Wisdom and respect are the normal benefits of the aging process. Not so with the Girl Scouts USA! As the Girl Scouts turn 97 today, there is not much to celebrate. Membership is down. Cookie sales have dwindled, and they are floundering around trying to be relevant.
Yes, the GSUSA is dumping the "dorky" vests and "singalongs" around the campfire (the words of others, not my own) in an effort to be "cool" and "edgy." It's sad, really, like a senior citizen shopping for a bikini and getting a tattoo in an effort to be noticed.
Individual achievement and earning badges are out. Political correctness and self-esteem are in. Girls still will have an opportunity to earn badges – for now – but the emphasis is on the new Journeys programs, which focus on broad themes and encourage "groupthink."
These programs were inspired by a New Age group and created with the help of Brian Bacon of the Oxford Leadership Academy who is a practitioner and teacher of the Brahma Kumaris Raja Yoga.
The Daisy and Brownie Journey programs begin innocently enough. The youngsters meet flowers and critters who encourage them to explore botany and the environment and introduce them to the U.N. concept of "global diversity."
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By the time an "enlightened" Girl Scout reaches the Seniors program, she is encouraged to become an "agent of change" for the global good and an "ambassador" for causes championed by left-leaning women's advocacy groups. Partnerships have been formed with Planned Parenthood, and the Girl Scouts have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with gun control advocates and radical environmental groups.
Moms have traditionally been the backbone of scouting. They have served as mentors and troop leaders, chauffeurs, fundraisers and organizers. Today, moms are being told to take a hike when their daughters become teenagers. Yes, moms are to be replaced at the most critical time in a girl's life with young adults or others judged to be suitably "hip" and trained by groups like the Ashland Institute who will lead their daughters down the garden path toward the New Age.
Today's Girl Scouts are a far cry from the scouts that were founded by Juliette Low, with whom they – and I – share this birthday. Before joining Low's Girl Scouts, a girl took a solemn oath to serve both "God" and "country." This represented a real commitment, and the girls who joined took it seriously.
In 1993, God was reduced to an asterisk in the Girl Scout Promise. Sure, the Creator can still come along on these Journeys if a scout so desires, providing the great I AM can tolerate the moral relativism that permeates these programs
It now appears that service to this country may also be on the way out with the new emphasis on globalism. Last year at the 51st Girl Scout National Council Session and Convention, the traditional flag ceremony was trashed, as was the playing of our Nation Anthem. Flags of all nations were brought in bunched together to the tune of "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire.
All civic organizations are losing membership with more things competing for our attention and more demands on our time. However, the Girl Scouts, in an effort to keep up with the times, have thrown out their core value system, the very thing that makes scouting a worthwhile endeavor.
Last year, the Girl Scouts hired brand manager Laurel Richie, who created campaigns for American Express and Campbell's soup, in an effort to make Girl Scouts more appealing. However, this is not simply a matter of target advertising or slick new packaging for a proven product. This product has been changed and drastically so.
Meanwhile, the Boy Scouts have remained true to their values. That is why membership in the BSA still is considered an honor and a privilege. Thankfully, the Boy Scouts have opened their Venturing and Sea Scout program to girls.
However, for those moms who want their daughters to enjoy the traditional benefits of scouting in a gender-specific program, American Heritage Girls offers the best alternative and is one of the fastest growing organizations in America today.
As a Girl Scout, I was proud to celebrate my birthday along with my sister scouts. As an adult, I bought a ton of cookies every year to celebrate this occasion. Not anymore!
This year, I'll send a donation to the BSA and hand out letters to every cookie seller I meet offering their troops a $100 donation if they will switch their charter to the American Heritage Girls.