For 108 years, the Boy Scouts of America's flagship program has been known simply as the Boy Scouts. With girls soon entering the ranks, the group announced a new name: Scouts BSA. The change will take effect next February, reports the AP. Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said many possibilities were considered during lengthy and "incredibly fun" deliberations over the name for the program for 11- to 17-year-olds. "We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward," he said. The parent organization will remain the Boy Scouts of America, and the Cub Scouts—its program for 7- to 10-year-olds—will keep its title as well. The organization has already started admitting girls into the Cub Scouts, and Scouts BSA begins accepting girls next year. So far, more than 3,000 girls have joined roughly 170 Cub Scout packs.
Scouts BSA will largely be divided along gender lines, with single-sex units pursuing the same activities, earning the same merit badges, and having the same pathway to the coveted Eagle Scout award. So who's not happy? The Girl Scouts. "Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls," says CEO Sylvia Acevedo. One regional leader, Fiona Cummings of Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, believes the BSA's decision to admit girls is among the factors that have shrunk her council's membership by more than 500 girls so far this year. She said relations with the Boy Scouts used to be collaborative and now are "very chilly." Surbaugh said BSA's national leadership respects the Girl Scouts program and hopes both organizations can gain strength. "If the best fit for your girl is the Girl Scouts, that's fantastic," he said. "If it's not them, it might be us."
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