The Battle Between The Girl Scouts And Boy Scouts Explained

The Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts have been a presence in many children's' lives for decades. While people sometimes forget that they're two different organizations, both Scouting traditions teach young people the same values of community, leadership, and empowerment. (Plus, the Girl Scouts have cookies.) You would expect the two groups to play nice with each other. They coexisted for decades, but now, the Girl Scouts of the United States of America are suing the Boy Scouts of America for poaching potential recruits.

According to CBS, the Girl Scouts filed a lawsuit against the Boy Scouts back in 2018 alleging copyright infringement. Additional complaints were filed on Christmas Eve, and the Boy Scouts lawyers have asked the judge to dismiss the case.

This whole drama started when the Boy Scouts began admitting girls to the group. Instead of creating their own slogans, the Girl Scouts claimed the Boy Scouts used imagery and gender-neutral in their marketing materials that confused many parents. The posters, featuring girls, included slogans like "Scout Me In," while local chapters use the phrase "Girl Scouting."

The ads made parents mistakenly enlist their daughters in the Boy Scouts rather than Girl Scouts, the group said. Lawyers for the Girl Scouts said this never happened before 2018 and accused the Boy Scouts of stealing potential members to bolster its dwindling membership.

Dwindling memberships

The Boy Scouts, on the other hand, said the lawsuit is baseless, reported the BBC. They said the allegations were inaccurate and dismissive of the decisions of parents to sign their kids up for the Boy Scouts.

The Boy Scouts voted to admit girls in 2017. The move was met with backlash, especially from the Girl Scouts and more conservative groups. But, as The New York Times wrote, many parents welcomed the idea, since they found opportunities in Boy Scouting that were lacking in the Girl Scouts for children who weren't traditionally feminine. Activities, they said, depended highly on the troop leader, so a more outdoorsy girl would not fit in with a more "girly" group. It also bolstered hopes of more acceptance of gay troop leaders in the Boy Scouts.

Quartz pointed out that the Girl Scouts accept any child who identifies as a girl and offers programs not traditionally considered "feminine," like science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) badges.

The Boy Scouts have around 2.3 million members in the United States, while the Girl Scouts have about 1.7 million. The Boy Scouts saw an increase in memberships after voting to admit girls, but still had to file for bankruptcy earlier this year in the face of lawsuits over sexual abuse, reports NPR. Whatever the outcome of the case, what's at stake is the choice of girls to choose where to go and learn the values of scouting. One of these groups has to change how they recruit, and that's just how the cookie crumbles.