Published On: Feb 06 2013 12:47:10 PM CSTUpdated On: May 24 2013 10:23:09 AM CDT
Boy Scouts of America or BSA was founded in the United States in 1910. The organization was founded in Washington, DC, by Chicago publisher William Boyce.
The BSA is headquartered in Irving, Texas.
The BSA was chartered by the U.S. Congress in 1916. A few other youth programs have congressional charters, including the Girl Scouts of the USA and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America.
The BSA is made up of various programs: Tiger Scouts (first graders, or 7-year-olds); Cub Scouts (second through fifth graders, or 8, 9, and 10-year-olds); Webelos Scouts (fourth-and fifth-graders, or 10-year-olds); Boy Scouts (11 through 17-year-olds); Varsity Scouts (14 through 17 year-olds); and Venture Scouts, which is a is a year-round program for young men and women who are 14 (or 13 years of age and have completed the eighth grade) through 21.
Membership in Boy Scouts has declined by about a third since 1999. As of Dec. 31, 2012, youth membership totaled 2,658,794. There are also 1,039,825 adult members, who are mostly leaders of various groups.
As of Dec. 31, 2012, there were 108,971 units (crews, teams, troops and packs) in the BSA.
More than 70% of BSA troops are affiliated with a church or a religious group.
The Boy Scouts announced last month that the organization would consider changing their ban on openly homosexual scouts and troop leaders. The new policy would allow local leaders to decide "consistent with each organization's mission, principles or religious beliefs" whether to open troops they sponsor to openly gay people.
The proposal comes after a Supreme Court ruling in 2000 that found the organization has the right to keep gays out.
A poll released Feb. 6 showed a majority of American voters think the Boy Scouts of America should lift their ban on gay Scouts and scoutmasters.
The Quinnipiac University survey indicated 55 percent of respondents said the ban should end, and 33 percent said it should remain in place. There was a gap among man and women in the poll -- 61 percent of women supported allowing gay members, while 49 percent of men supported such a move.
Among more recent controversies, the BSA came under fire last year after Jennifer Tyrrell, an Ohio den leader, was dismissed by her local Boy Scout officials for being a lesbian. On Feb. 5, Tyrell presented a petition she said was signed by 1.4 million people supporting the change to the BSA policy.
On May 23, the group made a historic decision when its 1,400-member national council voted to allow openly gay youths to join scouting starting Jan. 1, 2014. The BSA, however, will maintain its ban on gay adult leaders.