DAVENPORT, Iowa-- After more than 100 years as a boys’ only club, the Boy Scouts of America is making a few changes.
The organization announced it will now be called Scouts BSA, for programs that includes both boys and girls 10 to 17 years old, Wednesday, May 2.
“Today I was surprised to actually hear the announcement…. This integrates the whole family now into all parts of our programing and accepts the whole family now, “says Boy Scouts volunteer Ted Stimach.
Scouts say a drop in membership pushed them to open their doors last year to girls and transgender kids.
But even some of the Boy Scout volunteers say it could impact the Girl Scout program.
“I think it does kind of cheat them of memberships that they might have,’ says Stimach.
In a statement to WQAD News 8 Eastern Iowa, Western Illinois Girl Scout Leaders say:
We proudly own the ‘Girl’ in Girl Scouts. Since our inception, Girl Scouts has been about putting girls front and center, ensuring that everything we do is with their best interests in mind and equips them to be the fearless leaders and change-makers our more than 50 million alums prove themselves to be. For 106 years Girl Scouts has prepared girls with essential leadership skills and provided them with a supportive network of girls and women who can face any challenge, from the wilderness to the boardroom, with confidence, compassion, and success. Our focus has always been and always will be girls.
We’re interested to hear that Boy Scouts has slightly altered its name and invested in a new brand identity—but what we really want to know more about is the programming. Have they invested in creating uniquely effective programming for girls? Because at Girl Scouts, for the past century we’ve been acutely focused on dispelling gender stereotypes and creating a space exclusively for girls to learn and grow. And we are determined as ever to stay on this path, so that more girls, through Girl Scouting, gain confidence, seek challenges, and become active decision-makers and proficient problem-solvers to the greatest degree possible—and frankly, are better equipped to navigate a world that is still, regrettably, a ‘man’s world.’
The program Director of the local Boy Scouts says all scouts will do the same activities, but the boys and girls will be separated into two groups.
The new name change will go into effect in February 2019.