Girl Scouts: Badges Out, Green In

March 2, 2009

The Washington Post reported this morning that the Girls Scouts are trying to revive flagging interest in the group by de-emphasizing merit badges and emphasizing green activities:

… What’s in: books and blogs written in girls’ voices on topics such as environmental awareness and engineering; troops led by college students; videoconferencing with scouts in other countries…

The biggest change is last year’s debut of Journeys, a pilot curriculum that will mostly replace the system of earning badges on specific topics. Girls still will be able to earn badges if they want, but Journeys rarely mentions them, focusing instead on broader themes, including teamwork and healthy living. Rather than scouts earning a badge for cooking a single nutritious meal, for example, the books emphasize fruits and vegetables whenever food is mentioned…

Many lessons focus on changing the world in measurable, modern ways. Recycling is still an important part of lessons on helping the environment, but some troops also install solar panels and test water quality in rivers.

This is not surprising given its source: the Girl Scouts hired the global PR firm Ogilvy & Mather, which went green last year according to this April 28, 2008 report in The Australian:

Last week, public relations firm Ogilvy launched its new brand OgilvyEarth to better position itself in the growing green communications and brand management markets. It released results of a survey of more than 50 companies about their attitudes to green branding and the risk of green wash. More than three-quarters think having a positive environmental brand will be essential to their business case within 10 years.

While 90 per cent said they had never been accused of green washing themselves, 98 per cent said it existed in corporate Australia, and 74 per cent said it was intentional.

It’s a shame that the Girl Scouts want to throw out their heritage and reputation in the greenwash.

Also, should we buy Girl Scout Cookies to support Ogilvy & Mather and its program to green our daughters?

Take Action:

Send your thoughts to Connie Lindsey (, the Chair of the Girls Scouts National Board of Directors. You may want to cc Davia Temin (, the Board’s First Vice President.

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