Boy Scouts to Change Name as Girls Join

After 108 years as the “Boy Scouts,” the youth life skills program will update its moniker to reflect its co-gender initiative.

Cub Scouts from the 1920s
Photo credit: Paul Townsend

Following “incredibly fun” deliberations, the Boy Scouts of America settled on a new name for its iconic program for 11- to 17-year-olds. In an announcement today, the parent organization, which will remain Boy Scouts of America, unveiled the new title for Boy Scouts: Scouts BSA.

The move follows a decision last year to open Cub Scout ranks to girls. Dubbed the “Scout Me In” initiative, more than 3,000 7- to 10-year-old girls have already signed up to join the roughly 170 Scout Packs that will pilot the phase-in.

But the new policy will also bring the century-old Boy Scouts program in line with the inclusive ethic. The new Scouts BSA will officially begin accepting girls next year, with the name change taking effect February 2019. The Cub Scouts, meanwhile, will keep its name.

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Boy Scouts Changes Name

Within the new Scouts BSA program, boys and girls will learn the same skills and work toward the same badges. But they will do so separately in same-sex units.

Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said the gender division within Scouts BSA addresses concerns young women would be at a “disadvantage in seeking leadership opportunities,” the Associated Press reported.

But, Surbaugh also said he expects the new name will help bring boys and girls together as “Scouts,” rather than calling themselves “Boy Scouts” or “Girl Scouts.”

“We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” he said. “We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.”

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Adam Ruggiero is an all-sport activity junkie - from biking, running, and (not enough) surfing, to ball sports, camping, and cattle farming. If it's outside, it's worth doing. Adam graduated from the University of Minnesota with a BA in journalism. Likes: unique beer, dogs, stories. Like nots: neckties, escalators, manicured lawns.
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