As of today, girls can join the Boy Scouts, which has rebranded their program for older kids as “Scouts BSA.” (The program for younger kids was already called Cub Scouts.) Not sure why you would, though!
The move was announced in 2017 and fully takes effect today. NPR took a look at the change:
The decision to invite girls into Boy Scouts was not an easy one, Moulds said. Families told the organization it would be more convenient for their increasingly busy schedules to drop their children off at one meeting, instead of driving to multiple events and activities. Ahead of the February change, Moulds said girls are already telling her they’re looking forward to being involved.
“They’re excited about having the opportunity to do what they’ve seen their brothers do or the other boys do,” Moulds said. “I think a lot of them, what we’re seeing is that they just want to be Eagle Scouts.”
There will still be separate troops for boys and girls.
The Girl Scouts, for the record, are not pleased. In fact, their national organization has filed a trademark lawsuit over the move to include girls and rebrand as gender-neutral, claiming they’re sowing confusion and cutting into the Girl Scouts’ brand.
The question is why you would let your girls join the Boy Scouts in the first place, when the Girl Scouts are right there, shouting about all their STEM activities and also their Samoas. Admittedly, the scouting experience varies immensely depending on your local troop leader; you might be stuck with a group that is all about sewing and cutthroat cookie sales, with a daughter who would rather die than knit and wants to go camping every weekend and build a fully electrified tiny house out of scavenged wood scraps, and not everybody has the bandwidth to start their own troop. But if that’s case the case, between the Boy Scouts’ long history of institutional homophobia and the fact they’ve reportedly considered bankruptcy to deal with mounting legal costs over sex abuse lawsuits, personally I’ll just figure out how to build a campfire myself.
Correction: This article originally said that the Boy Scouts of America had rebranded as “Scouts BSA,” however the organization itself is not changing its name. Rather, the scouting program for older kids will no longer be known as the “Boy Scouts” but rather “Scouts BSA.”