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Boy Scouts Unveils Historic Name Change As Girls Join Youth Programs

The official name change will go into effect in February.

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is changing one of its iconic program’s names after entering a new era of inclusion for both boys and girls.

The 108-year-old organization announced Wednesday that it will drop the word “Boy” from its youth “Boy Scouts” program, turning it into “Scouts BSA” instead.

The official name change will go into effect in February. Alongside the shift, the organization announced a new “Scout Me In” campaign, which the organization says will underscore inclusiveness and welcoming youth from all backgrounds.

“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible,” said Michael Surbaugh, Chief Scout Executive of the BSA, in a statement.

In 2015, the BSA lifted a long-time ban on gay adults serving as employees or volunteers within the organization. A year earlier, it lifted a ban on gay youth.

Boy Scouts of America, the youth programs’ umbrella organization, will retain its current name, as will its program for younger children, Cub Scouts.

Other BSA programs include Venturing and Sea Scouting, which are coed adventure programs. A separate BSA affiliate Exploring program provides educational resources and knowledge on career fields and networking to both men and women.

The "Boy Scouts" program will officially change to "Scouts BSA" come February.
The "Boy Scouts" program will officially change to "Scouts BSA" come February.

More than 3,000 girls have also enrolled in the BSA’s Early Adopter Program since the organization announced in October that it would welcome girls, the BSA said. Girls have also started joining the younger Cub Scouts program, which began welcoming girls this year.

For parents or girls wanting to enroll in an all-female scouting unit, there is still the Girl Scouts of the USA, which has opposed the BSA’s all-gender change and has since taken on a more aggressive recruiting stance.

“Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls,” Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo told The Associated Press. “We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents who want to provide their girls opportunities to build new skills ... and grow into happy, successful, civically engaged adults.”

CORRECTION: A previous version of this story misstated the name of the Girl Scouts of the USA as the Girl Scouts of America (GSA).