Boy Scouts updates its flagship program name to include girls. Here's what to know.

No, the Boy Scouts of America aren't going anywhere.

On Wednesday, May 2, the Boy Scouts of America made a small change to one of its programs, generating a big reaction.

In October 2017, BSA announced plans to admit girls into its programs, marking a pretty massive change to the organization's more than century-old structure. "I’ve seen nothing that develops leadership skills and discipline like this organization," said Randall Stephenson, the group’s national board chairman, at the time. "It is time to make these outstanding leadership development programs available to girls."

The organization has now unveiled its "Scout Me In" campaign, giving the public a broader look at what a co-ed Scouts program will look like.


"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, in a press release. "Starting in February 2019, the name of the older youth program will be 'Scouts BSA,' and the name of our iconic organization will continue to be Boy Scouts of America."

To summarize: Other than girls being able to join the organization (which has been known by the public since October), the only major change is the name of the older youth program (which is currently called "Boy Scouts," but will soon be called "Scouts BSA"). The Boy Scouts of America name isn't going away. Confusing? Maybe a little.

Boy Scouts attend an event at Zachery Taylor National Cemetery in Louisville, Ky., in May 2007. Photo by Andy Lyons/Getty Images.

Some of the early responses to news of the program's name change seem to come from a fundamental misunderstanding of the announcement.

"There's something deeply sad about a society that presses for the Boy Scouts to stop being the Boy Scouts," tweeted conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. It's not clear who, exactly, he believes pressured BSA to change its program's name or whether he understands that the organization's name remains. "The Left will eat you alive if you compromise with them," wrote conservative blogger Matt Walsh, who added that this was a "self-destruction of the Boy Scouts organization."

The truth is that this wasn't some concerted effort on the part of progressives to eliminate the Boy Scouts. The decision appears to have been made out of necessity, with the organization rumored to be in a bit of a financial hole with enrollment on the decline. Allowing girls to join is one way to give enrollment a boost. Regarding the name change, it just seems kind of silly to keep calling that program "Boy Scouts" if it's making explicit efforts to market itself to girls as well. Walsh, Shapiro, and other social conservatives who bemoan "political correctness" and "social justice warriors" are blaming "the left" for something it had nothing to do with.

President Donald Trump addressed the 2017 Boy Scout Jamboree in Glen Jean, W.V. Photo by Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images.

The Girl Scouts of the USA, not associated with BSA, wasn't a fan of BSA's plans to try to recruit girls.

In October, the Girl Scouts published a blog post making the case for the continued existence of its organization as the premier scouting destination for girls in the United States.

"The need for female leadership has never been clearer or more urgent than it is today — and only Girl Scouts has the expertise to give girls and young women the tools they need for success," the group wrote. "Girl Scouts works. We’re committed to preparing the next generation of women leaders, and we’re here to stay."

With the launch of BSA's "Scout Me In" campaign, GSA repeated that October point in a tweet, writing, "Girl-led. Girl-tested. Girl-approved since 1912."

Whether or not people approve of BSA's changes and its efforts to include girls in its programs, it's important to separate the fact from fiction behind the announcement.

No, this wasn't the result of overzealous progressives trying to impose their will on a conservative-leaning organization like BSA. This wasn't "political correctness run amok" or anything like that. This announcement has nothing to do with transgender scouts, nor is it an attempt by the political left to strip boys of their own spaces.

This was, as boring as it is, quite clearly just a business decision. BSA might wrap it up in public relations-friendly language about inclusivity, but the truth is this looks like it was simply about trying to keep BSA afloat.

A group of Boy Scouts salute during a 2009 Memorial Day activity. Photo by Karen Bleier/AFP/Getty Images.

More
Facebook / Mikhail Galin

Putting your pet in cargo during a flight isn't always safe. In 2016, the Department of Transportation reported a total of 26 pet deaths and 22 injuries on flights. Because conditions in cargo can be uncomfortable for animals, the Humane Society recommends taking your pet aboard when you fly, or just leaving it at home.

It's not surprising that one Russian man didn't want to put his overweight cat in cargo during an eight-hour flight from Moscow to Vladivostok. What is surprising is the great lengths he took to fly with his four-legged friend.

Russian airline Aeroflot allows pets to fly inside the plane's cabin, as long as the cat weighs under 17.6 pounds and stays in its carrier during the flight. When Mikhail Galin went to check in, he was told he couldn't fly with his four-year old cat, Viktor. Viktor weighed in at 22 pounds and would have to be relegated to cargo.

But Viktor was sick from their earlier flight from Riga, Latvia to Moscow. And besides, Viktor had been allowed to fly inside the cabin during that flight. The airline staff didn't even bother to make Viktor sit on the scales. Galin was unable to persuade staff to bring his fur baby on board.

"To all attempts to explain that the cat won't survive there on an 8-hour flight with the baggage and would haunt her in her nightmares for the rest of her life, she (the Aeroflot staff member) replied that there are rules," Galin wrote in a Facebook post translated from Russian.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
Photo by Kelvin Octa from Pexels

Newborn babies don't seem to do much beyond eating and pooping and, of course, hiccupping. A lot. Parenting advice on how to cure a baby's hiccups runs the whole gamut. It's recommended parents try everything from nursing to stop feeding the baby so much, from giving the baby gripe water to letting the hiccups play their course. But when your baby hiccups too much, you shouldn't freak out. There's a good reason why.

A new study published in Clinical Neurophysiology found that hiccups play an important role in a baby's development. Researchers from the University College London found 217 babies for their study, but only looked at 13 newborns with persistent hiccups. Ten of those babies hiccupped when they were awake, and three hiccupped during their "wriggly" sleep. We have no idea how the scientists got any work done with all that cuteness lying around.

Keep Reading Show less
popular
via The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon / YouTube

Actress Kristen Bell and "The Tonight Show" host Jimmy Fallon showed off their vocal and comedic chops on Tuesday night when the performed a medley of 17 Disney songs, spanning nine decades, in just five minutes.

The duo started with 1940's "When You Wish Upon a Star" and ended with 2013's "Let it Go" from "Frozen."

Bell will reprise her role as Anna in Disney's upcoming "Frozen 2."

Keep Reading Show less
popular

Ask almost any woman about a time a man said or did something sexually inappropriate to them, and she'll have a story or four to tell. According to a survey NPR published last year, 81% of women report having experienced sexual harassment, with verbal harassment being the most common. (By contrast, 43% of men report being sexually harassed. Naturally harassment toward anyone of any sex or gender is not okay, but women have been putting up with this ish unchecked for centuries.)

One form of verbal sexual harassment is the all too common sexist or sexual "joke." Ha ha ha, I'm going to say something explicit or demeaning about you and then we can all laugh about how hilarious it is. And I'll probably get away with it because you'll be too embarrassed to say anything, and if you do you'll be accused of being overly sensitive. Ha! Won't that be a hoot?

Keep Reading Show less
popular