Boy Scouts of America announce New Gender-Neutral Name

By: Madison Clabough

With girls soon joining its ranks, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) on Wednesday announced a new name for its Scouting program: Scouts BSA. The name change will take effect in February 2019.

The 108-year-old organization started admitting girls to its Cub Scouts program for 7- to 10-year-olds in January, while its Boy Scouts program for 11- to 17-year-olds will begin accepting girls next year and will be called Scouts BSA. Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh said many possibilities were considered during lengthy and "incredibly fun" deliberations before the new name was chosen. He goes on to say this, "We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward; we're trying to find the right way to say we're here for both young men and young women." 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.

But the Boy Scouts -- the program for 11- to 17-year-olds -- will now be Scouts BSA.The organization has already started admitting girls into the Cub Scouts, and Scouts BSA begins accepting girls next year. Surbaugh predicted that both boys and girls in Scouts BSA would refer to themselves simply as scouts, rather than adding "boy" or "girl" as a modifier.

The program for the older boys and girls will largely be divided along gender-lines, with single-sex units pursuing the same types of activities, earning the same array of merit badges and potentially having the same pathway to the coveted Eagle Scout award.

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