News broke recently broke that the Girls Scouts of the USA has filed lawsuit against the Boy Scouts of America, declaring that the organization has committed trademark infringement after BSA announced that it plans to drop “Boy” from its name in 2019. According to the complaint, filed in Manhattan federal court, the Girl Scouts say Boy Scouts do not have the right to use “scouts” or “scouting.”
The complaint stems from the Boy Scouts’ decision last year to start accepting girls into its organization, which it is now doing. The new name was announced as Scouts BSA. The Girl Scouts state that the decision has caused too much confusion.
“Only GSUSA has the right to use the Girl Scouts and Scouts trademarks with leadership development services for girls,” the complaint states.
Officials with the Boy Scouts of America are now reviewing the lawsuit.
“We applaud every organization that builds character and leadership in children, including the Girl Scouts of the USA, and believe that there is an opportunity for both organizations to serve girls and boys in our communities,” it said in a statement to CNN.
As I read the news involving the name change and the recent lawsuit, I couldn’t help but think about a recent Cub Scout “cub haunted” camping trip I went on last month.
Our family is fairly new to the Boy Scouts. Yes, I was a Daisy Scout and a Brownie when I was in elementary school, same as my mother. I proudly was the top cookie sales girl three years in a row (much to the credit of my mom) and I’m pretty sure I have my old brown sash and beanie cap stuffed away in my hope chest at home. When my daughter was in kindergarten, there was no question — I signed her up to be a Daisy Scout and she served two more years as a Brownie. We sold cookies, did craft projects, visited a local animal shelter to deliver donations of dog and cat food. It was fun.
But it wasn’t really super-important to my daughter, now 9. When her troop fizzled after second grade, I asked her if she wanted to find another troop to join. She shrugged her shoulders.
“Not really,” she replied.
Last year, it was my son’s turn. Granted, I had no experience whatsoever with Cub Scouts, but when my son was 6, we signed him up as a Tiger Scout. The boys built little wooden derby cars to race and boats for the “Rain Gutter Regatta.” They went camping, my husband went with our son to spend the night with his troop on the U.S.S. Alabama battleship, and they shot BB guns and paint guns at the local police shooting range.
One afternoon, when I was dropping my son off for Cub Scouts and my oldest daughter was in the van, she looked out onto the church yard where the Cub Scouts meet and saw a handful of boys — many of them her close friends from school — running around and playing tag before the meeting began.
“No fair. Why can’t I be a Cub Scout?” she asked.
That was before the Boy Scouts of America made its decision last year.
When my son’s troop announced it was going to start accepting girls, my daughter was one of the first to sign up. Although this is the first year, her troop has close to 15 girls who have joined.
Last month, my husband, our son and our oldest daughter went camping as a family for the first time at the local Cub Scout camp. It was freezing, dipping down into the 40’s at night, and I’m pretty sure our camping gear still hasn’t dried out all the way. Our kids went on a hayride, played gaga ball and learned how to shoot archery. They played carnival games for Halloween candy and played on an inflatable slide.
As we roasted marshmallows over the campfire that night after the festivities, I couldn’t help but watch the scouts around us — the boys and the girls — talking and laughing. There was a huge grin across my daughter’s face as she ate her own s’more.
The next morning, after breakfast in a camp dining hall, my husband and I walked back to our campsite with our kids to pack up. I asked the kids if they had fun camping, if they would want to go camping again as a family, sometime.
Our son said, “Sure.” Our daughter said, “Yes! I want to stay here forever.”
The Girls Scouts is a great program for a lot of girls. But the Boy Scouts of America can be a great program for girls, too — girls like my daughter. Names of programs shouldn’t matter. There should be a place in this world for both.
— Lydia Seabol Avant writes The Mom Stop for The Tuscaloosa News in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Reach her at email@example.com.