Questions and Answers Concerning Girl Scouts
Recently, we have become aware of misinformation that is being distributed about the Girl Scouts. This Q&A answers criticisms and claims that have come to Girl Scouts from various sources and should be used to affirm our mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character. Here are some facts about the Girl Scouts:
1. What is the mission of the Girl Scouts?
The mission of the Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Grounded in the Girl Scout Promise and Law, Girl Scouting is a non-formal, experiential, and cooperative education program that promotes girls’ personal growth and leadership development.
Girl Scouts of the USA Constitution, Article III
2. Has Girl Scouts removed the word “God” from the Girl Scout Promise?
The Girl Scout Promise contains the word “God”. According to the Girl Scout Constitution, “The motivating force in Girl Scouting is spiritual. The ways in which members identify and fulfill their spiritual beliefs are personal and private.”
The Girl Scout Promise is as follows:
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
3. Is it true that the Girl Scouts place minimal emphasis on the family?
No. Families have always been encouraged to be a part of their daughter’s experience in Girl Scouting. Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains publishes a Parents’ Guide that encourages families to get involved with their daughter’s troop. Parents also must sign the membership form and provide permission for all Girl Scout activities.
4. I have heard that Girl Scouting does not teach girls pride in their country. Is this true?
No. The Girl Scout Promise states that girls will “serve God and my country”. Girl Scouts participate in flag ceremonies, donate cookies to troops overseas, and wear an American flag on their sash. Patriotism, citizenship, and community service is a basic tenet of the Girl Scout Program and is embedded in the Preamble to our Constitution.
5. Is there a mandate against Christmas caroling or praying at meetings?
There is no mandate against Christmas caroling or praying at meetings. Although Girl Scouts has policies supporting religious diversity, no policy by Girl Scouts of the USA prohibits or requires the saying or singing of a grace, blessing, or invocation before meals or at a meeting, conference or other large group. The decision to say grace, blessing, or invocation is made locally at the troop or group level and should be sensitive to the spiritual beliefs of the participants.
6. Is Girl Scouting “anti-boy” in its curriculum?
No. Girl Scouts is not “anti-boy”. The Girl Scout program does not portray boys negatively. Research shows that girls benefit from a program designed specifically for them and delivered in an all-girl setting. Boys have unique needs and interests as well, which are best addressed by an organization structured to meet their specific needs.
7. Does Girl Scouting teach girls “to support a decision to pull a life support system from a dying relative” and “give information and justification for ending a pregnancy,” as alleged by critics?
No. These statements are false.
8. Is there an article in a Girl Scout book entitled “All I really needed to know about being a lesbian I learned at Girl Scout Camp”?
No. There is no book published by Girl Scouts of the USA that contains an article with that title or subject matter.
9. Are Girl Scouts able to earn Wiccan badges?
Girl Scouts have no relationship – and never have – with Wicca. Just because an organization states that its patches may be worn on a Girl Scout uniform does not mean that it is sanctioned by Girl Scouts.
10. I saw a reference in a Girl Scout Journey book to a Josefina Lopez play. Does Girl Scouts promote materials that portray marriage and the Catholic Church negatively?
References in Girl Scout books are carefully researched and are not meant to be taken out of context nor are they meant to have context added to them. The section on the Josefina Lopez play (similar to the section referring to The Women’s Media Center) was crafted to portray a specific message about a girl using a play to speak up about her life. It does not advocate that individual’s point of view, rather their means of expressing it. Think: if a textbook refers to Romeo and Juliet is that textbook advocating suicide? No.
Girl Scouts constantly reviews our materials based on feedback and suggestions we receive from our members, and we update our materials on a regular basis. As a result of this process, upcoming reprints of Journey materials will not include playwright Josefina Lopez or links to the Women's Media Center or Media Matters. Our materials feature more than 200 women and girls from many walks of life who have worked to make a difference in the world, and while we may not agree with the opinion of everyone featured, we believe they embody the commitment to leadership that we strive to teach our girls.
11. Does Girl Scouting support Planned Parenthood?
No. There is no relationship between Planned Parenthood and Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains (the regional council that covers the area) or Girl Scouts of the USA.
12. What is the Girl Scout position on abortion and birth control?
Girl Scouts does not take a position on abortion or birth control or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives. At the same time, Girl Scouts respects the moral teachings and theology of the Catholic Church. We support the right of pastors to verify that troops in their parishes are in compliance with Church teaching.
13. Does Girl Scouts provide sex education to girls?
Girl Scouts does not advocate for or against any issue regarding a girl’s health and sexuality. Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. Consistent with that belief, GSUSA directs councils, including volunteer leaders, to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive. If programs address these issues, girls who choose to participate must have the fully informed consent of their parents or guardians. We support the right of pastors to verify that troops in their parishes are in compliance with Church teaching.
14. Is it true that there is a Girl Scout badge, called “Our Rights, Our Responsibilities”, which requires girls to role play sexual activity and learn about birth control?
No. “Our Rights, Our Responsibilities” is not sold in the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains stores. It was available 2005-2008 by Girl Scouts of the USA, but did not include these requirements, nor was it a requirement for any girl. The focus of the patch and activities was to teach girls about age-appropriate human rights issues around the globe. There were no links to the issues identified above.
15. Was Girl Scouts’ participation in the recent 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations intended to “promote a number of radical sexual rights, including abortion and other controversial sexual rights,” as alleged by critics?
No. Girls who participated from several countries were there to promote action on global issues concerning women and girls. The statement prepared by the girls who participated does not reflect Girl Scouts of the USA’s position or influence any policy or action of the national organization or local councils.
16. Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) reported that Girl Scouts allowed Planned Parenthood to distribute material to girls who participated in the UN meeting. Is this true?
No. This factually did not happen. Girl Scouts of the USA did not provide girls with any materials from a third party at the workshop conducted in March 2010 at the United Nations. Girl Scouts of the USA was not contacted by C-FAM to discuss the facts of this event for its initial story. Had C-FAM applied these basic journalistic standards, perhaps the true details of this event would have been reported.
17. What is Girl Scouts’ relationship to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?
The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts are comprised of 145 Girl Scout and Girl Guide member organizations, including Girl Scouts of the USA. As a member of the World Association, Girl Scouts of the USA works in collaboration with the World Bureau and sister Member Organizations throughout the world to encourage girls and young women to develop their full potential as responsible citizens. Each Member Organization creates its own programs and pursues efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in their individual countries.
18. Does Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains donate money to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?
No. Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains donates no money to WAGGGS. Individual Girl Scout troops may donate to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, a Girl Scouts of the USA fund that supports service projects, training and international opportunity events, as well as exchange visiting programs. A portion of the funds is used to provide scholarships for girls to travel to the four World Centers. Each Girl Scout troop is encouraged to make its own decision as to whether or not to donate.
19. Does Girl Scouts support Susan G. Komen for the Cure?
No. Girl Scouts, in their capacity as Girl Scouts, may not raise or solicit money for other organizations.
20. What is Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains’ position on concerning gender identity and Girl Scouts?
Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains has not dealt with this situation here in our council. If it does, it will be handled on a case-by-case basis with the welfare and best interest of the child and the members of the troop in question a top priority. Girl Scouts is open to all girls and adults who accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law and meet membership requirements.
21. Did Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains honor Senator Wendy Davis.
Yes, we honor individuals whose achievements fall inline with award criteria and the Girl Scout mission. For example, in 2012 Senator Wendy Davis was honored with a Women of Distinction Take Action Award in recognition of her passionate advocacy for education and economic opportunity for all Texans.