Can We All Just Agree That The Girl Scouts Aren’t Destroying America?
1:30 pm, May 11th | by Laura Donovan
When you think about societal influences that could corrupt the kids of our country, there are plenty of reality television programs that could be of some concern. But the Girl Scouts of America organization probably doesn’t come to mind. Even so, the group has been unfairly smeared time and time again this year, and the noise could really hurt the beneficial team-building group.
In February, Indiana Rep. Bob Morris accused the GSA of promoting homosexuality and supporting abortion; a Wasilla lawmaker made a similar claim in April. The Family Research Council is worried about the same thing, and now Catholic bishops are taking issue with the Scouts’ ”possible problematic relationships with other organizations” and various “problematic” program materials, which Morris said features Planned Parenthood instructional information. That’s a lot of enemies for an organization that provides a safe and flourishing space for young girls to be creative, grow, explore, develop long-lasting relationships, and get an education outside the classroom.
Nevertheless, this increasingly more common mentality is shaming the organization on a national level, which GSA spokesperson Michelle Tompkins finds to be quite a shame: “For us, there’s an overarching sadness to it. We’re just trying to further girls’ leadership.”
Given the GSA’s longstanding reputation, the seemingly out-of-nowhere campaign against the scouts may seem like it doesn’t have a fighting chance. But with a quarter of GSA members identifying as Catholic, protests from bishops could actually have a negative impact on the group. Membership is already down from a peak of over 3 million a few decades ago, according to the Washington Post, and the numbers could sink lower thanks to this unnecessary problem.
As pointed out by WaPo, the Catholic Church and GSA may soon reach a truce, as the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has called upon scout leaders to clarify materials that some believe are pro-birth control and abortion. Hopefully an information session will quiet the roar, but this issue never should have been addressed on such a large scale on the first place. As Victor Inzunza, director of corporate communications for Girl Scouts of the USA, put it back in February when Rep. Morris was giving the GSA a hard time, there’s so much more to the group than pamphlets that may include information from the family planning service:
“When our founder Juliette Gordon Low assembled the first 18 Girl Scouts in Savannah, Georgia, the group included not just girls from that Southern town’s prominent families, but also girls recruited from the orphan asylum and the local synagogue. During WWII, Girl Scouts served Japanese-American girls in internment camps, and in the 60s, Dr. Martin Luther King praised Girl Scouts as a force for desegregation. Girl Scouts has always blazed new trails with the purpose of making our world a better place to live.”
As many have said before, being part of the Girl Scouts can be an unforgettable experience for young women, many of whom have their initial exposure to business strategies and finance through cookie sales. Plenty of successful women started off as Girl Scouts, and the things they accomplished and enjoyed alongside their fellow troop members cannot be ignored. GSA promotes camaraderie, hard work, practical skills, survival, independence, and teamwork. All of those should cancel out the “negative.”
When are we going to focus on all the upsides of the GSA rather than the trivial?