By The Cranky Housewife -
Please don't misunderstand me. I fully appreciate the mixed feelings over the controversies surrounding The Girls Scouts USA. You know – once upon a time, I was a Girl Scout too. Because of my personal experience with that organization, I wanted my own children to involve themselves in scouting. As a matter of fact, I've got a den of Webelos crossing over into Boy Scouts in just a few days and it's unbelievable how much they've learned.
As I rifle through the mementos that we have collected over the last five years – badges, scarves, derby cars…those sweet little hats that the tiger cubs wear – when I think of all that they have experienced through Cub Scouts – camping and archery, arrgh…popcorn sales, hiking, tying knots, compass work, writing letters to the troops, helping at the food pantry – I know that much of this informal education might have been overlooked in favor of soccer practice had there not been an organization such as BSA. Scouting in and of itself brings communities together. That is a good thing.
Except when it's not.
I've been communicating an awful lot with parents who are involved with GSUSA at their schools and churches and they are quite adamant. Regardless of what the National Council does or says, the local troops focus on learning about traditional values, camping…all the things that you would expect from a scouting organization. That's great. Those parents should be commended for sticking to the mission that Juliette Low laid out for young women a century ago, but the leadership within GSUSA is a vastly different story.The leadership has hijacked Juliette Low's vision and has turned it into a fairly radical and politically motivated organization through its affiliations with hardcore feminist organizations and individuals.
The evidence is mounting. The more I read, the more stunned I become. GSUSA at a national level and even within some of the local councils seems to have lost touch with what Middle America expects from a scouting organization. Girl Scout leaders have allowed their own partisan political leanings to filter into their handbooks and websites in an effort to adjust the values of young women – frequently this occurs in diametric opposition to the value systems of the parents who may not actually take the time to read the handbook or website before their daughters do.
Here's a for instance. Without a hint of irony, the GSUSA steers young women to the George Soros funded Media Matters so that they can read material on the trappings of media bias. Since Media Matters has made the destruction of Fox News and conservative media its life's work and since the GSUSA does not list conservative alternatives for any kind of comparison, I'm not certain how young women are supposed to come away with a sensible understanding of what media bias actually is. Of course, if that was the end of the story, we could all express our disgust, register our complaints to the GSUSA and be done with it. Unfortunately, this is only a glimpse into the improprieties practiced by of GSUSA leadership.
The GSUSA has an extensive library of suggested reading for the young women in their organization that you may find interesting. For instance, they promote in their Journey book, Your Voice, Your World: The Power of Advocacy. This book endorses the works of:
Elizabeth Gurley Flynn: labor leader, activist, feminist, founding member of ACLU and chairwoman of the American Communist Party.
Luisa Moreno: labor leader, social activist, member of the Communist Party, married to delegate of the Socialist Party of America.
Emily Greene Balch: writer, feminist, recipient of Nobel Peace Prize, pacifist who campaigned against U.S. involvement in World War I, former editor of The Nation.
Ethel Mary Smyth: English composer, lesbian, leader of the women's suffrage movement, member of Women's Social and Political Union.
Pauli Murray: feminist, lawyer, writer, poet, teacher, ordained priest, author of the 1950 book "States' Laws on Race and Color," founder of the Women's Rights Law Reporter, co-founder of the National Organization for Women.
Betty Friedan: feminist writer on Girl Scouts' board of directors, best remembered for 1963 book "The Feminine Mystique," primary founder and first president of the National Organization for Women, founder of the National Women's Political Caucus, strong opponent of abortion laws, founder of the National Abortion Rights Action League, or NARAL.
That's the short list. Now, it's worth noting that a growing number of religious organizations are ending their charters with the Girl Scouts USA because, in spite of denials from the National Girl Scout organization, there are not only ties to Planned Parenthood, NARAL, and NOW at the leadership level, the Girl Scout website and handbook features information links to websites that then direct young women to Planned Parenthood. In fact, there are incidents where local councils have worked directly with Planned Parenthood to instruct young women on sexuality, body image and contraception.
More disturbing, GSUSA is also an affiliate of WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts) and all members of GSUSA are thereby made members WAGGGS through their annual dues. The relationship between Planned Parenthood and WAGGGS is documented as far back as the 1990s. Because of that association, if a girl claims membership to the GSUSA, she is counted as one of the ten million girls who support abortion and contraception worldwide. The World Association of Girl Scouts and Girl Guides hosted a "no-adults-welcome panel" at the United Nations where Planned Parenthood distributed a brochure entitled "Healthy, Happy and Hot."
"The brochure, aimed at young people living with HIV, contains explicit and graphic details on sex, as well as the promotion of casual sex in many forms. The brochure claims, "
'There are lots of different ways to have sex and lots of different types of sex. There is no right or wrong way to have sex. Just have fun, explore and be yourself!'"
I've severely excerpted the text of this brochure as this is a rated PG website, but you get the idea. Sadly, the links with abortion advocacy groups are actually more direct than that. The GSA website sends teens to a site called StayTeen.org. That site has a nifty section on what to do if you think you are pregnant which then directs those young women to the Planned Parenthood website. Not even a pretense of subtlety there.
And wait until you hear about this one. Quoting from an organization called Speak Now: Girl Scouts which is an extensive and well-documented website run by former Girl Scouts who are now seeking to expose the ultra-progressive leanings of the GSUSA:
"The Girl Scouts badge entitled "On Your Own" sends girls directly to www.PlannedParenthood.org, citing this resource as a Helpful Link. This badge was promoted on the official Girl Scouts USA site for girls called Studio 2B. Planned Parenthood reference is now scrubbed, but you can see an image of the badge requirements here. See top of page 2 for the Planned Parenthood link."
A badge for… what was that? Sex? I'll tell you, when the GSUSA tells young women to "be prepared" they don't play.
Hmmm. Now that I've thoroughly depressed you, you may be asking yourself, "So what's the alternative?" or possibly, "Where's the aspirin?" Well, you've probably bolstered your resolve to never buy Tagalongs ever again. And that's a nice thought and all. That is until the neighbor girl comes to the door in her cute-as-a-button Daisy uniform and asks for your support, at which time you will buckle and ask her to put you down for twenty boxes. That's been the general consensus with everyone I've spoken to thus far. I don't know what to tell you there, but if you have a daughter and shudder at the thought of throwing her to the wolves but don't want her to miss out on scouting experiences then you do have some choices.
There are actually a couple of alternative organizations that are worthy of consideration. There is the faith based Little Flowers Girls Club and the Venturing Club which is run by the Boy Scouts of America. Those are both good choices, but the group that I have found particularly impressive is a scouting group called American Heritage Girls which acts as a Christian alternative to the Girl Scouts of America. They are now in their 16th year and can rightly be viewed as the scouting organization similar to the Boy Scouts of America as was intended by the original "Girl Scouts of America" founded by Juliette Low of the early 1900s. The Boy Scouts, in fact, often partners with American Heritage Girls by sharing camp grounds and co-sponsoring events in which both organizations can participate. A true "sister" group as it were.