Scouts on Strike

The Girl Scouts recently announced a new cookie.  Savannah Smiles, will be sold in honor of the Girl Scouts 100thanniversary.  As a former Girl Scout, I found this very exciting.  However, not everyone may get to try the new cookie this year!  On the heels of this announcement came some other Girl Scout news.

I’ve run across a couple interesting mentions this week of Girls Scouts protesting.  And by protesting – I mean vowing not to sell cookies this year!  I really don’t want to think about what would happen if cookie sales just didn’t happen in large swaths of the country.  But what’s interesting is what they’re protesting.

The first group to make news this week was out of Northeast Ohio, where Girl Scouts are protesting for the right to pee outdoors.  Northeast Ohio is planning to renovate scout camps, taking them from rustic to modern, with the help of indoor plumbing.  I remember going on Girl Scout camping trips.  We stayed in cabins with kitchens and bathrooms.  We slept in sleeping bags on bunk beds.  This is not apparently how most troops operate.  I had other opportunities as a child to sleep out in a tent, and pee in the woods.  I’m going to be honest though – I refused to pee in the woods.  I required indoor plumbing (and I still prefer that).

So why protest an upgrade to a campsite? The girls deserve the rustic camping experience.  Mothers and scouts “petitioned, we corrected their misinformation, we appealed to national, we held camp-ins, we worked through the democratic process. We told them every step of the way what would happen if they closed camps,” said Lynn Richardson, of Trefoil Integrity, a group working to keep the camps open.

Cookie sale boycotts were a last resort.  And it likely won’t hurt the troops as much as it hurts the Ohio Girl Scout Council.  Those cookies you shell out $4/box for – about 60 cents goes to the troop making the sale and the rest goes to the Council.  The goal is to hit the Girl Scout Council where it hurts – the pocketbook.

While I’m sure the customers in the North East Ohio region will be at a loss without their annual purchase of Thin Mints, I think these girls are learning a bigger lesson by working through the democratic process and staying strong for their position. 

(I’d like to take a second here and just mention that when I started selling cookies they went for $1.50/box, and when I finished people were complaining about paying $2.50/box.  Which is how I unknowingly owed a huge amount of money for cookies in recent years assuming it had not come close to doubling in price. Why so expensive?)

The second protest: A 14 –year –old Girl Scout is boycotting cookie sales this year because she has discovered transgender children are allowed into the Girl Scouts.  A quote she uses in the video is from the Girl Scouts of Colorado says:

“We accept all girls in kindergarten through 12th grade as members. If a child identifies as a girl and the child’s family presents her as a girl, Girl Scouts of Colorado welcomes her as a Girl Scout… If a child is living as a girl, that’s good enough for us. We don’t require any proof of gender.”

In the video this Scout goes on to explain how productive and important it is for girls to have a single sex space to interact and learn.  It’s true.  It is helpful and has been proven to help girls and young women grow and develop.  Her claim however is that no matter what gender you wish you were, if you are not physically a girl, you should not be allowed in.

It is actually impressive the Girl Scouts have been so far ahead on this issue and welcome children based on who they believe they are and how their family is raising them.  So much of news around children and any LGBT issue usually comes to be because a child is being bullied, or denied the right to live as who they really are.  The Girl Scouts have stood up and said no – and allowed anyone.   If the idea is to give a safe and secure place for girls, that should include those who do not feel safe and secure with boys or in a male scouting group.

While again, another Scout uses free speech and the democratic system to try and create change (well done Girl Scouts for teaching this so well), I feel enticed to actually buy more cookies than normal this year, just to ensure money goes to a good cause that doesn’t base admission on physical gender, but accepts people as they are.

Bring on the Tagalongs!

Originally appeared on Fem2.0

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