Boy Scouts of America is striking gender from its Scouting program titles in 2019, ushering in the change with a “Scout Me In” campaign for Cub Scouts.
“Starting this summer, all kids are invited to say, ‘Scout Me In,’ as they join the fun, adventure and character-building opportunities found in Cub Scouts,” Boy Scouts of America (BSA) said in announcing the change May 2. “Starting in February 2019, the name of the older youth program will be ‘Scouts BSA,’ and the name of our iconic organization will continue to be Boy Scouts of America.”
Trail Life USA (TLUSA), a Christian alternative to Scouting birthed in 2013, described BSA’s transformation as a “lost journey into the woods of co-ed political correctness.”
In 2017, TLUSA had 30,000 members in 750 troops spread across 48 states, but membership has “rapidly grown” in response to BSA’s changes, TLUSA said in a press release today.
“Well-intentioned as these kind of [BSA] moves may be, they are alarmingly all wrong,” TLUSA CEO Mark Hancock said. “Confined to classroom settings more suited to girls, and denied rough-and-tumble experiences that help them learn and grown, it is no wonder ‘boys are struggling.’”
The loss of such gender-specific environments leaves boys “losing out and not developing as strong, capable men because we are not letting them be fully boys,” Hancock said. “Weakened expectations and participation trophies have led to our culture producing unproductive narcissists.”
BSA’s Scout Me In advertising campaign includes girls and boys, and is BSA’s latest move to open its programming to girls as announced in October 2017. BSA began an evolution in 2013 that extended Scouting to homosexuals, and in 2015 opened leadership and employment to gays and bisexuals.
“The Scout Me In campaign celebrates the BSA’s expansion to serve families and welcome girls and boys into Scouting in communities across the country,” BSA said. “It reinforces that the mission and core values in the Scout Oath and Scout Law are welcoming, inclusive and foundational for both young men and women.”
Since BSA opened Cub Scouting to girls, more than 3,000 girls have enrolled in the BSA’S Early Adopter Program and are participating in Cub Scouts, BSA said in its press release.
Girls Scouts of the USA countered the BSA move with the blogpost “No Contest: Girl Scouts is the BEST Leadership Organization for Girls” at blog.girlscouts.org.
“Girl Scouts is the premier leadership development organization for girls,” the blog quoted Girl Scouts CEO Sylvia Acevedo. “We are, and will remain, the first choice for girls and parents who want to provide their girls with opportunities to build new skills; explore STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) and the outdoors; participate in community projects; and grow into happy, successful and civically engaged adults.”
Girl Scouts accepts transgender youth on a case-by-case basis, the organization announced in 2011.
BSA includes nearly 2.3 million youth members between the ages of 5 and 21, and about 960,000 volunteers in the U.S. and its territories, BSA said. Age qualifications for its programs are 6-10 for Cub Scouts, and 11-17 for Boy Scouts.
Girl Scouts has 1.8 million members and 800,000 volunteers, according to the Girl Scouts website. Its programs are open to youth in kindergarten through high school.
See October 2017 Scouting story.
(EDITOR’S NOTE – Diana Chandler is Baptist Press’ general assignment writer/editor.)