Guest Blog: Girl Scouts in the Inaugural Parade

by Ann Robertson, Chair, Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital Archives & History Committee 

The official lineup for the 2017 Inaugural Parade has been announced, and the backlash has begun. I was not surprised that the Girl Scouts are being criticized for participating, but I am very alarmed at the calls to boycott Girl Scout cookie sales.
I, too, was disappointed with the presidential election results, but I still think the Girl Scouts should participate for six reasons:
1. Because We Serve Our Country.
We are a non-partisan organization that promotes civic education.  According to Girl Scouts Nation’s Capital: “The event is a symbol of our democracy and the peaceful transition of power. This year, the Presidential Inaugural Committee offered the opportunity for 75 Girl Scouts to march in the parade.”  presidential_inauguration_2013Girl Scout greeters at the 2013 Inauguration (GSCNC Archives)
2. Because We Respect Authority
The Girl Scout Law also instructs us to respect authority. That means to respect the office, if not the office holder.
3. Because We Teach Resilience
With elections, one side loses. Deal with it. We need to teach girls to lose with grace. If they don’t like the outcome, get up and do something about it.  Don’t go home and pout.
4. Because We Keep Our Commitments
We should march because we made a commitment to march—a commitment to the Inaugural Committee and a commitment to the girls who applied and were selected. There are much fewer opportunities for Girl Scouts this year. While for past Inaugurations Girl Scouts were posted at metro stations and other locations to provide information and directions, this year they were only invited to participate in the parade.
5. Because It Was a Struggle to Participate
Girl Scouts have marched in Inaugural Parades since 1917, but it was a major struggle to win that privilege. Parade organizers didn’t think delicate young girls could stand the physical demands of marching, and we actually had to audition in advance.
WP Feb 24 1917

6. Because the best defense against a powerful misogynist is to raise a generation of strong, confident young women.