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Putting Girl Scout Voices First: A Statement from CEO Marina on Recent SCOTUS Decisions

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Dear members and friends,

Members have been asking whether Girl Scouts of Northern California (GSNorCal) will take a stand on the recent Supreme Court decision reversing Roe v. Wade. This decision overrules 50 years of federal jurisprudence establishing that a constitutional right to privacy includes whether or not and when someone can seek abortion care.  

Our job, as a youth development organization, is to center the voice of the youth we serve. We support Girl Scouts as they raise their voices about issues that are important to them, and we are learning, together, how best to build a community that nurtures equity and belonging for ALL girls and gender-expansive youth, with no room for racism or hate. Girl Scouts was founded to expand the horizons of young women, and we want nothing more than for our youth to have the space, care, and freedom to feel safe and to decide their own futures. We welcome feedback on our approach, especially from the girls and gender-expansive youth who Girl Scouts exists to support.  

Our youth members have told us: 

  • Girl Scouts should focus on the issues that matter most to our youth, which are, in their own words, “social justice, climate change, diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, and mental health”. We will continue to focus our efforts in the direction our youth lead us. 

  • Girl Scouts should be a safe and brave space to discuss the issues that divide us, with no room for racism or hate. These divisive issues include matters on which the current Supreme Court is handing down decisions that many disagree with, including a woman’s constitutional right to abortion care, gun safety in public spaces, separation of church and state in schools across the country, and actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

  • Girl Scouts should support and empower girls and gender-expansive youth to raise their voices on issues they care about. We agree. In our organization, every Girl Scout has the power and the right to raise their voice on issues that matter to them, without room for racism or hate.  

  • We respect each member’s right and autonomy to participate in and recite what is comfortable for them. Not all members are comfortable saying grace before meals, the Pledge of Allegiance, or each word in the Promise and Law, and we respect that choice. 

We are committed to helping Girl Scouts and youth who participate in our Girl Scout programs develop self-confidence and decision-making skills that will support them in making their own healthy choices in all areas of their lives. We encourage parents, caregivers and youth allies to have loving, trusting, and non-judgmental discussions with children about their reproductive health, about consent, and the social impact that laws and policies may have on women, girls, and gender-expansive people’s rights. 

The GSNorCal Volunteer Policy for Building Equitable Community for All and GSNorCal Camp Culture Code, establish our commitments and actions to nurture belonging and to center the voices of girls and gender-expansive youth.  

The recent U.S. Supreme Court decisions erasing constitutional rights and limiting defenses against climate change are contributing to sadness, exhaustion, a feeling of helplessness, and fear of what’s to come. We already are hearing from Girl Scout youth that these actions are compounding the youth mental health crisis.  

Please take care of yourselves, and if you need support to talk with your Girl Scouts about mental health or important issues, here are some Girl Scout resources: 

As always, I am open to your feedback and all that you do to support Girl Scouts of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place.

Yours in Girl Scouting,  

Marina Signature

Marina Park