In a major announcement, the Boy Scouts of America says it will offer programs for the entire family.

By Melissa Willets
October 12, 2017

MAY 2, 2018 UPDATE:  Boy Scouts of America announced in a press release on Wednesday, May 2nd that “Scouts BSA” will be the new name of the program for older boys and girls, “to ensure all youth are welcome and can see themselves in scouting.” This announcement coincides with the organizations latest campaign, “Scout Me In” that features girls, as well as boys, in the Cub Scout program.

“Cub Scouts is a lot of fun, and now it’s available to all kids,” said Stephen Medlicott, National Marketing Group Director of Boy Scouts of America. “That’s why we love ‘Scout Me In’ – because it speaks to girls and boys and tells them, ‘This is for you. We want you to join!’”

According to the press release, more than 3,000 girls across the nation have already enrolled and are participating in Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA ahead of the full launch later this year.

“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible. That is why it is important that the name for our Scouting program for older youth remain consistent with the single name approach used for the Cub Scouts,” said Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the Boy Scouts of America. “Starting in February 2019, the name of the older youth program will be ‘Scouts BSA,’ and the name of our iconic organization will continue to be Boy Scouts of America.”

OCTOBER 12, 2017 REPORT: Boy Scouts of America will no longer just be for boys.

CNN reports that the more than 100-year-old organization has voted to welcome girls into its Cub Scout program and to allow older girls to pursue a path to Eagle Scouthood.

In a statement, the BSA said, "The historic decision comes after years of receiving requests from families and girls. [T]he organization evaluated the results of numerous research efforts, gaining input from current members and leaders, as well as parents and girls who've never been involved in Scouting—to understand how to offer families an important additional choice in meeting the character development needs of all their children."

Boy Scouts Welcome Girls
Credit: Joseph Sohm/Shutterstock

It's an interesting move after the highly publicized tension between the Boy and Girl Scouts. Especially given the timing of the announcement on International Day of the Girl. Just recently, the GSA issued a terse statement chiding the BSA for going after its female recruits. Kathy Hopinkah Hannan, the president of the G.S.A., had written a letter to her counterpart Randall Stephenson at the B.S.A., which said, in part, "I formally request that your organization stay focused on serving the 90 percent of American boys not currently participating in Boy Scouts."

It seems the boys didn't listen.

In response, the Girl Scouts tweeted out a strong message that talks up its strengths versus the Boy Scouts.

The GSA also pointed to its prestigious Gold Award in a second tweet, noting it's only available to Girl Scouts.

It's worth noting that the decision to welcome girls into its ranks doesn't mean the BSA is now going to be completely inclusive. In a statement the organization explained, "Cub Scout dens will be single-gender—all boys or all girls." Which seems to maybe, possibly defeat the purpose of taking gender out of the membership equation. But that's just my take.

In the end, I agree with the part of the BSA's statement that says, "Families today are busier and more diverse than ever. Most are dual-earners and there are more single-parent households than ever before, making convenient programs that serve the whole family more appealing."

Less driving and coordinating of schedules? I'm on board.

Find out more about the new programs offered to all family members here.

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Melissa Willets is a writer, mom and coffee devotee. Find her on Facebook where she chronicles her life momming under the influence. Of yoga.


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