- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 8, 2010

ANALYSIS/OPINION:

It is unfortunate that The Washington Times chose to publish inflammatory commentary by Austin Ruse of Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute about Girl Scouts (“The Girl Scout Sex Guide,” Web, Opinion, March 18).

The commentary is based on claims from a third party, who, while present at the site of a U.N. event, was not a participant in the workshop sponsored by Girl Scouts of the USA, UNICEF’s Working Group on Girls, Girls Learn International and the Grail. The column also was posted on the institute’s Web site, but the institute did not contact the Girl Scouts before issuing its comments.

Girl Scouts has a long and proud history of serving girls in the Greater Washington region. We have built a reputation of being the best leadership-development organization and of having an outstanding record of community service and programs for girls. We accomplish this with the help of exceptional volunteers and friends, out of respect for whom we wish to set the record straight.

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) participated in the 54th Commission on the Status of Women at the United Nations. As part of that session, we co-sponsored a workshop with UNICEF’s Working Group on Girls, Girls Learn International and the Grail. The workshop was supervised by seven adults from the sponsoring organizations, and those sponsors invited 30 to 35 teenage girls, with seven girls representing the Girl Scouts. The purpose of the workshop was to help the girls create a document that would express their perspectives on global issues affecting girls and women.

Girl Scouts did not distribute brochure materials from Planned Parenthood at the workshop, as the institute claimed. Girl Scouts of the USA and the Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital do not have, and never have had, a relationship with Planned Parenthood. The Girl Scout organization is a cross section of America with regard to opinions on religious and social issues and practices, and it is our belief that matters surrounding health and sexuality are private matters for girls and their families.

In fact, the only organization spreading the content of the seemingly “salacious” Planned Parenthood materials is the institute. The only written material distributed at the GSUSA, UNICEF, Girls Learn International and the Grail workshop was a copy of the girls’ working document, titled “The Girls’ Statement.”

The mission of Girl Scouting is to build girls of courage, confidence and character who make the world a better place. We take pride in the many ways Girl Scouts in this region consistently demonstrate high principles and standards as they go about the business of Girl Scouting.

Our values and principles have not changed over the years. In an accepting and nurturing environment, we give girls the opportunity to test and build their potential as leaders. We continue to inspire girls with the highest ideals of character, conduct, patriotism and service so that they may become happy and resourceful citizens. We will never shy from our duty or waver from our commitment to girls and Girl Scouting.

DIANE TIPTON

President of the board

Girl Scout Council of the Nation’s Capital

Washington

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