Dear Girl Scouts, Friends, and Supporters –
Girl Scouts know that leadership isn’t defined just by who you are or what you want to be. It’s defined by what you do.
It’s about bringing hope for your own future and the future of others—and throughout our 105-year history as an organization, we have brought hope by being champions of diversity and inclusion. We have inspired millions of girls and women to harness their power, have courageous conversations, find their own voice, and take action. We have encouraged girls to make choices that are guided by their values.
Our storied history was launched on the ideals of courage, confidence, and character, and sparked a worldwide movement for girls to embrace, together, their individuality and strength. We do not condone sexism, racism, bullying, or any behaviors contradictory to the Girl Scout Law. We are an organization that stands for honesty, fairness, choice, and respect. These are values that our volunteers and staff continually teach, model, and reinforce.
Girl Scouts remains nonpartisan and objective—letting the girls lead. Our role is to encourage girls to empower themselves and use their voices. We provide them the tools and experiences to think, research, understand, and take action. Our girls are feeding the hungry, protecting the environment, influencing legislation, and motivating the marginalized.
And, our girls are marching. Some in the Women’s Marches around the country and some in the inaugural parade.
Girl Scouts has an unprecedented history of inclusion, and, as the premier organization for girls, we have been encouraging girls to stand up for what they believe in for over a century. It is that foundation that leads us to this precarious position.
I have had enlightening conversations this week with our membership around individual Girl Scouts and troops making choices and standing up to either participate in the Women’s Marches here or in Washington on Saturday, or, as some have prepared since September to do, march in the U.S. Presidential Inauguration Parade tomorrow.
To quote one eloquent volunteer whom I heard from today:
“In reciting the Girl Scout Law, the girls pledge to be honest and fair, courageous and strong, responsible for what they say and do, respect themselves and others, respect authority, and make the world a better place. These values, built into Girl Scouting, are a fundamental part of the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. It should be our objective to give them the forum and opportunities to do so—to be able to debate and consider all sides of an issue, and then to develop their own voice to take action. May we all find ways to support our girls and protect their rights as this country moves ahead… let us try to reflect back on the core values this organization embraces and operate in the best interests of our girls always.”
With a 100-plus year history of nonpartisan civic engagement, the choice to march or not march remains an individual decision each girl will make for herself, with guidance from her family. We invite you to review our council’s official statement and FAQs regarding participation in these events, and/or for a national perspective, please read National Interim CEO’s Time.com op-ed piece.
I want to thank everyone who has reached out to me and our staff to share your heartfelt and passionate views on this subject. Your love and respect of our organization is apparent and deeply appreciated. I remain optimistic that you are proud of our history of emboldening girls to use their voice, and that you will encourage girls to support causes they find worthy and take a stand for what they believe in.
As always, Girl Scouts will continue to work to inspire the best in our girls, so that we can witness the best in us all. Let’s let girls—every girl—lead the way.
Yours in Girl Scouting,
Lise L. Luttgens