Posted on September 29, 2008

Diversity in the Girl Scouts

KEYC-TV (Mankato, Minnesota), September 21, 2008

One in every 10 American girls is a girl scout , about 2.6 million girls. The number has remained pretty steady for decades, but in the last few years it has been Hispanic, Asian and “immigrant” girls who have accounted for the organization growth.

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This is Girl Scout troop 12119 in Minneapolis. Recently, the Girl Scout council here looked at dwindling numbers and reached out to minorities for new members. Now almost 300 Muslim girls are in 10 mostly Muslim troops in the city.

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Historian Susan Miller says scouting has always been a way for immigrants in America to assimilate. Miller says, “We think about the Girl Scouts sometimes as a traditional organization, as very much a part of the American culture, and they were, and they were a part of that culture because they did from the beginning include just about everyone.”

Sometimes that means tweaking old traditions, in Minneapolis, the s’mores are the genuine article, but the hot dogs are made according to Islamic dietary law.

Susan Miller says, ” These girls can wear the Girl Scout sash and they can wear the hijab at the same time. This is not a contradiction.”

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