The Girl Scout’s Response…

 

 

 

 

Daisy Scout told she couldn't tell her friends about GMOs in Girl Scout CookiesI know some of you are wondering what has happened since I wrote the post Why My Daughter will NOT be Selling Girl Scout Cookies.

And I know that many of my loyal Facebook Fans have been wondering exactly what happened in my meeting with my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop leaders and Noreen Halpern, the Regional Membership Director for the Western New York Girl Scout Council, on Friday afternoon.

This letter is my response. I have left out names to protect the girls’ privacy.

 

 

Dear parents of Girl Scout Troop ________:

Some of you may be aware that I decided not to allow [The Pixie] to participate in the Girl Scout Cookie sale this year. We felt that we had no other option as Girl Scout Cookies contain GMOs which are harmful to the people who eat them and dangerous for the environment. We felt that to participate in the cookie sale would actually be a violation of the Girl Scout’s own Law.

(I wrote an article explaining our decision which you can read here –> Why my Daughter will NOT be Selling Girl Scout Cookies.

Many people do not know what GMOs –Genetically Modified Organisms—are, or the dangers they pose. People may have heard a few soundbites from mainstream media, possibly including phrases like “exciting new technology” and “feed the world.”

As a health and nutrition/urban homesteading blogger, I am in a unique position to understand what GMOs do to the people who eat them and to the environment. Interestingly, GMOs do not even live up to their “feed the world” boasts; mostly they just feed the pockets of big seed, fertilizer, and pesticide companies.

Early in the school year I discussed with all three leaders my concerns about selling Girl Scout Cookies. I explained that [The Pixie] would not be selling cookies; and they assured me they understood my concerns. We discussed looking at alternative fundraisers for next year.

I agreed to not interfere with this year’s Cookie Sale… and I would like to take a moment to apologize to all of you for agreeing to that. I should have explained what my concerns were, so that you could have made an informed decision regarding whether or not your daughters would be participating in this year’s Cookie Sale.

Allow me to take a moment to remedy my mistake.

A Genetically Modified Organism is something that has the DNA of another plant, animal, bacteria, or virus forcibly inserted into it. An example would be frog DNA inserted into an orange to make it more disease resistant. The resulting “orange” might look and taste like an orange, but it isn’t really an orange anymore; it is part frog.

More to the point, the bakers of Girl Scout Cookies have chosen to use genetically modified sugar beets (in addition to other GMO ingredients) in their cookies, rather than pure cane sugar. GMO sugar beets have been modified to survive even though certain herbicides (such as Roundup) are sprayed directly onto the plant. There is no real way to wash these herbicides off, yet the food is drenched in it. In addition to being linked to the deaths of millions of bees and butterflies, Roundup has been shown to cause birth defects, cancer, and is a hormone disruptor. There is no way of knowing what level of exposure will cause these effects in any individual person.

(In this country, the vast majority of the soy, cotton, canola, sugar beets, and corn crops are genetically modified. There is no requirement that they be labeled, and unless you are taking steps to avoid them, yes, you are eating GMOs.)

This is why our family avoids foods with GMOs in them; we choose foods that are verified GMO-free, certified organic, or come from farmers we know and trust.

Of course, [The Pixie] is five; she isn’t really able to distinguish something that causes slow and chronic illness and something that will immediately hurt her friends. She just knows that we do not eat foods containing GMOs because they are dangerous, and that we will not participate in selling them.

It is my understanding that during [this week’s] meeting she told some friends that they shouldn’t eat or sell Girl Scout Cookies because they are “poison” – her word – and that some of the girls were (understandably) upset.  It is also my understanding that [Leader B] tried to explain to the girls about moderation and healthy food choices, but in the end told [The Pixie] that her “mommy was wrong” –again, [The Pixie’s] words, which I extracted, with some difficulty, from [The Pixie] as we walked home after the meeting while I watched tear drops freeze on her little eyelashes.

(Do you remember how cold it was [this week]?)

Now, I am truly sorry if [The Pixie] upset your daughters. Believe me, she is very concerned for her friends, and only wants them to be safe.

I am not exactly pleased at the idea that [Leader B] told [The Pixie] that I am wrong, though I can understand that Girl Scout meetings are not scripted, and people don’t always say the perfect thing under stress. And no one knows better than me how difficult it is to shut [The Pixie] up when she is concerned about something.

What did upset me, however, was when [Leader B] came up to me after the meeting and explained the situation to me. She wanted me to make sure that [The Pixie] didn’t mention why we weren’t selling Girl Scout Cookies again, and especially that she never use the word “poison.” While “poison” is not the word I would choose to use when explaining healthy food choices to a group of kindergarteners and first graders… [The Pixie] is not wrong, and I told [Leader B] that I wouldn’t tell [The Pixie] any such thing. Learning to stand up for your beliefs—even if they are uncomfortable or unpopular—is an important lesson that all our girls need to learn.

Our Troop leaders, however, seem to disagree.

On Friday [Leader L] invited me to a meeting with Noreen Halpern of the Girl Scouts of Western New York to “discuss my issues.” I was under the impression that this was going to be a meaningful dialogue regarding my concerns and might even be a step in persuading the Girl Scouts to change their GMO policy in the future.

Instead… it was like being brought up before the headmistress for being a naughty schoolgirl. They were uninterested in, and completely unwilling to even listen to my concerns. Their only concern was that I never mention anything negative about Girl Scout Cookies again. They assured me that [The Pixie] was a most welcome member of the troop—provided she leaves her beliefs, and our family’s opinions, behind.

In short, I was told to shut up, or get out.

As you may have guessed from this letter, I am withdrawing [The Pixie] from Girl Scouts. I no longer have faith in the troop leadership who seem to value “fitting in”—and making their cookie quota—over ethics, morals, the emotional well being of my daughter.

I’m afraid I expect more from the Girl Scouts—on a National level, on a local level, and from our own leaders.

Indeed, they set up the meeting with the obvious intention of bullying me into silence. And worse yet, they demanded that I silence [The Pixie].

What sort of message is this? That we bully people who have different views? That we must ignore our morals to fit into the crowd?

The Girl Scouts state that “Girl Scouting helps cultivate values, social conscience, and self-esteem in girls while enriching them with valuable and positive life experiences.” It would seem, however, this noble statement basically translates to, “Shut up and sell your cookies.”

I encourage each of you to contact me if you have any questions about GMOs or health and nutrition in general.

Thank you for your understanding,

Christine Carnahan

Proud mother of [The Pixie]

If you liked this article, please share it!  You are most welcome to borrow either picture, provided that you link back to this article.

And many thanks for all the support!

 

Tell the Girl Scout to get "Poison" out of their Cookies!

 

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 I shared this article on Tuesdays with a Twist, Natural Living Monday, and with The Real Food Renegade, and Urban Naturale. And on Real Food Fridays.

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25 Responses to The Girl Scout’s Response…

  1. Dear Christine,
    (I hope it is okay if I call you by your first name!) Thank you so much for standing up! We are friends with the girl scout Alicia Serratos, who is out in California battling the girl scouts. My friend Zen and I set up Moms Across America to help spread the word about GMOs. It seems like you are brave and determined to protect our population from eating foods that can cause them harm. This whole “GMOs have been proven safe” thing is a just a bunch of malarkey! I was wondering if you might like to sign on to Moms Across America to be a leader for a parade in your town to raise awareness about the need to label GMOs? If so, we would LOVE to have you on board! Our website is momsacrossamerica.com. Just go to “actions” and sign up to either lead a parade or join into one that already has a leader. ANY parade in any town is eligible. Gather a group, host a DVD party to educate about GMOs, and then just get ready to hold a banner and wear a t-shirt and pass out flyers so that people can learn about GMOs. Or at least, they will scratch their heads and start to investigate. What we want is to spark awareness and curiosity. Moms buy 85% of the groceries. Let’s get them to stop buying foods containing GMOs!! Please jump on board with us- we could really use your help!! You are RIGHT. Thank you for not backing down. My three boys have autoimmune issues that have never before been seen in our family- and food allergies. Zen’s kids have food allergies and other issues. We have HAD IT. We have both seen improvement in our family’s health since going off of GMOs and we have been collecting hundreds of stories from others whose health has improved as well. We are collecting stories, and WE WILL NOT STOP!!! Those ladies who bullied you will be sorry one day when the truth is revealed. Which it will be. (P.S. We did not sell the Boy Scout popcorn this year, either!)
    Sincerely, Kathleen Hallal, CO-Founder, Moms Across America

    • onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

      Hi Kathleen!
      Of course you may call me Christine! 🙂
      Thanks for the information… I well definitely be looking into it!

  2. Monica Bradbury-Lareau says:

    Withdrawing her?! Why aren’t you taking it up a level?

  3. Barbara Michalik says:

    I will NOT buy any of the Girl Scout Cookies. What they did is NOT RIGHT. People speak without doing any researching. They do not know of all the dangers that lay ahead for their children, eating all this CRAP. When my grandson and I go shopping (he is 9) we check labels to see if they are Organic – Non GMO – Grass Fed Meat…. etc.
    Why can’t the Girl Scout Cookies, put out at least one NON GMO cookie??? It is all about GREED and NOT HEALTH. It is so sad to read your letter. I can’t imagine what your child went thru and give you and your child a lot of credit to take a stand .

  4. Christine says:

    Hi Christine. (Me too, I am a Christine!) Thanks for standing up to your Girl Scout troops. Lately, I have been cringing at the mere mention of Girl Scout cookies, knowing fully well that it IS poison. It may not be a fast death as most hope for, but definitely a long and painful death. It wouldn’t matter if The Pixie could speak coherently to her former leaders about the cons of GMOs, ignorant people will stay ignorant when money is at hand. It’s too bad, and too unfortunate. When the little one gets old enough in a few years, I hope that the trend will have changed to where I could feel actually proud to have her included in what was once considered to me, a support group of leadership and moral values.

    • onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

      Hi Christine! (I *love* saying “hi” to someone named Christine!)
      Thank you for your comment! I had such a great experience in Girl Scouts… I really wanted my daughter to have one, too… But I don’t mind taking her camping myself!
      But I do hope the Girl Scouts get things figured out. It is… was… could be again such a great organization!

  5. Pingback: Why my Daughter will NOT be Selling Girl Scouts Cookies » Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

  6. I’m sorry you’re going through this – it can be really hard to get the message across and yes, some people are more interested in conformity and making money than anything else.

    (((hugs))) I hope your withdrawal helps the other parents to think a little on their own choices – it’s something we struggle with too – my eldest daughter is quite strong-minded and will say no, but my youngest son, he’s not so good at this, it can be really hard to make a stand. x

    • onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

      Oh! Thanks for the hug! I needed it! 🙂

      I love your blog, by the way. *clicks to go poking around some more*

  7. Pamm Larry says:

    You are officially one of my heroes. Keep on keeping on. How can we support you? Do you know Monica Serratos and her mom?

    • onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

      Goodness! Thank you! 🙂
      I didn’t really start out looking for “hero” status… mostly I just didn’t want my daughter to sell Girl Scout Cookies and wrote an article explaining why. I am still a little confused as to why the Girl Scouts decided to make such a big deal of it… or why they wanted me to silence my Pixie!
      As for what you can do to help… please spread the word! You (and anyone else) is most welcome to use either of the pictures in this article, or any of the ones in “Why my Daughter will NOT be Selling Girl Scout Cookies” — provided you link back to the article — to help get the word out. I have already looked at your page and “liked” it on Facebook!
      Monica has been very supportive through all this!!! 🙂
      I really appreciate your support!

  8. THANK YOU for your COURAGE!!! Your daughter is absolutely right and you should be a proud mother. I am honored that you shared @ Back to the Basics and intend to share this with everyone. Thank you Thank you Thank you!

  9. Pingback: My Week on Wednesday… February 5 » Once Upon a Time in a Bed of Wildflowers

  10. Marla says:

    I applaud you and your daughter for standing up for what you believe is right. We need more people like you in this world that teach there children and you are teaching your child. I believe GMO’s are such a health dangers. Thanks for sharing on Real Food Fridays!

  11. Hi Christine,
    As a former Girl Scout, I am appalled at the hypocrisy of the Girl Scout leaders and the organization. Their unwillingness to consider your well-documented arguments against including GMOs in Girl Scout cookies reflects their basic greed and disregard for the young girls who eat and sell those cookies–as well as their customers. I am so proud of the stance you took, and your daughter will benefit by learning to stand up for what she believes in. That is the quality of character the Girl Scouts organization should be helping to build in young girls. Instead, they are contributing to a possible future of serious health issues. They certainly do not live up to the Girl Scout pledge that I used to spout with pride. Keep up the fight! You are an amazing role model!

  12. onceuponatimeinabedofwildflowers says:

    Thanks, Deborah! Your kind words always bring a smile to my face! 🙂

  13. Janknitz says:

    Good for you, Christine! Your daughter will learn a lot from your willingness to stand up for your beliefs. Did you get any response from other parents?

    My daughter is a biology major and one thing she learned about GMO’s I did not know. In some instances, they distinguish newly created GMO genes from others is to make them resistant to particular antibiotics. When they treat the plant with the antibiotic, the genes which are not resistant die and the resistant GMO genes survive. They are supposed to be using antibiotics that are not the ones used to treat human illnesses, but they may be close enough to add to the problems with antibiotic resistance in the resistant bacteria infecting humans. There is a lot of controversy about whether or not the use of antibiotics in GMO’s poses a threat, but we probably won’t know for sure for decades.

    See, for example: http://hawaiiseed.org/about-gmos/antibiotic-resistance/

    I can’t believe what is happening to our environment, and applaud people like you who stand up for things like this.

    (I think you should send your story to one of the national networks–it would play great on Good Morning America!).

  14. thank you so much for sharing this @ REAL Food Fridays! You’ve been featured tonight @ Mary’s Kitchen! Come on over and link up with us.

  15. Liz says:

    as a troop leader (going on 13 years now) I feel saddened that you felt you were not being listened to and that you felt you had to pull your daughter out of scouts. did you know that you can register your daughter individually and do scouting activities on your own? while I love the organization has a whole, I have come across a lot of bull headed attitudes from council staff myself over the years, but I have stayed in, knowing I am making a difference for the girls in my troops! I hope you can get them to change their ways!

  16. You get my Mom of the Year award! I loved reading this. I think a new tribe of Girl Scouts needs to be started. One where the girls are encouraged to learn more about nature, and nurturing their own bodies, along with earning merits for activities like: starting a garden, foraging for wild edibles, learning how to leave no trace when camping, preparing healthy (non-GMO) treats for hiking expeditions, and volunteering at animal shelters.

    Kudos to you for standing up for what is right!

    Andrea Wyckoff
    “Betty Rawker”

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