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DelVal Scout Troops Welcome BSA Rebranding

Delaware Valley Boy Scout troop leaders applauded the Boy Scouts of America’s (BSA) decision to rebrand itself as Scouting America, the first name change in its more than 100-year history.

It comes in the wake of the iconic organization’s bankruptcy in 2020, a move taken to address the hundreds of lawsuits over sexual abuse filed against the Boy Scouts. It has set aside nearly $2.5 billion for compensation to victims.

“In the next 100 years, we want any youth in America to feel very, very welcome to come into our programs,” Roger Krone, the BSA’s president and CEO, told the Associated Press.

And how do local Boy Scout organizations feel about the move?

“I’m excited for the name change,” Ridley Township Troop 339 G Scoutmaster Jim Walls told DVJournal. “I’m all for anything that helps introduce more families to a program that I’ve seen have such a positive effect on our youth.”

Troop 339 G became the first all-girls BSA troop in the region in March 2019. It has doubled from five girls to 10 members. Four of the original members attained Eagle, the BSA’s highest rank. The troop is part of the Cradle of Liberty Council, which covers Philadelphia, Delaware, and Montgomery Counties.

“The national name change removes a barrier for youth and families who want to be a part of our exciting programs that teach youth timeless values in a safe space,” Cradle of Liberty Council Scout Executive and Chief Executive Officer Daniel Templar told DVJournal.

BSA started accepting girls into Cub Scouting and Scouts BSA programs five years ago. More than 176,000 girls have joined BSA with more than 6,000 attaining the prestigious rank of Eagle Scout. The organization previously allowed females into the Venture and Sea Scouts programs dating back to 1969.

The decision to accept female scouts wasn’t without controversy. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints ended its relationship with BSA in 2019. Church officials cited the female scout decision and other membership changes.

The Girls Scouts of the USA sued BSA for alleged copyright violations over the words “scouts” or “scouting.” The lawsuit was tossed out in 2022.

Some conservatives accused the BSA of “going woke.”

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) suggested on social media the rebrand means “’boys’ are no longer welcome.” Others claimed the decision is part of an “effort to feminize traditional male spaces.”

National Scout leaders disagreed.

“We are committed to teaching young people to be prepared. For life,” said Roger A. Krone, president and chief executive officer of Scouting America. “This will be a simple but very important evolution as we seek to ensure that everyone feels welcome in Scouting.”

There’s still some concern about the rebranding in Delaware Valley.

Oreland Troop 1 Scoutmaster Sergio Movsessian of Montgomery County wondered what would happen during camping trips if there were no female leaders for a female troop. He also wasn’t sure if troops would become co-ed or remain separated by gender.

Walls wasn’t worried.

“Anything we can do to attract more scouts will naturally lead to more parental volunteers. And we’ve found we have a lot of moms and female leader[s] who love to camp–they were just waiting to be asked,” he said.

Walls and Movsessian expressed optimism that the rebranding would bring greater interest in scouting.

BSA’s rebranding puts it in line with other scouting organizations across the world. Scouts Australia and Scouts UK have accepted female members since the 1970s. Scouts Canada allowed females to join its ranks in 1992.

“It is important to note that while the national name will change in February 2025, the fundamental principles that our programs strive to instill in youth, the Scout Oath and Scout Law, have not and will not change,” said Templar. “The quality Scouting programs being delivered by the incredible adult volunteers and staff of the Cradle of Liberty Council will also not change.”

Originally founded in 1910, BSA once had more than four million boy members in 1973. That membership has dropped to 1.2 million as of 2021.

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