New name for boy and girl BSA troops
Beginning Feb. 1, 2019, the scouting program for 11-17 year-old boys and girls will be called Scouts BSA. There will be no change in the name of Cub Scouts, and the Venturing program, which already includes both genders.
Just as before, boys and girls who are part of Scouts BSA will be known as Scouts; they will earn merit badges, go camping, and work toward the Eagle Scout Award.
“BSA has experienced several changes in its membership standards over the last few years,” said Larry Coppock, director of scouting ministries for the General Commission on UM Men. “While changes naturally bring both opportunity and controversy, the UMC has continued its mission to make disciples through Scouting ministry as an option for children and youth.”
Larry notes that the decision to include girls in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts expands the pool of candidates for ministry outreach and evangelism.
Local church decision
“Each local church should decide how best to implement the new change, just as in the past,” said Larry. “The new Boy Scout division name change to Scouts BSA reflects the new membership focus.”
Larry underscored the fact that “the corporate name, Boy Scouts of America, will remain the same, reflecting a generation of service to young people.”
Some girls will want to join Cub Scout packs or Scouts BSA troops. Others will want to join Girl Scouts and the commission continues to support both Girl Scouts USA and the Boy Scouts of America.
Chief Scout explains decision
“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in scouting in every way possible,” says BSA Chief Scout Executive Michael Surbaugh. “That is why it is important that the name for our iconic scouting program for older youth remain consistent with the single-name approach.”
Beginning Feb. 1, 2019, girls can join all-girl troops. Boys can continue to join all-boy troops. Scouts BSA will not have any mixed-gender, or co-ed, troops.
The BSA co-ed Venturing program for young people, ages 14 to 20, will continue as normal.
‘Scout Me In’ campaign
As part of the Scout program for young men and women, the national office is launching a recruiting campaign under the theme of “Scout Me In.”.
The campaign is designed to encourage young people and families to become part of the life-changing experience of scouting. The national office will provide supplementary recruitment tools.