Tuesday, February 7, 2017

A Message from Sylvia Acevedo: A Commitment to Inclusivity Is Part of Our DNA

Guest post by Sylvia Acevedo, interim GSUSA CEO

At Girl Scouts of the USA, a commitment to inclusivity is part of our DNA. Girl Scouts was founded by a daring and courageous woman—Juliette Gordon Low—who wasn’t afraid to break the mold and who plainly stated that Girl Scouts was to be a movement "for the girls of Savannah, and all of America, and all the world.”

For more than 100 years, we have lived up to those words and carried forward the legacy of openness, inclusion, and unity that Juliette Low established. We have actively embraced all girls and are reflective of American society. Through turbulent and troubled times, through wars and economic depressions, and through periods of peace and prosperity, we have always served girls from every walk of life, regardless of their race, ethnicity, religious affiliation, economic standing, orientation, country of birth, or family history.

In today’s environment, some girls may be experiencing certain pressures and anxieties; they may feel unsure, confused, or even threatened. Girl Scouts has truly been, and will always be, a movement for ALL girls—a place where girls can, must, and will feel safe to explore their potential, learn new skills, make lifelong friends, and tap into their potential to be the leaders our world so desperately needs.

So let me be perfectly clear: Girl Scouts is here for them. Our role is to support and encourage every girl, not insert ourselves into her spirituality, question her birthplace or family’s country of origin, or concern ourselves with her economic status. We’re not interested in her family’s political beliefs. No matter who she is, she has a home and a safe place at Girl Scouts. What matters is that she is a girl living in our community—a girl with hopes and dreams, ideals, and ambitions that we seek to nurture. Girl Scouts is about the girl she is and the woman and leader she has the potential to become.





In today’s hyper-partisan, super-charged world, it’s easy to lose sight of what we stand for as Girl Scouts and what we exist to do. We stand for inclusivity. We stand for unity, patriotism, and a commitment to the country we all share. We stand for the skills and resources that girls need to discover their talents and gain the courage, confidence, and character they need to be leaders. We stand for being honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, and courageous and strong. We stand for sisterhood. And we stand for making the world a better place, one girl at a time.

The world can be frightening and confusing, but Girl Scouts continues to be a home for girls from all walks of life. We continually rededicate ourselves to the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law and work day in and day out to make sure every girl feels included and welcome. We are aligned to make our world a reflection of Juliette Gordon Low’s dream from so long ago—one where we come together, celebrate our common bonds, champion our unique heritage and shared history, and make the world a better place.