What is GSUSA’s position regarding human sexuality, birth control, abortion?
Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA)/Girl Scouts of West Central Florida (GSWCF) does not take a position 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 any decision 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; GSWCF abides by this direction.
Human sexuality is a private matter for girls and their families to address. GSUSA/GSWCF has established standards that do not permit the advocacy or promotion of a personal lifestyle or sexual orientation. Adults working with girls must adhere to these standards.
Does GSUSA/GSWCF have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?
No, Girl Scouts of the USA/Girl Scouts of West Central Florida does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.
Did GSUSA distribute a Planned Parenthood brochure at a U.N. event?
No they did not. In 2010 GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations, where girls were encouraged to take action on global issues concerning women and girls. GSUSA’s participation in that conference was the subject of numerous Internet stories and blogs that were factually inaccurate and troubling. Participating girls received a copy of the only document they were working on titled “The Girls’ Statement” – no other documents were given to the girls as part of this event. The room in question was also used to host other events over the course of the multi-day conference. Prior to the Girl Scouts’ use of the room, it was not checked to ensure that no trash or other items were left behind. GSUSA did not provide girls with a Planned Parenthood brochure or any materials from any third party at the Girls' Only workshop conducted on March 1, 2010 at the United Nations. 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. 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 program delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith’s teachings.
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.
Why is there an asterisk after God in the Girl Scout Promise?
The Girl Scout organization does not endorse or promote any particular philosophy or religious belief and allows flexibility when girls say the Girl Scout Promise. The Girl Scout Movement is a secular, values-based organization founded on principles, including freedom of religion. We do not attempt to dictate the form or style of a member’s worship. We believe that faith is a private matter for girls and their families to address. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, individuals are free to substitute their own wording for "God." When writing the Promise, we sometimes use an asterisk to clarify this policy.
Can we no longer say grace or a prayer at our troop meetings?
Although Girl Scout policies support religious diversity, there is no Girl Scouts of the USA policy that prohibits or requires the saying or singing of a grace, blessing, or invocation in a troop/group setting. Such decisions are made locally at the troop or group level and should be arrived at after full consideration of the spiritual beliefs of all participants.
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 organization 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 girl membership dues used to pay the WAGGGS quota?
Membership dues from girls and from adults are not used to pay the WAGGGS quota. All dues collected from Girl Scout members are used to pay for services that directly impact the development and delivery of Girl Scouting to girls in the USA and girls who are involved in USA Girl Scouts Overseas, our program that brings Girl Scouting to American families who live and work abroad. The national funds that GSUSA sends to WAGGGS come solely from investment income.
Do girls belong to WAGGGS?
No. Troops and individual girls are not members of WAGGGS.