It's the final nail in the coffin for the concept of single-gender youth organizations in America, thanks to the latest announcement that will forever alter the course of not one but two the iconic clubs.
Boy Scouts of America, a program that has been turning boys into men for over 100 years released the shocking statement on Wednesday that will irrevocably change the face of the highly-touted service organization.
You may remember that last October BSA announced plans to allow girls to join the male-only club, and now they go one step further with the most recent disclosure.
USA Today is reporting that the organization has “doubled down . . . on its quest to become the scouting organization of choice for boys and girls, announcing it will drop "Boy" from the name of its signature program.”
Chief Scout Executive Mike Surbaugh also unveiled the group's new "Scout Me In" marketing campaign aimed at promoting inclusiveness among all walks of life.
“As we enter a new era for our organization, it is important that all youth can see themselves in Scouting in every way possible," Saurbaugh said.
On Backpacker.com, BSA spokesperson Effie Delimarkos speaks with great pride about the landmark decision: "This hybrid model builds on the benefit of a single-gender program while also providing character and leadership opportunities for both boys and girls,” Delimarkos said.
Scouts Canada has been co-ed since 1993. Assistant National Youth Commissioner Kaitlyn Patterson says that Canadian scouts are held to the same accountability standards regardless of gender when it comes to earning awards and badges.
According to Wikipedia, "The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is one of the largest Scouting organizations in the United States of America and one of the largest youth organizations in the United States, with more than 2.4 million youth participants and nearly one million adult volunteers.
“The BSA was founded in 1910, and since then, more than 110 million Americans have been participants in BSA programs at some time.
“The BSA is part of the international Scout Movement and became a founding member organization of the World Organization of the Scout Movement in 1922.
The famous tale of how the whole thing got started is a heartwarming one: "In 1909, Chicago publisher W. D. Boyce was visiting London, where he encountered a boy who came to be known as the Unknown Scout.
"Boyce was lost on a foggy street when an unknown Scout came to his aid, guiding him to his destination. The boy then refused Boyce's tip, explaining that he was a Boy Scout and was merely doing his daily good turn.
"Interested in the Boy Scouts, Boyce met with staff at the Boy Scouts Headquarters and, by some accounts, [Robert] Baden-Powell. Upon his return to the US, Boyce incorporated the Boy Scouts of America on February 8, 1910."
The full impact of the BSA effort is being felt across the United States, and not everyone is welcoming the news.
Most notably the Girl Scouts. One regional leader, Fiona Cummings of Girl Scouts of Northern Illinois, told the Associated Press the BSA’s decision to admit girls is among the factors that have shrunk her council’s youth membership by more than 500 girls so far this year.
She said relations with the Boy Scouts in her region used to be collaborative and now are “very chilly.”
It remains to be seen just how this decision will affect the future of the girls-only program and their famous cookie sales. We hope that somehow, the iconic organization which celebrated its 106th birthday earlier this year can find a way to continue providing program content that girls cannot find anywhere else.
After all, sometimes a girl just wants to be a girl!
To see the report about the controversial name change, watch the video, below.