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For more than 100 years, the Boy Scouts of America’s main program has simply been known as the Boy Scouts.
But with more and more girls hoping to join, that will soon change. The organization has announced a new name for the program: Scouts BSA.
The change will take effect in February of next year.
The Boy Scouts’ chief, Mike Surbaugh, said the organization considered many name possibilities. He said the group wanted a name that held on to its past but also carried, in his words, the “inclusive nature of the program going forward.”
The parent organization will remain Boy Scouts of America. And the Cub Scouts, its program serving younger children, will keep its name, as well.
But the Boy Scouts, the program for 11- to 17-year-olds, will now be Scouts BSA.
Surbaugh said he believes that boys and girls in Scouts BSA will call themselves scouts, rather than adding “boy” or “girl.”
Scouts BSA will be divided by gender for the most part. Single-sex groups will do the same kinds of activities and earn the same badges.
Surbaugh said that having separate groups for boys and girls should reduce concerns that girls new to BSA might be less likely to get leadership positions.
So far, more than 3,000 girls have joined an estimated 170 Cub Scout groups that are taking part in the first step of the new policy.
The name change comes during worsening relations between the Girl Scouts of America and Boy Scouts of America.
Girl Scouts leaders said they were surprised by the move. They said they are preparing an aggressive campaign to get and keep girls as members.
Among the Girl Scouts’ efforts is creation of many new badges that girls can earn. The new badges center on outdoor activities and on science, engineering, technology and math. The organization is also expanding corporate partnerships in those areas, and it is developing a Girl Scout Network Page on LinkedIn to support career help for former Girl Scouts.
Sylvia Acevedo is G.S.A. chief. She said, “We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents who want to provide their girls opportunities to build new skills.”
Surbaugh said B.S.A.’s national leadership respects the Girl Scouts of America and hoped both organizations could gain strength.
“If the best fit for your girl is the Girl Scouts, that’s fantastic,” he said. “If it’s not them, it might be us.”
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I’m Ashley Thompson.
The Associated Press reported this story. Ashley Thompson adapted it for Learning English. Caty Weaver was the editor.
Words in This Story
gender - n. the state of being male or female
badge - n. a cloth patch that can be sewn onto clothing and that is awarded to a person (such as a Boy Scout or Girl Scout) for doing something
opportunity - n. an amount of time or a situation in which something can be done
fantastic - adj. extremely good