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Girl Scouts Holding Hands

Who We Are

   

We're 2.6 million strong—1.8 million girls and 800,000 adults who believe in the power of every G.I.R.L. (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, Leader)™ to change the world.

We’re the preeminent leadership development organization for girls. And with programs from coast to coast and across the globe, Girl Scouts offers every girl a chance to practice a lifetime of leadership, adventure, and success.

Girl Scout Mission

Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.

Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:
    To serve God* and my country,
    To help people at all times, 
    And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

*Members may substitute for the word God in accordance with their own spiritual beliefs.

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
    honest and fair,
    friendly and helpful,
    considerate and caring, 
    courageous and strong, and
    responsible for what I say and do, 
and to 
    respect myself and others, 
    respect authority,
    use resources wisely,
    make the world a better place, and 
    be a sister to every Girl Scout. 

For All Girls

Diversity and inclusion have been core values of Girl Scouts since its founding in 1912. Girl Scouts River Valleys and Girl Scouts of the USA value diversity in all its forms and do not discriminate on the basis of race, color, creed, religion, alienage or national origin, ancestry, citizenship status, age, disability, gender, marital status, familial status, veteran status, sexual orientation, gender identification, genetic information, public assistance, local human rights commission activity, or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state, or local laws.

At Girl Scouts River Valleys, we are committed to providing a welcoming and inclusive environment for every girl and her family.

No Economic Barriers

Girl Scouts River Valleys is dedicated to extending opportunities to all girls—regardless of their finances. For help with paying membership fees and other expenses, see Financial Assistance.

Racial and Ethnic Diversity

In 1956, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called Girl Scouts “a force for desegregation.” Long before laws promoting civil rights were passed, Girl Scouts' Promise and Law embraced every girl. We continue to honor our history of inclusion by providing inclusion training and resources for our volunteers and troop leaders working with girls.

Spirituality and Faith

Girl Scouting supports girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. While we are a secular organization that refrains from teaching religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, we believe that the motivating force in Girl Scouting is a spiritual one, and we greatly value our longstanding partnerships with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

We encourage girls to develop connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the My Promise, My Faith pin (download the pin description [PDF]), which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith.

Learn more about Girl Scouts of the USA’s relationship with faith organizations on Girl Scouts of the USA's website.

All Abilities

Girl Scouts strives to adapt activities to girls who have disabilities or special needs. Girl Scouts River Valleys provides inclusion training and resources for our volunteers and troop leaders working with girls.

All Girl Space

Girl Scouts is proud to be the premiere leadership organization for girls in the country. An all-girl experience is important to girl development. Research shows that single-gender environments provide more opportunities for girls to build confidence, a key component of leadership.

Girl Scouts River Valleys Statement on Transgender and Non-Binary Youth

Girl Scouts River Valleys values diversity in all its forms and does not discriminate on the basis of gender, sexual orientation, gender identification, or gender expression.

Girl Scouts River Valleys is committed to supporting its troops and service units in creating an environment where all girls have the opportunity to participate in a movement that encourages them to overcome barriers and become leaders in their community and world.

Girl Scouts is a single-gender youth programming environment and this is not changing. Girl Scouts River Valleys is committed to inclusion and strives to provide a safe and welcoming environment for transgender and gender non-conforming Girl Scout members and prospective members. This is made possible through partnership and clear expectations between Girl Scouts River Valleys, volunteer(s), and the child and their family. Girl Scouts River Valleys’ trained staff will work directly with volunteers and families to ensure the best outcome for the child, and where necessary, a smooth transition period.

Girl Scouts welcomes all adult volunteers and has developed appropriate safeguards regarding roles and responsibilities to ensure that girls receive proper supervision and support.

How We Work

Our Local Council

Girl Scouts of Minnesota and Wisconsin River Valleys (as we fondly call “GSRV,” “River Valleys,” or “council”) is one of 112 Girl Scout councils in the United States. We operate as Girl Scouts, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization—learn about our finance, accountability, and fundraising practices.

We serve 30,000 girls in southern Minnesota, western Wisconsin, and a single (yet important!) county in Iowa. Our work is supported by more than 9,000 volunteers. Girl Scouts River Valleys provides training and resources for volunteers, programming for girls, scores discounts for our members, fundraises for Girl Scouts, runs the retail shops and service centers, and manages the product programs (Cookies and Snacks & Magazines), and much more.

Girl Scouts of the USA

Our council works hand-in-hand with Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA), our parent organization. Annual membership dues are paid directly to this national organization to cover the cost of fundamental services supporting the Girl Scout Movement. GSUSA provides service and support to councils, providing volunteers with the relevant resources, tools, and training they need to best serve today’s girls.

Girl Scouts' Relationship with WAGGGS

The World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts (WAGGGS) comprises 145 member organizations that promote mutual understanding and cross-cultural opportunities for girls around the world. Girl Scouts of the USA is one of the 145 member organizations. Each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in its individual country. GSUSA does not always take the same positions or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS. GSUSA's relationship with WAGGGS is akin to the United States' relationship with the United Nations (UN). The United States may not agree with every position the UN takes, but values having a seat at the table.

Every Girl Scout and Girl Guide organization is a member of the World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts—and each Member Organization, including Girl Scouts of the USA, pays dues. The annual membership dues from girls and from adults that go to the national organization, GSUSA, are not used to pay the WAGGGS quota. All dues collected from Girl Scout members are used to pay for services that directly impact the development and delivery of Girl Scouting to girls in the USA and girls who are involved in USA Girl Scouts Overseas, our program that brings Girl Scouting to American families who live and work abroad.

Individual girls are not members of WAGGGS. Girl Scouts of the USA is a Member Organization of WAGGGS. Girls Scouts often wear the WAGGGS pin to represent their connection to the worldwide sisterhood of Girl Scouting and Girl Guiding, but this pin is not required. For a girl to be in uniform, the only requirement is that she wears her Girl Scout pin.

Advocacy and Non-Partisanship

Girl Scouts believes civic engagement to be a key aspect of building girls of courage, confidence and character, who will make the world a better place.

With a focus on preparing girls to be active and informed members of their communities, Girl Scouts offers Citizen badges for all grade levels (including Daisies!). In addition to this programming, Girl Scouts of all ages have the opportunity to participate in the G.I.R.L. Agenda—a nonpartisan initiative to inspire, prepare, and mobilize girls and those who care about them to lead positive change through civic action.

Policymaking

Girl Scouts of the USA, and their councils across the nation, participate in advocacy efforts to help inform and educate policymakers and community leaders about the issues that directly affect girls or the rights of the Girl Scout organization.

These efforts include motivating community involvement, influencing practices and governmental policies at the federal, state, and local levels, and ensuring the fair enforcement and implementation of laws that have an impact on all girls and on Girl Scouting.

Elections and Campaigns

As a non-partisan, non-profit organization, Girl Scouts does not support or oppose candidates for public office in any election, nor take a stand for or against a political party.

Our Electioneering Guidelines

Girl Scouts River Valleys is committed to fostering an open and civil exchange of a diverse array of ideas, opinions, and viewpoints. We understand that members may hold strong political convictions concerning elections and may have questions about what is permitted and prohibited behavior when acting as a Girl Scout representative. This includes any time you are wearing a Girl Scout pin or uniform, attending troop or service unit events and meetings, participating in council events, or any time you are acting as a Girl Scout volunteer.

As a nonprofit organization, Girl Scouts River Valleys must follow regulations set by the Internal Revenue Service related to electioneering in order to maintain the council’s tax-exempt status. Electioneering is defined as participating in the electoral process by promoting or opposing particular candidates for office. Girl Scouts River Valleys expects all employees, members, volunteers, troops, and service units to follow the electioneering guidelines set by Girl Scouts of the United States of America to protect the organization’s non-profit status.

To help members better understand what is considered electioneering and what is not, we have assembled some examples of what Girl Scout members can and cannot do: When acting as a Girl Scout representative, you cannot:

  • Endorse any candidate for public office. This includes social media functions that may be viewed as endorsement, such as “liking,” “friending,” or “following” a candidate, within close timing to an election.
  • You are free to use your personal social media accounts for these activities while not acting as a Girl Scout representative, but may not post or share on an account affiliated with Girl Scouts such as your troop or service unit.
  • Use official Girl Scout letterhead, Girl Scout logos, or insignia to write in support or opposition of a candidate.
  • Distribute campaign materials, including flyers, postcards, newsletters, or signage.
  • Participate in any election events or activities, including a campaign parade or rally.
  • Host a flag ceremony to open a political campaign event.
  • Wear campaign buttons on the Girl Scout uniform.
  • Use troop funds, service unit funds, or Juliette program credits to make a financial contribution to a political party or candidate. 

It is, however, acceptable for Girl Scout representatives to engage in the following activities:

  • Educate Girl Scouts about the election process.
  • Write, visit, or call your Members of Congress, Governor, state legislator and all other local policy makers in support of or opposition to legislation, especially when Girl Scout or girl issues arise.
  • Going to the polls with an adult on Election Day.
  • Share unbiased, nonpartisan voter guides that include all candidates and information presented in a neutral manner.
  • Participate in or host “get out the vote” registration drives. Registration may not be limited to a particular political party or on behalf of a specific political party or candidate.

These electioneering guidelines are intended for Girl Scouts River Valleys members and is not intended to be an inclusive list. If you have questions, please contact us.

Addressing Social Issues

Girl Scouts does not take a position on, or develop materials related to, human sexuality, birth control, or abortion. Girl Scouts River Valleys does not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood, nor does our national umbrella organization, Girl Scouts of the USA.

We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives. Parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation that may be of a sensitive nature. Consistent with that belief, Girl Scouts River Valleys asks that volunteers get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.

For more information on our positions on social issues, visit Girl Scouts of the USA's Social Issues FAQ.

 

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