Why My Daughters Won't Ever Be Girl Scouts

Rant 275

I'm the Brownie in the front. Circa 1989
Did you know that Michelle Obama is the honorary national president of the Girl Scouts of the USA? Apparently all first ladies have been since 1917. Which I guess means Barbara Bush was mine during my Brownie days, and Hillary Clinton was when I was a Junior. Which is kind of funny, since during that same time period, she made some very controversial statements about cookies.

Anyway. The Girl Scouts have seen a steady decline in membership in recent years, going from 2.9 million youth members in 2003 to 2.2 million today. This week, Mrs. Obama helped the organization launch an unconventional ad campaign driven by social media and by word of mouth directly in communities.

They’re focusing on making the Girl Scouts fun and fresh, and have created the catchphrase “I Can’t Wait To ...” with colorful fill-in-the-blank responses like “Create my own masterpiece” and “Make everybody say, ‘Whoa!’”

I’ll go ahead and wish them luck, because really I don’t have any sort of vendetta against volunteer organizations, especially ones that focus on helping girls feel confident and sure of themselves. But I think they may have done better to hit up my demographic when researching the reason for the decline in membership.

I was a Girl Scout through my elementary school years, and I loved the experience. I now have two daughters that are perfectly aged for the group, but I’ve opted not to get them involved. A lot of my friends feel the same way. Maybe we could have clued GSUSA in as to why we’ve chosen not to participate as mothers now, when we once enjoyed it so much as daughters.

  1. Troops Receive a Pittance of Cookie Sale Revenues. Most of the revenue from those adorable little cookie peddlers funds the Girl Scout bureaucracy. About a quarter goes to the bakers. That leaves as little as 10 percent for the troops -- barely enough to purchase their patches for the year. That turns it from a community project focused on volunteerism to child labor. Not cool.
  2. They Support Planned Parenthood. Most of Planned Parenthood’s adolescent health material is sponsored by GSUSA, and in 2005, their CEO proudly admitted to partnering with Planned Parenthood. Planned Parenthood boldly advertises that they provide not only confidential abortions for teens, but also hormonal birth control for adolescents without parental consent or even an exam.
  3. Shutting Down Rustic Camps. The GSUSA claims that these outdoor recreation centers are too financially burdensome to maintain, but members say that ridiculous and laborious “safety requirements” took away the fun for the girls, and they no longer wanted to attend. Let the kids be kids, man!
  4. Policies Supporting Religious Diversity. Regarding the word “God” in the Girl Scout Promise, they say, “The ways in which members identify and fulfill their spiritual beliefs are personal and private ... 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.” Nope, God is God, in my book. In fact, the whole spiritual aspect has gotten entirely too new agey for my particular tastes.

As a group, the Girl Scouts of the USA has every right to exist, and I’m not going to stop them. I’m also not going to endorse them. I want my daughters involved in a community group that holds similar values and beliefs to what I try to teach them on a daily basis. Right now they’re happy participates of AWANA, a national Christian community group. Their membership numbers have been soaring recently, by the way.

Do you support the Girl Scouts?

Image via Jenny Erikson

girls, kid activities, volunteering


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JessJai JessJai

*Gasp* You mean they're actually tolerant of other religions & respect the fact that not everyone is Christian?! Oh please! "Christians" like you give Christians like me a bad rap. Get off your high horse. There are other religions in this country, just because you don't share their beliefs doesn't mean your better than them or they should have to yield to your religion. Get over yourself!

nonmember avatar amanda

The only part I agree with is about the child labor. Otherwise, what a lame post. Parents are mainly to blame for the loss of rustic camps, unfortunately. And your other two points are closed-minded and that's your own loss (well, your daughters').

JessJai JessJai

*you're better than them

knitt... knittykitty99

supporting planned parenthood and religious diversity are reasons to become a girl scout in my book!


Sandy Pitcher

The only part I agree with as well is the child labor, too. This post is mean spirited and so is the author.

EmilyH87 EmilyH87

"Policies Supporting Religious Diversity?" Are you serious right now? That is a fact that would make me want to get a daughter of mine involved in something! I happened to be in Girl Scouts through my school (a Catholic school mind you), but it is NOT a religious organization. They have no obligation to tout one belief over another. YOU believe God is God. Hell, I believe God is God, but not everyone does. And I agree with JessJai. People like you saying crap like this is what gives Christians a bad reputation. 

nekoy... nekoyukidoll

I agree with Sandy and Amanda, the only thing I take issue with is the cookie sale thing, though I will still buy them.  My mom as a Girl Scout, I was a Girl Scout, and if I have a girl I will give her the option of being one.  It's a great organization that I'm proud to have been a part of.

lulou lulou

I think what was meant as a post to plug the other org, is actually doing the opposite

nonmember avatar ago

Oops - American Heritage GIrls website is ahgonline.org. sorry about that! Btw we do awanas too - love it too!

Coles... Coles_mom

I won't put my daughter in Girl Scouts because my parents forced me to do it for years and I absolutely hated it with every fiber if my being.

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