Some Girl Scout cookie angst

Sad news: I am on the Samoas-don’t-taste-as-good-this year bandwagon. Didn’t there used to be four in a row, and now there are five? Did they make them smaller?

However, this is not my Girl Scouts angst. This is:

The Gold Award, huh? [Box reads: “The Girl Scout Gold Award is the highest award a Girl Scout can earn. It is awarded to Girl Scout Seniors or Ambassadors who complete a project that will make a lasting difference in the world.”]

Girl Scouts are great; I was a one and I loved camping and kayaking and selling cookies. I wasn’t in a high school troop, so this isn’t entirely transferable, but the badge I was most proud of wasn’t one that had to do with changing the world. It was one I got for a tiny, personal accomplishment: learning the new Girl Scout pledge. I practiced obsessively and was the first person in my troop to be awarded the badge. I studied, I volunteered to speak, and I conquered something, albeit very small.

To my mind, the most important thing that any girl group can do is present manageable projects that empower girls. Make girls comfortable using their voice. Demonstrate that girls can complete tasks and establish goals. Every girl should internalize that it is possible to choose a personal goal and to then accomplish it, through the cultivation of their own skills and with the support of their community. If every girl felt that way, that would change the world.

There’s nothing wrong with “changing the world” as a driving force, with big goals, with philanthropy. Positioning a Big Project that makes a lasting difference as the most important award a girl can receive, and lauding it as more important than the accumulation of a girl’s own triumphs, to me is contrary to the Girl Scout way. It makes me sad that in a world where girls are already overlooked as individuals in favor of what they can give to the big picture, having the #1 Girl Scout award be focused on something so external reinforces this notion.

Also, seriously, they should not make the samoas any smaller.


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