Boy Scouts of America go ‘Woke’ — Change Name to be More Inclusive

By: Georgia | Published: May 08, 2024

Boy Scouts of America is undergoing a major transformation after 114 years. The iconic institution is now called “Scouting America,” aiming to embrace a broader audience. 

This change reflects their commitment to inclusivity, especially important as they emerge from bankruptcy amidst a myriad of challenges.

Welcoming All Youth

According to Roger Krone, the new president and CEO, “In the next 100 years we want any youth in America to feel very, very welcome to come into our programs.” 

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A Scout in uniform carefully holds a folded American flag during a ceremony, with a blurred background featuring Scout badges

Source: boyscouts/X

This statement came during a pivotal announcement that marks five years of accepting girls into Cub Scouting, highlighting a progressive shift in the organization’s focus.

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Mission Stays the Same

Despite the name change, the Scouts’ core mission remains unchanged. 

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A colorful display of various Boy Scouts of America merit badges laid out on a blue fabric, showcasing a wide range of activities and achievements

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Krone reassured, “America’s values are scouting values,” highlighting their ongoing goal to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices throughout their lives, grounded in the scout oath and law.

Milestones of Inclusion

The journey to inclusivity has been marked by significant milestones. 

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A group of Boy Scouts holding American flags alongside rainbow Pride flags at a parade, demonstrating inclusivity and community participation

Source: ButchArnold1/X

Starting in 2013, Boy Scouts of America began welcoming gay youth, and by 2015, lifted the ban on gay adult leaders. These steps were crucial in modernizing the organization and expanding its appeal to a wider demographic.

Girls Join the Ranks

A groundbreaking 2017 announcement ushered in a new era: girls were welcomed into Cub Scouts and the flagship Boy Scout program, now known as Scouts BSA. 

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A diverse group of scouts learning to use blowguns in a forest setting, with a guide demonstrating the technique alongside a participant

Source: boyscouts/X

By 2021, nearly 1,000 young women achieved the Eagle Scout rank.

Leadership and Opportunities

Selby Chipman, a pioneering female Eagle Scout, spoke about the leadership skills she gained through scouting. 

A wooden plaque with the Eagle Scout emblem engraved

Source: MyStickle Creations/Facebook

She expressed hope that more girls will join and benefit from these opportunities, just as she has.

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Facing Backlash

Not all feedback has been positive. Some critics compare the changes to corporate rebrands like Bud Light’s controversial partnerships, expressing discontent on platforms like X, previously known as Twitter. 

A Bud Light delivery truck parked in front of Stew Leonard's store, featuring a bright blue trailer with the Bud Light logo

Source: Wikimedia Commons

These voices argue that the organization is straying from traditional values.

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Growth and Acceptance

The inclusion of girls has not only increased membership but also transformed the Scouts’ culture. 

A close-up of an Eagle Scout knife, held by a hand, showing a detailed Boy Scouts of America Eagle Scout emblem on the leather sheath and a gold coin embedded in the knife handle

Source: Boy Scouts of America/Facebook

Bob Brady, an Eagle Scout and father, formed an all-girls troop in New Jersey. He recalls how initial skepticism faded as the girls demonstrated their scouting spirit, proving that inclusivity enriches the organization.

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The Scouting Experience Today

Boy Scouts of America isn’t just about camping and knots anymore. 

A young man in a red helmet climbing a rocky wall at a scouting event, with other scouts visible below in various climbing and safety gear

Source: boyscouts/X

Krone emphasizes that scouting now offers a wide array of activities from robotics to digital technology. This modern approach aims to keep the Scouts relevant and appealing to today’s youth.

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Legal and Financial Hurdles

The organization’s journey has been complicated by legal challenges and a significant bankruptcy reorganization plan, totaling $2.4 billion. 

A Scout leader, dressed in a full uniform with multiple patches, gestures with open hands at a Scout camp, with tents and other campers in the background

Source: boyscouts/X

This plan aims to compensate over 80,000 men who reported abuse during their time in scouting.

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Vision for the Future

Angelique Minett, the first female chairperson of Scouts BSA, is optimistic about the future. 

Young Scouts cheering at a Pinewood Derby race under a pavilion, with a digital timer showing car rankings in the background

Source: boyscouts/X

She highlights how scouting teaches life skills, leadership, and resilience—values that go far beyond traditional outdoor activities. Her leadership signifies a new era for the organization.

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Looking Ahead

The name change to Scouting America will officially take place on February 8, 2025, coinciding with the organization’s 115th anniversary. 

The Scouting America logo superimposed over a serene forest landscape, symbolizing the organization's connection with nature and outdoor activities

Source: Boy Scouts of America/Facebook

Krone’s vision for this new chapter is clear: “It sends this really strong message to everyone in America that they can come to this program, they can bring their authentic self, they can be who they are and they will be welcomed here.”

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