Scouting’s openness may turn more away

Published 9:54 pm Wednesday, May 2, 2018

The Boy Scouts will be no more, at least in name.

The organization is changing the name of its program to Scouts BSA, now that girls are joining the ranks.

The parent organization will remain the Boy Scouts of America, and the Cub Scouts — its program serving children from kindergarten through fifth grade — will keep its title as well, The Associated Press reported.

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Boy Scouts have been boys for a long time (more than 100 years), but with more girls interested in the program, leaders felt a name change was necessary.

Girls Scouts are not happy about the move, and have said they will fight to recruit and retain girls as members.

The decision by Boy Scouts to allow girls to participate was likely rooted in both fairness and economics. Scouting has seen sharp drops in membership in recent years, so opening up the program to the other half of the population makes sense from a numbers standpoint.

Scouting has endured much change in its history, with the past few years ushering in more change than some were comfortable with. Some churches cut  ties with packs after the organization began allowing gay leaders and transgender and gay participants. Critics have also cited these decisions as the reason behind declining participation numbers.

Locally, the Boy Scout program has largely been unaffected by these policy changes. But that won’t always be the case. Local Scout leaders, and parents of participants, will have to decide if the new version of Scouting is a good fit for them.

In an effort to welcome everyone into its ranks, the organization may be turning long-time Scout supporters away. Time will tell if this latest decision bears that out.