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For the Record

For the Record – Your Questions, Answered

Below are answers to questions that go beyond the basics of Girl Scouting. More FAQs regarding social issues can be found on Girl Scouts of the USA’s website. For in-depth information regarding the Girl Scout Cookie Program, view GSUSA’s cookie FAQs.

As always, please direct all media inquiries to GSACPC Marketing and Communications.


Girl Scouts is often described as being “girl-led.” Are parents/guardians involved in their girls’ program participation?

Girl Scouts can be described as being “girl-led” because each girl in kindergarten through 12th grade is given the opportunity to voice her opinion about what types of activities and community service her troop will do. Through the Girl Scout Leadership Experience (GSLE), girls gain important decision-making, task-managing, and goal-setting skills.

It’s important to know that parents or guardians make all decisions regarding program participation. Parents, many of whom serve as troop volunteers, are actively engaged in Girl Scout programs and are well aware of what their girls are doing. Girl Scouts of the USA directs all councils—and volunteer troop leaders—to get written parental permission for any locally planned program that could be considered sensitive.

Does Girl Scouts have a relationship with Boy Scouts of America?

Boy Scouts of America is a separate organization from Girl Scouts of the USA. While some service units in Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council share programming activities with local Boy Scouts, the two organizations are independent nonprofit corporations and are governed separately.

What is Girl Scouts’ relationship with WAGGGS (World Association of Girl Guides and Girl Scouts)?

Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) is one of 145 member organizations in WAGGGS, a group that promotes mutual understanding and cross-cultural opportunities for girls around the world. Each member organization creates its own programs and pursues advocacy efforts based on the needs and issues affecting girls in its individual country. GSUSA does not always take the same position or endorse the same programs as WAGGGS (similar to the U.S. being a part of the United Nations). Membership dues from girls and adults are NOT used to pay WAGGGS annual membership fees. Individual girls are NOT members of WAGGGS; GSUSA is a member organization of WAGGGS.

Does Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and, therefore, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) present a political stance in its materials and/or programs?

Girl Scouts strives to remain neutral on political topics. Girl Scouts also does not discriminate with regard to the women it chooses to highlight in its materials. Journey books feature women from many walks of life, of all ages and origins, who have worked as leaders in their respective fields to make a difference in the world Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council agrees with GSUSA in that these women embody the commitment to leadership that we strive to teach girls. The women featured in our program resources are meant to inspire girls from all walks of life, and GSUSA is open to suggestions for future editions of our materials. If members have concerns regarding GSUSA’s materials, the national organization and Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council will do their best to address those concerns.

Social Issues

Does Girl Scouts support families of faith?

Yes. Girl Scouts supports girls from all backgrounds and beliefs. While Girl Scouts is a secular organization that refrains from teaching religious or spiritual beliefs or practices, we greatly value our longstanding partnership with religious organizations across many faiths that share the values of the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

We encourage girls to develop connections to their own spiritual and religious beliefs by earning recognitions provided by their faith communities and by earning the My Promise, My Faith pin, which helps a girl deepen the connection between the Girl Scout Law and her faith. We support the right of faith leaders to verify that program delivered to girls in their places of worship be consistent with their faith’s teachings.

What is Girl Scouts’ position on sexual orientation in relation to joining or volunteering for Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts believes sexual orientation is a private matter for girls and their families to address. As an organization, Girl Scouts upholds diversity and inclusiveness and does not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability.

What is Girl Scouts’ stance on human sexuality, birth control, and abortion?

The Girl Scout organization does not take a position or develop materials on these issues. We believe these matters are best decided by girls and their families. We feel our role is to help girls develop self-confidence and good decision-making skills that will help them make wise choices in all areas of their lives.

Does Girl Scouts have a relationship with Planned Parenthood?

No. Girl Scouts of the USA—which includes Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council—does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.

Does Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) allow transgender children to join Girl Scouts?

Girl Scouts values diversity and is an inclusive organization welcoming K-12 girls of all religions, nationalities, and backgrounds. Girl Scouts does not discriminate or recruit on the basis of race, religion, ethnicity, sexual orientation, socioeconomic status, national origin, or physical or developmental disability. Our Council is committed to providing an emotionally and physically safe environment for girls. When contacted by a parent/guardian of a transgender child, our staff will work with the family to ensure the welfare and best interests of the child are a top priority.


Why should girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

Selling cookies teaches goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—aspects essential to leadership, to success, and to life. Plus, it provides a dynamic way for girls and troops to raise funds for the exciting programs, projects, and trips that they dream up.

Where does the $5 a box go?

All proceeds generated from the Cookie Program support Girl Scouting in Arizona. Each package of cookies costs $5. (Except for Toffee-tastics and Girl Scout S'mores, which costs $6 per box.) Here is how the community benefits:

Cookie Program Costs – $1.10

  • Cost of cookies and program operations

Troop Proceeds & Rewards – $1.05

  • Girl and Service unit rewards
  • Troop proceeds – used for field trips, travel, camp, events, community service projects, program supplies, books, membership

High Quality Programs & Properties – $1.31

  • Maintain our four Girl Scout camps and program sites
  • Council-sponsored girl and volunteer events/programs in areas of Outdoors, STEM, Entrepreneurship and Life Skills

Girl & Volunteer Services – $1.54

  • Financial Assistance for dues, programs and camperships
  • Girl recruitment, recognition and retention
  • Volunteer recruitment, training, recognitions and resources

Why are some of Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council’s cookies different from those sold at other councils OR why don’t we have a certain cookie in our line-up?

There are two bakeries that make Girl Scout Cookies in the country. If a customer asks for a cookie that is not in our line-up, it is likely that the bakery connected with GSACPC does not make that particular cookie. Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council sells: Thin Mints, Samoas, Trefoils, Tagalongs, Do-si-dos, Savannah Smiles, Toffeetastics and Girl Scout S’mores.

What happens to unsold cookies?

To date, all decisions about cookie inventory are made at the local level. Currently, Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council has a well-developed strategy for managing our inventory and leftover products. We order cookies in as precise an amount as possible, and all undamaged and uncompromised cookies that remain unsold are donated to food banks and soldiers overseas via Gift of Caring and are used at council program events.

Does Girl Scouts-Arizona Cactus-Pine Council allow Girl Scouts to conduct booth sales in front of adult-oriented businesses?

Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) does not allow girls to sell cookies outside of any adult-oriented business, including but not limited to a bar, strip club, casino, liquor store, gun show, or marijuana dispensary. We recognize these are legitimate businesses, but feel they are inappropriate places for girls and the Girl Scout brand. The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a council-run business. All the money stays in local councils, and the councils make all decisions on how the business is run with girl safety a top priority. Both GSACPC and Girl Scouts of the USA offer booth safety guidelines, but we rely on troop leaders and parents to make booth sale location decisions.

Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?

Yes, at the current time, there are genetically modified agricultural crops (GMOs) in Girl Scout Cookies. Our bakers determine whether to use GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies based on a range of market-related factors and depending on the specific cookie recipe.

Girl Scouts listens to its customers, and we work with our trusted bakers, who are industry leaders, to develop recipes for these sweet treats using ingredients that will produce the best-tasting and highest-quality cookies while simultaneously addressing industry trends, scientific trends, and of course, consumer preference. As an organization, we continue to defer to required federal guidelines as they relate to our products.

Why is palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies?

Palm oil is an ingredient found in the majority of baked snacks sold in the United States. Girl Scouts of the USA’s licensed bakers tell us it continues to be necessary to use palm oil in our cookies to ensure shelf life, to offer customers the highest quality, and to serve as an alternative to trans fats. One of the primary goals of our Girl Scout cookie bakers is to create the best-tasting cookies possible using the healthiest ingredients available. Click here for more information.

What is the cookie boycott, AKA the “cookiecott”? How should volunteers respond if a customer asks about a cookie boycott or Girl Scouts’ position on social issues, such as Planned Parenthood?

With the increased media focus on Girl Scouts during the cookie season, a number of groups with their own agendas see this as a chance to draw attention to their causes—at the expense of the girls.

And although rare, a few of our leaders and parents may encounter people approaching girls/troops during the cookie sale, wanting to discuss sensitive issues. Usually, a calm request to speak with the Girl Scout adult away from the girls takes care of the matter and helps to not disrupt the girls.

In particular, false claims of a partnership with Planned Parenthood and accusations regarding controversial topics related to Planned Parenthood are two of the issues being raised. It's been nearly a decade since the rumors first surfaced. There was no partnership then and there is none now. Here are the facts:

  • Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and GSACPC do not have a relationship with Planned Parenthood.
  • Girl Scouts does not provide financial support of any kind to Planned Parenthood.
  • Girl Scouts does not advocate on behalf of any cause or mission outside of the Girl Scout mission, which is to build girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. Girl Scouts does not take a position on abortion or birth control, nor do we endorse or provide funding to organizations that advocate on behalf of these issues. We believe these are matters that are best discussed/handled within the family.


  • 100% of cookie proceeds go to the local council.

Does Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council (GSACPC) have a policy in place to address the potential issue of counterfeit money being used at cookie booth sales?

We are appalled that anyone would use counterfeit money to steal from a Girl Scout. This crime takes away proceeds from Girl Scout cookie sales that fund girl programs and projects in our community. These types of incidents puts a fine point on the relevancy of Girl Scouts and programs like it that teach values, principles, and ethics.

The Girl Scout Cookie Program is a council-run business. The councils make all decisions on how the business is run with girl safety a top priority. Both GSACPC and Girl Scouts of the USA offer booth safety guidelines, and we rely on troop leaders and parents to uphold them. Our guidelines include a strict adult-girl ratio at each booth as well as the recommendation to not accept $50 or $100 bills or large checks. The council cookie program guide also suggests troops bring a counterfeit detector to booth sales, though it is not mandatory.