Scouts stay on mission with name rebranding

Published 5:00 am Wednesday, May 15, 2024

By Terry L. Hapney Jr.
The Ironton Tribune

The Scouts BSA national organization (formerly Boy Scouts of America) is rebranding itself as “Scouting America,” reflecting “the organization’s ongoing commitment to welcome every youth and family in America to experience the benefits of Scouting” — according to a statement released last week. One local scoutmaster reflected on what this means to children and teenagers in Lawrence County.
David M. Lucas, Ph.D., the 30-year scoutmaster for Troop 106 serving Lawrence County, said he was contacted by several concerned people after the national announcement, asking how the name change will affect the local troop.
“I’m not as concerned as some people are,” Lucas said. “I saw this coming way back.”
This change follows one the national organization instituted in 2018, when it became “Scouts BSA.” This was the result of the organization welcoming girls into its ranks.
While Lucas and his troop will become “Scouting America,” he said he thinks it should have been “Scouts of America” instead.
“They are trying to be more inclusive,” Lucas said. “We have had great success with girls being a part of our program.”
Lucas said the path to this success “has taken a lot of work.”
“To do a co-ed program is not an easy task,” he said. “I think people minimize what you have to build into your organization and its programming to make sure you address girls in the woods and boys in the woods. It’s different. You have to be sensitive to young people.”
Lucas said the name “Scouting America” is “a little awkward.” He said it sounds like folks are getting into a car and going out to look for something during summer.
“I wish they had used ‘Scouts of America,’” Lucas said. “It puzzled me. I thought Scouts of America was more descriptive of who we are.”
While “Scouting America” is the new brand, locally, Troop 106’s mission does not change.
“Our approach to teaching young people survival skills, public speaking, and leadership skills through group work and discussion continues,” he said.
The emphasis also moves forward for Lucas and Troop 106 to teach children and teenagers “to love your community, love your country. That hasn’t changed.”
“They are making this change to make it more accurate for what it is,” Lucas said. “Once they welcomed young women into the organization it was no longer Boy Scouts of America.”
Lucas said Troop 106 has a “good program” in Scouting that reaches and teaches young people in an all-inclusive environment.
“They become great leaders,” he said. “Troop 106 has had, during my time as scoutmaster, 36 Eagle Scouts. I’m proud of that record.”
With vision for reaching, teaching, and leading young people, Lucas said it pays off for them and their future.
“Their success is through persistence, determination, and dedication,” he said.
Lucas noted that with the rebranding, Scouting America did not change the Scout Law or the Scout Oath.
The Scout Law is “A Scout is trustworthy, loyal, helpful, friendly, courteous, kind, obedient, cheerful, thrifty, brave, clean and reverent.”
The Scout Oath is “On my honor I will do my best to do my duty to God and my country and to obey the Scout Law; to help other people at all times; to keep myself physically strong, mentally awake, and morally straight.”
The mission of the organization is “to prepare young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Scout Law.”
Notable Eagle Scouts include former President Gerald R. Ford, Astronaut Neil Armstrong, Walmart founder Sam Walton, and movie director Stephen Spielberg. There are more than 2.75 million people who have earned Scouting’s highest rank of Eagle Scout.
The change in branding officially goes into effect on Feb. 8, 2025, when the organization celebrates its 115th anniversary. Since its founding in 1910, more than 130 million Americans have been through Scouting programs. Currently, there are more than 1 million youth who are served by 477,000 adult volunteers in local councils throughout the U.S.

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