For years my daughter has wanted to be in Girl Scouts…and consistently I’ve said no. For one reason and one reason alone, why should she have to sell cookies that she can’t even eat? I know that Girl Scouts is about much more than the cookies, including service, community, etc… So is barring her from Girl Scouts selfish? Maybe. Am I a bitter person, no. But it does bring back the sadness in me that she may never be able to eat those cookies. It’s also the “relator” and the “consistency” inside me that cannot deal with the Girl Scout’s biggest fundraiser (dare I say American rite of passage?) being something she cannot even fully participate in.
This all comes up after an online article came across this morning from Terri’s Special Children Blog. The author poses the question: should the Girl Scouts should stop selling the cookies not only because kids with food allergies and sensitivities feel left out, but also for health reasons.
Are kids on gluten- or soy-free diets bummed that they can sell Girl Scout Cookies but can’t eat them? Do kids with peanut allergies feel funny peddling something that would be poison to them? Is the mass distribution of sugary baked goods even something that children should be involved with these days? I know the quickest way to be called a killjoy is to suggest that a great American food institution should be sacrificed to preserve the health of kids with dietary restrictions, whether it’s a peanut-butter sandwich for lunch or a peanut-filled cookie at snack time. Still, given the number of health problems associated with the ingredients in cookies, from allergens to sugar to food colorings to fats, perhaps stuffing pantries full of cookie boxes once a year isn’t what a responsible youth organization should be about.
Amen! Terri Mauro’s reasoning about the “feeling left out issue” was much more well thought out than my “because my kid can’t have it” reason. Ultimately her blog does ask, what could possibly replace the Girl Scout Cookie? She admits, “Girl Scout Carrots? Girl Scout Citrus? Not quite as fund-raisingly irresistible as Thin Mints, for sure.”
A Future Gluten-Free Girl Scout Cookie?
Will there ever be a gluten-free version of a Girl Scout cookie? I actually do have hope there will be some day. The statement Gluten Free Raleigh received from the Girl Scouts of America confirmed the organization is looking into it, but it appears that while it hasn’t gotten past “Research and Development discussions”, the Girl Scouts is “always looking at whether [it] might be able to meet those needs.”
By the time the Girl Scouts come up with a gluten-free cookie, my nearly 10-year-old daughter could very well be in high school. So as a result I don’t ever see her suddenly joining up because they suddenly have a gluten-free cookie. But if we’re lucky, maybe she’ll be a part of the American rite of passage in a different way: by buying some gluten-free cookies when Girl Scouts come knocking on her door some day.