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Boy Scouts of America making this big change to be more inclusive

For the first time in its history, The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is set to change its name as it seeks to foster a more inclusive organization. 

The rebranding will go into effect on Feb. 8, 2025, the organization’s 115th anniversary, when it will become known as Scouting America.  

Officials say the name change aims to make everyone feel welcome, while the move is also being seen as an attempt to move on from bankruptcy following a flood of sexual abuse claims. Last year BSA agreed to pay $2.46 billion to settle claims by some 82,000 former Boy Scouts who said they had been sexually abused by BSA officials and volunteers.

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The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) present the colors during the national anthem before the Los Angeles Rams and the Houston Texans at NRG Stadium on Oct. 31, 2021 in Houston, Texas. BSA is set to change its name for the first time in its history next year, as it seeks to foster a more inclusive organization.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)

The bankruptcy reorganization plan took effect last year, allowing the organization to keep operating.

“Though our name will be new, our mission remains unchanged: we are committed to teaching young people to be prepared for life,” said Roger A. Krone, the president and chief executive officer of BSA. 

“This will be a simple but very important evolution as we seek to ensure that everyone feels welcome in scouting.” 

The organization, which is steeped in tradition, has made seismic changes after decades of turmoil, from finally allowing gay youth to welcoming girls throughout its ranks. With an eye on increasing flagging membership numbers, the Irving, Texas-based organization announced the name change Tuesday at its annual meeting in Florida.

BSA leaders say its mission continues to provide young people with a safe environment to learn life skills and have fun, educational experiences. Camping has always been an integral activity for the BSA members but the organization says it offers something for everyone from high adventures to merit badges for robotics and digital technology.

Roger Krone, the head of the Boy Scouts of America

Roger Krone, president and chief executive officer of the Boy Scouts of America, announced the organization’s name change on Tuesday. (The Associated Press)

Fostering youth growth to become future leaders is also a cornerstone of the BSA mission.

More than 130 million Americans have been through scouting programs since its founding in 1910. Currently, there are more than 1 million young people, including both men and women, involved in the organization who are served by 477,000 adult volunteers in local councils, officials say.

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Before the pandemic, its membership stood at around 2 million, but its numbers took a significant hit when participation was difficult with lockdowns. Membership peaked in 1972 at almost 5 million.

The organization began allowing gay youth in 2013 and ended a blanket ban on gay adult leaders in 2015. 

In 2017, it made the historic announcement that girls would be accepted as Cub Scouts as of 2018 and into the flagship Boy Scout program — renamed Scouts BSA — in 2019.

Angelique Minett, the first woman chairperson of Scouts BSA, the traditional scouting program for youth aged 11 to 17, says te organization is much more than just camping. 

Close up shot of a Boy Scout's badges

A Boy Scout uniform hangs in a store at the Marin Council of the Boy Scouts of America. For the first time in its history, the Boy Scouts of America (BSA) will rebrand and change its name next year as it seeks to create a more inclusive organization.  (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

“When we think scouts we think knots and camping, but those are a means to an end,” Minett told the Associated Press.

 “We are actually teaching kids a much bigger thing. We are teaching them how to have grit, and we’re teaching them life skills and we’re teaching them how to be good leaders.”

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To date, more than 2.75 million young people have earned scouting’s highest rank of “Eagle Scout.”

 Some famous Eagle Scouts, the highest attainable rank in the BSA program, include former “Dirty Jobs” host Mike Rowe, filmmaker Steven Spielberg, astronaut Neil Armstrong and former President Gerald Ford.

The origins of the BSA go back to 1909 London, where Chicago publisher William Boyce got lost in the fog and a Boy Scout helped him get to his destination. When the young boy refused payment for doing a good deed, Boyce was inspired to bring the movement to the U.S.

 He merged several youth organizations, including the Woodcraft Indians and the Sons of Daniel Boone, to form the Boy Scouts of America on Feb. 8, 1910.

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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