Boy Scouts to change their name to be more inclusive

Connecticut councils say it’s a natural next step.

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EAST HARTFORD, Conn. — For more than a century, the Boy Scouts of America has been preparing young people to live lives of civic minded leadership. Their mission won’t change, but their name will.

The Boys Scouts are rebranding themselves, they say, to become more inclusive. The Boy Scouts of America will become “Scouting America” – a change that will officially take place in February of next year, the organization’s 115th anniversary.

The announcement from national headquarters quickly filtered down to troops across America, including Connecticut.

“Changing the name to evolve and really represent where the organization is is a natural next step,” said state Rep. Pat Boyd (D-Pomfret), who is an Eagle Scout of the Rivers Council.

“Our mission, purpose and values are not changing in this. We are still rooting in serving our communities and preparing our young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime,” added Bob Brown, the vice president of Communications for the Connecticut Yankee Council.

Connecticut is home to five boy scout councils. FOX61 talked to representatives of two of them.

“It taught me more than anyone you could have gotten in school. Civic service; doing things for others. I would like to think that a big part of serving in the legislature comes from taking citizenship in the nation and being told that you are expected to give back so there’s no better program for leadership development than scouting,” explained Boyd.

But the Boy Scouts aren’t without controversy. They filed for bankruptcy in 2020 and sold a lot of their land, including Deer Lake in Killingworth, largely to pay sexual abuse settlements. Connecticut representatives say it is a dark part of the organization’s past but not its future. They say they have robust safety measures in place to protect youth both during and outside of scouting.

“Just in 2023, nationally, the Boy Scouts and Scouting America hired a chief safeguarding officer who reports directly to the CEO and established a youth protection committee of experts in the child protection and survivors of abuse in scouting,” explained Brown.

Some say the name change goes too far, but Scouting America began accepting girls in 2018. Girls now make up 20% of their membership.

“Scouting is inclusive to all parts of society now as we should be,” said Boyd. “All that we ask is that you live the scout oath and law which, frankly, if those were the laws of the land, we wouldn’t have to pass a lot of laws in the state house chamber.”

Over the past five years, Scouting America has enrolled 176,000 girls, 6,000 of whom earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Right now, there are over 14,000 people enrolled in Scouting America across Connecticut.

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Matt Caron is a reporter at FOX61 News. He can be reached at mcaron@fox61.com. Follow him on Facebook, X and Instagram.

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