The Girl Scout Promise

“On my honor,

I will try,

To serve God and my Country,

To help others at all times,

And to live by the Girl Scout Law”

Every meeting I would recite those words with some of my closest friends. We were all Girl Scouts. From Brownies through Juniors, I made some of the best friends I will ever have. In fact, I even live with one of my fellow ex-scouts! The Girl Scouts are so much more than a ploy to get the citizens of Earth to buy cookies. We are a band of sisters joining together to make it a better place.

maya gsOne of the greatest advantages I see about being in scouts, is the complete lack of bullying in the troops. When I was in the Brownies I remember that everyone in my troop was a friend to one another. Sure, there were cliques of girls, but we were all inclusive. This is one of the fundamental benefits Girl Scouts bring into young girls’ lives.  Friendships. My longest lasting ones stemmed from my elementary school years, sitting in a room and doing crafts with the other girls. The leaders also play a huge part in the growing of friendships. Having positive, accessible female role models meant the world to me back then, and I am sure it means a lot to my younger sister, a Brownie, now. If there were ever conflicts in the group, or indecision on which badge to work for, we always had an adult to look up to and guide is in the right direction.

Badges are always the topic of debate in most troops. Everyone wants the entire group to work towards her favorite badge, however this teaches young girls an important life lesson: Goal Setting. Without the payoff of those small circular patches, I am not sure I would have ever learned how to stick something out until the end, let alone work towards a common goal as a group. From fashion shows to outdoor badges, it was the covert invisible thread connecting all Girl Scouts. We were all working for something.  Trying to accomplish something bigger than we were.

Despite all that we gained in cookie sales and life skills, we still had a common “frenemy,” the Boy Scout. Around the years that I was a Girl Scout, I had two brothers alive (I’d get one more brother and a little sister soon enough.) One was in Boy Scouts and the other showed interest but was not yet old enough to grasp the concept of it. Obviously Girl Scout troops have qualms with Boy Scouts. It’s just the way of the world when you are an elementary school girl.

However, I did not realize the underlying competitiveness until much later on. For one, the Boy Scouts of America’s policies are almost polar opposite from the Girl Scouts’. The other issue was that of funding. The Boy Scouts of America’s funding comes from mainly religious organizations. Although in recent years, many of their other sponsors have dropped the organization, the Girl Scouts still have to work a little harder to get the dough they need to sell cookies.

Even though this article is a little past their 100 year anniversary, it’s still important to recognize one of the few organizations that honors the individuality and character traits of a young, growing girl; instead of focusing on her radically changing, and sensitive body image.