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Girl Scouts Suing the Boy Scouts

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We were coming back from an outing last week, stopped for lunch, saw the Girl Scouts were selling cookies nearby so we wandered over and bought some cookies, talked about our recent outing, heard abou

As a DL for a female den, I try to never use gender terms. My girls are "scouts." If I start to say, "hey girls" I quickly correct myself and call them "scouts." Using gender terms is a crutch I, as a

What we have here is a great opportunity for BSA to correct a bad branding decision.  Who are Scouts BSA?  The public doesn't know.  It has no history, no identity.  You have to explain it, and it goe

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49 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

.... Pittsburgh Press March 20, 1977


https://www.newspapers.com/clip/18039971/scoutingusa_response/ ...

I must point out that Ferry Electric Service advertised in the article is no longer in business. However, at that address is now a very fine coffee shop, which has been under two proprietorships. The first proprietor was a GS leader, and I had the privilege of being at the town council meeting where she explained her request for a zoning adjustment. Also at that meeting was a former scout who was considering running for town council as he was soon to turn 18. She opened her shop on election day, and he won his seat. The second -- and current -- owner, Son #2 impertinently nicknamed "My boy, Andy".  {Note to moderators: see, I am staying on topic.} I aggressively tried to recruit one of his daughters into my crew, but didn't stand a chance because her troop's leader was outstanding in giving the girls as much adventure as their moms could tolerate. That, and the shop is a really well run family business which demanded many of her weekends.

Anyway, if you are passing through, PM me, and I can give you the specifics and send you Andy's way.

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9 minutes ago, SSScout said:

What's in a name?  That which I call a Scout  after a week on the AT would smell as sweet ....

Thanks for elevating the discussion!  Shakespeare has something for every occasion.  How about this:

Good name in man and woman, dear my lord,
Is the immediate jewel of their souls.
Who steals my purse steals trash; 'tis something, nothing;
'Twas mine, 'tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
And makes me poor indeed.

Othello Act 3, Scene 3

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17 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

The girls interested in joining aren't lobbying to join "Scouts BSA."  They want the Boy Scout program.  The program that is 118 years old.  The program with the historic and highly regarded Eagle Scout rank.  The one where you help little old ladies across the street and tie knots and go backpacking and climbing and shooting.  The demanding program.  They want to be "Boy Scouts," because that name -- those two words together -- has an iconic meaning that is separate and independent from the words themselves; and that meaning has nothing to do with gender.

Because of what that name really means, girls don't care if they will be called Boy Scouts.  They want to be Boy Scouts.  If they had any qualms about that name, they'd join Girl Scouts.


Dan, well said.  My Venture Daughter, now in college, shared similar thoughts with me when the coed movement was announced.  Folks were discussing the "need" to change everything, making things gender neutral.  To which my daughter said,  "The 'Boy Scouts of America' is fine and should stay.  I'm proud to be in the BSA.  And I'm happy that I'm no longer a Girl Scout."

She joined the BSA for the reasons you mentioned.  She enjoys being outdoors with like-minded young people.  She's done a lot in three years--Jambo, 50 miler, two years on camp staff, etc. 


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I'm not so sure that referring to girls who join BSA as "Boy Scouts" is a viable approach.  

I have the privilege of being the Den Leader of a girl Wolf Den.  We've only been at it for 6 months, but so far the girls love it.  They really enjoy camping and hiking.  My daughter returned from her first Cub Scout camp out filthier than I probably ever did in all my years as a Boy Scout.  We are providing them the same quality program as the boy Wolf Den.  That said, they are still girls.  All 6, independently, chose the skort option for their uniform.  Some of them do other extra curricular activities that are stereo-typically female, like dance or cheer leading.  In the next couple of months, they are going to have a blast building pinewood derby cars, but I can guarantee you that at least some of them will be pink and glittery.

My point is that the girls who are looking to join Boy Scouts have the desire to be Scouts.  They don't necessarily have a desire to be Boys.  There are, of course, exceptions, but if the intent is to grow the program, we have to appeal to more than just the exceptions.  Those of us with a long relationship with the Boy Scout program may be able to separate the gender aspects of the word "Boy" and elevate the term "Boy Scouts" to mythical levels, but to those girls who don't have the background in the program, it's going to be a non-starter.  

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18 minutes ago, TFrancis said:

My point is that the girls who are looking to join Boy Scouts have the desire to be Scouts.  They don't necessarily have a desire to be Boys. . . . [T]o those girls who don't have the background in the program, it's going to be a non-starter.  

Welcome, TFrancis!  I understand your concern.  Some girls will not want to join a program with the word "Boy" in the name, or take the risk of being laughed at because they are a "Boy" Scout, or take the risk of being perceived as what we used to call a "tomboy."  At the same time, there are girls who don't care about the word "Boy" in the name -- they just want the program.  And there are girls who specifically want to be publicly associated with the name Boy Scouts because of its distinctive program.   We can't be certain about the relative size of each of those groups or the relative girl recruiting power of "Boy Scouts" versus "Scouts BSA."  We also can't be certain whether participation in Cub Scouts will affect how girls perceive the name "Boy Scouts."  Will there be Arrow of Light girls who would cross over to a Scouts BSA troop but refuse to cross over to a Boy Scout troop because of the word "boy" in the program name?  Maybe.  We don't know.  

My point is that with all of the uncertainty surrounding this brave new world* we have entered, the Boy Scout program brand is a known quantity (I'd call it "legendary" rather than "mythical"  😃) .  I'm sure that there are some folks who would consider that brand a liability rather than an asset; still, it has meaning to the public at large, both in the United States and worldwide, that still has goodwill attached to it, and therefore has a value beyond being part of a corporate logo.  Are the interests and the evidence so substantial and convincing that we should just walk away from it?   I don't think so. 

And I don't want a world in which we have a Boy Scouts of America with no Boy Scouts (of any gender) in it.

* "How many goodly creatures are there here!
How beauteous mankind is! O brave new world,
That has such people in ’t!

The Tempest, Act V Scene i

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2 minutes ago, DanTheMan said:

Why do you talk about boy scouts and girl scouts? Isn't that a bit sexist? In Australia it's just scouts and girl guides if girls don't want to do scouts. Seriously, this girl scout boy scout thing is so bad.

 Now you're making me miss the Italian exchange student who was in our crew the year before last. She would say "I am not a Girl Scout. I am a scout!"

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On 11/15/2018 at 3:11 PM, ParkMan said:

Hah - now I'm going to see the word Scouts and think Bourbon. :)

To be honest, a good many program ideas in my corner of the world have been brainstormed by adult Scouters on their "own time"  with the blessing of this particular liquid refreshment.

Lawsuit be damned, I know that the folks I do Scouting with are going to give the girls the best Scouting program in our region.  Both the boys and the girls will be proud to call themselves Scouts!

Edited by WAKWIB
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On 11/20/2018 at 7:14 PM, desertrat77 said:

True, it doesn't equal, but the campfire scuttlebutt and hints in official literature indicated that indeed, the BSA was leaning to going coed at that time. 

Yes. That was indeed the case in the mid-70's.  At least where I live.  
Us kids, and a fair amount of adults were fairly convinced that BSA was going coed at or before 1990.  Most of us expected a merger of BSA and GSUSA.

Whenever this topic came up around a campfire when my sons were Scouts (2000-2011),  I always said, "Yep, it will happen any day now."  Folks looked at me through the glow of the fire with that look that you give one who is a bit off his rocker.  So, it's here now. Embrace the change and make it the best thing ever!!

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  • 2 weeks later...

One of our all-girl Venture crew leaders recently created a new web page.  Under the 'Who We Are' tab, these are the first sentences:

"Simply put, we are Boy Scouts... who are girls! Why? Well, because we love being outdoors!"

None of our girls has any issue being referred to as Boy Scouts.  Shame the name couldn't have been left alone.

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Nice!  I'm also saddened that we're loosing the name Boy Scouts.

Along the way I realized that the BSA doesn't want to have a program for boys which girls can participate in if they want to.  What they want is a program for boys & girls equally.  When I realized that, I began to understand their decisions.  

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