When I asked them if they were just doing the bidding of their pro-life mom, as Salon accused, Sydney told me: "We have passion for the pro-life cause on our own. We are old enough so that we can form our own opinions. Teenagers are not all as apathetic as society seems to think; we can care enough about something to take action. This is something that we cared about, so we took action and made this website because we wanted to."
Sydney and Tess are finding their voices at a time when they're far from alone among young people, and young women. Tess points to Lila Rose, the 22-year-old who has made an early name for herself doing independent pro-life undercover work: "I am inspired by the many amazing women who fight for life in our culture today. One who stands out is Lila Rose. Her commitment and courage are very motivating. We found in person that Lila is not only bold and courageous, but also very kind and compassionate."
The Volanski sisters' new attitude to the Girl Scouts puts them in a growing crowd. Patti Garibay is the national executive director of American Heritage Girls, which has grown in the years since its 1995 founding from simply an alternative to the Girl Scouts to the more fitting sister group to the Boy Scouts. Just this year, the Boy Scouts joined American Heritage in a joint "memorandum of mutual support." Garibay explains some commonalities between the two groups, "AHG and BSA are both centered on a duty to God, we are 'owned' by our charter partners, thus allowing our programs to serve as a ministry of the church, we are structured the same, AHG leaders use the BSA youth protection and outdoor skills training to name a few."
And, she adds, in response to some of the critics of those concerned about GS mission creep: "Yes, girls need to know about sexuality but why not within a moral framework of faith, family, and church." You can't build character without a moral barometer, Garibay argues.
Anna Halpine, who founded the World Youth Alliance adds: "A lot of good organizations affiliate with (Planned Parenthood) both nationally, (locally) and internationally, since they are the big banner organization that is promoting women and girls, and claiming to advocate their health and healthy lifestyles. I think that many of these groups would find their local and national chapters agitating to form alliances with other groups if those were available to them. In essence; we need an alternative to the current options."
It can be hard to be a good girl in our often over-sexualized culture. But it looks like the girls -- bolstered by parents or church or other prevailing bastions of sanity -- might just blaze the paths themselves.
You go, girls! And like in a Taylor Swift song or two, the guys might just follow -- and appreciate it more than you know.
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