4 Reasons to Love the Girl Scouts

More than 100 years ago today, Juliette Gordon Low brought together nearly 20 girls in a group that would soon evolve into the Girls Scouts of the USA. Here’s why we should be celebrating.

1. Girl Scouts stress inclusion.

Ever since the beginning, Girl Scouts have tried to empower all types of girls. The founder Low lost her hearing at age 26 and was quick to welcome girls with disabilities whom other organizations at the time (1912) would reject.

“Juliette Low was very open-minded,” Jami Brantley, a historian at Girl Scout First Headquarters, tells American Profile. “She wanted the organization to not just be for the more elite girls.”

Even today, the group affirms diversity, deliberately welcoming girls who are transgender, lesbian, bisexual and nonreligious.

Steve Williams of Care2 writes, “Unlike the Boy Scouts, which is having to be dragged kicking and screaming into accepting reality by its leader former Secretary of State Robert Gates, the Girl Scouts stands by its convictions in this regard that all girls have value and all should be helped to reach their full potential. Given the disproportionate levels of violence, poverty and job discrimination that can affect trans women, and particularly trans women of color, this support is not only vital, but it might even be life saving.”

2. They teach girls to ask questions.

Alongside other character-building campaigns, the Girl Scouts pass on the important message for girls to think for themselves. In a public service announcement that won a Gracie Award in 2011, the organization asked scouts to be critical of how women and girls are portrayed in the media.

This followed a nationwide survey that revealed girls felt pushed by the fashion and media industries to be thin.

3. The scouts themselves are making those cookies more sustainable.

When Madison Vorva and Rhiannon Tomtishen were in sixth grade, a community service project soon revealed that the palm oil used in the cookies they sold threatened orangutan habitat. The Michigan scouts quickly moved to make a change, boycotting cookie sales that year and fundraising for their troop in other ways.

They partnered with the Rainforest Action Network, earned mentions on many news networks and won a prestigious award from the United Nations for their efforts. And the Girl Scouts eventually began to use deforestation-free palm oil, donate to rainforest preservation and look for a replacement for the oil.

4. They stand up to bullies.

In the past few years, folks including the American Family Association, Concerned Women of America, an Indiana Republican and the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops have criticized the Girl Scouts for their inclusion of LGBTs and their “support” of abortion and contraception.

(The Girl Scouts website says troops leave discussions of sex and reproduction decisions to the parents, but critics are probably referring to the overarching World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts, which advocates for sex education for young girls.)

With respect to groups demonizing trans girls, Girl Scouts’ Andrea Bastiani Archibald wrote on their blog:

“If a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.  Inclusion of transgender girls is handled at a council level on a case by case basis, with the welfare and best interests of all members as a top priority.”

“As we face a complex and rapidly changing 21st century, our nation needs all girls to reach their full potential, which has been our focus for more than 103 years.”

104 comments

Ramesh B
Ramesh Babout a year ago

Thanks for sharing

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Sonia M

Thanks for sharing

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Mariana L
Mariana L2 years ago

Thanks

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Siyus Copetallus
Siyus Copetallus2 years ago

Thank you for sharing.

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Sarah Hill
Sarah Hill3 years ago

I do not want my little girls, or boys for that matter, to have "inclusion" stressed to them. I want them to be protected at all times. I know y'all will scream at me for this opinion.

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Nina S.
Nina S3 years ago

tyfs

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Amanda M.
Amanda M3 years ago

I applaud the Girl Scouts for all those reasons and more! I won't have anything to do with the Boy Scouts because of their discriminatory stance-even though they were finally dragged kicking and screaming into including non-heteros, they are still allowed to discriminate against anyone who's not a monotheist. If you're agnostic, atheist, Wiccan, Pagan, or even Unitarian Universalist, it's STILL a case of "Don't let the door smack you in the ass on the way out!" Since we're Wiccans, that's one big reason why I won't support the BSA! The Girl Scout cookies are another matter-it's nothing for us to buy 8 to 10 boxes a year, and they rarely last longer than a week! YUM!

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Karen Swenson
Karen Swenson3 years ago

@ Chris Ringgold discussions of sex and reproduction issues are left to the parents for crying out loud. NOBODY is teaching little girls to KILL! They don't use their cookie sales tables to preform abortions, as some Christian morons seem to want you to believe. "Oh Yes, I'm 9 years old and after you buy my cookies, for a small fee, if you'll hop on my table, I'll do an abortion for you, because that's what they mainly teach us in GS."

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Kathryn Irby
Past Member 3 years ago

Good start in life for girls! Thanks!

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Chris Ringgold
Chris Ringgold3 years ago

I like how the Girl Scouts stress inclusion of each & every girl & not just the elite or the "best ones", & how they're environmentally conscious. The only disagreement I have with them is the abortion issue (no one should be taught to "kill), but other than that, I think they're also doing a good job of educating girls about sex & (human) reproduction.

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