The Dark Secrets of the Girl Scouts

By Shelby 1 year ago

1. Their cookies are made with palm oil that destroys rainforests

Image Source: Reddit
Did you know that there’s a petition to remove palm oil from Girl Scout cookies?! Olivia Chaffin, a 13-year-old Girl Scout from Southern Appalachia, was devastated to learn that palm oil is destroying rainforests and the animals that live in them. Her petition has almost 30,000 signatures!

2. The palm oil they use is linked to child labor

Image Source: Human Rights Watch
The palm oil industry also runs rampant with child labor! Many of these children work long days and are not able to attend school. Families that work on palm oil plantations are often stuck in a vicious cycle of poverty that’s nearly impossible to escape from.

3. Factory workers are forced to work six or seven days per week

Image Source: Reddit
In a Louisville factory that produces Girl Scout cookies, employees are forced to work extremely long hours. Weekend shifts and overtime are mandatory, and if employees don’t comply, they risk being fired and losing pension benefits. The pay at this factory is also very low!

4. In the past, white troops rejected Black applicants

Image Source: Girl Scout Blog
Yes, you read that right! Not only did white troops reject Black applicants, they also rejected requests from Black women and girls to start their own troops in isolated areas. Ultimately, white councils heavily restricted how many Black troops could be formed.

5. In the 1940s, Black girls had to prove they had outdoor and camping skills before joining

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At first glance, this might not seem like an unusual requirement to join the Girl Scouts. However, white girls were regularly admitted with no prior camping knowledge. This was a blatant act of discrimination to reduce the number of Black girls in Girl Scout troops. That is not okay!

6. Despite “embracing diversity”, most of the Girl Scouts are still white

Image Source: Reddit
Did you know that more than 60% of Girl Scouts are white? The organization has acknowledged their need for diversity, but they’ve struggled to make that goal a reality. Over the past four years, Latina and Black membership numbers have barely budged.

7. A Pennsylvania Girl Scout was abducted and thrown off a bridge

Image Source: The Cinemaholic
Shauna Howe, an 11-year-old Girl Scout from Pennsylvania, was walking to a local church for a Halloween party when she was abducted and thrown off a bridge. It was only after her accused killers were sent to prison that her hometown felt comfortable allowing their children to trick-or-treat again.

8. A Southern California man pointed a shotgun at a 7-year-old Girl Scout

Image Source: Fox 5 San Diego
Imagine knocking on someone’s door to sell cookies and being met with a shotgun in your face! One poor Girl Scout in Southern California experienced this in 2016. Fortunately, nobody was hurt. However, the 61-year-old was sentenced to six months in jail.

9. The husband of a troop leader s*xually abused a Girl Scout

Image Source: The Hechinger Report
Allison Weiss-Russell, who was a Girl Scout in the 1980s, filed a lawsuit in 2020 against Girl Scouts of America. Supposedly, the husband of her troop leader s*xually abused her in a church basement for years! Apparently, he threatened to hurt her family if she told on him.

10. One Girl Scout in New Jersey was murdered by her neighbor

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In 1973, 7-year-old Joan D’Alessandro knocked on Joseph McGowan’s door to sell Girl Scout cookies. The high school chemistry teacher ended up murdering her and died during his prison sentence in 2021. This horrific crime was a tragedy in the family’s New Jersey community.

11. The Oklahoma Girl Scout murders were never solved

Image Source: The Daily Beast
In 1977, three Girl Scouts were brutally killed during a camping trip at Camp Scott in Oklahoma. The killer was never discovered, and eventually, Camp Scott was shut down. Many of the details of this murder mystery are extremely disturbing!

12. Locals now say that Camp Scott is haunted

Image Source: Abandoned Oklahoma
There are rumors that Camp Scott is now haunted. In fact, a black dog has been seen roaming the property ever since the murders occurred. Gene Leroy Hart, the main suspect of the case, died in 1979. It’s believed that the black dog is his ghostly spirit.

13. Hulu now has a show about the murders called “Keeper of the Ashes”

Image Source: Reddit
This four-part Hulu series explores the details of the Oklahoma Girl Scout murders. One of Tulsa’s most prominent tragedies is explored through interviews with the victims’ families, camp counselors, private investigators, and more. This is a must-watch if you want to learn more about the case!

14. A Florida Girl Scout was abducted while camping

Image Source: Manatee County Public Library
Fortunately, this abduction has a happy ending! 15-year-old Charlotte Grosse was abducted from her tent while camping with the Girl Scouts but returned home safe 52 hours later. It’s frightening how many Girl Scouts have been targeted by dangerous men!

15. The selling process is dangerous for young girls

Image Source: The Daily Breeze
As you can tell from many of these stories, joining the Girl Scouts can be dangerous for young girls! Selling cookies and approaching strangers isn’t always safe, and Girl Scouts are often followed, harassed, assaulted, and targeted by people with bad intentions.

16. Girl Scouts don’t allow displays of affection from their LGBTQ+ members

Image Source: Chicago Sun-Times
While it’s great that Girl Scout troops don’t discriminate against LGBTQ+ youth, not allowing displays of physical affection from their LGBTQ+ members feels a lot like discrimination to us! It’s an unusual rule to implement and uphold, don't you think?

17. This year, the Girl Scouts are facing inventory and supply problems

Image Source: The Denver Post
Little Brownie Bakers (LBB) has experienced a multitude of issues with cookie production this year. In fact, their mechanical issues have slowed down Samoa cookie production over the last three years! It seems that their inventory and supply chain problems are endless.

18. Thin mints contain ingredients that have been linked to disease

Image Source: Reddit
Thin mints are delicious, but their ingredients are worrisome! The GMO sugar beets that sweeten the cookies have been linked to cancer, kidney disease, and birth defects! Another version is sweetened by high fructose corn syrup, which has been linked to diabetes.

19. Girl Scouts are regularly the target of religious and political harassment

Image Source: Insider
Young girls usually join the Girl Scouts to develop leadership skills and make friends. However, it’s not all rainbows and butterflies. Troop members are often harassed for the cookies’ ingredients, the price per box, and conspiracy theories about Planned Parenthood.

20. Girl Scouts internalize body image issues and shame about their weight

Image Source: Insider
Many Girl Scouts overhear hundreds of negative comments about body weight when selling cookies. These comments often revolve around restricted eating, calorie counting, and body shame. Over time, this exposure is not healthy for young girls!

21. One Girl Scout sold over 300 boxes of cookies outside of a dispensary!

Image Source: TODAY
A 9-year-old Girl Scout from San Diego sat outside a legal marijuana dispensary for six hours and sold over 300 boxes of cookies! This was somewhat of a genius idea, but the Girl Scouts weren’t thrilled with her clever sales tactics. The situation was very controversial back in 2018.

22. There was a marijuana strain named after Girl Scout cookies

Image Source: Reddit
Aaron Justis, CEO of a Los Angeles dispensary, received a cease and desist letter from Girl Scouts of America about this! The organization said they did not want to be associated with illegal drugs of any kind. Many dispensaries have since changed the name entirely.

23. Different locations have different versions of the same cookie

Did you know that Girl Scout cookies are made by two different bakeries?! Because of this, almost every Girl Scout cookie flavor has two different recipes, names, and even box designs. For example, Samoas are called Caramel DeLites in different locations!

24. There are less cookies in the box nowadays

Image Source: Reddit
Because ingredient prices have skyrocketed, along with transportation costs, there are now less cookies in each Girl Scout cookie box. You might even notice that some of your cookies are smaller this year! Supposedly, that was the only way to avoid drastically raising the price per box.

25. Your favorite flavors might be eliminated

Image Source: Reddit
Believe it or not, only three Girl Scout cookie flavors are permanent! Those three are thin mints, do-si-dos, and trefoils. In fact, there are several Girl Scout cookie flavors that no longer exist. You might want to stock up on your favorites, just in case!

26. They lie about the trans fats in their cookies

Image Source: Reddit
You might think your beloved Girl Scout cookies are free from trans fats, but that’s not the case! If you look at the nutrition label, most cookies still have partially hydrogenated vegetable oil in them. Because it’s less than half a gram per serving, the FDA allows them to put “zero”.

27. The sales process is coercive

Image Source: The Huntsville Item
Have you ever purchased several boxes of cookies because it was hard to say no to the eager Girl Scout at your door? You’re not the only one! The sales tactics used by Girl Scouts are meant to make you feel like a bad person if you refuse them. It doesn’t really feel like you have a choice!

28. Very little cookie sale revenue goes to the troops

Image Source: YouTube
Most cookie sales do not significantly benefit the Girl Scout troops that sell them! It’s hard to find exact numbers online, and some sources claim that a large percentage of sales go back to the troops. But other sources say the money they receive isn’t even enough to buy badges for the girls!

29. Cookies fund wealthy corporate leaders instead

Image Source: The Press Enterprise
You might be wondering where cookie revenue goes, then! Unfortunately, it’s mostly used to pay Girl Scouts of America executives and corporate employees. The salaries of these employees are unknown, but one thing is for sure. The girls deserve more from their cookie sales!

30. Girl Scouts have seen huge declines in membership

Image Source: The Cincinnati CityBeat
Did you know that Girl Scouts membership has been steadily declining for years?! From 2019 to 2022, membership dropped by nearly 30%. In 2021, that number fell even lower. There are many reasons for this, but many attribute these numbers to the pandemic.

31. More surprising facts about the Girl Scouts: they're not actually anything to do with the Boy Scouts

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You might have thought the Girls Scouts and Boys Scouts was a classic case of girls versus boys, but they're actually not affiliated with each other at all. While they do have a ton of similarities, the same goals and started up at roundabout the same time, they're nothing to do with each other.

32. And the Girl Scouts actually sued the Boy Scouts

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Not only are they separate, but they've actually got into a bit of a legal spat. The Boy Scouts began to let girls join its ranks and chose to drop the 'boy' from its name, to just become the 'Scouts'. The Girl Scouts sued them because they thought it created confusion and also would jeopardise them recruiting girls into their initiative!

33. The Girl Scouts was founded in response to an 'America run by men'

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Juliette Gordon Low was the woman behind the creation of the Girl Scouts, born in 1860, and her desire was to try and work against an 'American run by men' so that she could include girls and women in more things. After meeting with the founder of the Boy Scouts, she went and created the Girl Scouts.

34. The cookies go back over a century

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The Girl Scout cookies aren't just any old cookies - they're a symbol. When we say they go back a century, we mean when they first became associated with the Girl Scouts (rather than the recipe itself!). Cookies became a big thing when the Mistletoe Troops baked cookies in 1917 and sold them in a high school.

35. All those cookies are made by only two bakeries!

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Every single year, Girl Scouts sell about 800 million dollars worth of cookies - so you might be thinking they have a street-full of bakeries dishing out the boxes. But no, it's actually only two bakeries! Little Brownie Bakers and ABC Bakers are the ones responsible.

36. Over 50 million American women have been Girl Scouts

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There's no doubt Girl Scouts have had some pretty big recruitment figures over the years, but did you know that by this point there have been around 50 million women in America who became Girl Scouts. This just shows how much this organization have shaped women's childhoods.

37. Some of the most successful women in the world have been Girl Scouts

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And some of those 50 million women have been very big players in the world: some of the most successful women were Girl Scouts when they were younger. This includes Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton, but not just politicians; Taylor Swift, Gwyneth Paltrow and Dakota Fanning were also Girl Scouts.

38. The program puts a huge focus on STEM

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STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) is a huge staple of the Girl Scouts, and they put a lot of focus on it. It's not just all about outdoor camping and selling cookies! The group encourages its girls to study STEM, in a bid to set them up for success in the future.

39. The Girl Scouts works with the White House

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And the Girl Scouts also have a very prominent political position. They have a Public Policy and Advocacy Office at Washington D.C., and this office works with the White House as well as Congress to explore any agendas that promote opportunities for women and girls.

40. They don't have any particular religion

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The Girl Scouts is known for being secular, which means they don't try to promote any particular religion, or push a religious agenda on anyone. What it does do, though, is encourage girls with a religious belief to use that towards their learning and skills within the Scouts.

41. G.I.R.L. stands for something important

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The Girl Scouts have an official acronym, aptly: G.I.R.L.. But it isn't just to reflect them being the 'Girls' Scouts. It actually stands for something important. G.I.R.L. means Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker, Leader. This all stands for the characteristics wanting to be promoted in the young girls.

42. They serve 'God and country'

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This one might be confusing since we just told you they don't have any religious agenda. So why God? Well, they have an official vow that just sounds good, as they stand to serve 'God and Country', but the girls are allowed to substitute the word 'God' for anything they believe in!

43. Over 90 countries have active Girl Scouts

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The Girl Scouts don't just operate in America, after all - they actually exist across 90 countries of the world! While there are around 100 councils operating within the US across the country, they're also international, and have an international scouting network, too.

44. They're even backed by the US government

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The Girl Scouts, as well as having a council seat in Washington, are officially endorsed by the United States government. It was officially charted by congress back in 1950, and its enjoyed that official government endorsement ever since! It's not just all about camping!

45. Around 750,000 members are adult volunteers

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Of course, the Girl Scouts wouldn't be who they are without the wealth of adult volunteers as well as the young girls who are officially made Scouts. But you might not have realised how big a number of volunteers they actually have! It's estimated at 750,000.

46. Mixing of races was something they tried to push

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The original founder of the Girl Scouts though that if they made it an official requirement to mix races, then it would 'doom' the organization. So she left it up to local councils to decide about rejecting African-American girls - but the first all-black troop in the south came about in 1932.

47. And the Boy Scouts were way behind with 'desegregation'

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Compared to the Boy Scouts, the Girl Scouts were actually much more successful and active about integrating different races within their troops. The Boy Scouts didn't manage to do this until 1974, when they finally had segregation for their troops in the south of America.

48. Michelle Obama is actually honorary president

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Not only is Michelle Obama one of the alumni of the Girl Scouts, but she's actually also their honorary national president. She accepted the position back in 2009, but she isn't actually the first First Lady to do this. It became a tradition in 1929 that First Ladies would be offered this position.

49. They even have their own stamp!

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The Girl Scout official stamp actually first became a thing in honor of their birthday. When the organization turned 75 years old back in 1987, they had an official stamp done in celebration, and the stamp features 14 different Girl Scout badges over a background of the sash color.

50. The founder was buried in her Girl Scout uniform

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The founder of the Girl Scouts, Juliette Gordon Low, was actually buried in her Girl Scouts uniform, a uniform which represented her entire life's work because she sadly died of cancer in 1927. During her lifetime, she increased membership from 18 people to 165,000.

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