So Much More Than Just Cookies

February 22, 2012 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

Prepare to gain a few pounds over the next few weeks. The Girl Scout cookies have arrived!

My wife is the troop leader for a local Girl Scout junior troop, and with two daughters in Girl Scouts, our house is now covered in boxes of Girl Scout cookies. Not that I mind, but it takes a great amount of willpower not to rip open a box and start munching away until the box is half-empty.

But Girl Scouts are so much more than cookies. With our family so immersed in scouting, I’ve gotten to see first-hand the wonderful work and experiences that the program has offered my daughters. They have participated in events such as “Thinking Day,” in which they learn about the food, language and culture of a particular country, then gather with nearby troops that have selected other countries for an evening to share their newfound knowledge in a “science fair” type atmosphere. They have also gone to the local senior citizens center to brighten their holidays by singing Christmas carols.

The funds raised by the cookie sales have helped my daughter’s troop attend camp, where she has experienced many opportunities she ordinarily wouldn’t have. She has participated in skills that have pushed her comfort level (e.g., strenuous cave exploring and archery), yet have made her a much better and more confident person. She now would even prefer to camp in tents rather than stay overnight in a cabin. I have to admit, she has more guts than I do.

But the great work of the Girls Scouts would be all for naught without the support of federal funding. Several federal agencies help support this worthwhile program. For example, the U.S. Department of Education provides funds to support Fair Play, a Girls Scouts of the USA engineering, design and technology program for girls. Fair Play helps introduce girls to science, technology, engineering and math by offering real world hands-on exploration in a girl-centered environment and mentoring partnerships with adult female engineers and experts in STEM fields. Other federal agencies providing funds for Girl Scout programs can be found here.

There have been recent efforts to denounce the Girl Scouts organization by claiming it is pro-abortion, and some churches have ousted them from holding meetings there. However, these claims have no basis and prove to hamper the good works that Girl Scouts continue to do. For a more accurate representation on this issue, I would refer you to a recent column in the Washington Post and a blog post that ran last year in Salon.com.

For all those folks who bought Girl Scout cookies over the winter, the organization — and every Girl Scout and troop leader — truly thanks you. And if you didn’t get your fill, you still may be able to purchase a few more boxes in the coming weeks in front of your local shopping center. This organization has been extremely beneficial over the last 100 years, and let’s hope it will continue to help another generation of girls for the next 100 years.

Is my view of the Girl Scouts too rosy? Do you have an opposing viewpoint of the Girl Scouts? Should the federal government continue to fund the organization’s programs?

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