Following the decisions in recent years to become more LGBT+ inclusive and to allow girls into their ranks, the Boy Scouts of America have announced they will be rebranding the Boy Scouts as Scouts BSA.
The Boy Scouts of America announced the change in a press release along with their newly inclusive slogan “Scout Me In,” stating that Scouts BSA is not the new name of the organization but the title of the inner group once known as the Boy Scouts.
Their press release also addressed girls being officially admitted into the Cub Scouts starting this summer. The Early Adopter Program for the Cub Scouts allows girls to join Cub Scout packs and has already seen initial successes, with 4,000 girls registered since 2017; the recent announcement that girls will be admitted into Scouts BSA, that number is expected to rise dramatically.
CEO of the West LA Scout Council Matthew Thornton thinks these changes are part and parcel with the overall attitude of the Scouts he knows.
“We’ve had girls in the program for the last fifty years,” said Thornton. “Nobody raised too much fuss about that.”
The move has not been without controversy, with the Mormon church announcing an end to their relationship with the organization after 100 years. In a statement released to the press, the Scouts responded by stating, “The Church has decided to pursue programming that helps it meet the needs of their increasingly global membership.”
A representative of the Scouts, who wished to remain anonymous, also expressed concern over the increased scrutiny toward the Boy Scouts.
“The real story is with the Girl Scouts fighting this,” he said. “[Inclusiveness] is great for us, but what about for them?”
The Girl Scouts themselves have expressed distress with the move, with Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo telling The National Catholic Register recently, “We are disappointed that Boy Scouts of America has chosen to open its program to girls in contravention of its charter, rather than focusing on the 90% of American boys not being served by Boy Scouts. We believe strongly in the importance of the safe, all-girl, girl-led and girl-friendly environment that Girl Scouts provides.”
Despite the controversy being courted by the change, Thornton remains hopeful for the future, noting that the U.S. remains one of the few industrialized nations that has not yet adopted co-ed scouting; now that the Boy Scouts are committed to adopting a more inclusive mindset, this won’t be the case for long.
“Every other major country,” he said. “There’s just scouts. We are sort of behind.”