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Girl Scouts accuse Boy Scouts of 'damaging' recruitment tactics


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In my opinion the source of GSUSA's anger, or sour grapes, is embedded in how the whole issue unfolded. 

I don't know if anyone remembers the lead up and roll out of this but at the time we were all being invited to attend "conversations" with Mike Surbaugh and others about the possibility of adding girls to scouts. We were told research was being done, that any changes would be given full discussion, everything was years down the line, etc. Surveys were going out that they wanted you to respond to, which many of us did. Unfortunately, they were all guided -- a strategy that BSA has utilized before. What that means is that the survey is designed in such a way that questions and responses are often manipulated to support a desired position. This is pretty much survey design 101 and is a strategy frequently used in politics, marketing, whatever.  So while we were all still in the middle of this supposedly initial examination and conversation phase, BSA abruptly pulled the plug on it all and said the research results were so overwhelmingly positive that the decision was made to allow girls to the program within a relatively short time frame. This change happened around the same time that some disturbing membership and financial numbers were made public. I have a family member who was fairly high up in the GSUSA organization who inferred that the fact that BSA had no actual interest in the development of girls but was simply pursuing this strategy to fix its own declining revenue stream was apparently what enraged some of the GSUSA leadership.  

I think BSA does have something to answer for here regarding its real intentions on why it opened scouting to girls. As always, I think the unit level people have always had the best and most altruistic reasons for serving youth and many, even though perhaps initially resistant, are very happy or at least tolerant of seeing how much our young girls love BSA style scouting. However, I think National's ... duplicity?... has once again created some unnecessary bad blood between the organizations and the current legal strife is simply chickens coming home to roost. 

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If the GSUSA had marketed their Gold Award half as effectively as they've promoted 'Thin Mints' and 'Do-Si-Do's' we wouldn't be in this mess.

That's a topic in itself. If I had time, I'd link to it. The short answer: "no". The lack of outside leadership to force BSA and GS/USA to work in lock-step led to their mutual erosion. Reflecting on

If you recall Surbagh's Town Hall video, he as much admitted they (National gang) was pretty much out of ideas on how to add members to the program.  The adding girls was a hail Mary.   In realit

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3 minutes ago, yknot said:

I think BSA does have something to answer for here regarding its real intentions on why it opened scouting to girls.

To whom? Why? To what end? Definitely not to the GSUSA. To the board? They were the ones that did the action. To the membership? The action was done and won't be going back. I assume it was simply multi-faceted. Declining numbers, running out of money, running out of relevance. What better action to open to girls, expand the market place by 2x, and improve opportunities for girls. What other intentions could their be? The destruction of the GSUSA? No. Cause people to leave because it is now for both genders? No. Case closed. 

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7 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

Their argument seems to be 2 fold. One can be fixed simply (and already has) and the other has no merit.

1) Some Scouts BSA units used confusing, wrong, or protected wording and imagery in the recruiting 2 years ago. This was rectified, apologized for, and stopped. No material loss is shown, none intended, issue done. 

2) The GSUSA doesn't like that the BSA is allowing girls. They don't like that we are calling it Scouts and that girls are involved. There is no protection to this at all. If we changed the name to Scouts BSA, but did not involve girls, they would have had no issue. Now that the BSA allows girls, GSUSA is upset. Too bad, they can't dictate our program. Move on.

As to point 1, yes BSA has admitted councils and units and individual volunteers made mistakes (like telling parents that GSUSA was merged into BSA, councils using GSUSA logos) but that there was no damage OR if there was, like a parent paying fees to BSA, they got refunds.  GSUSA wants money damages for infringement.

As for 2, note that the lawsuit is NOT asking for BSA to stop allowing girls in. What they are asking for is that any BSA marketing material include something like a "not affiliated with GSUSA" disclaimer. BSA would be prohibited from

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using the marks SCOUT, SCOUTS, SCOUTING, SCOUTS BSA, or any variation thereof, alone without an inherently distinctive or distinguishing term appearing immediately before it, in connection with the marketing, promotion, advertising, sale or rendering of any of Defendant’s services directed to girls

 

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7 minutes ago, yknot said:

I have a family member who was fairly high up in the GSUSA organization who inferred that the fact that BSA had no actual interest in the development of girls but was simply pursuing this strategy to fix its own declining revenue stream was apparently what enraged some of the GSUSA leadership.  

Yeah, GSUSA was absolutely furious. This was their official statement when BSA announced in 2017.

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"The Boy Scouts' house is on fire," Girl Scouts told ABC News in a statement today. "Instead of addressing systemic issues of continuing sexual assault, financial mismanagement and deficient programming, BSA's senior management wants to add an accelerant to the house fire by recruiting girls."

 

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3 minutes ago, mrjohns2 said:

To whom? Why? To what end? Definitely not to the GSUSA. To the board?

To the court. One of GSUSA's arguments is that BSA made the GSUSA/BSA distinction blurred in order to trade in on GSUSA's good name and reputation in order to recruit girls.

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5 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

To the court. One of GSUSA's arguments is that BSA made the GSUSA/BSA distinction blurred in order to trade in on GSUSA's good name and reputation in order to recruit girls.

That is the argument the GSUSA has to make. They haven't made it. 

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Just now, Eagledad said:

You’re probably right. The confusion comes from everyone trying to be the smartest person in the room.

Barry

I think there's a disagreement to this extent

1) Some are claiming that GSUSA has no right so SCOUT or SCOUTING as a trademark whatsoever. I disagree and BSA has admitted GSUSA has rights to the term (and I agree wit GSUSA that it does have certain rights here), but...

2) BSA infringed on the trademarks but only to a minimal extent. Here I disagree with GSUSA that the infringement was catastrophic and should result in BSA paying millions.

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Merry Christmas, everyone.  I was gone for a few hours and just read the latest.  I think we have definitely gone over the top, should put this to bed and move on to proposing mandatory wearing of knee socks by all Scouter.com commenters.  As your 2-year certified Scoutmaster of a "Boy Scouts for Girls" Troop, I officially declare that there is no actual confusion about what our 130,000 girl members and their families have joined (let's see, with parents that's over 1/4 million people who know precisely what they are doing).  Never heard of a girl who was misled and tricked into earning her Second Class.  Never tried to go down to the supermarket and buy green boxes of cookies to sell (in fact, we don't sell anything).  I further declare that efforts to prove me wrong are money-grubbin' and trouble makin'  mistchief!  Oh, and Happy New Year while I am at it!

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1 hour ago, mrjohns2 said:

 I assume it was simply multi-faceted. Declining numbers, running out of money, running out of relevance. What better action to open to girls, expand the market place by 2x, and improve opportunities for girls.

You are sort of making my point for me. BSA's actions weren't ever meant to uplift girls, they were simply a survival move geared to saving the organization. That's the rub for GSUSA. I think that was also the disenchantment note for scouters who initially opposed girls in scouting. It was a money grab, plain and simple, not really an altruistic social enlightenment. Although since many units have embraced it, that's what it has become, which is good. 

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3 hours ago, TAHAWK said:

We have had female "Explorer Scouts" since 1968 - 52 years of "sitting on their alleged rights" precludes success.

I was in an Explorer post when the first girls joined.  We were "Explorers", and the organization was "Exploring"...which is all it said on our uniform shirts IIRC.  Our leaders were "Advisors" and I remember would be quick to correct anyone who called them "Scoutmaster."

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Organizations often do what they think will "keep the doors open."  The employees, whose jobs are at stake, will often say that it's for the greater good.   I am sure that at least some of them,  maybe most, believe it's the truth.

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3 minutes ago, scoutldr said:

I was in an Explorer post when the first girls joined.  We were "Explorers", and the organization was "Exploring"...which is all it said on our uniform shirts IIRC.  Our leaders were "Advisors" and I remember would be quick to correct anyone who called them "Scoutmaster."

Oh to be young!  

http://www.seniorscoutinghistory.org/seniorscoutsite/explorers.html

 

"1998- The Boy Scouts of America reorganized the Exploring program into the Learning for Life Exploring program and the new Venturing Division. Sea Exploring was placed in the Venturing Division and was renamed Sea Scouts."

 

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3 hours ago, yknot said:

 

I think BSA does have something to answer for here regarding its real intentions on why it opened scouting to girls. 

If you recall Surbagh's Town Hall video, he as much admitted they (National gang) was pretty much out of ideas on how to add members to the program.  The adding girls was a hail Mary.  

In reality they did not want to do the hard work of figuring out why some units succeed and others fail, that would require maybe a real reflective look at the program.  Nope, it was the easy route they took "let's add girls".  Not saying it was a bad idea, just need to be honest on WHY.

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