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Girl Scouts file trademark lawsuit as Boy Scouts plan to rename to Scouts BSA (reuters.com)
114 points by petethomas 76 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 203 comments

In many English-speaking countries other than the US (including Canada and UK), the Girl Scouts are actually called Girl Guides - and thus both the (Boy) Scouts and (Girl) Guides could theoretically admit both sexes without name conflicts or confusing names by simply dropping the references to boys and girls in their names.

For example, the British Boy Scouts organization is simply the "Scout Association" and has admitted girls under that name since the 1970s, though the British Girl Scouts organization is "Girlguiding" and is still for girls only.

Perhaps we Americans could rename the Boy Scouts and/or Girl Scouts to have a similar distinction as a way to smooth over this dispute.

(see https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Girl_Guides )

They specifically chose the name "Scouts BSA" because changing the name from "Boy Scouts of America" would effectively require an act of congress. BSA were given a special legal status WAY beyond what normal copyright law allows, and so a "simple" name change becomes not so "simple" after all, unfortunately.

In fact, this copyright law is so powerful, during the court case Wrenn v. BSA from 2008, in which the court flat out said:

"BSA need not demonstrate the likelihood of confusion because it has been granted special protection by Congressional charter"

(link to law: https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/36/30905)

Point of Clarification: The program name where youth can earn Eagle is now called Scouts BSA, the organization name still remains Boy Scouts of America.

The Boy Scouts of America has allowed girls in their other programs since the 1970s.

> The Boy Scouts of America has allowed girls in their other programs since the 1970s.

Only one (Exploring, which became Venturing), really. BSA has four youth programs:

Cub Scouts - for boys and girls from kindergarten through fifth grade. Girls were allowed to join the Cut Scouts program as of October 2017.

Scouting (formerly Boy Scouts) for young men 11 to 18. Young women will be able to join in February 2019.

Venturing - for young men and women ages 14 to 21. Young women were allowed to join starting in 1969. (Venturing was "Exploring" then, and Exploring / "Senior Scouts" started in the 1930s for boys 15 and older.

Sea Scouting - for young men and women ages 14 to 21. Previous to 2016, Sea Scouting was part of Venturing, and previous to that, part of Exploring.

Crew and Sea Scouts are thin on the ground, and not available to most kids unlike cub scouts or boy scouts.

IMO the BSA has scared off competent leadership from the local troops, digging the graves of the plethora of troops that have folded. There are a handful of high caliber troops out there today, but most do not have the organizational capability to do the best job possible for our youth.

I speak from the perspective of a gay former patrol leader and life scout, my troop was great and gave me skills I couldn't get anywhere else at that age.

I was (apparently) a positive influence on many of the kids that were in my patrol, but none of the troops in my region besides the one I spent half a decade in has been able to field a coherent presence at Camporee or any of the summer camps. These kids are missing out on opportunities to learn valuble life skills that the local troops used to readily teach.

In Australia, it's also just the Scout Association. I was a Cub Scout, Scout, Venturer and Rover (all the age brackets), and we had girls involved every step of the way. In fact it used to come up quite often in discussion about how stupid it was that its still called 'Boy scouts' in America.

Also it came up in discussion frequently that the Guides were rubbish, lol.

As a Canadian, my wife and I can concur. My wife hated girl guides.. calling them glorified 1950's housewives in training. They learned to knit and sew and babysit cubs and sell cookies. Camping and swimming weren't even options.

Scouts treated her like an equal and she went camping and adventuring. And we always had girls in our troops. We were just Scouts.. the silly 'Boy' bit the Americans use was never there.

Boy Scouts of America is a discriminatory religious organization with a ridiculously long record of exclusionary policies [1]. They don't "welcome" gay scouts, but permit them. Atheists still aren't allowed to be scout leaders. As a parent I refused to let my son have anything to do with them.

1. https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boy_Scouts_of_America_member...

I think it is important to distinguish between "freedom to act as you see fit" and "discrimation" per see. If you have a private organization and want to give good experiences to young men, then I think you should be able to do so. Someone else can make another organization for young women, or even one for both, each of these provides a unique experience for those who want it, and in a pluralistic society this kind of diversity enriches society for everyone. Look at it more as diversity. Atheists can make their own camps which promote their own ideas and ethics, and it will be a haven for good memories among them. It isn't good to homogenize all of society and attack those who just want their own little "safe haven" and "summer camps" for their children and their cultural ideas without bothering anyone else. I fully support your right to put your son wherever you want, just please support my right to do the same.

>distinguish between "freedom to act as you see fit" and "discrimination"

These are not linked, they are independent and orthogonal. The first is a matter of legal ability, the latter is a moral issue (that may under some circumstances also be illegal). There are many, many instances in life where you have the legal right to do something that is nonetheless despicable, and it is social consequences that moderate it (or not). russellbeattie did not say the Boy Scouts were criminals or should be banned, merely that they are discriminatory. And they are. They apparently have the freedom to be discriminatory, but private citizens may still judge them for that choice. Refusing to have one's child be involved which an organization that does that is a completely legitimate social and moral judgement as a parent. Debating and socially pushing back against evil is a critical part of society and reason free speech and association.

Err, sure, I support freedom of choice and opposing evil, but calling someone evil for deciding to send their son to a boy's only summer camp seems a bit extreme to me. Civil society also depends on people being tolerant of those they disagree with and practicing kindness and persuasion when they do disagree. Sure, there are things that we set strict laws against and things we oppose morally whether they are legal or not (e.g. murder, mass murder, oppressive surveillance), but which summer camps you decide to sponsor or go to don't seem to me to be part of that list. Maybe I'm just out of touch with society...

Both of your comments are arguing against strawmen. You're the only one calling them evil. You're also the only one talking about the boys-only aspect of it when it's clear that the problems the other commenters have with it are that it discriminates against atheists and homosexuals. Do better.

The Boy Scouts of America has a congressional charter. They are not a run-of-the-mill private organization. Their discrimination is unacceptable as a publicly-chartered organization.

Does that mean anything or is it just honorific like most recognition of groups from the government? I think it's quite well established the Boy Scouts of America are a well recognized group regardless of this so I don't see how this is what makes them non run-of-the-mill.

The Boy Scouts have used the trademark rights granted by their federal charter to bully other organizations to change their names. In a trademark dispute it would be necessary for a claimant to demonstrate that there is a likelihood of confusion between their mark and the allegedly infringing mark. The BSA has claimed that their federal charter allows them to be exempt from that requirement and, in the 2008 Wrenn vs. BSA decision the court affirmed that claim, stating "The Court agrees with the BSA that it need not demonstrate the likelihood of confusion because it has been granted special protection by Congressional charter."

That is sufficient demonstration, to me, that they derive value from their federal charter above and beyond it simply being an honorific.

One of the problems with our society is that the government has it's hand and it's funding in almost everything. I don't think public institutions should take sides, which means they should get out of interfering with private institutions. If the government didn't take a large percentage of our money to hand out to organizations we disagree with, then maybe we could support the things we do agree with. I wish they didn't have a congressional charter, maybe then they'd be more independent.

Your libertarian-leaning sentiments don't change the facts. The Boy Scouts of America have a congressional charter. They've used that charter to bully other programs into changing their names (evidence "Youthscouts"[1] or "Hacker Scouts"[2]).

If they're going to use the imprimatur of the United States Congress to their advantage then it follows, to me, that they aren't a run-of-the-mill private organization and should be bound by the Constitution in the same way as other public entities. (Their discrimination against atheists, for example, is directly in conflict with the first amendment and, to my mind, unconscionable.)

I'm glad to see the Girl Scouts (also federally chartered) going after them. The Girl Scouts have a much better track record of being a good actor when it comes to discrimination and acting like the public entity that they are.

[1] - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wrenn_v._Boy_Scouts_of_America

[2] - https://web.archive.org/web/20130821172216/http://hacker-sco...

BTW: If you find this kind of thing interesting there's some really engaging analysis here: https://kb.osu.edu/bitstream/handle/1811/64622/OSLJ_V53N5_13...

Substitute any other minority for Athiest in your sentence to explore your underestimation of the extent of discrimination you’re advocating.

We're not talking about discriminating against girls, but against atheists and LGBT people.

> I think it is important to distinguish between "freedom to act as you see fit" and "discrimation" per see

By all means try to distinguish between them. You haven't yet done so.

"freedom to act as you see fit" is usually a human right guaranteed legally by the Constitution, but discrimination is a cultural idea which is slowly gaining the power of legal force to prevent people from doing what they would normally choose. To be "discriminating" used to be a compliment, it meant you could intellectualy discern the logical differences between two things, much like how we use "observative". But now it means something more like "making choices someone personally disagrees with or thinks is unfair to a certain preferred group". They are indeed, diametrically opposed in that sense. If it is only a cultural or social opposition to someone's choices, then sure it could be a good thing, but it is becoming more and more a legal construct to oppose a person's freedom to act as they see fit if you think they are being unfair.

> But now it means something more like "making choices someone personally disagrees with or thinks is unfair to a certain preferred group".

Your definition of discrimination in the second sense (which is actually listed first in the dictionary) is off. Let's consult that:

"The unjust or prejudicial treatment of different categories of people or things, especially on the grounds of race, age, or sex."

It goes a lot further than merely making disagreeable choices or being unfair.

You're aware that they now allow gay members and leaders and that the atheism thing is on it's way out, right? I'm an atheist eagle scout. I'll grant you that it has been tough to get these changes in, but they are clearly happening.

The organization's recent reaffirmation of the "Duty of God" doesn't make me think the "atheism thing" is at all on the "way out": https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/05/31/bsa-reaffirms-d...

Where I am, in semi-rural Ohio, I think an openly atheist person would have a very tough time being accepted.

Well, as an eagle scout who has influence in this (they actually listen to their eagle scouts), I know many of us have been pushing for a wider view of what is meant for spirituality to include atheists, just like we pushed to allow in gay scout leaders and scouts, and we pushed to open the program to women.

They need to take out the "spirituality" aspect of it, full stop. Atheists by and large aren't "spiritual" for any meaningful definition of the word, and pretending that they are won't actually make atheists feel more welcome.

I was told that I would be allowed to stay part of the troop but would not be able to advance on rank any further due to being an athiest, and the people who made that decision are still involved with the organization.

Parts of the boy scouts may have moved on, but it is by no means an official change

>They don't "welcome" gay scouts, but permit them.

They don't "welcome" heterosexual scouts, it's a children's organization... sex and sexual orientation have nothing to do with it and should never have anything to do with it given we are talking about MINORS, a good chunk of which are pre-pubescent.

Scouts range ~12 up to 18. Cub scouts are pre-pubescent and also a different organization.

Adults should have nothing to do with sexuality then, but it's definitely there for the scouts. The discussions in my troop were very much "keep that away from here" which is a correct attitude coming from 40+ year olds who aren't family.

As an Eagle Scout I'll say that I'm not a huge fan of the BSA organization, but wholeheartedly support local troops. Not every troop is good, to be sure, but I don't think dismissing the whole of Boy Scouts is appropriate.

I loved my time in the Boy Scouts. The organization doesn't matter if you find a troop with a good leader.

I was in scouting for many years.

Why should they welcome anyone? I was permitted to join, onboarded, etc. Anyone else who joined was given the same treatment. The red carpet wasn't rolled out for anyone.

It's religious only in a vague way. There was a religious requirement to get Eagle, but aside from that, my troop wasn't religious.

My father wasn't religious and he was a scoutmaster.

You sound like someone who has made a judgement based on what some people have chosen to highlight. With the same kind of attitude you might think you are in grave danger of getting killed at any moment in America (if you base your opinion on the US on naysayers).

Certainly if what some higher ups decide about an org matters to you the most, you shouldn't join. Trump was elected president and lots of liberals found enough reason to still love America.

In all seriousness, I learned a lot there. There are other orgs that can accomplish the same. You wouldn't believe how many people I run into today who can't even tie a couple of knots.

As is every club with any kind of charter. The DAR; the sports teams at my local high school; heck even girl's schools like Wellsley.

And the religious component is contained in "adherence to spiritual principles, loyalty to the religion that expresses them and acceptance of the duties resulting therefrom"

Its about teaching young people to respect spirituality, to accept loyalty in Scouts to their own faith. I can't see harm in this. Perhaps an Atheist, dogmatically demanding that we all give up faith, could see harm?

So which faith should I be loyal to please if I have none? And which universal „spiritual principles“ exist in the world that I could adhere to, except for „whatever my religious leader says“ (of which I don‘t have any)?

There‘s simply no logic in these sentences, which points back again to the boy scouts being a de facto religious organization.

I was in Scouts for a couple of years. Religion was not really a focus at all. The message was that we should respect each others choices with regard to religion and spirituality and that was about it. Morals, good citizenship, and respect were otherwise discussed without much reference to religion.

I was in Scouts, too, and I had a similar experience to you. That doesn't change the fact that organization has weighed-in on matters of religion[1] and affirmed themselves as being discriminatory toward atheists.

[1] - https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/05/31/bsa-reaffirms-d...

It depends on the troop. I was in the Cub Scouts in Takoma Park, MD (which is where the hippies went who never stopped being hippies), and indeed religion was not a focus there. But in troops elsewhere, it definitely can be. And those troops are being given cover and explicit endorsement to do so by the national organization. Whereas if, say, a local dance class started injecting religion and making some people feel uncomfortable because it's not their religion, the national organization might step in and shut that all down, saying stick to dance instruction and leave religion in church.

One of my sons was in scouts for a few years. Every scout meeting and event was started with a prayer that everyone was expected to bow their heads for and say amen. Talks often referenced strictly religious themes, with frequent mentions of the Judeo-Christian god. It felt like religion was very much a focus of the local troop.

>I was in Scouts for a couple of years. Religion was not really a focus at all.

Same. Aside from having a Jehova's Witness as a scoutmaster (that never once brought up religion, in fact my family and that family were the only non-holiday church-going families in my dens and packs), there was absolutely nothing religious about my time from tiger cubs up to my father dying just shy of my 13th birthday and me leaving scouts.

Chiming in just to offer some counter anecdata to what seems to be on display in this thread: I was edged out of my local scout troop for being an atheist. This was roughly around 1996-1997 though, so perhaps things have improved.

Most young people do grow up in some spiritual environment, at least in America. And all Scouts are required to respect others' faith.

I call straw man - what specific problem is being referred to? An imaginary youth raised in a cave?

Citation please. America has very diverse pockets. There's places where the average person wouldn't dream of missing church weekly, and there's others where people have never seen the inside of one.

Stating that "most young people" grow up in a spiritual environment means that a kid who isn't spiritual must have been raised in a cave is disengenous

Try google in general? Something between 80 and 90% of Americans for instance identify with some faith.

Yea, looks like 20% of americans have no religious identity[1]. That leads to roughly 69 million people. How does a population that large of non-religious people lead you to believe that a non religious child would have to be imaginary and raised in a cave?


Meanwhile, in Canada: http://wiki.scouts.ca/en/Sexuality

...which goes to show that you can run a chartered organization, even one otherwise substantially similar in content and procedure to BSA, without being discriminatory about it.

Same goes for religious organizations: several Christian denominations allow openly gay ministers. There's nothing about spirituality that requires we discriminate against or hate each other.

IMHO, we can and should expect better of organizations than to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation, especially those organizations that purport to model good behavior for youth.

The BSA now allows openly gay members and leaders. It took a while to get there, but it happened.

>> "Perhaps an Atheist, dogmatically demanding that we all give up faith, could see harm?"

You've confused atheist with antitheist. The former is a personal lens on the world. The latter is an ideology. I look up at the stars and see balls of incandescent gas and an indifferent cosmos, but that doesn't mean I berate the witches I know for finding significance in their alignment.

It's not so simple as that. Atheists don't demand people to give up faith, but we try raise critical thinking in people so that their actions are guided by fact and evidence instead of blind adoration and faith. Teaching kids to blindly follow things instead of teaching them to think critically can be very harmful in the long run.

Teaching kids respect is a positive thing. Teaching kids not to steal or lie, likewise.

Agreed. And one can have those things without religion.

Teaching kids to blindly accept matters that are unfalsifiable, doesn't seem like a positive thing. Acting as an example to kids by being discriminatory toward those who do not blindly accept the unfalsifiable doesn't seem like a positive thing either.

Edit: minor phrasing

Teaching kids respect for other's views on the subject of faith

If by respect you mean tolerance, I agree. But I cannot respect, for example, those that believe (as per Leviticus) practicing homosexuals should be put to death.

Not a lot of them in my Troop

You really should not generalize about athiests. I'm an atheist and I see no special athiesm-based reason to do anything. I promote critical thinking, but that isn't because I'm an atheist. That's because I'm a litterate human being.

> They don't "welcome" gay scouts, but permit them.

This information is outdated.

They had "don't ask, don't tell" for a very long time.

But they've had openly gay Scouts since 2014 and openly gay leaders since 2015.

That's odd to read. The scouts are very different in the UK. They have an explicit "Open to all" policy. I know several scout leaders who are gay, plenty who are women, and I believe they've removed the mention of god from the pledge.

The BSA is a large and diverse organization. There are many troops out there and each one is a world unto itself. It takes some time to find a good fit for your child, but it is very much worth the efforts.

Many troops and councils have openly bucked National's policies for a while now [0] [1] [2] with varying repercussions. Like any large bureaucratic group of people, change takes time. But I think you can see that change is happening within the BSA. I think that you would be surprised at the inclusiveness of some troops (not all, by any means). Importantly, if you want the scouts to change, doing so from inside the organization is the most expedient way to do so (frustrations are bound to occur though).

Please, give Scouts a try! Interview local scoutmasters and attend some troop meetings. I promise that they will be happy to talk with you. If you are in the Bay Area I know of a few troops that may fit your family well. I think you will find a troop that aligns fairly well with your priorities (nothing is ever 100%). If that fails, please consider starting your own troop! [3].

Scouting is a great opportunity for young people. It's a fantastic 'grit' builder, leadership trainer, and social experience. It teaches uncountable lessons to your children and helps them prepare for later life like no other thing [4]. Many people [5] cite their one-of-a-kind scouting experiences as the nucleus of their future careers and passions. Personally, I cannot wait to see what becomes of the first female Eagle. Whomever that young woman will be, I am certain that she will have a unique place in her community and world.

The lessons of Scouts are uncountable, the friends are innumerable, and the food is, well, usually inedible.

[0] https://www.glaad.org/blog/local-boy-scouts-council-approves...

[1] http://www.scoutingforall.org/data/layer02/store.html

[2] https://www.vox.com/first-person/2017/7/27/16049924/boy-scou...

[3] http://www.bsa-grc.org/membership/how-to-start-a-new-unit/54...

[4] https://www.scouting.org/discover/parent/benefits/

[5] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Eagle_Scouts

It's strange to me that Girl Scouts were able to have that name in the first place, once Boy Scouts already existed -- there's so much trademark confusion, for a long time I'd always assumed they were two branches of the same org, and trademarks aren't supposed to allow for this kind of confusion.

I totally understand why Girl Scouts doesn't want to allow Boy Scouts to drop "Boy" because it feels unfair (neither should get to claim a more "universal" scouting trademark)... but I also don't understand why Girl Scouts were allowed to have the name in the first place in 1913 (Boy Scouts started in 1910, and Girl Scouts were originally Girl Guides).

It seems to have more to do with protecting the cookie sales that provide their livelihoods than it does with providing leadership growth for the girls.

We have s friend who worked with GSA for a couple years and came away utterly disgusted with the amount of pressure that’s applied on all the local chapters and how much of the proceeds is extracted back to the mothership while providing essentially no services in return. Where is all the money going?

She seemed to think it was ripe to be the next big scandal - similar to the RedCtoss.

Where does the money go?

So it's just a good way to prepare those young people to the world of MLM.

>there's so much trademark confusion, for a long time I'd always assumed they were two branches of the same org, and trademarks aren't supposed to allow for this kind of confusion.

Confusion goes way, way back in the U.S. as far as scouting as there have been multiple organizations doing similar things, just between 1896 and the 1940's you had:

- Woodcraft Indians

- Sons of Daniel Boone

- Boy Scouts of the United States

- Peace Scouts of California, New England Boy Scouts, Rhode Island Boy Scouts, Michigan Forest Scouts

- Life Saving Scouts of the World

- American Boy Scouts

- YMMIA Scouts

- Colonel Cody’s Boy Scouts

- Lone Scouts of America

- Columbian Squires

- Boy's Works

- DeMolay International

And probably many other smaller ones.

I don’t think girls were originally allowed, so if girls couldn’t be scouts it didn’t seem fair.

It's amazing how times change. Just a few years ago, the Boy Scouts wouldn't allow gay kids to join (2013) and wouldn't allow gay leaders (2015). Back then, people were applauding the Girl Scouts for their progressive stance on gay rights and transgender youths. Today, the Boy Scouts are leaning into a more gender-neutral membership.

Ultimately, I think the Girl Scouts are worried about their membership. If Scouts BSA accepts all applicants while they only accept girls, Scouts BSA is likely to carve out a bunch of their membership. When men's colleges went co-ed, it didn't really threaten women's colleges because the formerly men's colleges couldn't just grow their membership. They had limited classroom space, limited dorms, etc. However, with less fixed infrastructure, Scouts BSA could absorb a lot of the Girl Scouts membership.

Personally, I think there is room for multiple gender-neutral youth organizations with different ranges of activities. However, it will mean that organizations must provide a positive reason for people to want to join rather than the negative "you aren't allowed in the other club".

I also came here with a similar sentiment that I was expecting would be echoed by someone else in this thread.

As an Eagle Scout who participated in a co-ed Venture Crew, I think it’s a good step forward for the BSA organization. People in the thread have mentioned some possible issues with co-Ed integration, and while it has its issues, I firmly believe on the whole that it’s a net good for the organization.

I won’t speak for the plight of the Girl Scouts organization, who undoubtedly has done a lot of good and has always been the more progressive of the two organizations, but I can at least say that the BSA has done decently well to adapt to the current times given the immense sort of political pressures they have been under over the past 50 years.

I have a lot of value and memories of my time in the Scouts and given the changes they have implemented after various scandals over the years I can confidently say that they are at least interested in fixing long running issues unlike other organizations such as the Catholic Church who are more willing to ostrich-head-in-the-sand away something when nastiness emerges.

Comparing to the church is.... Interesting. Aren't the boy scouts more associated with the church?

More to the point, if they really want to embrace change, embrace their name. Don't dilute it to a generic one that also has reputation with another organisation.

I say that as someone that believes in redemption. Hiding behind another banner doesn't strike as redemptive behaviour. :(

Edit: similarly, deceptive tactics such as pretending this is about something other than the name dilution doesn't scream good faith.

Boy Scout Tripp’s are often (usually?) Sponsored by a local religious organization. They do have other types of sponsors such as civic organizations. My troop in the 1980s was sponsored by the local Lions Club.

The local troops can have very different attitudes about beliefs in god (or the lack of), sexual orientation, the environment, etc

Right. And I don't mean that to be a damning claim on my part. Large organizations love hiding behind the claims that most local branches are not corrupt/outdated/whatever.

And to a large extent, I agree with that. A problem, is this can essentially be seen as enabling the so called "fat cats" at the top to hide their hypocrisies behind the local orgs. That is, it is an incredibly enabling behavior. And I view it as basically equivalent between the two.

(Of course, there is also the direct comparison that many of the boy scout troops were directly working with and benefiting from the organization called out as "having their heads in the sand.")

You should read the article. The concern is less over them taking in girls, but in doing so and assuming the name "scout". Sending fliers to young families with "join the scouts" and not being honest that they are joining a different organization than the Girl Scounts is... slimy. At best.

Your history just adds to the feel that this is being done entirely as a somewhat "below the water" way to up the BSA membership. They got a tarnished name for a while, so now it looks like they are trying to wash some of their garbage with the reputation of the Girl Scouts.

The current rules in cub scouts require separate dens for boys and girls. IMHO this is a sort of "separate but equal" treatment that barricades girls from joining (because it requires additional volunteer leadership and critical mass of youth membership), and would have to change before it becomes a credible threat.

According to an article in Time[1] 'The Girl Scouts seek a court order blocking the Boy Scouts from using the term “Scout,” “Scouts,” “Scouting,” or “Scouts BSA” without an “inherently distinctive or distinguishing term appearing immediately before it.”'

How is the word scout not considered to be a generic trademark type word at this point and in this context?

Does anyone not see this as a silly, frivolous argument? I'd love to hear your take.

[1] http://www.time.com/5446540/girl-scouts-boy-scouts-lawsuit/

In this context the is now a risk of confusing products. You can still release products with the word "scout" in it on contexts where there is no danger of confusion by consumers. So you could still have a car called "scout" without these two orgs suing you

In the context of youth leadership development, "Scout" can be trademarked. Just like "Apple"—in the context of computers, phones, etc.—is owned by the Mac and iPhone company.

Are there any other organizations that use "Scout" in their name, besides BSA and GSUSA?

> Just like "Apple"—in the context of computers, phones, etc.—is owned by the Mac and iPhone company.

Remember that epic multi-decade Apple Corps vs. Apple Computer trademark battle?


Ha, I do.

This line didn't bode well:

> As a condition of the settlement, Apple Computer agreed not to enter the music business

$500mm later, and they're best friends now.

My apologies, I was asking in the context of USA orgs (since that’s where the dispute is occurring). Every other org I’ve seen in the US is called something other than “Scouts”


Can't the Girl Scouts just change their name to Scouts GSA.

I feel like I always hear about girl scout fundraising (not just the cookies) but never about girl scouting. In contrast, I hear a lot about camping and whatnot with the boy scouts, yet they never seem to be in my face raising money. What's all that girl scout money going towards? More fundraising?

Parent of both, some anecdotes and generalities follow.

Girl scouting is indoors and out of sight, Boy scouting is outdoors and in view. Therefore you will see a lot more "boy activity". They spend a similar amount of time.

For whatever weird traditional reason its assumed the boys families will pay maybe a hundred per year for boy scouting stuff, and girls do not pay or only pay a symbolic tiny amount of money. WRT family budget, Girl scouting is like a tenth the cost of Boy scouting, maybe less.

Boys do indeed sell a heck of a lot of popcorn and holiday decor like wreaths, but mostly at special events or to family members, girl scouts seem to sell most of their cookies door to door or at the grocery store very much to the general un distracted public.

Boy scouting activities, well, bluntly sound cooler and more memorable. There's no reason a girl couldn't pick up a boys merit badge book for archery and have tons of fun, but girl scout activities just are not as cool, sorry but true. "Eco Friend" just doesn't excite the imagination like shot gun shooting merit badge or welding or car maintenance. Why aren't girl scout activities as cool as boy scout activities? I honestly do not know.

Girl scout activities are very risk adverse, worst case scenario is a paper cut. Boy scout activities (at the higher ages) involve firearms and fire and safety glasses and danger in general.

Gender integration is a weird topic because boy scouts has always involved over 18 women and preteen female siblings since the old days and no one really cares; however girl scouts is absolutely fanatic about no-males-allowed in any form. Its definitely like integrating the white schools only and not the black ones, or whatever historical analogy. Girl scouts absolutely forbids males and AFAIK they are not integrating like the boy scouts at all.

> Why aren't girl scout activities as cool as boy scout activities? I honestly do not know.

You're right. A Boy Scout camp I worked at was trying to get Girl Scout groups to come use the facilities, but parents resisted because the facility had a shooting range. They said that they didn't want the Girl Scouts involved in or exposed to "violent activities" and they wouldn't come unless the shooting range was removed. Other parents felt that the majority of the outdoor activities were too dangerous.

There was one group that wanted to use the shooting range, though, and despite freezing rainy weather, the girls (and parents) came out anyway. That was great to see.

There's not much stopping the Girl Scouts from adding the other activities except for the female leadership themselves.

I'd love to see more cross-organization Merit Badges.

To be honest “eco friend” sounds a lot more like what I’d want my children to be involved with than “shotgun shooting”. According to the website the requirements for “Eco Friend” are essentially doing no harm to the environment, making a safe campfire and attempting to be kind. All worthwhile skills but perhaps it could be rebranded to sound cooler, like “Ecosystem management engineer”.

Also if the Girl Scouts could see their way to making merit badges for “fighting the man”, “radical feminism” and “understanding white privilege”, I think their members would be better armed to understand the world in a useful manner. I’d be happy to sew on those to any piece of clothing.

Maybe some Boy Scout badges for “non fire related cooking”, “hanging pictures straight” and “basic household budgeting” would also improve the world and give their members useful skills.

Thanks for answering. I really appreciate that you took the time to explain this.

Depending on country you live in, girl version may do different activities then boy version. In some places it is more crafting and similar thing. The history of boy vs girl versions are different. Boy version evolved from "boys need activities/guidance and to be better prepared for next war with activities inspired by special unit" and packed with proper boy activities, while girl version started off with proper girl activities.

Both need to get back to their roots. Scouts locate the enemy and report back. Guides find routes through hostile terrain. Neither has to be a specific sex to complete their mission.

The origin of girl guides is not in guiding through hostile terrain despite what the name suggests. It is an trying to create an organization for girls inspires by boy scouts, but focusing more on proper feminine activities. You don't need to be girl to enjoy crafts and plenty boys are handy, but these activities were considered feminine and still largely are.

Boy scouts origin is in veteran thinking boys are growing too meek to be good future soldiers and also lack adult guidance messing around aimlessly not getting themselves ready. They were trying to give them something fun and good to spend time with.

Not sure why you are being downvoted. Some scouting organizations required their scouts to carry firearms, for example The American Boy Scouts (ABS), formed by William Randolph Hearst, carried rifles chambered in .22 and .32 rimfire.

I am the Cubmaster of a large Cub Scout pack (>150 kids). Admitting girls has been a non-issue, except to local Girl Scouts USA activists (long story, and it wasn't pretty). Girls have always been in Boy Scouts: sisters have ALWAYS been coming to meetings. Now they get to earn badges, too. My son still picks boogers and giggles at farts even with girls around.

This lawsuit is but the latest in GSUSA's petty-ness. I don't want to harm local Girl Scout troops, so we've been laying low at recruiting girls at schools with GSUSA presence. But my patience with GSUSA is running thin.

As a counterpoint, I've actually been kind of annoyed with the local boy scouts for getting somewhat active trying to recruit my girls to their scouts.

I get that they likely mean well, but my kids are already quite happy in the girl scouts. No need to try and confuse things by trying to "turn a new leaf."

I confess I assumed you were both the same organization years ago. Found out you weren't, and largely didn't care. That it largely seems to be an image saving move by the boy scouts, though, does give a bad taste.

ugh, yeah, active members for one group should be off limits for recruitment by the other. the goal should be to get more kids into scouting, not to poach each others membership.

i hope this kind of behavior is not common.

greetings, eMBee

Being fair, I don't think most of it is intentional. Just if they see us out, they ask if they know the boy scouts allow girls to join.

If they just ask if they know the "scouts" allow girls, it just confuses them. Of course there girl scouts allow girls to join.

> Girls have always been in Boy Scouts. Now they get to earn badges, too.

Yes, and before 1920, women were frequently allowed into statehouses. They just didn't get to vote. Turns out that was a pretty important distinction.

Yes, those two things are pretty much on the same level.

The OP was speaking in regards to how boys act around girls, not making a defense of any policy.

"Admitting girls has been a non-issue" is very much a policy statement. It implies that Boy Scouts weren't doing anything wrong before because women have always been a part of it. There was never a problem. Allowing girls to formally join is just the icing on the cake.

But there WAS an issue before. Despite the fact that Johnny's sister was allowed to watch the knot-tying lessons, refusing to give her a uniform and a badge was very much an issue to her, and saying it wasn't should be called out.

Keen to hear the long story. Any articles you recommend as someone in the know?

Will we see a total ban on single gender clubs in the future? And is that what we want?

I don't get what is so wrong about having a few kids activities that are for just one of the genders. I think it's very healthy for kids to experience all the differences between boys and girls early on, to learn. But they should also be allowed to enjoy the company of just each other when they want to. It's an important process to understand how that part of reality functions. In sports this happens a lot and I think it's really healthy that girls aren't forced to play soccer with the boys all the time, but that there are girl teams and boys teams. Likewise for many sports.

Are we all becoming so politically correct that we effectively stop teaching our children the values of masculinity and femininity?

I'm Swedish and grew up as a scout, and in Sweden scouting was made co-educational in the 1960s. I remember having my mind blown at finding out that this wasn't the case everywhere in the modern world. It just seemed like the most ridiculous thing to me, to separate scouting by gender. Saying that girls and boys couldn't be scouts together was equally absurd to me as saying that girls and boys couldn't go to school together. Equality in this was just the most natural thing in the world.

It's ridiculous that scouting isn't co-educational everywhere. The fact that Sweden didn't realize this until the 1960s is absurd, and the fact that there are people still resisting it today half a century later is downright shameful.

> Equality in this was just the most natural thing in the world.

Op wasn't suggesting girls can't be scouts. You can still have unisex scouts.

He was merely asking if we have gone so far that a club which allows boys to play with boys and girls just with girls (in one activity) was such a terrible thing.

The fact that you dropped the equality hammer to counter him, kind of makes his point that it has.

I think there are a number of circumstances where separating by gender is perfectly fine. Sports is an obvious one: because of gender differences in physiques, girls and boys compete at different levels, so the separation makes perfect sense.

I'm just saying that it makes absolutely zero sense to do it for scouting. Scouting is about teaching kids to be self-reliant, to be confident in nature, to work well with others, and to help with their physical and mental development. There's absolutely no reason to split this up by gender except antiquated and sexist beliefs about women. It makes just about as much sense as having different scouting organizations for people with blue eyes and brown eyes.

I think part of the issue is that, as a private organization, it should be able to decide for itself in order to obtain it's own goals and ends (which they have, though I disagree with them and will look elsewhere for the good old experience). I see great value in separating genders for scouts and having a comraderie form among young men. Young men act very differently when they are around young women, and it is good to have both situations in structured environments. I feel it is easier to teach camping, self reliance, etc. when they aren't distracted by the cute girl. You might feel differently, and that's okay, but I think it's okay for both us to have our own opinions and our own organizations so that we can do as we see fit without attacking each other's position. I'm an Eagle Scout, and I'm very grateful for the experiences I had, I found it valuable. I had lots of other times and places to have other sorts of experiences, but scouts was special in it's own way.

>>I'm just saying that it makes absolutely zero sense to do it for scouting

Boys are stronger than girls so having boys only or girls only makes it easier to organize physical exercises/tests/requirements. It's also likely boys are in general interested in other things than girls so having gender separation allows more kids doing what they enjoy. One more reason could be that having genders separated removes the aspect of kids hitting puberty interacting with each other and additional burden it entails when organizing activities.

I mean, there are surely reasons to have genders combined but it's very easy to imagine reasons to have it separated.

>>It makes just about as much sense as having different scouting organizations for people with blue eyes and brown eyes.

Oh c'mon, we can discuss how much different girls and boys are and what kind of structure is better for society but to claim relevant differences between boys and girls amount to differences between blue eyed and brown eyed people is just ignorant.

I think your post is entirely reasonable (and it worries me to see generally acknowledged facts, like gender differences - girls interested in people, boys in systems - being downmodded on HN).

But there are girls with typically male interests and boys with typically female interests.

If a boy wants to do contemporary dance, give him an opportunity to do contemporary dance.

If a girl is into survival tests (making shelter, hunting food etc), give her the opportunity to test herself.

I am not opposed to having mixed groups. They have a lot of benefits in many settings. I just don't want to force it. There are people with various views about how various activities should be and how children should be raised. Let them do w/e they think is best.

I’m not sure it’s even obvious for sports. Doesn’t it make more sense to divide sports by physical ability regardless of gender, rather than use gender as a preposterously imprecise proxy for physical ability?

Why have one team made up of the fastest boys and another of the fastest girls, rather than one team made up of the fastest kids and another made up of the next fastest kids?

Same here in the Netherlands. It's always weird to read about the US BSA and the Girl Scouts being actual separate organisations. Here it was (and perhaps is) perfectly acceptable to have separate girl and boy patrols within the same age bracket in a single group, but most activities are shared (including the all-important summer camp).

In Italy (and other countries) we have both co-ed and inter-ed associations. "Inter-ed" meaning that there is a single association with separate troops for boys and girls, but chiefs can plan activities together as they deem fit. Would this approach be considered "ridiculous", "absurd", or "shameful"?

Yup, same in Austria and (as far as I know) the rest of the German-speaking world. In the UK I was a cub and a scout, my sister was a brownie and a guide, both offered very different experiences. Over here everybody gets to be a Pathfinder and the kids all do cool adventurous stuff together.

Are Girl Guides a thing in Sweden?

If Guides exist are they co-education also?

I don't think so. I mean, maybe, but not that I've heard of.

You're automatically assuming because it's exclusionary that it's a negative for society. There's already been an equivalent for over a century.

Just because it's been around before their lifetime and is a cultural institution doesn't mean it's a bad thing. Too many liberals get this wrong about conservatism; they think "old == bad", ergo it must be toppled/changed in some way. What is morally/ethically wrong with only young boys going away for a few weeks in the summer to a camp?

> Are we all becoming so politically correct that we effectively stop teaching our children the values of masculinity and femininity?

In my experience masculinity and femininity are a concept we largely teach kids. I've seen so many boys who love musicals, dolls, dressing up, crafting and all the other activities often associated as "girls things". Yet the moment they're spotted doing it by a group of their peers, they'll flip to "i hate dolls because they're girls toys" etc just to fit in.

And on the flip side, I've also seen plenty of girls who could be described as "tom boys" and really just love doing stuff that we often teach our kids to be a masculine property.

So I don't see it as being politically correct, I see it as humanity finally catching up that popular interests aren't so easily defined by boolean genders.

However as a former Scout I can testify that the actual reason Scouts have allowed girls into their groups was to compensate for dwindling membership. Some Scout groups resisted but many were forced to adopt mix gender simply to survive.

Go find a lesbian mother's group. You won't find a group of kids more exposed to a year-0 style environment, where a large bunch of children are encouraged to specifically play with toys that are usually more popular with the other gender.

You also won't find a more exasperated set of parents who are blown away when most of their children seek out more common toys for their gender.

You're only factoring in parental influences. Kids react a lot more to what other kids in their group (eg friends at school) play with than what their parents tell them to.

However I do take your point and I'm not suggesting there isn't a biological element at play as well. Just that the gender element is vastly overstated and in fact a great many girls do enjoy "boys stuff" and visa versa.

I'm factoring in parental and cohort influence: these kids play with each other, and are not in school yet.

You’re still just focused on specific examples of influence. What about TV (kids shows, adverts, etc) or stories? What about what kids see when out and about (eg these kids will notice other people in shops). And I very much doubt the only children they ever play with are those who’s parents are lesbians. What about other forms of day care, soft play centres etc. Or other friends who aren’t lesbians? Or other family? There's going to be a thousand places that kids will take their cues from.

Kids notice so much detail that we often miss. And the absorb it all. Before my kids went to school they would still continually surprise me with little bits of information on topics that I have no idea how he learned it. Yet they did.

However I’m not in anyway implying that a child’s behaviour is 100% down to nurture. Clearly there is going to be a biological element as well. My point was what a child likes isn’t so Boolean as people often assume.

> However I’m not in anyway implying that a child’s behaviour is 100% down to nurture. Clearly there is going to be a biological element as well.

I think we're basically agreed here: yes, other influences exist, but there's a huge biological element. Even if you remove TV, other family, etc it wouldn't surprise me if there's similar results.

It depends on what your saying it's going to be similar to. The problem we have is this is all subjective from the outset. eg what do you define as feminine and masculine? Is a toy digger masculine and a tea set feminine? What about a toy kitchen? And to what degree would you say that playing with something makes a child more subjectively more feminine or masculine? Playing with a digger 1 hour a week or 30 hours a week?

...and that's just measuring toys. Trying to measure behaviours is going to be an order of magnitude more complex.

So there's no real way to do this scientifically - at least not with the tools I'm familiar with. Observationally I've definitely seen the gender biases aren't as clear cut as some people describe. But that's just anecdotal and subject to pockets of localised anomalies. Plus I have seen behavioural differences between the genders with the way young kids have played with the same toys (eg a toy cars) even though there's been no definitive difference with the toys they chose to play.

It does help you appreciate why even the experts don't have a consensus on how much of a child's personality is learned and how much is biological...and that's without addressing the issue of how much of those biological effects are down to a persons sex (eg a person might be wired to be more caring but that might not be because they're female) - which is the question we're specifically asking.

The best I've seen on innate gender differences is Simon Baron Cohen at Cambridge, using newborns - ie, close to zero socialisation (except in utero). Results showed a skew towards 'systems' for boys and 'people' for girls.

I've seen this same thing in action, and I've wondered whether it might be part of the reason that people end up identifying as transgender. If you've had it drummed into you that dolls and dresses and make-up are "girl things" and you like all of those, then well you must be a girl, right? And if you like tools and cars and sports then you must be a boy? If you can't even imagine it's an option to like those things if you're not the associated gender, I can see that messing with your sense of identity.

I don't really think that gender confusion has that simple a cause.

I think you're reversing cause and effect in the case of transgender kids.

"Will we see a total ban on single gender clubs in the future? And is that what we want?"

Aren't they opening up their membership in this case to dominate the "scout" brand and capture a broader market?

"Are we all becoming so politically correct that we effectively stop teaching our children the values of masculinity and femininity?"

What are those values? Do they need to be taught? My son and daughter each demonstrate pretty typical gender traits, but not because of anything we've taught them. Each naturally gravitates to what they like most. We teach them general values and general skills. If there's something commonly considered gender-specific, usually they'll initiate/ask because they're interested.

As a father of daughters in the UK who really really enjoy going to Scouts; camping, stupid rough-and tumble games etc, I'm glad they are able to. If the girl's organisations such as the GirlGuides weren't so tepid, perhaps there wouldn't be a need.

I don't see that there's anything particularly particularly "politically" correct in this. Mind you, I've never particularly felt an overwhelming urge to "teach my children the value of femininity".

Do you think I'm failing as a parent?

No, for the girls it's fine. It is the boys who suffer long term, also from the school system that currently indoctrinates them against biology and their interests.

Rot. My boys both clearly gain from having girls in the Scouts and Explorers.

In fact, the issues that my youngest's Scout pack are currently suffering from are pretty much all linked to the sort of crappy behaviour you get when boys are brought up the way you appear to be suggesting is a positive thing.


I'm confident that exposure to girls during Scouts is decreasing their likelihood of getting divorced, rather than increasing it.

Or do you honestly believe that toxic masculine behaviour is correlated to staying married? I mean, I suppose that it's possible: certainly escaping an abusive relationship is documented to be harder than leaving one that's healthy, just not working, so you could be right ...

You have solid connection between boys being involved in physical activities with girls when growing up and the likelihood of divorce? Thought not.

> indoctrinates them against biology and their interests.

What does that even mean? There's about a 50:50 mix in the Scout Troop at the moment. When I went to Scouts as a kid, it was all male. From what I can tell, the activities haven't changed a bit. You just have two single-sex tents on camping trips. What is the biological imperative that's being indoctrinated here? They aren't being forced into doing needle-point badges (all though, I seem to remember 40 years ago doing a sewing badge, my chain-stitch is still a marvel).

I absolutely agree that there is a problem with boy's achievement and schooling (I was a school governor), but there are heroic attempts underway to try and adjust things to be boy friendly.

Note that the portion you quote was about the school system, not Scouts.

In my country scouts were just scouts, no separation, and in my view it was really a super-positive thing. I've made some good female friends there, had some of the first crushes and romances and all in all that gender mixed environment was much less toxic experience for me than for instance later when I was in a high-school which was technically oriented and had almost no girls at all. All male environment brings the aggression levels up a lot, just as all female environments tend to have much more power games, clans and "politics". When you mix genders people usually behave better (or at least they pretend to be less of a-holes) in my experience.

>>Are we all becoming so politically correct that we effectively stop teaching our children the values of masculinity and femininity?

I think there is a lot of very confusing messaging nowadays, that says that "men are women are equal and identical and we shouldn't have anything just for men or just for women" while also saying "women/men bring unique things to the table so we should put more/less value on that". You can't have it both ways. We can(and should!) treat everyone equally, but denying that men and women are different is just wrong.

Where I am from(Poland) scouts(harcerze) were always inclusive of both genders except for troops which tried to be more military-oriented - then women were still allowed but the groups were separate.

It's only confusing because many people want to conflate the differences between genders and downplay the similarities, for political and religious reasons. If one accepts that, yes, men and women are different but those differences don't validate all biases which delineate by gender, then the issue becomes more clear, that we can and do have both, because society, culture and gender are complex.

Then again, many people exaggerate differences, routinaly framing small difference in preferences (say 5%) rates as "boy thing" "girl thing" as if all boys were x and all girls opposite.

That's true, especially in marketing. Boys and girls more or less have separate toy sections, and many "boy" products have "girl" alternates which are just the exact same product, just pink. Because of course, girls can't simply like tools, they have to like the pink tools that are just for them.

"...we effectively stop teaching our children the values of masculinity and femininity"

What "Values" are these? That Boys are tough and shouldn't cry and girls are good at sitting quietly doing crafts?

And more to the point, if masculinity and femininity are "values", presumably positive, why is it wrong for girls to be taught masculine values or boys to be taught feminine values?

The same things we celebrate when there is gender diversity in a given context.

If there is such a thing as toxic masculinity, then I propose to you that there must be an inverse to it which is not toxic and thereby should be reinforced in youth. You can't have toxic masculinity, but suggest that toxic femininity does not also exist. And by that logic, the inverse of toxic femininity should also exist, meaning that yes, we should be teaching those that have different genders, different values. The relevance of a lesson in physical restraint when dealing with the average female, as the average male, should be self-evident, considering the fact that there exists a stigma about hitting women, yet when a guy gets hit it very often does not even register. This does not mean they can't be taught the values of both, it just suggests that if you want there to be the evil men that do nothing but perpetuate misandry, the inverse must exist also, and I can tell you right now, their not called feminists.

> Are we all becoming so politically correct that we effectively stop teaching our children the values of masculinity and femininity?

There is no value in masculinity and femininity ... those are labels for a complex interaction of personality traits which a given person shows or doesn't. There is no reason to teach those concepts. They are simply present in a human being. Most people are combinations of masculine and feminine traits - it is a spectrum and not a binary concept.

Do boys and girls sports teams teach the "values of masculinity and femininity"? Boys and girls may compete at different physical levels but I wasn't under the impression that girls trained and competed with a specific feminine mindset (especially as many of the girls teams coaches were men).

I don't think there has to be a ban on gendered clubs, but historically, girls and women have seemed to get shortchanged in the activities society deemed appropriate for them, so I can understand that some want to err on the side of challenging and bucking traditional gender boundaries and norms.

I don't think the BSA is opposing that. Its all about how the Girl Scouts have imploded, closing most of their camps and drastically reducing their program. For years our local Boy Scout camp has shared their facility with the local girls, so they would have some place to continue their activities. Now the BSA is making it official - girls are welcome.

And as others have said, sports are still gender-based. Even health clubs do this. Its not gone or banned, that's a straw man

It's like removing separation of genders for toilets and showers everywhere. The gender targetted marketting, clothes and pronuon.

On paper, the body is natural and it's a useless artificial separation. In practice, our society is imperfect, social norms and biological instincts don't align with moral and economy and logistic are important factors.

Besides, as you said, it's an interesting (and i believe benefecial) expefience to immerse one self in environnement with only your gender sometimes.

It is ironic when we homogenize society in the name of diversity. In most dictionaries "variety" and "diversity" are synonyms.

No, only the values of masculinity.

Sorry, but this is the most backwards antique standpoint I've ever seen on Hacker News and I'm surprised it's the highest upvoted.

I'm glad I live in a country where opinions like yours are complete taboo as they should be.

I agree. One of my best friends was female, I mean we rode bikes and stuff every single day after school and spent most summer days joined at the hip, but going to a scout event was an entirely different thing.

And here's an issue I see. All of the scout camps I went to as a kid, yeah they didn't have two sets of showers or toilets...

So what, what are you going to do? March all the girls in and have them use the bathroom, shower etc. March them out, march the boys in and repeat? Oh, and you're going to have to go through them with a fine tooth comb between groups becuase we live in a smartphone world and I'll bet you all the money in my wallet boys are going to try and hide their phones to get video of girls and I imagine to a lesser extent it will happen in reverse too.

Hell, people still occasionally freak out about men being largely alone with young boys in group showers/open bathrooms... uh... you think there isn't going to be some disaster where Shady McGrady gets up in the middle of the night, slips off to the shower and sets up some sort of recording to get video young girls and the mothers/female staff? Because, I hate to burst bubbles but, scout camps aren't going to have funds to build brand new facilities to have gender-segregated facilities... I mean, most of those facilities weren't in the best condition when I was in scouts because they're operating on pretty thin budgets often paying camp staff barely better than minimum wage.

It's ok to have same-gender friends, it's ok to have same-gender activities. I hate that by taking this stance it's a guarantee that I'll get called a chauvinist, or sexist, or a pig. We have this same issue in Freemasonry, 'mainstream' Masonry is a MEN'S fraternity and with regularity, there's the occasional men and women that want it opened up to women. No. I'm surrounded by women all day at work, I come home to my retired mother that lives with me, I want some guy time. Kids need this too.

The move to allow both boys and girls in the (Boy) scouts looks really smart, long-term.

For parents with both boys and girls, the choice is now to join two organizations and deal with two sets of meetings, fundraisers, schedules, and activities, or join the (formerly Boy) scouts only and have half the headaches.

This seems to largely be a win "on paper." With multiple girls, we already have to deal with the same organization multiple times for little reason. Adding another organization doesn't sound like it will actually cost much.

The title is misleading: the problem is not welcoming girls but dropping "Boy" from the name.

In Australia its just called scouts. Its been forever since I was there but I remember it being a fairly even split between boys and girls.

We also have Girl Guides, which is like Scouts but only for girls.


In Norway, they solved the problem by actually merging the two organizations. In 1978.

True, but still a male Norwegian scout's international affiliation is with the WOSM (World Organization of the Scout Movement), whereas a female scout is with the WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts); there are two distinct world organizations.

(Oh, and to complicate matters further, the YMCA/YWCA scouts and guides are not members of the national scout association; they have their own organization.)

On a domestic level, though, this works a charm.

Norges Speiderforbud is affiliated with both WOSM and WAGGGS (https://no.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norges_speiderforbund)

That it is, but as the international associations are gender-specific, a male NSF member is affiliated with WOSM, a female with WAGGGS.

Not knowing the first thing about international scout politics, I would think the time was ripe for merging WOSM and WAGGGS into one.

The thing is that it really only have to work on a domestic level. I don't see any good reasons for international scout organizations, unless you want to make it political.

That depends - I can see several reasons why (some) international coordination can be beneficial - areas where the alternative is a number of bilateral agreements.

Say, organizing jamborees, helping nascent scout movements get going, providing training and educational material to national movements, liaising with other international NGOs &c, &c.

That being said, I doubt the WOSM/WAGGGS affiliation is at the front of many scouts/guides' minds during day-to-day-activities.

I don't get it 1 - "Scouts BSA" still has 'Boy' in the BSA initials

I don't get it 2 - 2018 USA still has separate "scouts" organizations for boys and girls?!

Nothing about the Boy Scouts is really gender specific, beyond their requirement to be male that's set to be amended in February.

I don't understand how "Scouts BSA" is a violation of any trademarks that the Girl Scouts might hold. Especially considering the Girl Scouts came after BSA had already been established. If anything I would say that Girl Scouts are encroaching on the BSA's brand identity by calling themselves "X Scouts". When someone talks about being in the Scouts, I tend to take it as the Boy Scouts already.

And there aren't to my knowledge a lot of boys upset that they can't become Gold Star Girl Scouts... There are on the other hand a lot of females that are upset about not being able to become Eagles. [0]

Reading the article it sounds like some evil cookie corporation is pissed that they're losing free child labor rather than genuine concern for the empowerment of young people.

[0] https://www.outsideonline.com/2347221/let-me-become-eagle-sc...

I don't have a strong opinion either way (I'm an Eagle Scout), but the decision to include girls will fundamentally change Scouting.

Guys act differently when around girls. Girls act differently when around guys. This is doubly true for ages 12-17. Whether this is a change for the better or worse is subjective but there is no doubt it is a drastic change.

There is benefit to boys interacting with girls. There is benefit to boys having some time themselves as well.

4-H and FFA have long been gender integrated and that seems to work fine. Their operations are similar to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts.

> Guys act differently when around girls. Girls act differently when around guys. This is doubly true for ages 12-17.

Troops won't be co-ed.

I'm an Eagle Scout too and I guess I don't really have a strong opinion because scouting here in CO is fundamentally different in my eyes than what I grew up with in CA.

In my troop, once a year we'd spend one weekend spreading flyers about our annual garage sale, over the following week we'd pick stuff up, then the next weekend we'd use the community clubhouse that was our home-base for meetings for a blow-out garage sale.

We'd clear $15-20k in a week, give everyone who donated a tax slip for their donation, and sit pretty for the rest of the year with regard to our outings. Plus we'd do a clearinghouse in the last few hours of the sale where you could fill a trashbag up with anything and pay $5 for it. (I got stuff like suits, laser prints and antique cameras for <$1)

These massive fund-raisers are why we could finance trips to places like Hawaii or Scotland every few years and had outings like going to Camp Pendleton for paintball wars, plus we were helping the community by moving their junk.

Here in CO, the Boy Scouts do the door-to-door sales thing with over-priced caramel corn and the like.

I'd rather just give the troop $20 than spend $10 on a little bag of popcorn. Maybe that's part of the GS issue, a lot of Boy Scout troops are basically just copying the Girl Scouts' business model.

But I guess what I'm saying is, there are a lot of factors that go into your fundamental scouting experience (I honestly give all credit to the crazy outdoor dads that were in my troop at the time), so I'm trying to observe this transition more than question/judge it.

I can't think of any good reason why the Scout Law shouldn't be ubiquitous in American society.

I don't know how different Scouting in the USA is to the rest of the world, but New Zealand, Australia, and the UK (and probably others) Scouting movements have been co-ed for decades. I was a scout for a while, and I don't think it would've been fundamentally different if it wasn't co-ed.

The current plan is that they separate dens by gender.

That's for Cub Scouts. For Scouts BSA, the current plan is to have boy-only troops and girl-only troops. They can share the same troop number, committee, budget, etc, but only the Scoutmaster has to be different.

I foresee that changing or troops taking initiative and organizing differently unofficially, but that's the current plan.

I really hope so.

Venturing Crews and Sea Scouts, both of which are part of BSA, have been co-ed for a long time. My initial research was not particularly fruitful, but I think that they've been that way since their respective inceptions. There's also no gender-specific leadership or structure.

My son just switched to Sea Scouts after attaining his Eagle Scout rank and my daughter just started Cub Scouts as a Tiger. We've been really impressed with how the Sea Scouts aren't making a big deal about the young women in the program. The only thing we run into is old men calling them "gals". I didn't know that was a pet peeve of mine, but you learn something new every day.

Comparatively, the Cub Scouts are constantly creating awkward situations in relation to the girl dens. Some of that is caused by BSA youth protection guidelines (girl dens must always have a female adult present), but other times it's about over-correcting little boys' behavior in front of little girls. It's still very new and I'm sure that everyone will adjust to something that doesn't require so much effort.

I very much hope that BSA can get out of its own way as more girls move into troops and just take notice of what's been accomplished by their existing co-ed programs.

> Venturing Crews and Sea Scouts, both of which are part of BSA, have been co-ed for a long time. My initial research was not particularly fruitful, but I think that they've been that way since their respective inceptions.

Venturing Crews and Sea Scouts were both part of Exploring in 1969 when the program went co-ed.

> There's also no gender-specific leadership or structure.

There are, actually. Quoting the current edition of the Guide to Safe Scouting:

"Two registered adult leaders 21 years of age or over are required at all Scouting activities, including meetings. There must be a registered female adult leader over 21 in every unit serving females. A registered female adult leader over 21 must be present for any activity involving female youth."

For the informal organizing part

Alternatively they do have explorers scouts as a coed part, and those are often attached to a regular troop, so they already have this for older scouts.

I didn't realize--I only have cub scouts.

FWIW, our new lion den has both boys and girls.

Thanks for that info. I had heard mixed things but only when they had just announced it. I think that’s a good call.

Can you explain your thoughts behind this a bit more, I am a scout in Denmark and we have not had separation by gender since 1973.

You need to state evidence that acting differently around other genders is a _bad thing_, rather than a net good.

In the era of #metoo, maybe we need to check "boys will be boys" earlier in the process...

>Guys act differently when around girls. Girls act differently when around guys. This is doubly true for ages 12-17. Whether this is a change for the better or worse is subjective but there is no doubt it is a drastic change.

Didn't say it was a bad thing.

>In the era of #metoo, maybe we need to check "boys will be boys" earlier in the process...

But as long as we're over reading things, are you implying boys spending time alone with other boys encourages rape, or that the BSA encourages rape?

Anyone remember a similar lawsuit between BSA and Hacker Scouts? https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=6240830

Why don’t they just merge? If the Boy Scouts can go gender-neutral why can’t the Girl Scouts too?

I'm glad someone is fighting that urgent battle, surely it's worth all the time and effort ...

Seems like a losing battle (for the Girl Scouts suit) in 2018.

It's what Baden-Powell would have wanted.

One of them should have just bought the other.

This wouldn't work -- while BSA and GSA are superficially similar, there are deep ideological divides between the two groups. BSA has historically had strong ties to Christian groups and politically conservative ideologies, while GSA has generally avoided religious ties and supported more liberal policies. By way of example, BSA prohibited "open and avowed" homosexuals from serving as leaders until 2015, whereas GSA has had "no membership policies on sexual preference" since 1991.

Besides, these aren't publicly traded companies. They're not for sale; one cannot "buy" the other.

The Girl Scouts have zero interest in buying the Boy Scouts, and the Boy Scouts likely wouldn't be able to come close to buying the cookie empire.

IDK how much Boy Scouts is worth, but they raise and spend a ton. CEO of the non-profit has a $1.6m salary.

A business that uses free child labor to sell cookies with massive margins cannot be cheap..

In reality, both are non-profits so there isn't any stock to buy.

Right, they would have to 'merge'. But there's little incentive for the Girl Scouts to share their "non"-profits with others.

Yeah, there is a lot of potential liability for little upside with the Boy Scouts. It's up there with buying a Catholic dioceses...

They can't really buy one another because they're both non-profit charities.

They could decide to merge, but it seems they don't want to.


This is not Reddit. Hacker News is a place for respectful discourse.

Maybe he was being serious. Techy crowd never stops surprising me

You can be serious while also being disrespectful.

People can be a lot of things, not sure where you’re going here. You yourself interpreted something different from me myself and I. Possibly possible.

Boy Scouts don't welcome girls: they get sued and vilified.

Boy Scouts open membership to girls: they get sued and vilified.

Setious question: If they agree to name everything "Boy" again, can girls and women in the movement get sufficiently upset with that othering that they eventually sue too, for gender discrimination?

As a man, I'd be a little uncomfortable to join Woman Gamers or whatever, even if activities perfectly matched my interests.

> The Girl Scouts seek a court order blocking the Boy Scouts from using the term “Scout,” “Scouts,” “Scouting,” or “Scouts BSA” without an “inherently distinctive or distinguishing term appearing immediately before it.”

Blockchain Scouts of America

This is perfect https://www.reddit.com/r/nottheonion/ material.

I originally thought it was. Then, I realized its Hacker News. Not many jokes float around this area.

No funyuns allowed.

No fun. Just pseudo-academia. Keep it civil.

Jokes are totes allowed. They just have to be particularly high quality, including civil.

No Beavis and Butthead. A lot of humor is only funny if you are cool with being monstrously ugly about specific topics. That type humor tends to not fly here.

I'm okay with that.

beavis and butthead is actually a cleverly subversive vehicle for social criticism and a particularly creative and intelligent comedy

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