The Girl Scouts' new radicalism
Marcia Segelstein - OneNewsNow Columnist - 7/1/2008 7:00:00 AM
The Girl Scouts of the USA have been on a steady, well-documented leftward slide for many years. (More on that later.) But this summer, the organization is about to take a giant leap even further in that direction.
The GSUSA is introducing a new "Girl Scout Leadership Experience," essentially a new curriculum, titled "Journeys." The first series of books, one for every level of scouting, will be released this summer called "It's Your World - Change It." As you may have guessed from the title, it's all about girls "taking action." In the words of the Girl Scouts' literature, the mission is for girls to "lead with courage, confidence, and character to make the world a better place." Sounds innocuous enough. But the GSUSA leadership has some specific ideas about what exactly "making the world a better place" means. For example, seventh- and eighth-grade cadettes will participate in an eight-session "Journey" called "aMaze," in which "girls create 'peace kits' and learn how to create more peace in the world, one relationship at a time." It sounds sweet, but is there a lesson in there about peace often coming with a price? The "Journey" for the oldest Girl Scouts is called "Your Voice, Your World: The Power of Advocacy." In it, "girls explore the rich and global history of women's advocacy efforts and engages girls to become advocates in their communities." Advocates for what, you might well wonder. Here's one example. In August, the GSUSA is inviting girls to "explore climate change as it relates to environment, community and the global community." They will meet with experts "to explore the issue of global climate change" and "come up with action plans to...make a difference in [their] own community."
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Many adults associated with the Girl Scouts have expressed serious concerns about this new curriculum. Promoting social activism, emphasizing the power of self, and jumping on the bandwagon of politically correct causes like global warming are further evidence to them of the organization's ever-growing radicalism. The blueprint for this new curriculum came from the Girl Scouts Arizona Cactus-Pine Council, which decided they needed to be "re-founded." To oversee the process, they naturally hired facilitators -- in this case, from the Ashland Institute, a consulting group with a distinctly New Age bent. The Board of Directors and the Arizona Cactus-Pine Council went into a special retreat. After engaging in a "collective reflective process called Open Space," they decided that some radical changes were in order. According to their own online material, "We are living in a crisis of the spirit in a war-torn world." The literature speaks of female empowerment. It asks, "Could the Girl Scouts help birth the quality of women's leadership that the world so desperately needs today?" It continues: "She [Tamara Woodbury, executive director of the Cactus-Pine Council] knew the time had come for a feminine approach to leadership in the world. What better place than the Girl Scouts to help land the possibility -- but how to do it in a feminine way?" I really have no clue how Ms. Woodbury would define a "feminine approach to leadership in the world," and can't think why world leadership needs to be approached from a feminine or masculine perspective. Unless, of course, one has a radical feminist point of view. So the Arizona Cactus-Pine Council forged ahead to find a place where "preteens and teens learn to hear and trust their own inner guidance." As a Christian, I look to God for guidance, and pray that my children do, too. "Inner guidance" sounds way too much like "do your own thing," or "follow your heart," rather than "do the right thing." In fact, the online literature suggests just that: "Juliette Low [founder of the Girl Scouts] might say to us today, 'Follow my spirit, not my footsteps. Lead from the heart into the unknown.'" An interesting place to want to take teenagers. Here's one of the Girl Scouts' new values: "Girls learn to quiet themselves, taking 'full stop moments' where they can connect with a silence that is perfect and pure, an internal blank canvas....The girls 'find their own compass' through a model that starts looking within to find their purpose, values and vision and ends with clear strategies, action and planning." In case you weren't already clear on this, back in 1995, the Girl Scouts made it optional to include the word "God" in their official "promise." So it shouldn't be a great surprise that now girls are supposed to look within, discover a blank canvas, and find their own values. This isn't God-optional. This is anti-God. Here's "The Girl Scout Promise," according to the GSUSA website:
"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."
The asterisk is explained at the bottom of the page: "The word 'God' can be interpreted in a number of ways, depending on one's spiritual beliefs. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, it is okay to replace the word 'God' with whatever word your spiritual beliefs dictate." That's right. Go right ahead and define "God" however you like. Telling girls to look inside themselves for direction, especially teenage girls, is like advising them to wear a blindfold while driving. So -- to be clear -- along with political correctness, the Girl Scouts have now fully embraced moral relativism. But getting back to being anti-God, there is the matter of the "Covenant of the Goddess." It's a Wiccan website which, among other things, describes their awards program. There's the "Over the Moon Award" for ages 8-11 and the "Hart and Crescent Award" for ages 12-18. The awards are offered "to any young person...who is a member of any nature-oriented religion (Wicca, Druid, Asatru, Native American, etc.)." What does this have to with the Girl Scouts? The Girl Scouts recognize these awards, which may be worn on the Girl Scout uniform. Criticism of the Girl Scouts is not new. A few years ago, Kathryn Jean Lopez wrote a piece for National Review Online called "The Cookie Crumbles." Here are some highlights: "Exercises [from a Senior Scout manual] include working through how the Girl Scout Promise and Law relate to such situations as 'Suppporting a decision to pull a life-support system from a dying relative' and 'Ending a pregnancy.' Some activities 'you can do as a Girl Scout to address contemporary issues' include 'organiz[ing] an event to make people aware of gender bias' or 'help[ing] organize an Earth Day celebration." She cites the 1997 book On My Honor: Lesbians Reflect on Their Scouting Experience as being "filled with coming-of-age stories sparked by gay encounters in the Girl Scouts." The book includes an essay titled "All I Really Need to Know About Being a Lesbian I Learned at Girl Scout Camp." According to Lopez, "staffers writing in the book claim that roughly one in three of the Girls Scouts' paid professional staff is lesbian." Then there is the "cozy relationship," as columnist John Leo put it, between Planned Parenthood and a Girl Scout council in Waco, Texas. He wrote, "The council gave a 'woman of distinction' award to the local chief of Planned Parenthood, who runs an abortion clinic in Waco....The [same] council also endorsed and helped to staff Planned Parenthood's 'Nobody's Fool,' an annual half-day sex-education program...offering sympathetic treatment of abortion, masturbation, and homosexuality." Only after protests did the council withdraw their endorsement of the sex-ed program. It turns out that other Girl Scout councils in Nevada and Connecticut also had relationships with Planned Parenthood. And, according to Concerned Women for America, one Girl Scout leadership manual "gives visits to health clinics like Planned Parenthood as an acceptable option for Brownie troops. Brownies are for girls six to eight years old." In 1995, when "God" became optional in the Girl Scouts' promise, a group of parents in Ohio had had enough. Disillusioned with the increasingly secular leanings of the Girl Scouts, they started their own organization with about 100 members. American Heritage Girls today has chapters in 34 states, with over 6,500 members. Here is the American Heritage Girls' oath:
I promise to love God,Cherish my family,Honor my country,and Serve in my community.
You'll note that there's no asterisk next to "God." Check out their website to see if there's a chapter near you. And if there isn't, they'll help you start one of your own.
After ten years as a producer for CBS News, forty-something years as an Episcopalian, and fifteen years as a mother, Marcia Segelstein considers herself a reluctant rebel against the mainstream media, the Episcopal Church (and others which make up the rules instead of obeying them), and the decaying culture her children witness every day. Her pieces have been published in "First Things," "Touchstone: A Journal of Mere Christianity," and "BreakpointOnline," and she is a contributing editor for Salvo magazine.
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