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Scout us in

May 9, 2018
North Fort Myers Neighbor

Boy Scouts of America announced last week a revamp of not only its program, but its service philosophy.

The new "Scout Me In" campaign for its youngest members will target girls, yes, girls, as well as boys, for the Cub Scout program for the first time ever.

"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," a release issued by Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday states. "The campaign presents an energizing Scouting experience that speaks to kids by putting them in the middle of the action. It also engages parents who are looking for ways to make the most of the time they have with their kids and help them to be Prepared. For Life."

The scouting organization will then take things a step further along its "new era" path next year with a name change for its program.

"As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible. That is why it is important that the name for our Scouting program for older youth remain consistent with the single name approach used for the Cub Scouts," said Michael Surbaugh, chief scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America, in the release. "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."

Although its career-based Explorer programs for teens have long been co-ed, the backlash has been immediate, and in some cases severe as critics blame the integration of girls on everything from "liberal" courts to "snowflake lefties" looking undermine yet another proud tradition in their quest to homogenize America.

The reason, though, is pretty straightforward, as Boy Scouts of America plainly shares: It's a business decision designed to build membership, membership that has seen sharp declines since the 4 million-plus scouts the organization had at its peak.

Admitting more girls to the organization that now serves about 2.3 million youth members between ages 5 and 21, will not only broaden the pool, but will allow families to enroll sibs in a single program, also revamped to show "what it's like to be a Scout from a kid's point of view."

A couple of things.

For those who have fond memories of fathers and sons forging family bonds around the campfire, the Boy Scouts of America's announcement that it is revamping to add daughters and sisters - girls - to the mix may be a little, well, disheartening.

We get that. Scouting has built a lot of memories for a lot of boys. It has, in fact, helped build the characters of a lot of men.

But times have changed - and are continuing to change.

If Boy Scouts of America, en route to becoming Scouts BSA, believes its offerings have value to more than the target audience it has served for more than 100 years, why should they not give it a try?

Inclusion is seldom a bad thing.

And the end of one era is often the start of a new one.

Scout us in.

- Neighbor editorial

 
 

 

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