'Boy Scouts of America' is rebranding. Now it's gender-neutral

Boy Scouts of America announced this week that it will rebrand itself as ‘Scouting America’ in a bid to reflect “the organisation’s ongoing commitment to welcome every youth and family in America to experience the benefits of Scouting”.

Though our name will be new, our mission remains unchanged: we are committed to teaching young people to be Prepared. For Life,” the group’s President and CEO Roger Krone said in a press release.

This will be a simple but very important evolution as we seek to ensure that everyone feels welcome in Scouting.” 

The change will come into effect in February next year to coincide with the group’s 115th anniversary.

So inclusive

Boy Scouts of America’s gender-neutral rebrand is just the latest move in a decade of woke policy posturing by the organisation.

As feared at the time by Mercator, between 2013 and 2015, Boy Scouts leadership ultimately caved to corporate pressure and allowed self-identified homosexuals to register as members of the group, and openly gay men to serve as leaders. Then, in 2017, they swung wide the doors to girls who identify as transgender boys and, soon after, to all girls in general.

Understandably, the organisation has copped plenty of criticism for its latest move, evidenced by the fact that BSA closed the comments section on its Twitter post announcing the change after receiving blanket condemnation from members of the public.

Responding to critics, CEO Roger Klone explained in a video, Membership is at historic lows. Part of my job is to reduce all the barriers I possibly can for people to accept us as an organisation and to join.”

He added that the gender-neutral rebrand will hopefully send a “really strong message to everyone in America that they can come to this program, they can bring their authentic self, they can be who they are, and they will be welcomed here.”

Logical conclusions

But let’s play devil’s advocate. Let’s say reducing all barriers to membership and including everyone is as important as Mr Klone suggests.

Why only include people who like scouting? Why keep in place barriers that exclude Americans who disdain the outdoors and scoff at values like self-reliance, teamwork and moral development?


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In fact, why keep ‘America’ in the organisation’s title? Surely this is sending the wrong message to the millions of illegal immigrants imported by the current president, and all the rioting college students who believe America is the devil incarnate. It’s unlikely they’ll feel comfortable bringing their authentic selves to such a patriotic-sounding group.

Absurd as it all sounds, here lies exposed the achilles’ heel of wokeness. By welcoming everyone into the building, you collapse it.

Or to quote Dash from the 2004 film The Incredibles, who was responding to his mother’s half-hearted claim that “everyone is special” — “that’s just another way of saying no one is”.

Here’s a thought. Maybe the last decade’s worth of hyper-inclusion explains why Boy Scouts of America’s membership is at historic lows.

Though never a scout, I was a boy once. I remember the difference between playing in mixed company and adventuring just with other boys. Both have their place, but they are qualitatively different. As an all-male organisation, BSA had an edge on most competition — an edge they have since abandoned in their giddy pursuit of woke brownie points.

Call it a paradox, but sometimes addition equals subtraction, inclusion creates exclusion, and kindness kills.

Can Boy Scouts of America recover its adventurous, masculine heart? Or is it neutered for good? I guess we’ll find out in February.

What do you think of the incessant push for inclusivity? Leave your comments in the box below. 

Kurt Mahlburg is a writer and author, and an emerging Australian voice on culture and the Christian faith. He has a passion for both the philosophical and the personal, drawing on his background as a graduate architect, a primary school teacher, a missionary, and a young adult pastor.

Image credit: Pexels


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  • David Page
    commented 2024-05-17 17:10:18 +1000
    Quentin, thank you for your kind offer. Should you make it to Massachusetts I will buy you the adult beverage of your choice. I would like that.
  • Quentin Neill
    commented 2024-05-17 13:19:23 +1000
    “contempt for the hypocrisy of the adult world.”

    David, that sucks, I mean really sucks, that you grew up in a world where the grownups were contemptible. Keep fighting the good fight (which it sounds like you have) and I’ll see you in the comment sections.

    P.S. if you ever make it down to Texas I’ll buy you a beer/coffee/drink of your choice
  • David Page
    commented 2024-05-16 10:32:43 +1000
    In the interest of full disclosure I was in the Boy Scouts for 24 hours. I was asked not to come back. After all, you can take the boy out of the street, but you can’t take the street out of the boy. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

    What did the streets of Boston teach me? Stand by your friends. Protect the weak from the bullies. Make your own judgements. And especially to recognize hypocrisy. And hypocrisy was rife in the adult world.

    What did the adults I was exposed to try to teach me? Blacks were inferior, Jews couldn’t be trusted, and women were either on a pedestal or in the gutter.

    I grew up in a Jewish neighborhood. My friends were all Jewish. One day, playing in a vacant lot next to the railroad track, two friends and I were set upon by a group of thugs. They threatened to tie us to the tracks. Then they told me I could leave because I wasn’t a Jew. I refused to leave my friends. Eventually they let us all go. When my friend’s father found out what had happened he picked me up and shook me and shouted, good for you. he scared the hell out of me. He was a tough guy, wounded in the Battle of the Bulge. From then on I was the golden boy. It was only 7 years after the end of WWII. But he read too much into the incident. I knew nothing about the Holocaust. I was a Boston street kid and rule 1 was you never deserted your friends.

    I live as good a life as I can. I married and was faithful to my wife. My children are happy and capable of moral choice. I try to stand up to injustice even when my voice shakes. My life has been threatened more than a few times, especially when I was a union organizer. I have never backed down. I think about what I consider my moral core. It is what I learned on the Streets of Boston when I was a kid. So perhaps my brief interaction with the boy scouts was informed by my contempt for the hypocrisy of the adult world.
  • Quentin Neill
    commented 2024-05-15 13:07:14 +1000
    > are girls and gay boys incapable of excellence?
    Course not!
    > Are all the qualities you mentioned exclusive to heterosexual boys?
    > That isn’t my experience.
    Nor mine
    > Do you think you have reached a level of excellence that girls and gays can only dream about?
    You make me smile David.

    > You make me smile.
    Happy to elicit some positive emotion, whether it be “rising to a challenge” or just “humor”.

    I had two boys in Scouts for many years, there just wasn’t any politics or even contention at all about any of this stuff. We had very involved fathers, and we watched things intently.

    I get it that the “world” (to which I assume you subscribe) has decided “exclusion” is some horrible, backward looking regressive thing. But I think you’re missing the point – that the whole institution wasn’t formed to exclude others, but to call young men to something bigger and grander.

    Just think they’re throwing the baby out with the bath water.

    Meanwhile all kinds of alternatives are sprouting up – Trail Life being one that gasp requires one to subscribe to certain religious convictions before joining.

    Meanwhile – some evidence that BSOA never had it out for anyone this whole time – https://www.reddit.com/r/atheistparents/comments/166m7od/are_there_any_alternatives_to_boy_scouts/
  • David Page
    commented 2024-05-12 11:26:27 +1000
    The image that goes with this is not only offensive, but childish. It implies that those who are not heterosexual boys are freaks and monsters. Shabby.
  • David Page
    commented 2024-05-12 11:22:09 +1000
    Quentin, are girls and gay boys incapable of excellence? Are all the qualities you mentioned exclusive to heterosexual boys? That isn’t my experience. Do you think you have reached a level of excellence that girls and gays can only dream about? You make me smile.
  • Malcolm McLean
    commented 2024-05-12 03:05:15 +1000
    So boys have something good. And now everyone else has to have it. But one of the main reasons it was good was that it was restricted to boys, met their needs, and in those circumstances and just a smigeon of instrction form responaible adult males, boys will produce good things. And noe it has been taen away, and america;s biys no longer have anything good. Ao if they are in their bedrooms playimg video games, then when they get bored those it’s onto internet porngraphy, and of course they don’t treat women very well, then who is to blame?
  • Peter
    commented 2024-05-11 15:54:29 +1000
    This is another rather cynical analysis of an evolving institution that has been dealing with a crisis brought about widespread abuse cases and significant declining numbers of members.
    Institutions in these circumstances, similar to that of many other institutions, including churches, need to make decisions that address the problems and provide a sustainable way forward.
    This happens all the time. Schools are a good example. Many schools, for sound reasons, including Catholic schools, have changed from single-sex to co-educational. They often change their name to reflect their new identity.
    Change is necessary if we are to address the challenges of our times. Attaching tags and cliches to criticism of these changes are not helpful.
  • Quentin Neill
    commented 2024-05-10 23:38:27 +1000
    > I know you want to exclude some kids
    It’s not the BSOA that “excludes some kids”, it’s the call to excellence itself.

    The values of trustworthiness, loyalty, helpfulness, friendliness, courtesy, kindness, cheerfulness, thriftiness, bravery, and cleanliness call each of us to exclusion. And how about obedience and reverence – for what? Something worth obeying and revering, or it’s for nothing. It’s a call to sanctity which literally has it’s roots in consecration, to be “set apart”.

    The lofty values and skills need to survive in the wild world will always be there. It just won’t be the BSOA calling young men to attain them anymore with any kind of moral clarity.
  • Susan Rohrbach
    commented 2024-05-10 21:38:35 +1000
    Be prepared was supposed to fit them to accept their roles as fathers to the children they sired instead of running away or hiding behind the anonymity of homosexual or masturbatory encounter.
  • David Page
    commented 2024-05-10 12:03:53 +1000
    Break up with yourselves. Kids are just kids. I know you want to exclude some kids, but have you really asked yourselves why? Child predators present themselves as super normal. Out homosexuals don’t fit the profile. What are you really afraid of?
  • Kurt Mahlburg
    published this page in The Latest 2024-05-10 11:35:50 +1000
  • Michael Cook
    followed this page 2024-05-10 11:35:34 +1000