Behold the #Girlboss-ification of Girl Scouts

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Selling cookies is serious business, so Girl Scouts better lean in. No, seriously, lean the fuck IN!!!


In a New York Times piece on the rise of capitalist summer camps, wherein children are sent to tour Starbucks corporate offices or learn to monetize their hobbies instead of playing dodge ball under a blazing summer sun, former Jezebel contributor and Special Projects reporter Brendan O’Connor writes about how this sentiment has pervaded even the beloved Girl Scouts:

And Girl Scouts aren’t just in the business of selling cookies. Now, many of the youth organization’s chapters offer a supplemental program called “Camp CEO,” wherein Scouts are paired with a female mentor for a weekend of team-building and skill-sharing exercises.

“It’s the whole spectrum of a woman in business: the challenges she had to overcome, personal branding, communication, etiquette, and then also teaching these girls how to have agency,” Ms. Muroff said. “Then we talk about finances.”

Thin Mints and finances, okay! Fourth grade scouts can actually earn “Cookie CEO” badges, and go on to earn “Financing My Dreams” or “Marketing” patches as they get older. The Cookie CEO badge includes the phrase, “It’s Your Business — Run It!”

While Girl Scouts has always urged girls to be leaders, the blatant corporate terminology being applied to these young cookie-sellers is dispiriting. The rhetoric of “leaning in” and “being a #girlboss” has ultimately trickled down to younger and younger audiences, which is only compounded by the fact that many of these Scouts likely consider influencers and YouTubers, who’ve effectively monetized every aspect of their life, as role models. Take for instance the now-defunct magazine Teen Boss, which the editorial director said was intended to meet girls who wanted to “establish a brand—or make themselves into a brand—with their social media channels.”

The problem isn’t that girls learn about entrepreneurship while selling delicious cookies, it’s that Girl Scouts shouldn’t frame leadership in fluffy corporate terms. Trust me, these Scouts have a lifetime ahead of them to be inundated with messages about how hoarding capital is someone “empowering” and that a wealth of female CEOs is somehow a feminist gain for womankind.


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Lmao, no. I am Council staff, program namely. I personally oversee and work with our Camp CEO. Every Camp CEO runs differently, and to paint them all the same is irresponsible, and also just not correct. I won’t speak to the Cookie CEO badges- those are from GSUSA and not created by individual Councils.

Our Camp CEO is for girls from under-served and low income backgrounds, lots of girls whose first language is not English, who are foster youth, and most with trauma informed backgrounds. We do NOT do any talking about the cookie program. We do bring in “CEOs” from the community- but many are small businesses owners, doctors from Kaiser (they give us a grant), or other women who have careers. The intent is for those women to experience camp alongside the girls, where they all hear about goal setting, finding their passions, and all the other fun camp stuff. During this time, girls get to learn more from the women who come to camp about college, trade school, how they followed their career path, etc. Cookies are not a part of this conversation, mostly because most of these girls do not even sell cookies.

Just my two cents. Also, as a staffer who has little to no time spent working on the cookie program, I do think that it has value, and that GSUSA isn’t leaning in any harder than it ever has.