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On the Subject of The Girl Scouts…

First of all – a new post! I know it’s been awhile. I’m thinking that this blog is probably going to end up taking on more of a story-of-my-life kind of spin soon. So, be prepared for that mess.

Second of all – I’m sure you guys have been seeing the Girl Scout fundraiser floating around your social media lately. If you haven’t had the chance to read up on the situation, here it is…

Basically, Girl Scouts is a non-profit organization that relies on donations and fundraisers. A huge portion of these donations go towards bringing low-income and at-risk kids to summer camp, so that they can have an amazing experience that may otherwise be unavailable to them. While Girl Scouts is nationwide, there are regional troops who work within their own communities.

A while back, Girl Scouts of Western Washington received a massive donation of one hundred thousand dollars. But this donation came with a stipulation – that none of the money could go towards supporting transgender girls.

Now, to me, this isn’t even about whether or not you support LGBT rights and issues. It’s about whether or not you will tolerate discrimination in your community.

And Girl Scouts absolutely do NOT tolerate hate or discrimination of any kind.

The Girl Scouts of Western Washington returned the money.

And I have never been prouder to be a Girl Scout.

Though I was never a part of Girl Scouts when I was younger, I’ve spent many summers working at Girl Scout Camps in Northern California. When you are hired at a GS Camp, you become a Girl Scout (which, incidentally, is why The Husband is an Honorary Girl Scout). Part of the pledge that all Girl Scouts make is to do their best to be “considerate and caring, courageous and strong … to respect myself and others … to make the world a better place”.

The organization truly works to maintain this pledge. They never discriminate towards either campers or staff, girls or troop leaders.

Yes, some of their wording and traditions center around Christian ideals, because Girl Scouts was founded by people who HAD Christian ideals. However, as most of you know, I am not a Christian. And never in my time with Girl Scouts did I feel unwelcome or unable to participate. Staff members were encouraged to uphold the spirit of the tradition, rather than follow it to the letter.

For example, every night at GS Camp, the flag is lowered and put away for the night. After this is done, we sing “Taps”, the final lines of which are “All is well. Safely rest. God is nigh”. My very first flag ceremony as a staff member, we told that the final line is, of course, optional. Some people repeat “All is well”, while others stand silently. Basically, the staff was told that we should do whatever made us feel comfortable.

Occasionally, girls would ask me why I stood silently during the final line of “Taps”. I would gently tell them that I loved flag ceremony, but that I preferred not to bring someone else’s God into it. None of my girls ever argued or told me that my choice was wrong.

Every camper and every staffer at Camp is different. We have different religious beliefs, different gender identities, different orientations, different races, and different economical backgrounds. I have talked with fellow staff members about their lifestyles and told them about mine. I have had girls ask me about my spiritual tattoos, my spouse, and my “real job”. Never has anyone treated me as inferior or unwelcome. Staff or camper.

There is an atmosphere of respect and understanding within the Girl Scout community. It’s ingrained.

I’m proud to be part of such an amazing organization.

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You can learn more about the Girl Scouts’ commitment to diversity here.

You can learn how to donate to Girl Scouts, and help give under-privileged girls an amazing camp experience, here.

-Ck

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