We are now Scouts BSA

In a past career part of my responsibilities had to do with branding. I had stacks of branding guidelines and every book my department created and all those that outside licensees created with our Intellectual Properties had to adhere to. It was so important, the company had a division called brand management. Branding is a big business. 

Today, the Boy Scouts of America has announced that they are changing their brand. Starting in February of 2019 the program of the Boy Scouts of America currently known as Boy Scouts will be known as Scouts BSA. This will coincide with the admission of girls (11-17) into the program. Currently, kindergarten through fourth grade girls can join the Cub Scouts. In the 1970s the now 108 year old organization  rebranded itself Scouting USA. But that name never caught on and by 1980 it was all but gone. 

I get that there needed to be a new name, but I'm not sure that Scouts BSA is the right name. It feels clunky and redundant especially since the word Scouts is in the name twice. 

Personally I preferred Scouts of America, which would have been in line with other scouting organizations across the globe. But that name may have further muddied the perception that the Boy Scouts and Girls Scouts are the same organization. While both organizations serve youth the BSA and GSUSA are separate groups. 

Many scouters I have spoken to like the new name and feel it's more inclusive. Though they know that there will be people who are not happy. 

“I don’t like calling it just “Scouts” officially because that starts to invalidate other Scouting groups,” said Michael a former Scoutmaster and current SpiralScout leader from Massachusetts “We’re all scouts and we all just refer to our groups and activities as scouts.” 

According to an official statement the overarching organization will still be the Boy Scouts of America. So rest assured that BSA isn't going to be the next KFC (which dropped its full name Kentucky Fried Chicken in 1991).

They had to change the name, because if they didn't what would they refer to girls who are in the program “girl Boy Scouts” or just “Girl Scouts”. Neither of those are acceptable, and giving an all new name for Girl troops would make people assume it is a watered down version of the boys program. 

Is it perfect? No, but it accurately says who we are and what we believe in. We are all scouts. Our program is expanding to include new young people who will be the leaders of the future, which is great. 

This the BSA's official statement 

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  1. This is a good article. While I get the reason for the name change, I don't think the name is particularly important. Case in point: Boys Town (in Omaha, NE) was co-ed for decades before changing its name to Girls and Boys Town about 10 years ago. Many people still call it "Boys Town".


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