U.S. Boy Scouts to change name in appeal to girls

The statue of a scout stands at the entrance to Boy Scouts of America headquarters in Irving, Texas, February 5, 2013. REUTERS/Tim Sharp/Files

(Reuters) - The Boy Scouts of America will drop "boy" from the name of its signature programme for older youths as it seeks to widen its appeal to girls, the 108-year-old organisation said on Wednesday.

Starting in February 2019, the Boy Scouts programme for boys 11 to 17 will be called Scouts BSA. The name of the overall organisation will remain Boy Scouts of America.

More than 3,000 girls have enrolled in the Boy Scouts of America's Early Adopter Program and are taking part in Cub Scouts ahead of the full integration of girls later this year.

Founded in 1910, the Boy Scouts of America said the rebranding was part of the single-name approach used for Cub Scouts after its historic move last year to admit girls to its programme and let them earn the top rank of Eagle Scout.

"As we enter a new era for our organisation, it is important that all youth can see themselves in scouting in every way possible," Michael Surbaugh, chief Scout executive of the Boy Scouts of America, said in the statement.

The Boy Scouts of America has lost about a third of its members since 2000, which now stands at about 2.3 million. The organisation has said the decision to admit girls to the Cub Scouts was in response to the needs of families and because of dropping membership.

The Boy Scouts last year opted to allow transgender boys to join.

The Boy Scouts of America on Wednesday also unveiled its "Scout Me In" programme that features girls along with boys and starts this summer.

(Reporting by Ian Simpson in Washington, editing by G Crosse)