Sea Scouts, STEM Scouts, and Explorers, are all co-ed for people ages 14-18.
The organization also announced a ‘Scout Me In‘ campaign that invites all kids to participate in Cub Scouts character-building opportunities.
This report has been updated throughout.