FAQs on Sensitive Issues (GSNCA − June 4, 2013)

What is GSUSA’s position regarding human sexuality, birth control, abortion?

Girl Scouts of the USA does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.

Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. Consistent with that belief, GSUSA directs councils, including volunteer leaders, to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.

An article was published in May 2013  saying Girl Scouts participated in a  conference which it did not attend. WAGGGS attended with one staff member and three young women. Click here for more information.

What is GSUSA’s stance on serving transgender youth?

Girl Scouts of the USA Statement on Transgender Youth – Girl Scouts of the USA is an inclusive organization, and we welcome all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. Acceptance of transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis, with the welfare and best interests of the child in question as a top priority.

Does GSUSA or GSNCA have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?

No. Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of North-Central Alabama does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood, nor does either organization plan to have one.

Girl Scouts does not take a position on abortion or birth control.

It should also be noted that not having a relationship with Planned Parenthood includes not having a financial relationship.

    • They do not give Girl Scouts money, and Girl Scouts does not give them money.
    • In fact, GSNCA has gift acceptance policies which state we have the right to refuse funds from organizations that do not enhance, promote and ensure the purpose of Girl Scouting. Planned Parenthood would fall under this category.

Did GSUSA distribute a Planned Parenthood brochure at a U.N. event?
No, we did not. In 2010 GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Our participation in that conference was the subject of numerous internet stories and blogs that were factually inaccurate and troubling. Girl Scouts had no knowledge of the brochure in question and played no role in distributing it.

Does Girl Scouting support families of faith?

Yes. Girl Scouting supports girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. While we are a secular organization that refrains from teaching religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, we believe that the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one, and we greatly value our longstanding partnerships with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

We encourage girls to develop connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the new My Promise, My Faith pin, which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith. We support the right of faith leaders to verify that programs delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith’s teachings.

What is GSUSA’s relationship with the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) is comprised of 145 member organizations which promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural opportunities for girls around the world. Girl Scouts of the USA is one of the 145 Member Organizations.

Each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in their individual countries. GSUSA does not always take the same positions or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS. GSUSA’s relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the US relationship with the UN. (The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table.)

Does GSUSA have a financial relationship with WAGGGS?
Every Girl Scout and Girl Guide organization is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts – and each Member Organization, including Girl Scouts of the USA, pays dues. WAGGGS operates in much the same way as the United Nations: each member organization pays dues based on the size of its membership and the per capita income of the country in which the organization resides.

Are girls individual members of WAGGGS?
No, individual girls are not members of WAGGGS. Girl Scouts of the USA is a member organization of WAGGGS.

Do girls have to wear a WAGGGS pin?
Girls wear the WAGGGS pin to represent their connection to the worldwide sisterhood of Girl Scouting and Girl Guiding. For a girl to be in uniform, the only requirement is that she wears her Girl Scout pin.

What if someone threatens to boycott the Girl Scout Cookie Sale Program?

As a beloved American institution, the Girl Scout cookie program is a natural target for those seeking to draw attention to themselves or their cause. It’s important for everyone to know that all of the proceeds from these sales (after paying the baker) stay in the local market and are used to fund programs for girls. Girl Scout troops use proceeds from the cookie activity to fund service projects, such as donating cookies to our troops overseas, or to plan exciting trips.

What changes has GSUSA made to address issues concerning Journey materials?

A review process has been launched that will cover all GSUSA produced program material and web content. The review team includes staff from GSUSA, councils, outside editors experienced with school standards and textbooks, and an external communications firm. The review will be completed by February 1 and will include a check on references (books, movies, etc.), individuals, and complaints that have been posted on anti-Girl Scout websites.

Our goal is for balance and we know, at the onset, that we will not respond to each and every complaint that we have received. Here are some examples:

  • We have been asked to remove the names of key players in the history of the Women’s Movement, like Betty Freidan, and we cannot do that.
  • We have removed all references to the Women’s Media Center because of direct links to Planned Parenthood. We haven’t removed references to Carol Jenkins, a founder of that organization. Ms. Jenkins was the first African-American woman to anchor for a national news network.

Replacement Pages and Reprints
Replacement pages in English and Spanish have been posted on the GSUSA website. Go to Program, click on Journeys, click on the Journey series, click on the age level, then click on the book in question.

On the right-hand side of the page, you’ll see a box titled “Resources.” If there are corrections for that journey, they will be listed there as replacement pages. You will also see links designed for printing on self-stick labels to make replacement easier. Note that the majority of journeys have no corrections so you will not find replacement pages listed.

For books that you currently have in stock, we are asking that you use these downloadable versions as needed beginning with GIRLtopia. We will do the same with books that we have in inventory and will continue our current practice of picking up changes in our next print run. Note that updated editions of the girl books MEdia and aMuse, reflecting the corrections, are now available in the distribution center.