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The Boy Scouts of America will be renamed Scouting America

CHRISTOPHER MILLETTE / USA TODAY NETWORK / 2020
                                Boy Scout uniforms are shown in the retail store at the headquarters for the French Creek Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Summit Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania.
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CHRISTOPHER MILLETTE / USA TODAY NETWORK / 2020

Boy Scout uniforms are shown in the retail store at the headquarters for the French Creek Council of the Boy Scouts of America in Summit Township, Erie County, Pennsylvania.

The Boy Scouts of America, grappling with a bankruptcy and widespread accusations of sexual abuse, will change its name to Scouting America in an effort to become more inclusive, the organization announced on Tuesday.

The new name will go into effect on Feb. 8, 2025, which will be its 115th anniversary, the organization said.

The renaming is part of a wider rebranding effort by the organization to appeal to girls, as well as a response to long-standing critiques of lack of inclusivity.

“In the next 100 years we want any youth in America to feel very, very welcome to come into our programs,” Roger Krone, the organization’s president and CEO, told The Associated Press.

In February, the Supreme Court cleared the way for a $2.4 billion plan to settle sex abuse lawsuits against the Boy Scouts of America. The Boy Scouts settlement involves more than 82,000 claims of childhood sexual abuse.

The organization already dropped the word “boy” from its namesake program in 2018, after announcing plans to admit girls. At that time, the Boy Scouts of America said that girls would be able to earn the highest rank of Eagle Scout.

Since then, the organization has admitted 176,000 girls across its programs, and more than 6,000 of them have earned the rank of Eagle Scout, the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement.

In 2020, the organization announced a “diversity and inclusion” merit badge and made earning it a requirement for becoming an Eagle Scout. In 2013, it ended its long-standing policy of barring openly gay youths from activities.

Paul Mones, a lawyer for many plaintiffs in the Boy Scouts sexual abuse cases, said that the name change was largely an attempt by the organization to change the conversation from the bankruptcy and sexual abuse claims. “That’s my gut on what the purpose of it is,” he said in a phone conversation. Another reason for the rebrand, he said, is the organization’s dwindling membership numbers.

The Boy Scouts of America is based in Texas and was incorporated in 1910. Membership numbers plunged during the pandemic, which added to existing legal, financial and societal issues that the group was facing.

In 2020, the organization said it had more than 2 million members. On Tuesday, the Boy Scouts of America said in a statement that it had “more than one million youth, including both men and women.”

Emily Green, a 16-year-old Eagle Scout in Cambridge, Massachusetts, joined the Boy Scouts in 2018 and said she was happy with the name change.

“I think it’s about time,” she said. “So many girls are going now, it’s important that we feel that we are included.”

Saroya Friedman-Gonzalez, the Scout executive and CEO of the Boy Scouts’ New York City chapter, welcomed the change, which she said brought the organization’s name in line with its gender-inclusive programming.

The new name, she said, signaled to young people across New York City’s five boroughs that all were “welcome and can be part of our program and enjoy scouting.”

Counter to the national trend, Friedman-Gonzalez said, her chapter of the national organization has seen “tremendous membership growth” since the pandemic.

“For me it’s a welcome change,” she said. “And I hope it’ll even increase our membership more.”

As one of the few female Eagle Scouts in the organization, Emily said she hoped that the new name would inspire younger girls to become members, too. A name change may seem like a small thing, but it’s a big deal to the girls in the organization, she said.

She also said she hoped it would remove some of the stigma of being a girl in the organization. Over the years, Emily said, she often had to answer questions about why she was in the Boy Scouts.

“I used to be embarrassed telling people,” she said. “It’s something I really enjoy, I don’t want to justify it. This is just what I like to do.”

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This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


This article originally appeared in The New York Times.


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