Boy Scouts is now accepting girls. But make no mistake. For more than 100 years, Girl Scouts have received unmatched opportunities to lead, go on adventures, and build courage, confidence, and character.
When there's space for her imagination to grow, there's no stopping where she'll go.
As Girl Scouts, girls get to build leadership skills in the way they learn and grow best—in an all-girl, girl-led, and girl-friendly environment.
The Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE) is time-tested, research-backed, and proven with 106 years of results. New research has found that Girl Scouts shine above their peers in leadership, academics, career aspirations, and hope for the future.*
Girl Scouts has not and will NOT merge with Boy Scouts. Girl Scouts of the USA and Boy Scouts of America are, and have always been, two separate organizations.
Girl Scouts serves girls in grades K–12. The inclusive, girl-led, all-female environment Girl Scouts offers girls give them a safe space where they can try new things, develop a range of skills, and take on leadership roles without the distractions or pressures that can be found in a coed environment.
And there are many more reasons why Girl Scouts works for today’s girls.
There isn't a single experience a girl can have at Boy Scouts that she can’t have at Girl Scouts.
From hiking to swimming, camping and archery, horseback riding and hatchet throwing, Outdoor adventure is an absolutely fundamental part of the Girl Scout experience.
Also, our Outdoor Skills patch program gives girls opportunities to explore many outdoor skills and earn patches in everything from fire building to knot-tying and backpacking.
Girl Scouts can design robots and race cars, go on environmentally conscious camping trips, create algorithms, collect data in the great outdoors, try their hand at engineering, and so much more.
GSSEM has a successful partnership with FIRST of Michigan, an organization dedicated to advancing the fields of STEM with Michigan students.
Our GSSEM FIRST program gives girls in grades K–5 grade the chance to explore robotics and the environment. Girls tackle a community issue like water usage in their communities and build a robotic solution using LEGO components.
The Gold Award is the highest and most prestigious award in Girl Scouting. Girl Scouts who earn the Gold Award display more positive life outcomes like sense of self, life satisfaction, leadership, life success, community service, and civic engagement.
Every year, GSSEM honors Girl Scouts in southeastern Michigan who have earned the Gold Award. Each of these recipients has shown leadership and taken action to find sustainable solutions to a chosen community issue.
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Over the past few years, several organizations have spread misinformation and falsehoods about Girl Scouts.
Unfortunately, because they've used very sophisticated internet and social media methods, the false stories have been repeated enough to convince sincere people these falsehoods about Girl Scouts are true.
The Girl Scout Movement includes over 50,000 adult volunteers in our state and two million in this country who choose to live their lives through the values of Girl Scouting and their individual faith perspectives.
Within our movement, there are differences but we seek to be inclusive and strive to treat all individuals with respect and human dignity.
For more information surrounding these and other issues concerning Girl Scouts, please review each area of the Questions & Answers section below.
For over 100 years, Girl Scouts has been an inclusive, all-girl organization promoting respect for girls.
Girls of all faiths and backgrounds are welcome as long as they agree to abide by the Girl Scout Promise and Law. While members probably have a wide range of political beliefs, Girl Scout activities are strictly non-political. No adult may discuss sensitive issues with a girl without specific written permission from her parents/guardians.
This campaign of misinformation has also raised concerns about Girl Scouting and its relationship to the church, specifically Catholic teachings and beliefs. Girl Scouts has relationships with over 60 major Christian denominations and major religions, including a partnership with the Roman Catholic Church that extends over 100 years.
Girl Scouts works closely with the Catholic Church, both locally and nationally, to ensure that Girl Scouting continues to be a positive and beneficial experience for girls of the Catholic faith.
Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM) builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
We are committed to diversity, equity, inclusivity, and belonging by creating a safe and welcoming environment for all members. GSSEM is dedicated to respecting, embracing, and celebrating our differences.
Has Girl Scouts removed the word "God" from the Girl Scout Promise or placed an asterisk after the word "God?"
The Girl Scouts Promise contains the word "God." The word "God" has never been removed. The word God can be interpreted in many ways and girls are allowed to substitute whatever word their spiritual beliefs dictate. Not all religions use the word God, and some religions have more than one god.
According to the Girl Scout Constitution, "The motivating force in Girl Scouting is spiritual. The ways in which members identify and fulfill their spiritual beliefs are personal and private." Girl Scouts welcomes girls and adults of every race, ethnicity, ability level, and religion who accept the Girl Scout Promise.
The Girl Scout Promise is as follows:
On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.
Is it true that the Girl Scouts organization places minimal emphasis on the family?
No. Families have always been encouraged to be part of their daughter's experience in Girl Scouting. Girl Scouts encourages families to get involved with their daughter's troop. Parents also must sign the membership form and provide permission for all Girl Scout activities.
Is it true the Girl Scouts program materials fail to support core values?
No. As a leadership organization, we aim to inspire girls with examples of women who have a wide range of beliefs but share a willingness to take a stand for their beliefs. We hope every girl who is a member will find the courage, confidence, and character to lead in accordance with her own beliefs, interests, and values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.
The essence of the current Girl Scout program materials follows the example of the first Girl Scout handbook. The program materials for girls at all age levels feature hands-on activities that build leadership traits such as a strong sense of self, team building, and problem-solving skills. Girl Scout troop leaders have the option to utilize the program materials that best serve the needs of their girls.
Is it true that Girl Scouts does not teach girls pride in their country?
No. The Girl Scout Promise states that girls will "serve God and my country." Girl Scouts participate in flag ceremonies, donate cookies to troops overseas, and wear the American flag on the sash as part of the official uniform. Patriotism, citizenship, and community service are basic tenets of the Girl Scout Program and are embedded in the Preamble to our Constitution.
Is there a mandate against praying or Christmas caroling at meetings?
No. Although Girl Scouts has policies supporting religious diversity, no policy by GSUSA prohibits or requires the saying or singing of a grace, blessing, or invocation before meals, or at a meeting, conference, or other group gathering. The decision to say grace, a blessing, or have an invocation is made locally at the troop or group level and should be sensitive to the spiritual beliefs of the participants.
May Girl Scouts earn Wiccan badges or patches?
Girl Scouts does not have—and has never had—a relationship with Wicca. Even if an outside organization states their patches may be worn on a Girl Scout uniform, it does not mean they are sanctioned or endorsed by Girl Scouts.
Official GSUSA insignias (e.g. badges) representing sanctioned programs and objectives are worn on the front of the uniform vest or sash. Official religious recognitions are worn on the front of the uniform vest or sash. Optionally, interest-related activity patches are worn on the back. Girls may attend or participate in activities with the direct written permission of their parents or guardians.
What is Girl Scouts' relationship to 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 worldwide that 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 position or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS. GSUSA's relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the US (and Vatican) relationship with the UN. The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table (as does the Vatican).
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.
Does Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM) donate money to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?
No. GSSEM does not donate money to WAGGGS. Individual Girl Scouts or Girl Scout troops may only donate to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, a GSUSA fund that supports service projects, training, and international exchange events, as well as exchange visiting programs. Each Girl Scout or Girl Scout troop is encouraged to make its own decision as to whether or not to donate.
Is any money from Girl Scout cookie activities used to pay the WAGGGS quota?
No. All of the money from GSSEM product programs stays at the council level. The national funds that GSUSA sends to WAGGGS come solely from investment income.
Do Individual Girl Scouts or Girl Scout troops belong to WAGGGS?
No. Individual girls or Girls Scout troops are not members of WAGGGS. Girls Scouts of the USA is a member organization of WAGGGS.
May an Individual Girl Scout or Girl Scout troop opt out of paying dues to WAGGGS or WAGGGS Membership?
No. None of a Girl Scout's annual membership fee goes to WAGGGS.
Was Girl Scouts of the USA's participation in the recent 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations intended to "promote a number of radical sexual rights, including abortion and other controversial sexual rights," as alleged by critics?
No. The girls from several countries who participated were there to promote action on global issues concerning women and girls worldwide. The statement prepared by the girls who participated does not reflect Girl Scouts of the USA's position, or influence any policy or action of the national organization or local councils.
What is WAGGGS' position on reproductive Issues?
WAGGGS has position statements on fighting HIV and AIDS, adolescent pregnancy, adolescent health, and talking about sex. WAGGGS-specific positions are not GSUSA positions, and WAGGGS recognizes that its member organizations adopt different approaches. A WAGGGS representative can respond to questions about their policies. Please email email@example.com.
Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM) reported that Girl Scouts allowed Planned Parenthood to distribute material to girls who participated in the UN meeting. Is this true?
No. This did not happen. GSUSA did not provide girls with any materials from a third party at the workshop conducted in March 2010 at the United Nations. 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 Scouts of the USA support Planned Parenthood?
No. There is no relationship—past, present, or planned—between Planned Parenthood and Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) or Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM). The Girl Scout organization does not take a position on abortion or birth control. Our membership is a cross-section of America's diversity with regard to opinions on religious and social issues and practices. We believe these matters are best decided by girls and their families.
Does Girl Scouts allow gender-expansive and transgender youth to join?
Membership for gender-expansive and transgender youth is handled on a case-by-case basis. Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan recognizes and acknowledges that sex and gender identity exist across a spectrum and that existing and aspiring members may identify outside of the male/female binary.
GSSEM allows membership for:
Membership is not allowed for cisgender boys (gender identity and sex assigned at birth is male).
Why does Boy Scouts allow girls to join, but my boy cannot join a Girl Scout troop?
Girl Scouts' experience and programming are not designed to support the needs of cisgender boys; thus, we cannot extend membership to cisgender boys.
What is the Girl Scout position on abortion and birth control?
Girl Scouts does not take a position on abortion or birth control. At the same time, the Girl Scouts organization respects the moral teachings and theology of all faith communities. GSUSA's Blue Book of Basic Documents states in the Spirituality/Religion policy that "Every Girl Scout group shall respect the varying religious opinions and practices of its membership in planning and conducting activities." For example, the Catholic Spiritual Scouting Program follows the moral and theological teachings of the Roman Catholic Church.
Again, we believe these matters are best decided by girls and their families. All councils are directed to obtain written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be sensitive.
Does the Girl Scout program provide sex education to girls?
Neither Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) nor Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan (GSSEM) advocate for or against any issue regarding a girl's sexuality. If program opportunities address these issues, girls who choose to participate must have the fully informed written consent of their parents or guardians. Again, we believe these matters are best decided by girls and their families.
Does Girl Scouting teach girls "to support a decision to pull a life support system from a dying relative" and "give information and justification for ending a pregnancy," as alleged by critics?
No. These statements are false. These issues are best discussed and decided within families.
Is there an article in a Girl Scout book entitled "All I Really Needed to Know About Being a Lesbian I Learned at Girl Scout Camp?"
No. There is no book published by Girl Scouts of the USA that contains an article with that title or subject matter.
Does Girl Scouts support Susan G. Komen for the Cure?
No. Girls or adults, in their capacity as Girl Scouts, may not raise or solicit money for any other organizations. Individuals or troops may choose to volunteer their support for such organizations in non-monetary ways.