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Wednesday, 2 May 2018

with girls joining the ranks, Boy Scouts plan name change news

NEW YORK (AP) -- For 108 years, the Boy Scouts of America's flagship program has been known simply as the Boy Scouts. With girls soon entering the ranks, the group says that iconic name will change.
The Boy Scouts program is becoming Scouts BSA in February 2019 to reflect the decision to include young women, the Boy Scouts of America announced on Wednesday.
The organization's name will remain the same; only the program for older youth will change its name.
Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said many possibilities were considered during lengthy and "incredibly fun" deliberations before the new name was chosen.
"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."
The parent organization will remain the Boy Scouts of America, and the Cub Scouts — its program for 7- to 10-year-olds — will keep its title, as well.
But the Boy Scouts — the program for 11- to 17-year-olds — will now be Scouts BSA.
The organization has already started admitting girls into the Cub Scouts, and Scouts BSA begins accepting girls next year.
Surbaugh predicted that both boys and girls in Scouts BSA would refer to themselves simply as scouts, rather than adding "boy" or "girl" as a modifier.
The program for the older boys and girls will largely be divided along gender-lines, with single-sex units pursuing the same types of activities, earning the same array of merit badges and potentially having the same pathway to the coveted Eagle Scout award.
Surbaugh said that having separate units for boys and girls should alleviate concerns that girls joining the BSA for the first time might be at a disadvantage in seeking leadership opportunities.
The Cub Scouts program for younger children was the first to open up to girls. Thousands of girls have already joined under an early adopter program.
Other Boy Scouts programs for older youth — such as an outdoor adventure program called Venturing — were already open to girls. But those programs didn't offer girls the chance to attain the highest rank of Eagle Scout.
By next year, older girls will be able to join Scouts BSA and try to become Eagle Scouts, just like the boys. (Some female Cub Scouts are already thinking ahead. Tatum and Ian Weir, 10-year-old twins, hope to become the first brother and sister pair of Eagle Scouts, The Associated Press reports.)
The Boy Scouts say current youth participation is about 2.3 million, down from 2.6 million in 2013 and more than 4 million in peak years of the past.
The Girl Scouts say they have about 1.76 million girls and more than 780,000 adult members, down from just over 2 million youth members and about 800,000 adult members in 2014.
The overall impact of the BSA's policy change on Girl Scouts membership won't be known any time soon. But one regional leader, Fiona Cummings of Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, believes the BSA's decision to admit girls is among the factors that have shrunk her council's youth membership by more than 500 girls so far this year.
Now, the Boy Scouts have changed course, but it doesn't look as though Sydney Ireland will be able to fulfill her dream of becoming an Eagle Scout. By the time the Boy Scouts policy change to admit girls comes into effect next year, she will have aged out of the program.


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