Girl Scouts Sue Boy Scouts Over Planned Name Change
NEW YORK – November 8, 2018
In October 2017, the Boy Scouts board of directors voted unanimously to open the program to all children. Thus they also decided to change the name to make the group more inclusive. In May, the Boy Scouts of America announced its new name: Scouts BSA. The change will take effect next February.
Now, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America have filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America for dropping “boy” from the scout group's name.
The Girl Scouts say the change could erode their brand, calling the move “uniquely damaging” to them.
Their lawsuit seeks damages and an injunction against trademark breaches.
“Only GSUSA has the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trademarks with leadership development services for girls,” papers filed in a Manhattan federal court said.
The switch could “marginalize” the Girl Scouts, the complaint reads. It reportedly says the switch has already caused confusion, with some believing their organization had merged with the Boy Scouts.
In response, the Boy Scouts of America issued a statement saying it was reviewing the suit, and that it believed “there is an opportunity for both organizations to serve girls and boys in our communities.”
The parent organization will remain the Boy Scouts of America, and the Cub Scouts — its program for 7 to 10-year-olds — will keep its title, as well.
But the Boy Scouts — the program for 11 to 17-year-olds — will now be Scouts BSA.
The organization has already started admitting girls into the Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA begins accepting girls next year.
But the Girl Scouts protested the decision at the time, with the group's president Kathy Hopinkah Hannan accusing them of a “covert campaign” to recruit girls to tackle a “well-documented” declining membership.
The Girl Scouts and the BSA are among several major youth organizations in the U.S. experiencing sharp drops in membership in recent years. Reasons include competition from sports leagues, a perception by some families that they are old-fashioned, and busy family schedules.
The Boy Scouts say current youth participation is about 2.3 million, down from 2.6 million in 2013 and more than 4 million in peak years of the past.
The Girl Scouts say they have about 1.76 million girls and more than 780,000 adult members, down from just over 2 million youth members and about 800,000 adult members in 2014.