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For the Record

For the Record – Your Questions, Answered

This page was created to set the record straight regarding topics that go beyond the basics of Girl Scouting. While some of the information is straightforward, this page also contains information regarding false rumors and myths about the Girl Scout organization (which most commonly resurface during cookie season, when we are most visible to the public). It’s difficult to ascertain why untruths were generated and continue to be disseminated. What we do know is that, as a large and visible organization, Girl Scouts is occasionally a target for outside groups with clear agendas. Please encourage everyone to seek the facts.

Social Issues

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 collaboration with Planned Parenthood, nor provide any financial support to them.

We believe that health and sexuality are private matters for girls and their families. Girl Scouts of the USA and all Girl Scout Councils are nonpartisan, nonpolitical organizations that do not take a position on reproductive rights or any other political issue.

Why is there a video of Kathy Cloninger mentioning Planned Parenthood in 2004?

The clip is from a 15-year-old interview with now-retired GSUSA CEO Kathy Cloninger. Cloninger was relatively new to Girl Scouts and the resulting media relations at the time. She simply misspoke and represented the organizations’ ‘partnerships’ incorrectly. We believe she was attempting to clarify a decision of the local Council in Waco, TX (which is no longer in existence), in response to allegations the group Pro-Life Waco was asserting at the time. The last part of Cloninger’s answer has lived on as “evidence” for critics but has long been debunked by trusted, third-party, fact-checking sources, including:

Did an Arizona Girl Scout earn her Gold Award for pro-choice activism in 2018?

No. Several false and misleading stories related to an Arizona girl’s Girl Scout Gold Award project about women’s health have been picked up and disseminated by various websites. 

The rumor was officially debunked by the third-party fact-checker,

The Girl Scout Gold Award project mentioned in these stories is still in the planning stages (March 2019, at the time of the false reports) and focuses on health access and education in partnership with El Rio Health, a federally-funded non-profit health center, and the YWCA in Tucson. The capstone of her Gold Award project is a community health fair, where attendees will learn about topics within women’s health: the HPV vaccine, how to seek help in response to intimate partner violence, and the basics of keeping their bodies healthy, from pap smears to self-breast examinations. Her health fair will not cover abortion in any way, and it was never her intention to broach the subject.

Through our Highest Awards, including the Girl Scout Gold Award, girls are empowered to identify an issue in their community about which they are passionate—in this case, access to healthcare—and take action to create a sustainable solution to that challenge. Girl Scouts does not take a position on or develop materials about human sexuality or reproductive health; we believe girls best discuss these matters with their parents or guardians. Rather, Girl Scouts remains focused on bringing girls the single best leadership development programming in the world and preparing girls to find their voices and tap into their incredible leadership potential on their way to becoming tomorrow’s leaders.

What is Girl Scouts’ position on sexual orientation about 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 girls and their families best decide these matters and we have guidelines in place for those who wish to broach these topics at the troop level. 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–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.

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.


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.

Why should girls participate in the Girl Scout Cookie Program?

When girls sell cookies, they learn goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics—skills essential to leadership, to success, and to life. Plus, it’s a dynamic leadership experience that provides girls and troops the ability to raise their own funds for the exciting programs, projects, and trips they dream up.

Where does the cookie money go?

All proceeds generated from the Girl Scout Cookie Program stay within our Council to support Girl Scouting in Arizona. Each package of cookies costs $5, except Toffee-tastics and Girl Scout S'mores, which cost $6 per box. Cookie proceeds stay local to:

  1. Fund Take Action projects benefiting the community, as well as amazing girl-led adventures for troops.
  2. Help councils provide Girls Scout programs in STEM, the outdoors, life skills, and entrepreneurship, as well as camps, leadership training, and more!
  3. Cover the costs of running the Girl Scout Cookie Program, including the costs of cookies, materials, and logistics.

The $5 a Box Breakdown:
Cookie Program Costs – $1.10
  • Cost of cookies and program operations
Troop Proceeds & Rewards – $1.11
  • 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 – $1.28
  • 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 – $1.51
  • Financial Assistance for dues, programs and camperships
  • Girl recruitment, recognition and retention
  • Volunteer recruitment, training, recognitions and resources

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

The cookie lineup varies from Girl Scout Council to Council because there are two licensed bakers for Girl Scout Cookies. Our Council uses Little Brownie Bakers that provides this awesome lineup. ABC Bakers is the second bakery used by other councils around the country. That’s also why similar cookie flavors have different names depending on where (or, which bakery source) you buy them!

What happens to unsold cookies?

All decisions about cookie inventory are made at the local level. Our Council has a well-developed strategy for managing our inventory and leftover products. We order cookies as precisely as possible. All undamaged cookies that remain unsold are used at council program events or donated to food banks and soldiers overseas via our Cookies for the Community donation program.

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

Girl Scouts cannot booth at any location that may negatively impact the cookie program experience for girls and volunteers, and/or negatively impact our brand. Therefore, girls cannot sell in or in front of establishments that they themselves cannot legally patronize, including marijuana dispensaries. Please email if you are unsure whether a location is girl-appropriate. Remember, all self-scheduled booths must be entered into eBudde for Council approval.

Can girls use electronic bulletin boards like Craigslist to sell cookies?

No. The safety of girls is very important, especially online. Girl Scouts and their families should never post identifying information (full names, phone numbers, etc.) on public-facing online sites.

Girls may only use the internet to market the Girl Scout Cookie Program to family and friends – people the girl or her family know personally. When using social media platforms, the account should be set to private.

Public online forums are not approved locations for individuals to post Girl Scout Cookie Program promotions. These include, but are not limited to: Nextdoor, Offer Up, Let Go, Market Place, eBay and Craigslist. Public Facebook pages or personal pages set for public view are the same as public online forums. Personal Facebook accounts with appropriate privacy settings may be used to share information with Facebook ‘friends’, but not to sell cookies or take orders.

All online cookie sales should be sold through Digital Cookie. Digital Cookie allows girls to design personalized online storefronts to share their cookie program goals and invite customers to support them. Customers must receive an email from a Girl Scout; they are unable to go directly to a girl’s storefront. These online storefronts will share cookie and service project goals and customers can see a picture or video of their favorite Girl Scout.

Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?

Yes, currently 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 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 the use palm oil in our cookies continues to be necessary to ensure shelf life, offer customers the highest quality, and to serve as an alternative to trans fats. 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”? What is Girl Scouts’ response to cookie boycotts, and 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 hidden agendas see this as a chance to draw attention to their causes—at the expense of girls.

Although rare, we sometimes encounter people approaching girls/troops during the cookie program purporting false claims about Girl Scouts. We respect the customer’s right to their own opinion and make every effort to ensure the facts are communicated at the same time. These false claims take away from the girls and the important program pieces promoting positive learning. However, we think it is important to provide our supporters and the community-at-large with correct information.

In particular, false claims of a partnership with Planned Parenthood and accusations regarding controversial topics related to Planned Parenthood are two of the issues often raised. It's been nearly a decade since these 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 any political issues. We believe these are matters that are best discussed/handled within the family.
  • 100% of our Council’s cookie proceeds stay with our Council to support our local Girl Scouting efforts.

Does Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine Council have a policy 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 underscore 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. All decisions on how the business is run are made with girl safety a top priority. Both GSACPC and Girl Scouts of the USA provide booth safety guidelines, and we rely on Troop Leaders and parents to uphold them. Our guidelines include a strict adult-girl ratio at booths as well as the recommendation not accept bills larger than $20 or large checks. The Council cookie program guide also suggests troops bring a counterfeit detector pen to booth sales, although it is not mandatory.

What’s the difference between Girls Scouts and Boy Scouts?

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts are two completely different organizations. Only registered Girl Scouts sell Girl Scout Cookies. Girl Scouts serves girls in an all-girl, girl-led and supportive environment. And research shows Girl Scouts offer the best place for her to discover her full potential.


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.