This weekend, my daughter and I will deliver nearly one hundred boxes of cookies to our friends and family. Her troop of fourteen third graders have sold 1356 boxes of cookies, and they are just getting started. We’ll be braving the elements and selling cookies at designated locations throughout February and most of March. Cookie season in our council traditionally starts in our area the first weekend in February, and it’s also when, traditionally, I start seeing some ridiculous boycotts and “facts” about Girl Scout programs circulating on Facebook.
If you want to explore the boycotts, simply try out the hashtag #cookiecott. From there, you will be provided all kinds links to “factual” sites that outline Girl Scout ties to Planned Parenthood, how Girl Scouts promote abortion, and how Girl Scouts honor women from a variety of backgrounds with varying political views. There’s also a campaign to spread awareness that GSUSA (the national organization) funds the larger umbrella group, WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts). WAGGGS works with scouting programs all over the world, including countries where genital mutilation is common, as well as child marriage. They’ve developed program materials that discuss these issues, as well as HIV/AIDS and other global health topics.
People, are, of course, entitled to their opinions about the appropriateness of such program materials and role models. Our local scouting program focuses on fun and learning how to lead. I know our local leadership well enough to know that if they were to ever broach something that could be considered controversial, the parents would meet about it first. When the time comes for sensitive conversations, though, you can bet that I’m going to reference the programs developed by the Girl Scouts. For over one hundred years, they’ve been the premiere organization for girls and women. I’m inclined to believe they have some insight as to what’s effective and what isn’t when it comes to educating girls.
It probably doesn’t surprise anyone that the boycott participants support another organization. It’s a newer, faith-based group for girls. I’ve read about them, and they sound like a fine organization. I’m sure the girls who belong to this group probably have a lot in common with the girls in my daughter’s Brownie troop. The difference is the adults involved in the organization and their approach to recruiting new members. By slandering the Girl Scouts, they can then shine the light on their better, more faith based organization.
Girl Scouts don’t engage the #cookiecott warriors. Girl Scouts have taken a proactive stance, and have focused on spreading truthful information about Girl Scout programs. They don’t attack any other group’s fundraisers, educational materials or mission statements. And when it comes down to it, that’s the example I want my daughter to see. I want her to see women standing together for a better world for all children regardless of circumstance. I want her to see women focused on their mission, without regard to the naysayers. I want her to be a part of something that’s bigger than herself, and Girl Scouts fills that need for us.
In case you’re curious, here are a few important statement made by GSUSA and WAGGGS: