I was a Girl Scout as a kid and if any little girl is ever unlucky enough to be my daughter, I will encourage her to be a Girl Scout, too. Being a part of GSUSA meant that between the age of six and eleven (eleven is when I officially became "too cool" and decided to devote all of my extra-curricular energy to watching TV), I got to spend weekends camping, horseback riding, making crafts and getting involved with my community. My troop was multi-cultural, multi-racial and included girls from all different income levels. It put us outside of our comfort zones, while, at the same time, giving us a place where we could be ourselves. I don't know how much of a hand GSUSA played in making me the woman I am today, but I will say — with certainty — that it only helped and never hurt when it came to nurturing me and my fellow scouts so that we could grow into strong and capable grownups.
In short, Girl Scouts USA is awesome. And unlike the Boy Scouts of America, Girl Scouts prove their awesomeness time and time again — which is why it always comes as a surprise to me that A.) the organization is struggling and B.) there are a lot of people out there who believe that GSUSA is force of evil, mostly for the same reasons that I think its a force of great good.
Turns out that anti-abortion advocates are no fans of the Girl Scouts because, while the organization takes no official stance on abortion, they also — heaven forbid — teach reproductive health and have never spoken against abortion. Furthermore, many of GSUSA's most outspoken supporters are also supporters of Planned Parenthood, which to the ignorant anti-choice crowd, is as good as saying you support the mass genocide of babies everywhere. (This perception — it goes without saying — is exceedingly stupid.)
Luckily, there's a new resource out there for socially conservative parents who are looking to guard their daughters against the dark forces of GSUSA (to be fair, it was at a Girl Scouts sleepover that I participated in my first seance). My Girl Scout Council, a website set up by concerned mom Ann Saladin, is a new resource for parents worried about the pro-choice influence that apparently hovers over every Girl Scout troop across the country.
“I wish a resource like this had been available when I was first contemplating my own daughter’s Girl Scout membership. I had no idea that her membership, and the financial contributions solicited through her council, were supporting the international scouting organization, WAGGGS, which aggressively pushes for sexual and reproductive health and rights for girls around the world while representing its 10 million members,” Saladin told anti-abortion website LifeNews.
Saladin's site may backfire. While it's currently used by parents who want to know the pro-choice affiliations of their local Girl Scout troops in order to keep their daughters away from them, it's also a great resource for those of us who don't believe that educating girls and promoting "sexual and reproductive health" are bad things. Frame it that way and My Girl Scout Council becomes a list of the best Girl Scout troops in the country. Thanks for the help, Ann!
Image via Getty.