The Boy Scouts of America announced changes Wednesday to its flagship program, which include dropping the word “boy” from its name.
The organization, headquartered near Dallas, will retain the Boy Scouts name — but the program for members aged 10 to 17 will be called “Scouts USA” beginning next February.
A campaign to recruit members to its already gender-neutral Cub Scout program, for those ages seven to 10, will be called “Scout Me In.” The change comes as the organization seeks to establish itself as a program for boys and girls in the United States.
In a statement Wednesday, BSA stressed an interest in making scouting a family endeavor.
“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible,” CEO Michael Surbaugh said.
While most of the new programs will be divided along gender lines, the Girl Scouts of America opposes the changes. The former collaborative relationship between the two organizations has become tense.
Boy Scouts of America to accept girls in some programs
“Our experiences are created for and with girls,” said Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts’ Family Engagement Officer. “I think that’s important when we consider what appeals to them and what benefits them most.”
The Girl Scouts are relying on a LinkedIn campaign, aimed at 50 million former Girl Scouts, for recruitment. The goal of the network is “to support female advancement in the workforce and help prepare girls for a lifetime of leadership and career success.”
BSA had previously announced girls are welcome to join the Cub Scouts, beginning this summer. In 2015, it ended a ban on gay Scout leaders and in 2016 announced programs to include girls and transgender applicants.
The organization claims 2.3 million members, including nearly one million adult volunteers. It had 2.6 million members five years ago, down from its peak of four million.
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