What the Girl Scouts Really Promote

Last year, I was invited to the Statehouse to speak with the Lieutenant Governor during a very quiet legislative session. This year, it appears that the Statehouse has taken a note from the Superbowl planning committee and has done everything but install a zipline to provide entertainment for Indiana citizens, as well as national audiences. 

Mostly, I shake my head. But last week, my mama bear, along with the mama bear of most women in the state, came out. Perhaps you’ve heard that State Rep. Bob Morris made some remarks toward the 100-year-old organization that has touched the lives of millions of women. If you haven’t, the gist of the matter is that State Rep. Morris called the Girl Scouts a radical organization that supports abortion and promotes homosexuality.

The rest of the State Reps didn’t bite – every single one of them instead signed a proclamation honoring the Girl Scouts on their 100th Anniversary. Speaker of the House, Brian Bosma, went a step further and made Girl Scout cookies the snack du jour by purchasing more than 250 cases of cookies and passing them out at the Statehouse.

Photo booth costumes at the Girl Scout Father/Daughter Dance. Pretty radical, huh?

It appears that most of the public shook its head, but there were a few comments on the news websites backing up Rep. Morris’ claims. Even though the Indianapolis Star reported that spokespeople for Planned Parenthood and the Girl Scouts have denied any association with each other, there are still some dissenters claiming a connection. Clearly, they haven’t read Susan’s takedown. does a good job of summarizing the accusations and collecting sources on the topic.

My daughter is a scout, and while there is nothing controversial happening at her first grade Daisy Scout meeting, I thought maybe I was missing something. Maybe there was an ulterior motive in her trip to the rock climbing wall or the fire station. I wasn’t sure how the lap blankets they made with residents of an assisted living center could be offensive, but who knows. My husband reported back from the Father/Daughter dance that the only agenda that night was fun, but the DJ did play Lady Gaga (“Paparazzi,” in case you’re wondering).

I decided to go to the source, the Girl Scout USA website, to see what I could see. I have only read the new Daisy materials, not any of the materials for older girls, but I thought that a good place to see what their national mission is all about would be their Advocacy page.

I mean, if they’re promoting a radical pro-abortion, homosexual agenda, then they should be lobbying for those causes, right?

What I found, instead, was an agenda aimed promoting the well-being of children. The sections of their agenda include: Promoting Girls’ Physical, Social and Emotional Health, Promoting Educational Opportunities for Girls, Reaching Underserved Girls, and Supporting a Thriving Non-Profit Community.

Sounds pretty radical, doesn’t it? Here’s a PDF document that explains what they’re supporting for this legislative session.

It may not be radical, but it is important. So I am asking you, fellow Persephoneers, to support the Girl Scouts in their mission by signing up at This website will keep you informed of the issues and provides an easy way to communicate with your lawmakers on these issues. It’s easy, and it has the potential to positively affect the lives of generations of girls.


35 replies on “What the Girl Scouts Really Promote”

I’ve recently experienced a situation where the Girl Scouts had to deal with a troop leader who made an anti-immigrant statement. They were on it right away, and they reinforced their policy of tolerance and acceptance throughout the process. I could not admire this organization more.

Also, my daughter is a Daisy and she has recently earned her “emergency birth control” petal, which is right next to her “gay recruitment” petal. I couldn’t be prouder.

I’m from Indiana, originally. And I already bought my cookies from my cousin’s kid a while back. But when the Morris story broke, I made a deliberate trip to the nearest Wal-Mart in hopes of finding some Girl Scouts camped out with cookies to sell. Lo and behold, there they were. And I bought some more cookies, and I told them why, and I apologized for my home-state. I am so embarrassed. Especially since I’m sure those poor New England Girl Scouts so did not give a damn about why I was buying their cookies, just that I was buying ’em. Still.

For folks with better Girl Scout knowledge than myself, though, a question. They’ve clearly done better by gender identity/orientation issues than the Boy Scouts, but does anyone know what their stance on faith is? Because I recall hearing that the BSA rejects atheists, straight up – you gotta believe in something. Is this still true? Is it true for the Girl Scouts? (It better not be. I need frozen Thin Mints.)

The Girl Scouts are fine with any faith or no faith at all. The Girl Scout promise does include the line “to serve God and my country,” but leaders are advised to tell girls that that is just an old tradition and that they may replace God with any other deity or simply not say the God bit if they don’t want to. Assuming things have not changed since my mother took leadership training.

ETA: Girl and Boy Scouts are totally separate organizations. They only share the name.

This reminds me of an inforgraphic that was going around on Facebook, which was originally made with the intent to dissuade people from supporting the Girl Scouts, but which honestly made me support them even more. Some of it is probably twisted and not based in reality, but still, I see no problem with it. Here it is:

God knows good and information based teaching about sex is way, way worse than just yelling SLUTTY SLUTTY SLUTS until no girl, ever, wants to have sex. Because that totally works. And surely all the messages that sex is dirty and something only “bad” girls do won’t cause any confusion/ambiguity in women who do wait until they’re married to have sex.

Let’s face it ladies, our clitoris is the same thing as terrorism, fair corporate tax rates and the devil.


I think those reactions were supposed to be independent of each other. The gay-lesbian community was cheering the acceptance of trans girls and the conservative members were leaving because of the acceptance of trans girls. Also, these people don’t exactly seem to think things through. I’m not sure they acknowledge a difference between gay and lesbian communities and transgendered/sexual ones.

My Girl Scouts experience was awesome. We did a ton of camping and outdoors stuff as well as the more crafty things like sewing, etc. Whenever we did those camp competitions my specialty was always knife skills. I got my silver award by organizing a drive of toiletries and other personal items for a women’s shelter and sewing 200 little bags to put them in, and for my gold award I organized some events for Yellow Ribbon Week (teen suicide awareness) and implemented some resources for high school students in my district to deal with depression and suicidal ideation. My troop leader was openly gay and we did discuss things like safe sex education in the high school aged groups, but I think the troop leader did a good job of always making parents aware of what was going on at the meetings and making sure they were ok with it. As an atheist I never felt that there were religious overtones, and while some of the girls didn’t like that I refused to say I would serve God in the girl scout promise, the leadership never gave me any trouble. I think the quality of the program really depends on what troop you are in, but I think the organization overall is progressive and I’m happy to support them.

All of the above is awesome!

I got my silver award, but lost focus & never got my gold award. I made camp song books for my silver award.

My leader in the teen years was an older women who, for some reason, loved teen girls. She ran a Cadette troop and a Senior troop for an untold number of years, and was amazing in so many ways.

I think what you mention about parents knowing what’s being discussed is key, for clubs and for school curriculums as well. At my daughter’s school, they have a meeting for a the parents in 4th, 5th, and 6th grade so that they know what part of human biology is being covered.


As awesome as my overall girl scout experience was, I was not so lucky with one of my troop leaders. She made no secret of being a Christian which wouldn’t have been an issue had she not also seemed to work under the assumption that the rest of us were as well. My entire experience as a Junior will always be colored by the time one of my closest friends in the troop came to a meeting very upset because her dog had been put down the day before and our lovely troop leader felt the need to point out (it was in response to some conversation of ours, though I can’t remember what we’d discussed at all) that her dog wasn’t going to heaven because animal’s don’t have souls. She also wasn’t that accepting of my elected vegetarianism. “Just eat some meatballs, honey, they won’t kill you.”

That said, Girl Scouts was amazing and wonderful and I wouldn’t have traded those experiences for anything. I just had a not-so-cool leader for one year.

I just can’t get in to Girl Scouts (except for their cookies.)  I think it’s because I had a terrible experience with them when I was about 12-13.  My brother and my best friend’s brother were in Boy Scouts, and doing all this amazing stuff with camping, knife safety, bonding activities, etc. (they did later quit over the Boy Scouts’ stance on gay rights.)  So she and I joined our local girl scouts.  We lasted six weeks.  The troop we joined did no camping or outdoor activities.  In the time we were there, I recall a sewing project, a candle making project, a cooking project, and a lot of little conservative future housewives.  Now, this was a small-town troop in a conservative area, and I understand that most girl scout troops are way cooler.  But ever since, I just can’t…care, at least not as much as I feel like I should, about the Girl Scouts.  At least until this whole transgender thing, which I think is awesome, and has made me care more about the Girl Scouts than I have in years.

The GS National Council also very loudly and publicly announced that they supported gay leaders and gay scouts, and that their organization was inclusive of everyone at the same time the Boy Scouts came out with their anti-homosexual stance. I didn’t always have the best time as a scout too, but I have a ton of respect for the organization.

Bummer your troop was so tame!! A lot depends on the leaders and what the council offers in way of programming. As an older scout, my council hosted a lot of activities girls could sign up for independently- so you didn’t need your whole troop to do a camping trip or whatever.

Nowadays, the council here sends out a yearly catalog of things to do- the range of interests is staggering!


I was a Girl Scout dropout as well. I was raised in an athiest/agnostic family and the Christian overtones drove me away pretty quickly (this was my troop at least, not sure if others are like that). I do think their message is overwhemlingly positive and was really pleased to hear of their support of the LGBT community.

Also, Tagalongs are the best.

I was a girl scout from the ages of 5-18.  (Because I was super cool.)  I don’t remember discussing ANYTHING controversial.  Ever.  Though I strongly believe that if I had gone to Ms. Dina (my senior GS leader) with something big she would have listened to me and helped me with it.  Oh, wait, no.  I remember something controversial.  At “Yes, She Can” day, we learned Ladies Can Be Scientists.

Jump back, y’all.

I’m going to school in Chicago right now, but I’m headed back to the Fort in May and I’m taking the Indiana bar, so it’s looking like semi-permanent residency.  And I would really like to run for local office once I’ve made a little bit of a name for myself.  I really think Indiana is a great place to grow up and to live as an adult, but it needs some help moving itself into the 21st century and it needs modern voices so that the rest of the country will take it seriously.

We camped all the time, and because my Dad ran the Cub Scout meetings right next door, we often got to tell the boys “anything you can do we can do better.”  Yes, we did have knot races with the boys.  And yes, we most certainly did win.  We also got to tour Navy ships (mostly because most of our dads were in the Navy anyway), adopt Christmas families, and have tea at the Juliette Low house in Savannah, Georgia.  We also got to learn how to read a map when Ms. Barb went all dyslexic on it and got us horribly lost.  And the number one lesson I remember:  Always leave the campsite/meeting place/classroom/world better than you found it.  :)

Ok, so when I was a scout, the troop I was in was run through my Catholic school and there was a patch thingie we chose to work on that was based on religion (It wasn’t a normal badge, but I think it went on the front of our vest not the back). I don’t know if that’s still around or not, but I remember there were a bunch of different options for different faiths. The scouts as I remember them were all about letting the girls work on whatever interested them. It was about having options and not being limited to any one sort of interest.

Shouldn’t the people doubting Girls Scouts realize that in doing that, they doubt children? Oh, of course children are without fault, but if you believe that, that means you’re doubting the people whom you allow near your children. I can add two extra circles to this idiot one if someone would really care for it, but why do these people not think outside of the freaking box?

I’m a current adult member of Girl Guides of Canada, the Scouts’ Canadian sister association. I help run meetings for girls aged 12-14.

It’s a great program. Are there a few things that would make more conservative people raise their eyebrows? I would certainly say so. We have “modules” on sexual health, with a large part focussed on HIV awareness and how to protect yourself. (That being said, the girls get to choose their own modules, and never choose this one.) There’s also a big focus on social justice and multiculturalism which the girls get really in to. Anyway, yeah. Great program.

Oh, I should also note that after the transgendered Girl Scout issue came to light we received an email from out district commissioner strongly expressing that ANYONE who identified as a girl was welcome to join guiding.

So interesting!

My thought is that most of what I’ve read in any GS publication is an urging for girls to talk to people in their community about things- so that the program really does become customized based on a girl’s community/beliefs/etc.

And yeah…I kind of love the “Anyone who identifies as a girl is welcome.”

I’m jealous.  I really want to be a Girl Scout leader, especially for older girls.  Nobody wants the moody 14 year olds, just the cute 5 year old Daisies.  But older girls are cool, and are starting to really get a sense of community responsibility.  (I always make sure to buy cookies from the older girls, too.  I remember people ignoring you as you get older.)

The girls I work with are mostly pretty great. Mostly really good kinds. Typical pre-teens in some ways, but I’d say on the whole a bit more mature from their peers. I’m honestly not sure how Guides and Scouts differ, but I find being involved really fulfilling.

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