Page 6 October 2000 Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts Show Just How Different Scouting Can Be CONTINUED FROM PAGE 5 chapters and corporate spon sors of the Boy Scouts have withdrawn monetary sup port to local chapters. And numerous individual troops where the leadership dis agrees with the ruling have written their own nondis crimination policies, stating the troop's noncompliance with the policy held by the national organization. In addition, the court ruling has raised questions about the policies of similar organi zations, including the Girl Scouts. Contrary to popular opinion, the two organiza tions are not related in the United States. Scouting USA, which sponsors Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Tiger Cubs, and Explorer Scouts, is not con nected with Girl Scouts of the USA, which is a member of WAGGGS, the World Asso ciation of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts. Girl Scouting is the largest organization in the world for girls and women, with ap proximately 3.6 million mem bers in the United States and in troops of American girls overseas. Founded in 1912, the Girl Scouts remains as founder Juliette Gordon Low envisioned it, an organization "for all the girls." As early as 1917, the Girl Scouts empha sized inclusion and diversity, making an effort to include girls with disabilities in local troops. At the same time, Af rican-American girls were also among those to benefit from Girl Scouting's long standing tradition of plural ism. By the end of the 1920s, Girl Scouting furthered this tradition by actively estab lishing troops in areas that would encourage Native American girls to participate. The organization received a Congressional Charter in the 1950s; this charter is an hon orary title selectively given to patriotic, charitable, and edu cational organizations. Girl Scouting continues to be an organization with a mission to empower girls and women —all girls and women—to be their best and to contribute to the better ment of society. It teaches a positive value system, en couraging its members to be, among other things, honest, fair, respectful, courageous and responsible for their ac tions. It is built :On a founda tion of equality, service, edu cation and leadership de cades old while maintaining a contemporary outlook on society. The values found in the Girl Scout Promise and Law, on which the Girl Scout program is based, provide an essential framework for de veloping character, making sound decisions and fostering strength of conviction. This can perhaps be summarized in two slogans recently un veiled by GSUSA as the orga nization approaches a new millennium — "Girl Scouting is for every girl, everywhere,” and "Girl Scouts — Where Girls Grow Strong." These two organizations, while seemingly similar from the outside, espouse tradi tions and values that are dia metrically opposed at some points. One with an empha sis on inclusion, one with a policy of exclusion; one with a history of being ahead of society with respect to ac tively encouraging minority participation, one whose ar chaic stance seems unlikely to change in the near future. In the shadow of this summer's Supreme Court de cision, both organizations have faced interrogation as to the nature of the policies each has in effect. The benefits of each organization to the populations they serve have come under close scrutiny, and parents have been forced to consider carefully the de cision to enroll their children in organizations that will un doubtedly shape their value systems. Only time will re veal the long-term impact of the decision on the children of this country, whose best interests they claim to serve. Sarah can be reached at s8tokes@einaiLanc.edn.