The century-old Boy Scouts of America organization announced that they’ll be removing the word “Boy” from the scout program.
The new directive is a push by the organization to be more inclusive allowing girls to join the program as early as February of 2019.
The New York Times reported on the story indicating that the organization’s nationally recognized program will now be referred to as Scouts BSA.
The BSA is an acronym for the umbrella company name of the organization, Boy Scouts of America. Not to confuse you, Scouts BSA is the Boy Scouts of America organization’s tween/teen scout program that accepts children from the age of 11 to 17 years old.
“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in scouting in every way possible,” Michael Surbaugh, the chief executive of the Boy Scouts of America, an umbrella organization that will retain its name, said in a statement. “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.”
Boy Scouts of America’s decision to allow girls into its program has been a long time coming. But change has been swirling around the organization for some time now. In 2013, the organization started accepting openly gay members. Then in 2015, they began to allow gay males in scout leader roles.
By January 2017, they announced that the organization would start welcoming transgender members. And in the summer of 2017, the group will start enrolling girls into their Cub Scout program, which was once solely for young boys between the age of 7 and 10. The New York Times reported that the Cub Scouts program has already more than 3,000 girls enrolled.
However, not everyone is particularly happy about the organization’s new directive. The Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. kept hushed about the Boy Scouts of America’s most recent program name change and the mention that they will be allowing girls into the Scouts BSA program but they did have some harsh words for the Boy Scouts of America in the summer of 2017.
“I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts,” Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the president of the Girl Scouts, wrote at the time to her counterpart, Randall Stephenson of the Boy Scouts.
In October, Girl Scouts leaders said they felt “blindsided” by the announcement that the Boy Scouts of America was officially opening its doors to girls.
But in a statement on Wednesday, Sylvia Acevedo, the chief executive of the Girl Scouts, did not stoke the flames. Instead she emphasized that the Girl Scouts offered girls the chance to be involved in activities traditionally associated with the Boy Scouts, like outdoor activities, and prepared girls for careers in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, math), in which there is a large gender gap.
We can only hope that this all works out for all parties involved because inclusivity and the integration of the sexes have proven time and time again to be beneficial to both genders, especially at a young and impressionable age.