IN THE SAME BOAT: a blog for Scouts BSA parents (subscribe)
Updated February 5, 2019
We are all in the same boat with this one. Beginning February 1, 2019, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) organization will officially change the name of its Boy Scout program for 11- to 17-year-olds to Scouts BSA and allow girls to participate by joining all-girl troops. There will not be any co-ed troops. Members of the program will continue to be called Scouts.
Depending on your viewpoint, news of this Boy Scouts name change has either caused a minor ripple in your life or a major tempest. For many parents’ girls, a ripple of excitement. There will be an opportunity to earn the prestigious Eagle Scout award, and participate in more outdoor activities. Parents with children of both genders who choose Scouts BSA can focus their energies on just one organization instead of two. When your kids are involved in multiple activities, this can make life less hectic.
For the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, maybe more of a tempest. Historically, the Church had automatically enrolled each boy who attended a Mormon church as a Boy Scout. Just days after the name change announcement, however, the Church ended its partnership with the BSA, citing its consideration of launching its own youth initiative. Going forward, it remains to be seen how many of the current 425,000 Mormon members will stay in Boy Scouts, and how many new boys will enroll on their own.
We’ve all heard the saying: “The only constant in life is change.” The deed is done, and the reality is that girls will be joining Scouts BSA. But whether the Boy Scouts name change ends up having a positive or negative impact on your family’s participation in Scouting is something you can influence: with your attitude and your actions. So channel your inner Scout, be a model to your children, and embrace the change that is here.
Update: If you have questions about changes to the program with regards to troops, uniforms, handbooks, etc., here are a few resources to help you out:
- Scouts BSA official website - scroll down to FAQs
- "Details on Scouts BSA uniform, handbook availability" - Bryan on Scouting, January 18, 2019
- "What you need to Be Prepared for the launch of Scouts BSA on Feb. 1" - Bryan on Scouting, December 19, 2018
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P.S. Do you wish being a Scouts BSA parent was a breeze? It is with the Smooth Sailing eGuide, Planner and Organizer for new and continuing Scout parents! Updated January 2020.