Boy Scouts are dropping the word ‘boy’ from the name of flagship program

 

The Boy Scouts of America doubled down Wednesday on its quest to become the scouting organization of choice for boys and girls, announcing it will drop “Boy” from the name of its signature program.

Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh also unveiled the group’s new “Scout Me In” marketing campaign aimed at promoting inclusiveness.

 “As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible,” Saurbaugh said.

The umbrella organization will retain its name, Boy Scouts of America or BSA. The term Cub Scouts, for kids 7-10 years old, is gender neutral and also will go unchanged. Boy Scouts, which includes kids from 10 to 17, will become Scouts BSA in February.

Change has been coming quickly to the iconic if shrinking organization. In October, it announced it would provide programs for girls. Several months before that, the group announced it would accept and register transgender youths into its organization.

In 2015, it ended its ban on gay leaders.

Thousands of girls have become Cub Scouts in an early adopter program as the Boy Scouts of America begins welcoming girls into the organization in new ways. (April 23) AP

Cub Scouts will formally accept girls starting this summer. But Saurbaugh said more than 3,000 girls nationwide already enrolled in the BSA’s Early Adopter Program and are participating in Cub Scouts ahead of the full launch.

Allowing girls into the organization allows busy families to consolidate programs for their kids, BSA says. Most of the actual Cub packs and Scout troops, however, will be single gender.

“Cub Scouts is a lot of fun, and now it’s available to all kids,” said Stephen Medlicott, BSA marketing director. “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!’”

Boy Scouts of America claims almost 2.3 million members, down from 2.6 million five years ago. That includes Venturing and Sea Scouting programs, the latter allowing  membership up to 21 years of age. In its peak years, Boy Scout of America had more than 4 million participants.

Adults play a major role in the program: Almost 1 million adult volunteers serve as the backbone of the organization.

The program for the older boys and girls will largely be divided along gender lines but will cover similar activities. All participants can work toward the prestigious title of Eagle Scout.

It’s too early to determine what impact the aggressive BSA effort to recruit girls will have on the Girl Scouts of the USA, an organization best known for its lucrative annual cookie sales.

The organization, founded two years after Boy Scouts, currently claims a membership of about 1.8 million. And like BSA, it also has seen a membership decline. The Girl Scout organization responded to the latest news with a shrug. In a statement, the organization noted that the BSA announcement included no new, “girl specific” programming.

“Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls,” Sylvia Acevedo, CEO of Girl Scouts of the USA, said in a statement. “We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents”

The organization listed a series of efforts to “stay ahead of the pack of youth organizations.” That includes 23 new merit badges focusing on outdoors and STEM (science, technology, engineering and math).

Last month, the organization unveiled a LinkedIn network aimed tapping a major resource — the group’s 50 million alums. 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.”

source/read more: https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation-now/2018/05/02/boy-scouts-scouts-bsa-girls-joining-cub-scouts/572036002/

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