Membership

Don’t Call ‘Em Boy Scouts: BSA Changes Name of Iconic Program

The Boy Scouts of America will keep its organizational name, but to reflect its admission of girls as well as boys, its namesake program will now be known as Scouting BSA.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is changing its signature program to allow for both boys and girls to take part—so it makes sense that, in that process, the organization is changing that program’s name.

The Boy Scouts—its long-running program for youngsters aged 11 to 17—will no longer be called the Boy Scouts. Instead, you can call ‘em Scouts BSA beginning in February. BSA announced the name change Wednesday after a long deliberation process.

Speaking to the Associated Press, BSA Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh called the name-change decision “incredibly fun,” even if it took a while.

“We wanted to land on something that evokes the past but also conveys the inclusive nature of the program going forward,” Surbaugh told the wire service. “We’re trying to find the right way to say we’re here for both young men and young women.”

Certainly, the name change is the big story here, but what’s also notable is what’s not changing: The name of the overall organization, along with Cub Scouts, the version of the program that targets young school-age children. Last year, BSA opened that organization up to girls, and Scouts BSA will do the same starting next year.

In terms of nomenclature, the organization will avoid separating out members as boys and girls, and will instead call everyone “scouts.”

BSA also announced a new marketing campaign this week called Scout Me In. That effort targets new members of both genders, while reinforcing key parts of the scouting program, inducing the Scout Oath and Scout Law, along with focusing on inclusion within the organization.

BSA’s efforts reflect a fairly dramatic transition for the organization in recent years. In 2013, the national organization voted to end a controversial policy that barred LGBT individuals from becoming scouts, then two years later ended the same policy for adult leaders. The decision to open up scouting to girls came last October.

(AmyKerk/iStock Editorial/Getty Images Plus)

Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a senior editor for Associations Now, a former newspaper guy, and a man who is dangerous when armed with a good pun. MORE

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