Local Boy Scouts believe name change will bring more inclusivity

PENSACOLA, Fla. — Boy Scouts of America is getting a new name —

The organization — which let girls join in 2019 — says it’s to promote inclusivity.

Ben Bergosh has been a Boy Scout since he was 6-years-old. He’s now an Eagle Scout.

Eagle is the highest rank a Boy Scout can earn, with only about 5 percent of scouts achieving it.

He says the essential skills he’s learned from his scouting career have played a big role in his life.

“Being able to help people is one of my big things. I’m going to be a firefighter,” he said. “So I was able to see through my scouting career that this is the career I wanted to do.”

Since 1910, the organization has prioritized preparing young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the scout oath and scout law.

But despite its name, it’s not a boys-only club.

“It’s something I didn’t ever see myself doing,” said Jakayla Armstrong. “Of course when you think of Boy Scouts you think of boys.”

Armstrong is one of the thousands of girls in Boy Scouts.

She’s also an Eagle Scout — the first black female in Alabama to make that rank.

“The skills that I have learned in scouting are skills that I’ll have with me for the rest of my life,” she said.

But now more girls could be joining amid the name change.

“The name change is a reflection of the organization that we are, the youth that we serve and the youth that we want to serve in the future,” said Roger Krone, Scouting America CEO NA-34WE.

The two Eagles reacted to the change.

“The times are changing,” Armstrong said. “You’ll see more girls become Eagle Scouts and more girls who want to just do scouting.”

“I think that it’s good for both people,” Bergosh said. “Whether female or male, to have the opportunity to learn skills and knowledge based on the scouting principle.”

Bergosh says in scouts he’s learned critical survival skills that could help him make it out of a life-or-death situation.

“I think that these skills will help everyone in the long run,” he said.

“In the end, we all win,” Armstrong said.

The Boy Scouts will officially make the change in February.

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