scouting for all

Right-wingers howl as Boy Scouts of America changes its name to be more inclusive

The Boy Scouts of America announced yesterday that it was changing its name. From February 8, 2025, it will be known as Scouting America. It will coincide with the organization’s 115th anniversary.

In a news release, the organization said the change was “reflecting the organization’s ongoing commitment to welcome every youth and family in America to experience the benefits of Scouting.”

The scouts aims to deliver a program of “character development and values-based leadership training”. Members can learn a variety of skills, from traditional crafts such as woodwork to more modern expertise like “Digital Technology”.

The Boy Scouts of America announced in 2013 it was welcoming out-gay youth. In 2015, it announced it was ending a blanket ban on gay adult leaders.

The name change is more likely tied to the fact that since 2018, it has welcomed girls to join the Cub Scouts.

“Scouting America currently serves more than 176,000 girls and young women across all programs, including over 6,000 who have earned the rank of Eagle Scout,” says the news release.

“Though our name will be new, our mission remains unchanged: we are committed to teaching young people to be Prepared. For Life,” said Roger A. Krone, president and chief executive officer of Scouting America.

“This will be a simple but very important evolution as we seek to ensure that everyone feels welcome in Scouting.”

Falling membership

Membership of the Boy Scouts peaked in 1972 when there were around 5 million members. There were still 2 million members in 2018. However, numbers have fallen further since. The 2020 pandemic hit the organization further and it currently has around 1 million youth members.

It has also been hit by a wave of sexual abuse claims in recent years. Settling 80,000 lawsuits led the organization to undergo a $2.4bn bankruptcy reorganization last year.

The name change to be more inclusive is partly to attract more members and boost numbers.

Krone said the name change, “Sends this really strong message to everyone in America that they can come to this program, they can bring their authentic self, they can be who they are and they will be welcomed here.”

Anti-woke trolls blast the name change

Predictably, news of the name change was not welcomed by everyone. Online, some accused the organization of “going woke”.

The Boy Scouts of America eventually turned its X replies off to halt the comments from those angry about the change.

The announcement met a more positive reaction on Facebook.

“I’m proud to be an Eagle Scout, and I’m even more proud of the strides the organization has made to be safer and more inclusive for all youth,” was one well-liked comment.

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