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, click here. Have more questions for Girl Scouts Heart of Central California? Email


  • What is Girl Scouts’ mission?
    • Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
  • Girl Scouts is often described as being “girl-led.” Are parents/guardians involved in their girl’s 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.
  • What is ToGetHerThere?
    • During its 100th year (2012), Girl Scouts of the USA launched ToGetHerThere, the largest, boldest advocacy and fundraising cause campaign dedicated to girls’ leadership issues in the nation’s history. This multiyear effort will help break down societal barriers that hinder girls from leading and achieving success in everything from technology and science to business and industry. The long-term goal of ToGetHerThere is to create balanced leadership in one generation. To do that, Girl Scouts is asking all adult members of society to help girls reach their leadership potential and place this urgent issue front and center on the national agenda.
  • 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 Heart of Central California 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) present a political stance in its materials (Journeys, etc.)?
    • 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 Heart of Central California 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 Heart of Central California do their best to address those concerns.
  • Social Issues

  • Why is there an asterisk next to the “to serve God” portion of the Girl Scout Promise?
    • The Girl Scout organization does not endorse or promote any particular philosophy or religious belief. Our movement is secular and is founded on American democratic principles, one of which is freedom of religion. That is why Girl Scouts provides flexibility in speaking the Girl Scout Promise. An individual member may use the word or words for “God” that best reflect her own spiritual beliefs, which she should discuss with her family.
  • 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 Heart of Central California—does not have a relationship or partnership with Planned Parenthood.
  • Does Girl Scouts Heart of Central California (GSHCC) allow transgender children to join Girl Scouts?
    • Girl Scouts is an all-inclusive organization that welcomes girls of all religions, nationalities and backgrounds who are in grades K-12. If we are approached by a parent/guardian of a transgender child, the situation will be handled on a case-by-case basis with the welfare and best interests of the child AND the members of the troop in question a top priority. Final decisions regarding sensitive membership issues are made by the CEO after careful consideration. Thus far, GSHCC has not received a membership request from a transgender youth.
  • Cookies

  • How does the Girl Scout Cookie Program benefit girls?
    • Besides funding troop activities and council programs, the Girl Scout Cookie Program provides girls with five essential life skills: goal-setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
  • When I buy Girl Scout Cookies, where does the money go?
    • At $4.00 a package, the funds are distributed as follows:

      Girl Scout troops: $0.60-$0.76 per package*
      Cumulative recognition items and Cookie Credits for girls**: $0.135
      Cookie baker: $0.956 in 2014
      GSHCC program activities for girls, membership, financial assistance and Outreach Program: $1.977
      GSHCC general, administrative and fund development activities: $0.316

      Girl Scouts is a not-for-profit organization. All revenues support essential services for girls and troops including program resources and communication support, training adult volunteers and conducting special events for girls. The council’s management and administrative expenses are 9.5% of our total operating costs.

      Please see this flier from GSUSA for more information about funds from Girl Scout Cookies.

      *When a troop registers early for Girl Scouts and participates in both the Fall Magazine and Nuts Program and the Girl Scout Cookie Program, they can increase the funds they earn per cookie package.

      **When Girl Scouts sell cookies they also can earn cumulative recognition items (including an iPad, Electra Cruiser bicycle, digital camera, iTouch and more) as well as Cookie Credits, which they can use to pay for membership fees, program events, badges, books and other items in the Girl Scout Shop.
  • Who bakes Girl Scout Cookies?
    • Currently, two commercial bakers are licensed by Girl Scouts of the USA to produce Girl Scout Cookies: ABC Bakers and Little Brownie Bakers. Girl Scouts Heart of Central California has worked with both bakers and currently works with ABC Bakers.
  • Why are Samoas now called Caramel deLites? (or) Why are Trefoils now called Shortbread?
    • Girl Scout councils choose their licensed baker, either Little Brownie Bakers or ABC Bakers. Each of the licensed Girl Scout cookie bakers owns its cookie names, except Thin Mints and Trefoils, which Girl Scouts of the USA owns. So a cookie like the Trefoil / Shortbread may look and taste similar but what they are called in your community depends on which baker the council works with. Girl Scouts Heart of Central California currently gets its cookies from ABC Bakers. See all of the flavors Girl Scouts Heart of Central California members sell by visiting
  • What happened to the Girl Scout cookie packaging?
    • During the 2013 Girl Scout Cookie Program, Girl Scouts of the USA updated and redesigned its cookie packages to feature a harmonized and more contemporary look featuring current photos showing the breadth of Girl Scout activities. The new packages also list the five skills girls learn by taking part in the cookie program: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills and business ethics.
  • How much does a box of Girl Scout Cookies cost? Has the price increased?
    • Girl Scout Cookies sold by girls in the Girl Scouts Heart of Central California (GSHCC) council are $4.00 per package. The last per-box price increase to GSHCC’s general population was in 2009. It increased from $3.50 to $4.00. This decision was based on analysis, budget impact and an increase number of resources needed to deliver the Girl Scout Mission of building girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place.
  • What happens to unsold Girl Scout Cookies?
    • To date, all decisions about cookie inventory are made at the local level. Currently, Girl Scouts Heart of Central California 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 are used at council program events.
  • Are there any preservatives or partially hydrogenated oils (trans fats) in Girl Scout Cookies?
    • Girl Scout Cookies do not contain any added preservatives. Girl Scouts of the USA is also proud that all Girl Scout Cookies are “zero trans fat per serving.”
  • Are there GMOs in Girl Scout Cookies?
    • Girl Scouts listens to our customers, and we work with our trusted bakers, who are industry leaders, to develop recipes 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.

      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 recognizes that many people have concerns regarding GMO ingredients, and we monitor member and consumer opinion on this matter. It is important to note that there is worldwide scientific support for the safety of currently commercialized ingredients derived from genetically modified agricultural crops. The World Health Organization, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, the U.S. National Academy of Sciences, and the American Medical Association all share this assessment.
  • Why is there palm oil in Girl Scout Cookies?
    • In order to eliminate trans-fats from cookies, the licensed Girl Scout cookie bakers informed GSUSA that palm oil was the best alternative. While GSUSA continues to explore other alternatives, at this time, there are no viable or readily available alternatives on the market. Our licensed bakers are members of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) and exclusively source palm oil from members of the RSPO, an organization of growers, buyers, manufacturers, conservationists and interested parties who are striving to develop and follow best practices to ensure sustainability. The bakers also purchase GreenPalm certificates covering 100% of the palm oil used in Girl Scout Cookies.

      GSUSA and our licensed bakers are committed to using as little palm oil as possible in Girl Scout Cookies and have committed to continued research into viable alternatives. Please visit or to read more on the bakers' published statements and positions on palm oil.
  • Are there any new cookie flavors in 2014?
    • Yes. This year we have two!

      ABC Bakers is introducing Cranberry Citrus Crisps. The Cranberry Citrus Crisps are made with whole grain, full of tangy cranberry bits and zesty citrus flavor. A sweet addition for the new cookie season: this crispy cookie is filled with 9 grams of whole grain! Made with real fruit, this new cookie has no high-fructose corn syrup, and no artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners.

      Select troops within Girl Scouts Heart of Central California are also participating in a gluten free cookie pilot program through ABC Bakers, which introduces a limited supply of Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Shortbread—delicious bite-sized shortbread cookies made with real chocolate chips and butter. This new cookie has no artificial colors, no artificial flavors, no high-fructose corn syrup, no palm oil, and no hydrogenated oils. ABC Bakers will assess the results of the pilot after the first year and determine next steps.
  • Where can I buy Girl Scout Cookies? Where are booth sales?
    • During preorders, you are able to order cookies from a Girl Scout you know. Once booth sales begin, Girl Scouts sell Girl Scout Cookies outside of local storefronts such as grocery stores, coffee shops, community centers, etc.

      GSHCC’s 56 service units are responsible for securing booth sale locations within each of their service unit boundaries. The safety of the troops and girls is the top priority when securing locations. GSHCC Girl Scouts do not sell Girl Scout Cookies at bars, liquor stores, casinos or medical marijuana dispensaries.

      Find a booth sale near you by visiting:




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