Voicing gratitude for the work that Catholic Girl Scout troops have done to serve girls and the wider community for many years, Bishop Rhoades also recognized in his recent letter that some important questions remain unanswered on both the local and national levels.
He reiterated his intent “to keep the bishops apprised of the Committee’s ongoing consideration of this matter.”
Bishop Rhoades said that the committee hopes to offer resources for “local level use” by bishops, priests, youth ministers and educational leaders.
These resources “may include considerations related to the identity of Catholic troops and considerations that may be helpful for parents,” he explained.
Furthermore, he said, the committee has recommended having staff from the bishops’ conference work with the National Federation for Catholic Youth Ministry to identify and address and remaining questions or concerns that remain at the local level.
The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops declined to comment on the matter with the Girl Scouts because it is ongoing.
However, the controversy has led some families to pull their daughters out of Girl Scouts and turn instead to other organizations that offer some of the same activities for young girls, but with a Christian approach.
American Heritage Girls, a Judeo-Christian focused girls organization, was founded in 1995 in Ohio by a group of parents seeking “a wholesome program for their daughters” to contrast the secular options available.
The organization has grown to more than 19,000 members in 45 states.
Recent years have also brought significant growth for the Little Flowers Girls' Club, a Catholic program for girls aimed at promoting virtue by exploring saints, Scripture and the Catechism.
Started in 1993 by a Catholic mom of 11, Little Flowers now has some 50 registered groups throughout the U.S. and Canada, although registration is optional, as the groups are run at the local level.
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The group says that it “strives to bring the Catholic faith alive and inspire the girls to become authentic Catholic women.”