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Girl Scouts accuse Boy Scouts of 'damaging' recruitment tactics


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About 10 years ago, some families (US citizens) living in Ottawa, Canada, (who had a member working at the US Embassy) wanted to have a Girl Scout troop.  (Lone Scouting with BSA is alive and well for US citizens there.)

They called up the national office in Manhattan, NY, to inquire about it, and were told they could not start a GSUSA unit there.  The staff at GSUSA suggested they all join Girl Guides of Canada (GGC).  The parents pushed back, citing GSUSA units at other embassies around the world, through USA Girls Scouts Overseas https://www.usagso.org/   A staff member (who wished to remain anonymous) revealed that GSUSA has an agreement with Girl Guides of Canada that GSUSA will not sell cookies in Canada and compete with GGC https://www.girlguides.ca/web/

The parents asked if they could start a unit, with a written agreement with national office that they would not sell cookies. Their girls wanted to camp, hike, and earn badges...not sell cookies.

The national office agreed.

It is all about the money.

Unfortunately, three years later, the Troop folded when the only parents who would take them camping transferred to a new assignment.

 

 

 

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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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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The good news is that we all agree that it is the business of government to pick the winners among corporations.

So let us set aside our petty differences and get to work awarding monopolies on the word "Scout" to the remaining 110 genders!

 

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@eagle91-A1 Amen. Last year, my troop did 9 short term campouts in a year for the first time I was scoutmaster (in 3 years). The word does get out in the district that we are a troop that does outdoor stuff, which helps with recruitment. My boys troop is partnering with a girls troop on campouts, because two families have scouts in both troops and the adults serve both troops. I was able to recruit one of these families last fall using the partnership, the fact we have an active outdoor program, and the fact I contacted them once my troop's scout pin sent me a notification. 

Newsmax had an article on the GSUSA lawsuit last night and it said that the GSUSA had an issue with the "Scout Me In" promotion and the fact that the Boy Scouts changed their name to the more gender neutral "Scouts BSA". That is more than trademark infringement. 

No doubt that numbers in the boy scouts have been plummeting over the past year. Cub scouts in my district is down by 1/3. Scouts BSA is down a bit too. It points to the fact that online scouting is not fun for scouts, especially being online for school all day. I learned this quickly last spring and got my troop outdoors in May and stuck with through the rest of the year. My troop did some stuff for cub scouts, since their Day camp would canceled this year. But my troop's efforts did not replace all of the activity in the district lost due to COVID-19, so the district lost scouts. The district cannot get into Public Schools either to recruit. So it has been a tough go this past year.

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@elitts   I'll spot you the 500k LDS but that's still 500k other boys lost in one year.   Has nothing to do with how many girls joined but not likely we get them back.

 

@qwazse   13 was on a news feed but can't remember the location.   Over achievers are fine. It's when you see the Mom with a day planner making sure he can fit you in his schedule for another MB that makes you wonder who is earning the MBs.

 

IMHO

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4 minutes ago, PACAN said:

@elitts   I'll spot you the 500k LDS but that's still 500k other boys lost in one year.   Has nothing to do with how many girls joined but not likely we get them back.

 

@qwazse   13 was on a news feed but can't remember the location.   Over achievers are fine. It's when you see the Mom with a day planner making sure he can fit you in his schedule for another MB that makes you wonder who is earning the MBs.

 

IMHO

After being involved with the program since the late 70's, and earning Eagle Scout myself, I always, I mean ALWAYS, smh at those stories of "Scout earns every Merit Badge"  

Sorry...off topic...

Do you think the gender separation is what has kept BSA on life support these past few decades?

https://virtueonline.org/canada-death-canadian-scouting

 

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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31 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

... Do you think the gender separation is what has kept BSA on life support these past few decades?

https://virtueonline.org/canada-death-canadian-scouting

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 them, both organizations needed to do two things:

1. Enable its members to pursue the opposite members awards and share each other's camps.

2. Sign GS/USA on as a WOSM member so that they could be invited to World Jamborees and other events.

This would have had to have been started 5 decades ago. It would have enabled sex segregation to continue, but with mutual growth and cooperation. Compared to the "we have the perfect program for a given sex" rhetoric, a more mature discussion of when coed vs. sex-segregated activities and events are better or worse for development (as we often found ourselves on scouter.com having) would ensue.

Edited by qwazse
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53 minutes ago, qwazse said:

The month that "scout" is no longer proprietary, the S in BPSA will revert from "Service" back to "Scouting", TL/USA and AHG will rebrand as Trinitarian Scouts of America - Boys and Trinitarian Scouts of America - Girls, respectively, Makers will be Maker Scouts, etc ... If GS/USA thinks their potential recruits are confused now, they will drain their wallets on cease and desist orders to these other groups.

Yep. Kind of like breaking up  the phone company. If it helps the youth then I'm for it.

Besides, the term scout is bigger than either of the 2 organizations. And I'm not talking about Israeli Scouts or Polish Scouts, both of which reside in the US and nobody seems too bothered by. Let Trail Life call themselves a scouting organization, because they are. Same for BPSA. Who doesn't think the S stands for Scout? There has to be a legal principal that if it walks like a scout, talks like a scout and eats like a scout, then it's a scout.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

There is a lot of circumstantial evidence that the decision was made even before all the town halls, etc. First and foremost is the selection of Surbaugh as CSE. His career primarily focused on the coed programs of Exploring and Venturing. Exploring Execs (EE)/Venturing Execs (VE) are highly specialized. When I was looking into becoming a professional, I talked to an EE. He advised against specializing in Exploring because their was extremely limited opportunities for promotion because it was so specialized. I saw a bit of that with the EE, later VE when Venturing split off, I worked with. So how did Surbaugh become SE with his narrow field of experience with a co-ed program, unless the decision was already made? Also did anyone notice that the June or July 2017 applications BSA created used gender-neutral language? There are a few other things I cannot think of off the top of my head. BUT if you do a search on here from the time period, you can find a lot of other pieces that the decision was made.

 

I agree that it was certainly the plan all along. If surveys are being designed to produce a specific result, then that decision has already been made. 
 

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1 minute ago, yknot said:

I agree that it was certainly the plan all along. If surveys are being designed to produce a specific result, then that decision has already been made. 
 

This goes to the lament of our brethren to the north....  The Scouter.com equivalent in Canada posted what went "wrong" with Scouts Canada.

https://scouteh.ca/about.php

https://scouteh.ca/rally/rescue-rally-pamphlet.pdf

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1 hour ago, Owls_are_cool said:

Newsmax had an article on the GSUSA lawsuit last night and it said that the GSUSA had an issue with the "Scout Me In" promotion and the fact that the Boy Scouts changed their name to the more gender neutral "Scouts BSA". That is more than trademark infringement. 

I wouldn't rely on Newsmax for news.

That said, if you read the lawsuit GSUSA filed, you'd see why the objected. In short, for decades BSA had agreed in writing to both GSUSA and to the Patent and Trademark Office (Scout/Scouting is trademarked) that they would NOT use the word "Scout" unless it was clear they were focused on BOYS.

Allowing and marketing to girls Cub Scouts and Scouts, BSA using the phrase "Scout Me In" changed that equation. That was an agreement that was in place since at least the 1970s and I detailed here.
 

And the GSUSA is asking the court to force BSA to go back to that in terms of how it markets

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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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14 hours ago, PACAN said:

If your 130,000 girls in the program is correct, we have lost almost 1,000,000 boys since their arrival.

I was using the number I have seen that combines the girl registration for Cubs and Scouts BSA.  I believe the number for Scouts BSA is around 30,000.

We do not have any girls trying to get Eagle by this summer.  We purposely did not try to attract any girls (and parents) trying to earn it on the compressed program.  

Sometime in the Spring I'll share thoughts on how we have done as a Troop advancement-wise. So far, we fit a pretty typical Troop advancement profile.  About 1/3 of our Scouts are go-getters who have good chances to earn Eagle around the three year mark.  About 1/3 are taking their time and will probably do well in advancement topping at Star or Life with a couple of Eagles.  Around 1/3 are less interested in reaching the upper ranks and simply love advancement in a leisurely way.  At least in our Troop, the fears that some commenters had that this would all be about "getting there first" or "let's make the boys look bad" has not occurred.  It actually feels about the same as my own boyhood Troop.

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4 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

This goes to the lament of our brethren to the north....  The Scouter.com equivalent in Canada posted what went "wrong" with Scouts Canada.

https://scouteh.ca/about.php

https://scouteh.ca/rally/rescue-rally-pamphlet.pdf

They have had many of the same problems as we have. My nephews were in BSA in the US and then moved to Canada where they dropped out within a year or two. One of the issues seemed to be that there was not the same enthusiasm for scouting in Canada as they had experienced in the U.S. and it put them out of step with peers. They were in Quebec province where the Francophone movement has tried to diminish British and English influence to the point where there are periodic discussions about seceding from Canada.   

 

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7 minutes ago, yknot said:

They were in Quebec province where the Francophone movement has tried to diminish British and English influence to the point where there are periodic discussions about seceding from Canada.   

Canada is the only WOSM member nation that operates two separate programs via a "cooperative agreement".

All other nations that have multiple WOSM members operate under a National Federation.

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28 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

Canada is the only WOSM member nation that operates two separate programs via a "cooperative agreement".

All other nations that have multiple WOSM members operate under a National Federation.

Interesting. They were in an English speaking Scouts Canada unit near Montreal. One of my cub scout dens face timed with them to fulfill a requirement to interact with scouts from another country. One of the things my cubs found most shocking was that Canadian scouts have to pledge allegiance to their Queen lol.

The youngest nephew tried to continue with his old U.S. unit when he returned over breaks but it was not easy or inexpensive to do. Another way scouting could boost membership in a small way would be to make a scouting registration more portable and seamless between units.

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