NEW YORK: Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. is not dropping "girl" from its name, following the historical news on Wednesday that Boy Scouts is changing its name to Scouts BSA and welcoming girls into the program.
Stewart Goodbody, Girl Scouts’ senior director of communications and external affairs, said the organization "proudly owns the ‘girl’ in Girl Scouts" and has no plans to welcome boys to the program.
"While everyone else right now is talking about a name change, we are going to keep focusing on our all-girls-based program content," added Goodbody. "We are staying the course, we do what we do best, and owe it to girls everywhere to continue providing this program."
Shortly after Boy Scouts of America announced its plans to refer to its older youth program as Scouts BSA starting in February 2019, Girl Scouts published a blog post on its site early Wednesday with the headline, "No contest: Girl Scouts is the best leadership organization for girls."
When asked if the timing of the post was a coincidence, or direct response to Boy Scouts’ announcement, Goodbody was unable to confirm. However, she noted that the organization has been "flying that flag for some time now."
"This is nothing new for us to say," she said. "We are the number one girls’ leadership development organization in the country, if not the world."
She added that, for the past 100 years, other organizations have focused on perpetuating gender stereotypes, but Girl Scouts of the U.S.A. has aimed to dispel them.
"We give girls the space and opportunity to be themselves and try new things, all while being safe and encouraged by their Girl Scout sisters," said Goodbody. "We know the number one reason girls don’t try new things is fear of failure. Girls build each other up more and can take those risks and aim higher."
Golin is assisting Boy Scouts as it recruits girls for the first time. The Boy Scouts of America is promoting Cub Scouting as an option for both boys and girls in the U.S. with a recruitment effort called Scout Me In. Next year, it will include girls in its Boy Scout program, which includes older youth. The name of the program will be rebranded Scouts BSA. The umbrella organization name, Boy Scouts of America, will remain the same.
Not everyone is happy with Boy Scouts changing its name and welcoming girls, with some on Twitter saying the change is unnecessary.
In response to the backlash, Effie Delimarkos, director of national communications for Boy Scouts of America, told PRWeek via email that families have been asking the organization to do this for a long time.
"The immediate response has been terrific, with more than 3,000 girls from across the nation participating in our Early Adopter program," she said.
Delimarkos added that Scouts BSA represents the "time-tested program at our core that will be available to older boys and girls."
She said that after "extensive" research, Boy Scouts wanted to ensure the program name is inclusive to its audience and consistent with how members have referred to themselves, as Scouts.