Addressing Falsehoods About Girl Scouts
Dear Girl Scout Members, Leaders, Families and Other Friends,
You may have heard or seen some untrue, negative messaging lately concerning Girl Scouts. As we all know, our annual Cookie Program is a time when our name, organization and work tend to become top of mind in our communities. Because of this, it appears there are some groups or causes that feel threatened by our mission, and are seizing this as an opportunity to make us the target of an organized negative propaganda campaign.
Specifically, it seems there is a resurgence of misinformation and disinformation making the rounds on certain websites, blogs and social media sites that falsely allege Girls Scouts is in partnership with, and provides funding to, Planned Parenthood. To clarify and address these issues as truthfully as we can, our council wants to share the facts with you through some straightforward Questions and Answers.
Q: Does Girl Scouts have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood?
A: No. Neither Girl Scouts of the USA nor Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana has a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Q: Is Girl Scout cookie money used to fund Planned Parenthood?
A: No. It’s important for everyone to know that nearly 100% of the proceeds from the sales of our Girl Scout Cookies stays in your local market where it is used to fund programs for girls. As a nonprofit organization Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana uses the funds we raise for our own mission. We do not provide any funding to Planned Parenthood.
Q: What is Girl Scouts’ position regarding human sexuality, birth control, abortion?
A: Girl Scouts of the USA and Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana do 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 approach, our volunteer leaders are instructed to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.
Q: Did GSUSA distribute a Planned Parenthood brochure at a U.N. event?
A: No, they did not. In 2010 GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Our organization’s 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.
Q. Does Girl Scouting support families of faith?
A: 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 the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one. 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 programming delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith’s teachings.
Q: Why bother to respond to false statements and rumors? Why not just ignore them?
A: Initially, we saw a limited number of these unfounded attacks appear last year. When they began to resurface recently, our strategy was to monitor them and be prepared to respond quickly with the facts to any and all who contacted us directly with concerns. We wanted to give this misinformation no validation by disseminating it through our own channels as this is often the very thing this type of attack aims for. Based on feedback from our staff, key volunteers, supporters and community partners, and in the interest of best serving our girls, we feel it is necessary to take a more proactive approach to address these untruths.
Q: Who is spreading this false information, and why are they doing this?
A: It is hard to pinpoint the exact groups or persons responsible, or to understand what their motives could be. We have seen some messaging that was sent out with appeals for donations. Others appeared to be connected with certain political agendas. Regrettably, in today’s world of instant communications and 24/7 news cycle, untruths or half-truths can be spread quickly and anonymously when people do not stop to use critical thinking and ask whether the information being sent rings true or makes sense.
Q: What else will Girl Scouts of Kentuckiana be doing to address this issue?
A: You may be seeing and hearing more about this in the coming weeks. We will undertake somed planned media and community outreach initiatives to address this smear campaign. Our role is not to engage in debates or arguments with those who have some personal agenda or other reason for attacking Girl Scouts and the work we do. Rather, it is to keep you and the communities we serve informed as we seek to address any developments that stand to hamper the important work we do together for our girls.
Q: What should I do, as a Girl Scout member, leader, family member or supporter if I hear or see this type of untrue, negative information?
A: First and foremost, speak the truth as you know it from your personal experience with Girl Scouting. Be willing to question the information and what source it’s coming from. Encourage others to do the same. Given the opportunity to interact with girls of an appropriate age, you may also want to use this situation as a teachable moment to have a discussion with them about the value and importance of critical thinking.
Please know that you may contact us anytime you need further clarification, or for our official position statements that are for public use. These statements can be shared with anyone who has concerns or questions about what we do or where we stand.
Our position statements can be located online at GSK Position Statements.
The actual website address for this link is also provided below: