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Scouts BSA: How Boy Scouts Will Change After Inclusion Of Girls

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Boy Scouts will now be called Scouts BSA after the inclusion of girls into the program. A Boy Scout attends camp Maple Dell on July 31, 2015 outside Payson, Utah. Photo: George Frey/Getty Images

By Alex Perry, International Business Times - Business

After more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America will allow girls to be members. The organization announced Wednesday that the main Boy Scouts program will get a name change to reflect its newfound inclusivity, the Associated Press reported.

Goodbye Boy Scouts, hello Scouts BSA.

The Boy Scouts program, which attempts to build character in children ages 11 to 18 through outdoor activities, will change its name to Scouts BSA in February 2019. Girls can also join the Cub Scouts for younger kids, but that program will keep its name. As the parent organization, Boy Scouts of America will not change its name at this time.

“We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said, according to the Associated Press. “We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.”

Girls cannot actually join the newly named Scouts BSA program until 2019. According to the AP report, the inclusion of girls in the traditionally male-only scouting program will bring a host of changes to the organizational structure of the BSA.

Scout units will be divided by gender, so boys already in the program will theoretically keep doing activities mostly with other boys. Girls, on the other hand, will do typical BSA activities with other girls but will earn the same merit badges along the way. The Eagle Scout award for dedicated scouts should also be available for girls.

The announcement that BSA would accept girls into its ranks was met with negative reactions from Girl Scouts leaders last year. Critics argue the Girl Scouts already exist as a program for healthy youth development alongside fellow girls. Some Girl Scouts officials went as far as to claim BSA only became more inclusive to make up for losses caused by decreasing enrollment and having to pay off legal troubles, according to a Chicago Tribune report from 2017.

Both organizations have lost membership over the years, which the AP attributed to youth sports leagues and general societal changes. Girl Scouts leaders feel the BSA’s decision has hurt their membership numbers in recent months.

This decision continues a recent trend of evolution along social lines for BSA, whether done out of a sense of justice or to stop an endless array of lawsuits. In the past several years, BSA has begun allowing not only girls, but openly gay and transgender people to join the organization after years of controversy.

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U.S. - U.S. Daily News: Scouts BSA: How Boy Scouts Will Change After Inclusion Of Girls
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