The structure of BSA has changed, too, over the years. Now, being a Scout can mean belonging to the Cub Scouts (grades 1 to 5), Boy Scouts (ages 11 to 17) or any of three co-ed programs: Venturing (youth-led activities), Sea Scouting (boating and "promoting knowledge of our maritime heritage") and Exploring (centering on career fields ranging from arts and humanities to law enforcement to engineering and technology). Those five programs serve about 2.3 million youths, from the first grade through 20 years old, and are overseen by close to 1 million adult volunteers.
When girls were OK'd in 2017, they were steered toward the Cub Scouts, a group which, fortunately, already sported a gender-neutral name. A promise was made at the time to build a program within the BSA for older girls.
That promise is fulfilled with the recent — and not uncontroversial — re-naming of the BSA's Boy Scouts program to Scouts BSA, which officially happens in 2019. The umbrella organization will continue to be called Boy Scouts of America.
"The fact that changes in scouting spark such public interest I think is testament to the value of the program and to the pervasiveness of that program, still, in today's culture," says Townley, who's also an Eagle Scout from Georgia. "Nothing about this most recent announcement changes the ability of a parent to find an experience that will be right for their children."
Indeed, on the local level, if the currently named Boy Scouts follow what the Cub Scouts are doing — that's a bit unclear at this point — girls won't necessarily be mixing with boys anyway unless local organizations build it that way. (The structure of the Cub Scouts on the most basic level: Dens are small groups of eight to 10 kids within larger packs, which can contain several dens.) From the Cub Scouts shortly after they began accepting girls:
Existing packs may choose to establish a new girl pack, establish a pack that consists of girl dens and boy dens or remain an all-boy pack. Cub Scout dens will be single gender — all boys or all girls.