National Catholic Committee for

Girl Scouts & Camp Fire

Region 3

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About GSUSA Programs or Issues


Does the Girl Scout Journey program conflict with Catholic teachings?

Dr. Angela Soto Hamlin, a member of the Harrisburg diocesan Catholic Committee as well as a member of the Administrative Board of the Pennsylvania Catholic Conference, has review the Girl Scout Journey Program and reports that none of the materials she reviewed promoted ideas contrary to the teachings of the Catholic Church regarding marriage, artificial contraception or abortion.  Angela pointed out that the best way to ensure that Scouts will not be exposed to values contrary to church teachings is for Catholic schools and parishes to sponsor troops and to encourage parental involvement.


Further concern has arisen over a Girl Scout Journey intended for Junior Scouts. A question was raised about the aMuse journey at a Diocesan Director’s training session in Washington, DC, in May 2011.  The aMUSE book contains a two page spread about Josefina Lopez, a Mexican American woman who is quoted as saying “If you are really upset about something in society, by writing about it you can inspire people to change it.”  The controversy arises over several lines in a play, mentioned in the Journey, which Lopez wrote as a teenager.  The play, “Simply Maria, or the American Dream,” is not suitable for fourth or fifth grade girls.  However, in Pennsylvania there are only four colleges which have a copy of the play in their collection, so it is unlikely that any Junior Scout would be exposed to Ms. Lopez’s attitudes.  Also, there are three Journey books for each age level, so no Scout would have to use the aMUSE book; finally, there is no requirement to complete every activity in the Journey.


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.

Does GSUSA have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?

No, Girl Scouts of the USA does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.

Does the sale of Girl Scout cookies support abortions and/or Planned Parenthood?

No, the sale of Girl Scout cookies supports the councils and troops that sell them. Check the What We Stand For manual from Girl Scouts USA.

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 program 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.