The Boy Scouts of America will officially change its name to Scouts BSA, effective next February. This gender-neutral term will affect the program for 11- to 17-year-olds and allow girls and non-binary youth to join.
“That sounds like a step in the right direction,” said Dave Dell, former Boy Scouts member, who identifies as gay. Dell added that Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops are good places for non-binary and gender non-conforming youth as long as the environment is respectful and accepting.
Boy Scouts of the America has already started admitting girls into the Cub Scouts, and Scouts BSA will accept girls next year, according to the Associated Press.
“Anything you can do in Boy Scouts, you can do in Girl Scouts,” said Kenya Yarbrough, director of marketing and advocacy for the Girl Scouts of Greater Los Angeles. She does not believe this change will negatively impact Girl Scout membership and added that some programs, such as Eagle Scouts, are already open to girls.
According to data from the Scout Me In campaign, more than 3,000 girls have already joined about 170 Cub Scout packs across the U.S. Yarbrough added that some Girl Scouts are concurrently enrolled in both Girl Scouts and Venture Scouts, a program by Boy Scouts of America. Conversely, she is not aware of any boys who want to join Girl Scout troops.
“Girl Scouts is the best leadership development organization for girls,” Yarborough said. “We will continue to do our great work.”