Trickery. Confusion. Trademark infringement. The Girl Scouts are accusing the Boy Scouts of unfair practices. Lawyers for the Boy Scouts call the claims “utterly meritless.” They say the Girl Scouts are overreacting to the Boy Scouts’ move to include more girls.
Over the past two years, girls have been joining Boy Scouts by the thousands. Some want the challenge of pursuing the revered Eagle Scout status. Others think the Boy Scouts’ programming is a better fit for them than the kinds of activities Girls Scouts offers. The migration of females to the traditionally male organization has some Girl Scouts upset. They filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts.
The suit claims the Boy Scouts have kicked off a “highly damaging” recruitment war. The Girl Scouts insist that the Boy Scouts are unfairly recruiting girls. Girl Scout officials say that recruitment push causes confusion—and that has led to girls accidently joining Boy Scout troops instead of Girl Scout troops.
The lawyers for Girl Scouts cite Boy Scouts councils in a handful of states for confusing people with their marketing choices. For example, in Seattle, a Boy Scouts council used the Girl Scouts trademark in social media recruiting material. In Massachusetts, a Boy Scouts council posted a recruitment flyer on Facebook that included a girl in her Girl Scouts Brownie uniform. The Boy Scouts say they aren’t trying to confuse or trick people.
The Scouts’ squabble is also over a specific word, “Scout,” and its variations. The Boy Scouts have used the term “Scout” for more than 100 years. “Not fair!” says the Girl Scouts group. Each organization says that the word “Scout” is its own intellectual property. That’s the ownership of an idea. If someone comes up with a creative design or idea, then he or she has a right to it. No one can copy it without the owner’s permission. Legally, can the Boy Scouts use the words “Scout,” “Scouts,” “Scouting,” and “Scout Me In”? They think so. The Girl Scouts adamantly disagree.
Top-notch knot tie-ers versus expert cookies salespeople? The two programs are vastly different. They have different strengths––just like their members. But at the end of the day, the Boy Scouts and the Girl Scouts are both committed to developing strong leaders.
Because we live in a fallen world, no person or organization is perfect. That is why we need Jesus. Philippians 3:12 says, “Not that I have already obtained this or am already perfect, but I press on to make it my own, because Christ Jesus has made me His own.”