What We Stand For
Girl Scouts is a safe place for girls in grades K-12 to explore their values and their world, develop an understanding of and empathy with others, and take action to make the world a better place. Girls are guided by committed, caring adults who make Girl Scouting fun. Girl Scouts, guided by a wealth of experience and ongoing research, has been the nation’s leading expert on what girls need and want for 100 years.
Girl Scout membership is open to any girl in grades K-12 who has made the Girl Scout Promise, accepts the Girl Scout Law, and pays annual membership dues. (Financial assistance is available.)
Inclusion and Nondiscrimination Policy
Girl Scouts values inclusiveness and does not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability.
The organization is committed to a diverse membership reflective of the girl population of the council’s region.
An application process exists for all adult positions in Girl Scouting. The process includes a written application, a background check, and relevant in-person and online training.
All activities are planned and carried out in accordance with standards and guidelines established by Girl Scouts of the USA to safeguard the well-being of both girl and adult members. Guidelines also ensure that program activities are appropriate for specific age levels.
Girls wear Girl Scout uniforms to show their pride in belonging to a movement whose mission is held in high regard worldwide and to provide visibility and recognition for members. Girl Scouts at each level have one required element (tunic, sash, or vest) for the display of official pins and awards when participating in ceremonies or officially representing the Girl Scout Movement. For girls ages 5 to 14, the unifying look includes solid white shirts and khaki pants or skirts. Girl Scouts in high school may also wear a scarf that unites their look with the sisterhood of Girl Scouts around the world.
For adults, the uniform is a Girl Scout official scarf for women or tie for men, worn with the official membership pins and navy blue business attire.
THE GIRL SCOUT LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE
Girl Scouting is an informal and experiential educational program that promotes leadership skills in girls. Girls are empowered to discover, connect, and take action to make a difference in today’s world. Our philosophy of age-appropriate learning is grounded in outcomes-based research.
THE GIRL SCOUT COOKIE PROGRAM
The Girl Scout Cookie Program is the most comprehensive business, entrepreneurial, and financial literacy training program available for girls today. Girls strengthen their skills in goal setting, communication, budgeting, managing money, working as a team, and planning a strategy to achieve goals.
All money earned from cookie activities stays within the local Girl Scout council to supply essential services to the troop, groups, and girls. Girls do not receive the money individually; they decide as a troop or group how to spend it.
GIRL SCOUTS AND THE OUTDOORS
Research shows that outdoor spaces support physical play. Time in nature promotes attention restoration. Nature provides novelty and challenge, which enhances leadership development. Girl Scouting has a long, storied and successful history of getting girls outside, particularly via our camping experiences. Girl Scouts helps girls get outdoors, during a time in history when they might not otherwise, and we maintain a deep commitment to this aspect of our programming. Girls also report that they really enjoy the outdoor activities they experience! Our council includes three different properties that facilitate camping and other outdoor programming for girls. Additionally, we partner with outdoor-related parks and attractions throughout our service area. These partnerships offer girls an opportunity not only to get outside, but they often serve to facilitate badge earning and other aspects of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience.
SOCIAL AND POLITICAL ISSUES
Advocacy in Girl Scouting
Girl Scouts’ advocacy efforts help inform and educate policymakers about issues that directly affect girls or the rights of the Girl Scout organization. These efforts include motivating community involvement, influencing GSUSA’s practices and governmental policies at the federal, state, and local levels, and ensuring the fair enforcement and implementation of laws that have an impact on all girls and on Girl Scouting. However, Girl Scouts does not endorse or align itself with political parties or candidates for political office.
As a non-profit organization, Girl Scouts may take action only on legislation that directly affects the rights, responsibilities, and purposes of Girl Scouts of the USA. We encourage Girl Scouts to actively promote participating in the democratic process, but not to advocate for a position or a candidate.
Fundraising for Other Organizations
All monies raised in the name of Girl Scouting must be used for that purpose. When people give money to those identifying themselves as Girl Scouts, they assume they are helping provide Girl Scouting to girls in their community. It would be misleading and a breach of the public trust to use the Girl Scout name to raise money for another purpose, no matter how noble. (Very rarely, GSUSA will allow girls to raise money to support natural disaster relief efforts.)
Families of Faith
The Girl Scout Movement is a secular, values-based organization founded on democratic principles, including freedom of religion. We believe that faith is a private matter for girls and their families to address.
Girl Scouts supports girls of all backgrounds and beliefs. While we are a secular organization, we believe the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one. We greatly value longstanding partnerships with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law. We encourage girls to develop their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions from their own faith communities and Girl Scouting’s “My Promise, My Faith Pin”, which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith.
Graces, Blessings, and Invocations
There is no Girl Scouts of the USA policy that prohibits or requires the saying or singing of a grace, blessing, or invocation. Such decisions are made by the local troop or group.
Abortion and Birth Control/Sexual Education
The Girl Scout organization does not take a position on abortion or birth control. We believe this is a private matter for girls and their families. Neither Girl Scouts of the Southern Appalachians nor Girl Scouts of the USA have a relationship with Planned Parenthood.
Our national organization, Girl Scouts of the USA, is one of 145 countries with a membership in the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS). The Girl Scout Council of the Southern Appalachians and its Girl Scouts are not members of WAGGGS.
In 2010, GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. False reports that girls had received a third-party brochure concerning sexuality spread on the internet and blogs. These reports were proven untrue. Girl Scouts had no knowledge of the brochure in question and played no role in distributing it.