by succumbing to the will of the woke and cancel culture. But your little troopers don't have to.
At Primerrily, we are still celebrating the confirmation of now-Justice Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court. As we’ve written about (check out our ACB collection), we find Justice Barrett inspiring in myriad ways.
With Justice Barrett only the fifth woman to be on the Supreme Court since it was formed in 1789 (out of 120 justices, just 4%), only the third mother (and mother of seven, to boot), and the first with school-aged children, one would think that all Americans would marvel at her incredible accomplishment. Many conservatives, for example, while not agreeing with the judicial philosophies of Justices Ginsburg, Kagan, and Sotomayor, acknowledge deep respect for qualities they’ve brought with them: from Justice Ginsburg’s strategic work on gender discrimination (not to mention her deep friendship with Justice Antonin Scalia), to Justice Kagan’s deanship at Harvard Law School, to Justice Sotomayor’s role as the first Hispanic on the Court.
Unfortunately, bipartisan respect is far from the case, as illustrated by many in DC, around the country, and -- most shockingly -- a disappointing example of “cancel culture” by the Girl Scouts. On October 28, the Girl Scout’s Twitter account made a seemingly innocuous post: “Congratulations Amy Coney Barrett on becoming the 5th woman appointed to the Supreme Court since its inception in 1789,” featuring an image of all five female Supreme Court Justices in our nation’s history.
Sadly, the Left went to work right away with numerous outraged social media posts. A Democratic Congressional candidate from the liberal state of Massachusetts tweeted that Justice Barrett, a woman deeply devoted to the rule of law, “is the antithesis of justice.” The Girl Scouts then released a statement announcing that the post was “quickly viewed as a political and partisan statement,” and took it down. (Never mind that they've tweeted and maintained a post
featuring Hillary Clinton regarding the importance of "female political #leadership in the United States”)
Girl Scouts Is Rejecting the Ideals It Supposedly Espouses
As someone who personally reaped the benefits of Girl Scouts from elementary through high school (see more below) and achieved the Girl Scouts’ Gold Award (our version of the Boy Scouts’ Eagle Scout Award), I find this lack of backbone from a beloved organization in direct contravention to the ideals we espoused. I still remember the Girl Scout pledge: “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.” And what was the Girl Scout law? To “do my best to be honest and fair, friendly and helpful, considerate and caring, courageous and strong, and responsible for what I say and do, and to respect myself and others, respect authority, use resources wisely, make the world a better place, and be a sister to every Girl Scout.” This onslaught against Justice Barrett does not show courage, respect, or sisterhood, and is particularly disappointing when it comes from other women. Again, referencing a double standard in the Clinton context: when she was running for president in 2016, Madeleine Albright stated, “there’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other.” We at Primerrily don’t think a person should support another person merely because of one’s sex, but we do think it’s worth a call out when Leftists resist living up to even their own standards.
The Girl Scout Motto “Be Prepared” is etched in my heart, and in the 1947 Handbook it reads, “A Girl Scout is ready to help out wherever she is needed. Willingness to serve is not enough; you must know how to do the job well, even in an emergency." I believe now more than ever veteran Girl Scouts are needed to stand up and help push back against the tide of cancel culture and over-the-top, self-destructive woke culture. I don’t have daughters, but I do have sons, and I teach them the values of preparation and standing up for what you believe in, along with a servant’s heart and humility (after starting their day by making their bed, of course). I also teach them to respect girls -- all girls -- not just the ones who think like they do.
In Primerrily Front Porch Parenting style, I’ve also been invited into the lives of other little girls growing up. As their godmother, it’s my privilege to teach them the leadership skills I learned in Girl Scouts, an organization that, at one time (see more below) realized that girls and boys have different needs. My Girl Scout leaders were like second mothers to me and taught me the things that made me unique as a woman and the value of female mentors in a single-sex environment. It is my honor and responsibility now to pass along that same leadership to the next generation, even if not through the same Girl Scout organization I grew up with.
And what were some of those lessons I learned from Girl Scouting? Primarily (and ironically), love for those with different viewpoints. My troop included dozens of girls over the years and represented a wide variety of political views (including those of the troops and the adult leaders), but those views did not interfere with the team-building times of our weekly evening meetings and weekend adventures. At the end of each meeting (or day, if we were camping), we would hold hands in a circle and sing Taps together, a physical manifestation of our unity:
Day is done, gone the sun
From the lake, from the hills, from the sky
All is well, safely rest, God is nigh.
This unity played out as we learned multiple life lessons together: how to survive in the woods overnight with only a few supplies; how to raise and lower the American flag; how to change a tire or cook a lasagna. We may not have been close friends outside of Girl Scouts, but Scouting gave us a common purpose and the ability to work with people who saw the world differently. The reliability and security of our weekly meetings was a centering touchpoint in our lives as we had a welcome refuge outside school cliques throughout the vicissitudes of the small dramas that loom so large in the lives of preteen and teenage girls. As we grew older, some girls left the troop, but those of us who remained still stay in close touch: we attended each other’s weddings, know each other’s children, and will always consider each other sisters. What was such a positive and non-politicized outlet that was a critical part of my growth and development will no longer be so for the next generation of girls.
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts Are Changing Significantly and Fundamentally
How very sad that our country has become so bitterly divided to the point that this non-profit supposedly dedicated to promoting the success of girls for over a century can no longer be politicized, that it cannot congratulate a woman for being confirmed to the country’s highest court. Further, how absurd that our media and culture has become so subversive that a (male!) Huffington Post editor feels emboldened to tell us we shouldn’t celebrate Justice Barrett because she “identifies as a woman.” Leftists are calculating in how they use language -- in this case, taking and then spinning any opportunity to normalize the idea that gender is a choice. No, but Justice Barrett does not “identify” as a woman -- she is a woman!
This language is no surprise, though, given that in addition to the lack of backbone from the Girl Scouts in this instance, gender is being erased from scouting in general now as well. The scouting world has not been immune from the woke-ification occurring over the last decade; rather, it has also succumbed to the pressure. First, the organization allowed girls who “identify as” boys in Boy Troops, and, more recently, girls who (brace yourself) “identify as” girls (or in the good old fashioned sense of the word: girls) are now allowed to choose between either Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts. Yes, young girls now have to face a perplexing choice -- should they join Girl Scouts, or Boy Scouts? (No word yet if the Girl Scouts will be allowing boys.)
With this new ability to choose between Girl and Boy Scouts, the critical male camaraderie and female camaraderie components are lost, denying today’s youth what was so powerful for me. How does any claim of feminism hold when an organization with “Girl” or “Boy” in its very name acts on the radical idea that females and males are interchangeable? Denying any differences between boys and girls compromises our ability to help our children experience the joy and growth that comes from devoted time in groups with their own sex. And yes, a critical part of my experience was from being in a group of only girls. I gained such self-confidence from mastering skills such as starting a fire, having weekend outdoor adventures away from my family, and overcoming shyness by knocking on doors to sell cookies (the most in my troop!). I have no doubt that, particularly during the especially hormonal times of middle and high school, I would have gotten distracted by “crushes” on boys if we had a coed troop, and my experience would have been compromised. How sad that both Girl and Boy Scouts have now capitulated to deny gender differences and become yet another victim of a woke-ified, cancel culture world.
Our Families Have Other Options than Today’s Scouting World
However, even if Scouting may no longer be an ideal option in your community, for families seeking to foster the leadership traits, team-building skills, and character formation of the old school Girl Scouts in their little girls today, you may consider checking out American Heritage Girls, a faith-based leadership development program growing rapidly around the country. For girls aged 5-18 years, AHG is dedicated to the mission of building women of integrity through service to God, family, community, and country.
Even if AHG or another recognized organization is not the best fit for your family, know that through being out on your front porch, engaging with your neighbors, and volunteering in your community, you will find that organically formed “troop” with whom you and your kids can share life and meaning. And at the very least (but most important of all) your own family is its own troop of caring citizens. Continue checking in with Primerrily for more ideas on how to develop traditional values in your young scouts growing in a modern world.
A.J. Grey is a lawyer, mother, and leader in several civic organizations. Her favorite American value is equality, of people and of opportunity.