Tuesday, April 7, 2015

G: Girl Scouts of America, Small Green People

As a child I dabbled in a variety of clubs--Brownies, Girl Scouts, Campfire Girls, and 4-H--but I was a Brownie and Girl Scout for the longest time. Back in those days (early 1970s), we sold cookies but it wasn't anywhere near the massive production it is now! In fact, my Uncle Lloyd produced some of the paintings on the boxes, back when local Grandma's Cookies made some of the cookies.

The uniforms back when I was a Brownie and Girl Scout!
Who doesn't love the Girl Scouts? Well, some far-right Christians and Republicans, I guess. The Girl Scouts of America stand in stark contrast to the Boy Scouts:
The Girl Scouts explicitly reject discrimination of any kind and consider sexual orientation, “a private matter for girls and their families to address.” Noting their affirmation of freedom of religion, a founding principle of American life, the Girl Scouts “do not attempt to dictate the form or style of a member’s worship” and urge “flexibility” in reciting the Girl Scout Promise. (They are encouraged to substitute the word “God” for something that’s more in line with their own spiritual practice.) It’s an arresting contrast to the Boy Scouts of America, who in addition to excluding gays also refuse to hire non-believers.
You can guess which organization I prefer. And here's the uncommon prayer for the day, for the Small Green People called Girl Scouts!

Prayer for the Girl Scouts of America

Those small brave cheerful chirping green children, selling me sugar in incredible doses every year, trapping people grimly as they try to enter the library and the grocery store.

You have to admire the devious system; who could say no to a person no taller than your waist, accompanied by her grinning tiny compatriots, all in uniform, with a beaming maternal bookkeeper behind the table? Not me.

And for all I know I will probably have to cut another notch in my belt with the tip of the steak knife when no one is looking, and for all I know surely some percentage of my contribution will buy whiskey and dancing shoes for the Scout leadership in New York City,

still, it seems cool to me that there are two million Girl Scouts in America, and nearly another million American moms helping them out, and some ten million Girl Scouts and Girl Guides in 145 countries around this particular planet, and all of this effort in the end is about joy and teamwork and friendship and laughter and travel and waking up to things and people you didn't know and might never have discovered on your own, and these all seem like excellent things.

So as I wangle the box of Thin Mints open and have just one and then pop another as a sort of comparative research project, I think of all those grinning girls with their braces and pigtails and barrettes and sneakers and voices like sparrows

and I actually no kidding pray for them--for their joy, their safety, their wild sweet small holiness. It is a better world for those small green people in it, and that is a fact. And so: amen.

Here's more information on why I chose this focus for the A to Z, and you can read all my 2015 A to Z posts here. I hope you enjoy the celebrations of the miracle and muddle of the ordinary! 

You can buy the book at Brian's favorite local bookstore, Broadway Books, at Powell's Books, or on AmazonBrian's work is used with permission of Ave Maria Press.


  1. Girl Scout Cookies-one of America's greatest traditions.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Wrote By Rote

    1. Yep--they've certainly become so!

  2. Hi,
    When I was living in the States, I always bought the Girl Scout cookies. Now that I'm living abroad, there is no opportunity.
    Nice article on the Girl Scouts. It makes positive changes upon the lives of many young girls.
    Visiting from the A to Z Blog Challenge 2015.
    Patricia at Everything Must Change

    1. Thanks for stopping by, Pat. That's too bad you can't buy Girl Scout cookies any more!

  3. I heard on NPR the other day that there is a wait list to become a Girl Scout. Why? Because there aren't enough adult volunteers to run troops. :(

  4. I was never a girl scout when I was little, but I sure do support them via their cookies!

    Good luck with the 2015 A to Z Challenge!
    A to Z Co-Host S. L. Hennessy

    1. That's an easy way to support them!

  5. I was a girl scout in Mexico for a few years. I really have fond memories and I loved your post, I was not aware that Girl scouts did not tolerate discrimination, makes me like them even more. #Blogging from A-Z 2015 this year two themes Movies and What’s in a name
    4covert2overt ~ A PLACE IN THE SPOTLIGHT http://4covert2overt.blogspot.com/
    DEFINING WAYS http://mariacatalinaegan.com/
    ⋱ ⋮ ⋰.,;***;,.⋱ ⋮ ⋰
    ⋰ ⋮ ⋱..._/l\_...⋰ ⋮ ⋱
    ♫ ƤҼƌҪҼ ƌƝƊ ĻƠṼҼ ॐ βԼƐֆֆїɳɠֆ ƌƝƊ βԼїֆֆ ♫

    1. Thank you Maria! You have the most beautiful name!

  6. I was a GS when I was little and my mother was our troop leader. I have many fond memories of that. I put my daughter in Daisy's when she was 5 and ended up pulling her out of GS a few years ago after much prayer and research. I found out that GS supports Planned Parenthood...in a round about way, financially. It was a very sad decision for me and I am lucky that my daughter was old enough to talk with me and understand why we were making the decision.
    Visiting from A to Z
    Katie @TheCyborgMom

    1. I'm sorry to hear that the Girl Scouts lost your support. GS doesn't actually support Planned Parenthood--that was misrepresented in the media. Read their FAQs here: http://www.girlscouts.org/program/basics/faith/faqs.asp#a1

      But even if there had been a connection, I'm an avid supporter of Planned Parenthood, so that wouldn't have bothered me at all.