Sensitive Issues FAQs



Does Girl Scouting support the Planned Parenthood organization?

No. Neither Girl Scouts Heart of the South nor Girl Scouts of the USA have a partnership or relationship with Planned Parenthood.
  • Girl Scouts Heart of the South adheres to the policies of Girl Scouts of the USA. GSUSA does not take a position or develop materials on human sexuality, birth control or abortion. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.
  • Girl Scouts Heart of the South specifically requires troops or local Service Units to submit a High Risk or Sensitive Issue Approval Request Form to the council prior to offering any program of sensitive nature to girls. This form asks for the nature and content of the program,and a summary of need for the program. Girl Scouts Heart of the South fully supports parents in their decision to grant or deny their daughter permission to participate in any program offered by the council or local troops regardless of topic.

Did Girl Scouts of the USA allow Planned Parenthood to distribute material to girls who participated in the March 2010 United Nations meeting?

No, we did not. In 2010 GSUSA took part in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. Our participation in that conference was the subject of numerous internet stories and blogs that were factually inaccurate and troubling. Girl Scouts had no knowledge of the brochure in question and played no role in distributing it.

Does Girl Scouts Heart of the South donate money to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?

No. Girl Scouts Heart of the South donates no money to WAGGGS. Individual Girl Scout troops may donate to the Juliette Low World Friendship Fund, a Girl Scouts of the USA fund that supports service projects, training and international opportunity events, as well as exchange visiting programs. A portion of the funds is used to provide scholarships for girls to travel to the four World Centers. Each Girl Scout troop is encouraged to make its own decision as to whether or not to donate.

Are girl membership dues used to pay the WAGGGS Quota?

No. Membership dues, from girls and from adults, are not used to pay the WAGGGS Quota. All dues collected from members are used to pay for services that directly impact the development and delivery of Girl Scouting to girls in the USA and girls who are involved in USA Girl Scouts Overseas, our program that brings Girl Scouting to American families who are living and working abroad.

What is Girl Scouts’ relationship to the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts?

Every Girl Scout and Girl Guide organization is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts --- and each Member Organization, including Girl Scouts of the USA, pays dues. WAGGGS operates in much the same way as the United Nations: each member organization pays dues based on the size of its membership and the per capita income of the country in which the organization resides. Individual Girl Scouts are not members of WAGGGS.  The national funds that GSUSA sends to WAGGGS come solely from investment income. 

Membership dues, from girls and from adults, are not used to pay the WAGGGS Quota. All dues collected from members are used to pay for services that directly impact the development and delivery of Girl Scouting to girls in the USA and girls who are involved in USA Girl Scouts Overseas, our program that brings Girl Scouting to American families who are living and working abroad.

Is any money from Girl Scout cookie activities used to pay the WAGGGS quota?

No. All of the money from Girl Scout cookie activities stays in our council. The national funds that GSUSA sends to WAGGGS come solely from investment income.  

As a reminder to all of our members, neither Girl Scouts Heart of the South, World Association of Girl Guides & Girl Scouts or Girl Scouts of the USA have a partnership or affiliation with the Planned Parenthood Organization.  The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts does not provide direct program to Girl Scouts in the US, but does promote a worldwide sisterhood that facilitates travel opportunities, cultural understanding and world peace.  WAGGGS is funded by 145 member organizations, of which GSUSA is a part.  Girl Scouts are not allowed to participate in any program that contains information of a sensitive nature without council and parent permission.  We believe that matters that are socially sensitive are best left within the family or the family’s religious teachings.  If you have any questions, please refer to our Sensitive Issues FAQ’s (below) or contact your Service Unit Manager or Membership Manager.  

What is the mission of the Girl Scouts?

The mission of the Girl Scouts is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Grounded in the Girl Scout Promise and Law, Girl Scouting is a non-formal,experiential, and cooperative education program that promotes girls’ personal growth and leadership development.Girl Scouts of the USA Constitution, Article III

Has Girl Scouts removed the word “God” from the Girl Scout Promise or placed an asterisk after the word "God”?

No. The Girl Scout Promise contains the word “God”. The newly updated Girl Scout Handbooks and the new Girl’s Guide to Girl Scouting Books do not contain an asterisk after the word “God”.

We encourage girls to develop connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the new My Promise, My Faith pin,which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith. We support the right of faith leaders to verify that program delivered to girls in their places of worship is consistent with their faith’s teachings. When reciting the Girl Scout Promise, individuals are free to substitute their own wording for "God.".

Does Girl Scouting Promote Christian Values?

Girl Scouts Heart of the South supports and encourages girls of all faiths.  Our faith-based troops continue to provide wonderful Girl Scout experiences for many girls throughout our council.  We honor these partnerships and encourage other communities to support girls through faith-based initiatives like the My Promise, My Faith pin and the God and Country awards.   

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud of its 100-year relationship with the Catholic Church and is very pleased the US Conference of Catholic Bishops has included on its website pages titled "Questions and Answers About Girl Scouts of the USA and About Catholic Scouting" and "Background on Girl Scouts of the USA and USCCB Conversations." The following documents and resources will help you better understand GSUSA's relationship with the Catholic Church and gain useful information about some of our programs.

In May 2012, GSHS and GSUSA representatives, along with a representative from the Archdiocese of Washington Office of Worship and leaders of the Catholic Diocese of Memphis Youth Ministries and their Catholic Committee on Scouting met to address concerns regarding sensitive issues and Girl Scout affiliations.  GSHS is proud of our long, successful history with the Catholic Diocese and we look forward to many more years of girl programming, skill-building, and leadership development within the Catholic faith troops.  The Memphis Diocese Youth Ministries, Catholic Committee on Scouting and Girl Scout volunteers within the Catholic faith are working collaboratively on communications that focus on fact and documentation of Girl Scout materials and information rather than rumor and assumption.  

What is Girl Scouts’ position on sexual orientation in relation to joining or volunteering for Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts believes sexual orientation is a private matter for girls and their families to address. As an organization, Girl Scouts upholds diversity and 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.

Are transgender children allowed to join Girl Scouts Heart of the South?

Transgender identification is a very sensitive issue for many families and our primary concern remains the safety, privacy and best interest of our girl members.

Girl Scouts Heart of the South has not received this type of membership request. However, GSHS remains an organization for girls only, and we will continue to serve all girls in kindergarten through12th grade.

It’s important to remember that Councils are individual organizations, with local boards of directors and with individual bylaws. Our business practices are governed by individual state laws and practices. Our mission is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. What happens in other areas of the country does not direct or alter Girl Scouts Heart of the South’s focus.

We have been and will remain an inclusive and safe leadership organization for girls. We represent a diverse membership throughout our 59 counties in north Mississippi, west Tennessee and east Arkansas.  If a girl is recognized by her family, school and community as a girl and lives culturally as a girl, Girl Scouts is an organization that can serve her in a setting that is both emotionally and physically safe.

Girl Scouts of the USA is proud to be the premier leadership organization for girls in the country.

What is Girl Scouts’ process for reviewing program materials?

Girl Scouts of the USA constantly reviews materials based on feedback and suggestions received from members, and update materials on a regular basis. As a result of this process, upcoming reprints of Journeys materials will not include playwright Josefina Lopez or links to the Women’s Media Center or Media Matters.

Councils will be notified of changes that are made in the future, and information on changes will be posted on the GSUSA corporate website.  GSUSA is also are making changes on the corporate website to ensure appropriateness of content.   It is important to note that GSUSA materials feature more than 200 women and girls from many walks of life who have worked to make a difference in the world, and while we may not agree with the opinion of everyone featured, we believe they embody the commitment to leadership that we strive to teach our girls. 

Does Girl Scouts support Susan G. Komen for the Cure?

Many of our troops do volunteer for various race day duties at their local Race for the Cure to support their mothers, sisters, aunts, grandmothers and mentors. But, Girl Scouts, in their capacity as Girl Scouts, may not raise or solicit money for other organizations.

Is there a mandate against Christmas caroling or praying at meetings?

No. Girl Scouting supports girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. While we are a secular organization that refrains from teaching religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, we believe that the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one, and we greatly value our long standing partnerships with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

How is the revenue from the Girl Scout Cookie Program and the MagNut Program used?

All money raised by Girl Scouts Heart of the South either through the Girl Scout Cookie Program, the MagNut Program or fund-raising appeals are kept within the council to provide programming for girls, training for volunteers, facility maintenance and administration of the council. See How the Cookie Crumbles to view where every penny goes. 

If you have any questions or concerns regarding Girl Scouts in your area, please contact Jenny Jones, Director of Marketing and Communications at jenny.jones@girlscoutshs.org or 662-350-6041.


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