Friday, February 3, 2012

In Defense of Girl Scouting

Girl Scouts of the USA is the premier leadership organization for girls. With a rich one-hundred year history of building girls of courage, confidence and character, it is no surprise that people from coast-to-coast come out in support of Girl Scouting when critics seem eager to discredit everything from badges to cookies.

In an article for Mother Jones, Nicole Pasulka writes that "the Girls Scouts marks its 100th anniversary this year, with 2.3 million troopers and 880,000 adult, mostly volunteer mentors across all 50 states. It's a remarkably cohesive organization, and Girl Scouts have often been ahead of the curve, if just by a hair, on hot-button cultural issues."

Pasulka is not alone in that sentiment. In 1956, Martin Luther King Jr. called Girl Scouts a “force for desegregation”.

In New Orleans, LA, James Gill, a columnist for The Times-Picayune, writes that there is no reason to flee the Girl Scouts based on the membership policies of out-of-state Girl Scout Councils. Girl Scout Troops referenced in Gill's article did eventually disband, while a video posted online, called for a boycott of the annual cookie sale to protest a perceived betrayal of membership ideals.

As a beloved American institution, the Girl Scout cookie program is a natural target for those seeking to draw attention to themselves or their cause. It’s important to know that nearly one-hundred percent of the proceeds from these sales stay in the local market and are used to fund programs for girls.

In a column for the Washington Post, Robert McCartney asks readers not to fall for smears against the Girl Scouts. "The culture wars in this country have grown so acute that we can’t even agree to support a patriotic, faith-affirming, achievement-oriented group like the Girl Scouts," writes McCartney.

"This is complete insanity," writes Petula Dvorak in a separate column for the Washington Post. "And all of it threatens things that are good."

In Houston, TX, the city where Girl Scouts declared 2012 the Year of the Girl, the Houston Chronicle’s Patricia Kilday Hart writes that "someone had to look long and hard to find a reason to vilify an organization whose chief reason for existence is to help its 2.3 million members become girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place in a setting usually overseen by their mothers."

On Tuesday, January 31, 2012, Girl Scouts of the USA launched ToGetHerThere, the largest, boldest advocacy and fundraising cause dedicated to girls’ leadership in the nation’s history. The multi-year effort will seek to create balanced leadership — the equal representation of women in leadership positions in all sectors and levels of society — within one generation.