Thursday, September 27, 2012


Last week Wendy decided that Elli should enroll in Sparks, the entry level of Girl Guides here in Canada.  Elli was excited about the uniforms and the idea of an all girls club so off she went.  Why exactly she is so excited to go to an all girls event and yet simultaneously is desperate to be engaged to some boy or other is strange to me but I suppose five year old girls aren't supposed to make sense to their fathers.  Having recently been thoroughly disgusted with the Boy Scouts homophobia and religious discrimination I was concerned about sending Elli to Girl Guides but it turns out my concerns were totally groundless.

Girl Guides not only tolerates gay folks but specifically enshrines equality for all in their mission statement.  They clearly say that they will:

Treat Members, volunteers, employees and Members’ families fairly, knowing that GGC does not tolerate unlawful discrimination on the basis of race, national or ethnic origin, citizenship, colour, religion, sex, age, mental or physical ability, political beliefs, socio-economic status, health-related status, sexual orientation, marital status, or any other grounds enumerated in the human rights legislation of the jurisdiction in which the individuals involved are located.

Seems pretty conclusive to me.  I was also pleased to note that their Promise was entirely free of worship and supplication.

Brownie Promise
I Promise to do my best,
To be true to myself, my beliefs and Canada
I will take action for a better world
And respect the Brownie Law


The Guiding Law challenges me to:
  • be honest and trustworthy
  • use my resources wisely
  • respect myself and others
  • recognize and use my talents and abilities
  • protect our common environment
  • live with courage and strength
  • share in the sisterhood of Guiding.
Honesty, wisdom, respect, achievement, environmentalism, courage, and sharing seem like a pretty great set of guidelines.  All in all the Girl Guides impressed me.  I was kind of expecting to have all sorts of righteous indignation and to have to hold my nose while Elli went to Guides but honestly I can't find fault with their policies in the slightest.  I wonder how much of the fact that the Girl Guides are less prejudiced than the Boy Scouts is due to the fact that they were explicitly founded to serve a marginalized group.  Some groups manage to escape the clutches of their beginnings and some do not; much like people in that regard.

Quotes taken from


  1. I think that Boy Scouts of America and Scouts Canada are completely different things.

    Great show on Boy Scouts of America by Penn & Teller on their show "Bullshit"

  2. I think Girl Guides has changed with the times. I went to Brownies for a year long, long ago. Our pledge was: I pledge to do my best, to do my duty, to God and the Queen, to help other people, every day, especially those at home. We come a long way baby!

  3. i also am pretty sure that Scouts Canada does not have the same attitudes as Boy Scouts of America (BSA).... the organizations make their own rules in each country (hence why Scouts Canada is co-ed, but BSA is not). It would be interesting to see what the Girl Scouts of America's stance on this is, compared to Girl Guides Canada.

  4. I went and read a bit about the Girl Scouts of America and they seem to have very inclusive policies that explicitly ban discrimination on the basis of sexual preference. They also have no references to God or religion on their main site so they seem to be less pro religion that the Boy Scouts of America.

  5. i wonder what motivates the BSA to hold the policies that they do, when the gGirl Scouts & Girl Guide do not (haven't looked at Scouts Canada). Is it an 'American' attitude, or a 'male centered' attitude, or is it just that those at the top of BSA are more religious than those at the top of the other three.

    when I was a brownie in the early 80's, our promise was:
    I promise, on my honour
    to do my best
    to do my duty
    to God, the Quuen, and my country
    I will help other people every day
    especially those at home

    QUite the change from what it is nw :)

  6. I don't like the idea of pledging to be true to my beliefs or my country, but you could certainly do worse.