The Boy Scouts of America, an organization that was founded more than 100 years ago, is changing the name of its older youth program to “Scouts BSA” rather than Boy Scouts, following a decision last year to allow girls into the program, Boy Scouts of America announced in a press release.
The name change comes at the same time the organization changes its campaign slogan to “Scout Me In.”
The organization’s name, Boy Scouts of America, will retain its name, but the program for older youth will change its name in February 2019.
“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible. 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,” said Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “Starting in February 2019, the name of the older youth program will be ‘Scouts BSA,’ and the name of our iconic organization will continue to be Boy Scouts of America.”
The Cub Scouts program for children up to 10 years old is already open to girls. More than 3,000 girls nationwide are enrolled in the BSA’s Early Adopter Program.
“Cub Scouts is a lot of fun, and now it’s available to all kids,” said Stephen Medlicott, National Marketing Group Director of Boy Scouts of America. “That’s why we love ‘Scout Me In’ – because it speaks to girls and boys and tells them, ‘This is for you. We want you to join!’”
Currently, there are nearly 2.3 million members in BSA, down from roughly 2.6 million just five years ago.
Boys and girls in the older youth program will still be largely separated along gender lines as they strive for the Eagle Scout award.
The Girl Scouts of America have openly been opposed to BSA’s decision to allow girls in their program.
“Our experiences are created for and with girls,” said Andrea Bastiani Archibald, the Girl Scouts’ Chief Girl and Family Engagement Officer. “I think that’s important when we consider what appeals to them and what benefits them most.”
The decision to include girls in their program appears to partially be a business decision, as the organization faces declining membership numbers.