OAK HARBOR, Wash. — Girl Scout troop 45107 out of Oak Harbor is leading a nationwide petition to make the Girl Scouts accessible for any girl.
“The idea of Girl Scouts is to be a leader and be girl-led and that is what the great part of this project has been, is watching these girls come up with this idea that really will affect all Girl Scouts,” says mom and troop leader Kim Graves.
In order to earn their bronze award, the girls say, they wanted to affect as many people as possible.
“The girls chose to petition the Girl Scouts of the United States because they are raising their membership costs this year. The $15, now the $25 next year, goes directly to GSUSA, we don’t see any of that,” says Graves.
Graves says her troop fears the $10 increase will crumble the hopes of current and future Girl Scouts around the country. She says not every family can afford this. So, in true Girl Scout fashion, Troop 45107 is taking a stand with their online petition.
They are hoping to ease the increase in dues from an extra $10 to just an extra $3 -- a total of $18 per kid.
“For some people it’s not a big deal, but for some people it is and a lot of councils do offer financial aid programs, but not all do,” says Graves.
The Girl Scouts of Western WA says it provided financial aid for kids here in this area -- nearly $500,000 over the last membership year.
“A lot of troops pay for their Girl Scout memberships. Our troop does pay for our girls for every year out of our cookie proceeds,” says Graves.
At $5 a box, Graves says the troop only gets to keep 80 cents per box.
“That money goes to the baker, it goes to the council, it goes to Girls Scouts of USA”, says Graves.
Factor in the cost of uniforms, badges, activities and supplies, which Graves says is partially covered by parents, some covered by the troop itself, and the cost can really stack up.
“We don’t want other Girl Scouts that don’t have that much money to not feel welcome,” says Girl Scout Rylee Burlington.
We reached out to GSUSA Wednesday night, but had not heard back.
The Girl Scouts of Western WA says the increase in dues is not supposed to take effect until October. They also say every box of cookies sold this weekend will help provide financial assistance to girls who couldn’t otherwise participate.
If you'd like to sign Troop 45107's online petition to raise the membership fee to only a maximum of $18 a year, please click here.