[Updated] Why the Girl Scouts kick the Boy Scouts’ ass

With the news that The Boy Scouts of America is toying with ending its discriminatory policy against GBT (and presumably L) people, I can’t help but compare them to The Girl Scouts. In fairness, I must admit up front that I am an alum of the organization. But that’s not enough to completely cloud what truly are stark differences between the two organizations.

Girl Scouts encourage activities — such as sports, camping and outdoor adventures, and pursuing interest in STEM — long considered “for the boys” according to sexist cultural mores. And that was just when I was a kid in the 1980s. They’ve come a long way since then. The Girl Scouts excel in promoting and providing opportunities for leadership. It turns out that 60 percent of the women in Congress — House and Senate — were in the youth program. Considering only about eight percent of the general female population has ever been a Girl Scout, this is pretty significant news.

Not only are the Girls more inclusive in their policies toward LGBT individuals, but when certain troop leaders have, well, gone rogue, the Girl Scouts have shown a history of acting swiftly to resolve those issues. Meanwhile, GSUSA does a lot to help make sure that girls who might otherwise slip through the cracks, or not have access, find a home in a troop of their own. From welcoming kids with special needs to the Girl Scouts Behind Bars program (giving girls time with their mothers who are in jail), Girl Scouts is adept at meeting the needs of kids in a complicated world.

Likewise, when a girl from their own ranks, working on an ecological badge, noticed that one of the main ingredients (palm oil) in many Girl Scout cookies was an ecological nightmare to harvest (let alone its links to obesity), the organization listened and implemented a plan to roll-out newly sourced palm oil while the ingredients in the cookies are changed.

Indeed, the Girl Scouts’ willingness to be nimble in a modern world may be its greatest strength. After all, what screams stuck-in-the-dark-ages more than a strict adherence to bigotry rooted in nothing more than “tradition” and ignorance?

I’m not saying that the Girl Scouts are perfect. No organization, especially one as big as they are, could be. … But I will say this: They have not one but two vegan cookies (one of them is the beloved Thin Mints!). And in its own way, that speaks volumes. I mean, what do the Boy Scouts have? Pop corn? Seriously?

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One thought on “[Updated] Why the Girl Scouts kick the Boy Scouts’ ass

  1. I am a Girl Scout mom. Thank you so much for writing this! This cookie season keep in mind that 75% of what you pay for a $4 box of cookies stays in our community.

    I have watched some families leave the program or refuse to enroll their girls due to terrible misinformation about the relationship between Girl Scouts and Planned Parenthood. I am never in the position of providing sex education, but I have been proactively trained in language that clearly communicates to girls that their bodies are their own. My daughter is 13 and this curriculum has always been in tune with her emotional development.

    She also has Asperger syndrome and Girl Scouts has made it possible for her to meet other girls who are interested in math, science, and playing guitar while I need to home school.

    I also appreciate the way Girl Scouts of Southern Nevada has reached out to bring the program to low income communities even holding meetings during school lunch periods at schools so that girls who often bear the responsibility of taking care of younger siblings can still enjoy the program.

    So as I gear up for weekends of cookie sales at the booths Feb 15 – March 9th I will be there proud and ready to stand up for this great organization even as we are increasingly harassed by the misinformed. Go Girl Scouts!

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