Why So Much Anger at the Girl Scouts?

by cv harquail on February 22, 2010

Ever since I poked the beehive back in August with my post about Walmart and Girl Scout cookies, my blog and I have been receiving angry comments from people who just hate the Girl Scouts. It’s one thing to be angry at Walmart, but the Girl Scouts? I don’t understand…

Why is there so much anger directed at the Girl Scouts?

All this anger directed at the Girl Scouts (and given an outlet by my series of posts on Thin Minty-gate) really upsets me. It upsets me so much that I can’t  bear to read the 250+ comments on the original post. It upsets me enough that when a new cookie comment comes in, I ignore it.

201002222015.jpgMaybe these comments upset me because I was once a Girl Scout, and I’ve also been an adult Girl Scout volunteer? But I know that this anger isn’t directed at me– it’s directed at the Girl Scouts as an organization. That’s the problem.

In which I try, valiantly, to understand why someone would be angry at the Girl Scouts

Some of this anger is very person-specific. Individuals have written about bad experiences they had as Scouts, or bad experiences they had with Scout leaders, or even anger about ordering cookies that were never delivered. Many (but not all) of this Girl Scout hating can be traced back to some unique experience of that particular person. Maybe it triggered that person’s childhood wounds. Maybe their anger reflects some kind of problem that isn’t really ‘about’ the Girl Scouts but instead is more about them as individuals.

What concerns me more is the anger that is directed at the Girl Scouts of the USA as an organization.

People seem to be angry at the Girl Scouts for having computer systems, clean well-lighted offices, campgrounds with plumbing that needs repair, or anything else that seems to cost money. I guess these people don’t understand that in order to do background checks on potential troop leaders, or to insure campers on overnight trips, there’s got to be some infrastructure back there somewhere.

People also seem to be angry that the Girl Scouts have real managers who earn actual salaries. They are angry that these managers are paid with money that the Girl Scouts raise through cookie sales at the local level and and other fund raising initiatives nationally. I guess these Girl Scout haters are angry that the Girl Scouts think that they deserve professional, full time administrators?

I just don’t understand what could possibly evoke all this anger towards the organization. Certainly, the Girl Scouts aren’t quite up to speed in terms of cutting edge management techniques or fund raising. Certainly, the Girls Scouts as an organization is not quite as good as Procter & Gamble, or Keebler, in branding and marketing its products. Certainly, the Girl Scouts have struggled, along with so many youth organizations, to stay relevant in today’s entertainment-oriented digitally focused kid culture. But none of these challenges that the Girl Scouts face should generate anger at them.

Maybe some of this animus will dissipate with the Girl Scouts’ Every Cookie Has A Mission campaign. Maybe some of this anger will dissipate as the Girl Scout organization unrolls its rebranding campaign. Then again, maybe some people would be less angry at the Girl Scouts if they were less distrustful of the claim that young girls need to learn leadership skills, and business skills, and contribute to their community.

Whatever the cause, this anger is hurting the Girl Scouts as an organization. This anger gets in the way of the Girls Scouts’ ability to pursue their mission. This anger hampers the Girl Scouts’ ability to connect with their larger community though fund-raising. And, it hampers the Girl Scouts’ ability to recruit volunteer leaders and to support the girls themselves.


I suspect that most of this anger is misinformed, misguided and misplaced. But, I don’t really know what to do about it.

Does anyone have any insight about why some people are angry at the Girls Scouts? Or ideas on what the Girl Scouts as an organization can do to address it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this.


See also:Thin Mint-y Gate: Wal-mart’s Socia Media Opportunity

Can Walmart Earn the Girl Scouts’ Good Citizenship Award?

Girl Scouts: Limiting Cookie Sales by Strengthening Their Brand?

Girl Scouts Rebrand Their Cookies: “Every Cookie Has A Mission”

Wal-Mart and Girl Scout Cookies: Thin-Minty Gate
(by Bob Sutton at WorkMatters)


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