The Boy Scouts organization has become a thing of the past. As of Friday, the scouting program’s name was officially changed to Scouts BSA and girls were officially able to join.
“I could not be more excited for what this means for the next generation of leaders in our nation,” Chief Scout Executive Michael B. Surbaugh said in a statement, according to CNN.
“Through Scouts BSA, more young people than ever before — young women and men — will get to experience the benefits of camaraderie, confidence, resilience, trustworthiness, courage and kindness through a time-tested program that has been proven to build character and leadership.”
Cub Scouts, the feeder program that targets younger children, will keep its name. The Cub Scouts began accepting girls in 2018. Likewise the name of the parent organization — Boy Scouts of America — will also remain unchanged.
However, parent Stacey Russell is pleased at the change, reported WJXT in Jacksonville, Florida. Her daughter, Kaylee, will become a Scout, following in the footsteps of her older brother.
“I like the leadership skills they’re developing,” Russell told the station. “I’ve watched them with their friends and they know what they’re supposed to do, they know how they are supposed to behave.”
Kaylee Russell told the station she’s already done many of the activities in which Scouts participate.
“My brother was always in Boy Scouts and Cub Scouts,” she said. “He always included me and I would do things like archery, swimming, and shooting rifles. That encouraged me that I wanted to become a scout myself.”
Reaction to the change has sparked enthusiasm, said Sharon Moulds, CEO of the Pittsburgh-area Laurel Highlands Council for the Scouts, according to NPR.
“It’s kind of a mix because we have some … grandfathers, and they’re saying, ‘Oh, I can get my granddaughter in,’” she said. “They absolutely want their granddaughters to have the same opportunities.”
“They’re excited about having the opportunity to do what they’ve seen their brothers do or the other boys do,” Moulds said. “I think a lot of them, what we’re seeing is that they just want to be Eagle Scouts.”
Girl Scouts of the USA, which has frowned upon the change, issued a statement Friday saying that it is a better place for girls than the rival organization.
The change “does not change the position of Girl Scouts of the USA or our mission to serve girls, and girls only, and to foster their amazing leadership potential. We remain steadfast in our knowledge that Girl Scouts is the world’s single best leadership development program for girls,” the statement said.
The Girls Scouts sued to block the new name for scouting. The case is still pending.
“Boys in our society have had an advantage because it’s been a male-dominated society,” said Heather Burlew-Hayden, chief marketing and recruitment officer for Girl Scouts of Northern California, the New York Post reported.
“We are all about what’s best for girls and we have been since we started, back when it was considered improper for girls to run and play outside. Our organization is about sisterhood, it’s about letting girls find their spark in a safe space.”