An Exciting Message to All Scouters and Scouting Families
Dear Scouters and Scouting Families,
It is an exciting time to be a part of the Boy Scouts of America, especially in the Blue Mountain Council! One of the most significant changes in the history of the Boy Scouts of America was the decision last fall to create a path for families to participate together in all of BSA’s programs, including Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts. For over twenty-five years, girls have been a part of BSA’s co-ed Venturing, Exploring, and Sea Scouts programs. Now, they are being welcomed into Cub Scouts, and will soon walk the same “Trail to Eagle” as so many of their brothers and fathers have done.
The Mission of the Boy Scouts of America is to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law. These changes allow us to reach more youth and more families with the proven benefits of our Scouting programs.
Earlier today, the National BSA organization formally announced that the older youth program of the BSA, the Boy Scouts, will be called Scouts BSA, starting in February 2019. The Boy Scouts of America will remain the umbrella organization, and is not changing its name.
This change will coincide with the timeline set for girls to join that program in all-girl Troops. Boys will still participate in all-boy Troops. The new program is not co-ed. Chartered organizations will have the choice to charter an all-boy Troop, an all-girl Troop, or both. No chartered partner will be forced to adopt a program for girls. Boys and girls will have the same requirements for all Scout ranks, merit badges, and awards, just as boys and girls currently have the same requirements in Cub Scouting, Venturing, Exploring, and Sea Scouts.
“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.
The “Family Scouting” approach is quickly gaining popularity across the country, underscored by the thousands of boys and girls signing up under the Early Adopter Program for families in Cub Scouts. Our Council has participated in this Early Adopter program, with our first all-girls den joining Pack 117 in Kennewick this past January. These trailblazing girls have had a phenomenal experience, and have proven that the Cub Scout program works for both boys and girls, and their families. “Family Understanding” is one of the purposes of Cub Scouting, and we are pleased to see families seeking to participate together in Scouting.
This June, all Packs will have the option, at the discretion of their respective Chartered Organizations, to remain all-boy Packs, charter new all-girl Packs, or like Pack 117, become a Family Scouting Pack, to serve both boy dens and girl dens. It is important to understand that the BSA believes in the proven benefits of a single-gender program for both boys and girls. Within Family Scouting Packs, individual dens will remain all-boy or all-girl, with the added benefit of entire families getting to participate together in the same unit. In many Packs, sisters of our Cub Scouts have been present and participating in Pack meetings and other family events for years. Now they can be Cub Scouts too, and earn the same ranks, adventures, and awards as their brothers.
Additional information on Family Scouting is available at the BSA’s official Family Scouting website.
With all change comes certain challenges and some uncertainty. We know that our Scouting programs are safe and effective when implemented as designed. We are also confident that all of our Scouts and adult volunteer Scouters are up to the task of helping every youth and family feel welcome in our programs.
Much thought, discussion, and research has gone into this name change for the Scouts, as well as for other aspects of the Family Scouting program. To support these initiatives, the BSA has also announced a new public campaign called “Scout Me In.” This campaign focuses on helping prospective Scouts and families imagine the fun and excitement they will have as participants in our Scouting programs. You can use the new campaign logos and other promotional material to help with your recruiting efforts. More material will continue to be released as it is developed and made available.
More information will be available on our Council web site and in coming Council communications. The BSA will most likely be in the news today and in the days following. Help spread the good news! And remember that a Scout is courteous and kind, even when others share a different point of view. We must all continue to live and uphold the values of the Scout Oath and Law in our daily efforts.
Thank you for everything you do every day to make the benefits of the Scouting program a reality for all of our youth and their families! Your support, dedication and sacrifices are inspiring! Together, we look forward to this newest chapter in Scouting history and are thankful to experience it with you.
Yours in Scouting,
Council Scout Executive