Local Girl Scouts Strike Back

Local Girl Scouts Strike Back

St. Louis, Mo., cardinal’s stance spurs Island City response

Alameda Girl Scout Troop 30928 wrote a letter to the Roman Catholic cardinal of St. Louis, Mo., last week after the prelate published an official statement all but condemning the girls’ organization. 

Cardinal Robert Carlson of St. Louis, Mo., wrote a letter Feb. 18 urging his church parishes and schools to severe ties with their Girl Scout troops because of positions the Girl Scouts of America (GSA) takes on such topics as transgender and gay rights, feminism and political movements around the world. 

Carlson’s letter warned Catholics to reconsider their association with GSA, including even the purchase of cookies; as well, he asked parishes to cease allowing troops to meet at Catholic churches. He also disbanded the longstanding partnership with Girl Scouts, instead calling for the creation of a girls’ club to replace the Scouts. 

The Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri chapter includes more than 43,000 girls in the St. Louis area; the cardinal’s ruling affects some 4,000 girls in troops based in Catholic schools and parishes, according to Bonnie Barczykowski, the chapter’s chief executive.

Carlson’s letter read, in part, “Girl Scouts is exhibiting a troubling pattern of behavior and it is clear to me that as they move in the ways of the world it is becoming increasingly incompatible with our Catholic values. We must stop and ask ourselves – is the Girl Scouts of America concerned with the total well-being of our young women? Does it do a good job forming the spiritual, emotional, and personal well-being of Catholic girls?”

The Alameda Sun received a copy of Troop 30928’s letter to their sister scouts in St. Louis to ask how they could help.

The Alameda scouts wrote their letter on World Thinking Day (WTD), an international event which Girl Scouts and Girl Guides from 146 countries celebrate every Feb. 22. This year’s theme is “Connect.”

“Dear Sister Girl Scouts of Saint Louis,
“We heard about the request from the Catholic Church to cut ties with the Girl Scouts in your community. We want to express our sympathy and we recognize that this is an unfair situation that you have been put in. 

“We support you and hope that your community recognizes that Girl Scouts is a very important and influential organization to many of the young girls that live there. How can we help from California?”

Barczykowski told the New York Times that the Girl Scouts organization valued its nearly 100-year history of cooperation with the archdiocese but said the archdiocese’s concerns “misrepresent how Girl Scouts of Eastern Missouri serves girls in our community.” She said in that if Girl Scout troops are displaced from parish meeting places, they would still have options to meet in public libraries, community centers and religious centers. “There has been an outpouring of support from our community,” she said.

Carlson is not only worried about Girl Scouts. His letter addressed some concerns with the Boy Scouts of America, too. “Concerns are also continuing to surface with Boy Scouts of America (BSA). 

“While the new BSA leadership policy currently offers some protections to religious organizations, I continue to wonder in which direction this once-trusted organization is now headed.” 

The Girl Scouts of America was founded in 1912 in Savannah, Ga., by Juliette Gordon Low. However, the mindset of the organization is modern and forward-thinking. Girls learn business skills in their annual cookie sales; they are strongly encouraged to learn science, technology, and math skills (STEM).

The group values health and positive body image (even cookies are available in a gluten free version); and in 2015, GSA was named one of the top 10 most innovative companies in the non-profit sector. 



Thank you for building and article around our Senior Girl Scout troop's letter, expanding awareness of this issue and further informing your reader's of the Girl Scout's mission to build courage, confidence and character.
A few corrections to your piece: Carlson is an archbishop, not a cardinal. Our troop did directly write their sister scouts in St. Louis, not Carlson, as indicated in your story's lead.