Girl Scouts reminds parents their daughters 'don't owe anyone a hug'
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Discussions about consent have taken the forefront, however we often overlook that issues regarding consent can stem from childhood. What happens to girls at a young age can shape their outlook in life when they are adults. A girl who feels that her body is her own will likely retain that attitude in adulthood, which makes it important to instill that mentality at a young age.

The Girl Scouts of the USA tweeted a note about this to parents. "Reminder: She doesn't owe anyone a hug. Not even at the holidays," the organization wrote.


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While hugging family members and friends is non-sexual, it could have a lasting impact on the child. "Think of it this way, telling your child that she owes someone a hug either just because she hasn't seen this person in a while or because they gave her a gift can set the stage for her questioning whether she 'owes' another person any type of physical affection when they've bought her dinner or done something else seemingly nice for her later in life," the Girl Scouts wrote in a blog post.

The Girls Scouts urged parents to let their daughters be in charge of how and when they want to show affection. "Give your girl the space to decide when and how she wants to show affection. Of course, many children may naturally want to hug and kiss family members, friends, and neighbors, and that's lovely — but if your daughter is reticent, consider letting her choose what to do," the blog post advised.

The Girl Scouts did add a caveat to their advice. "Of course, this doesn't give her license to be rude!" wrote the post. However, they presented other ways daughters can be polite to family members while still feeling they control their own bodies. "There are many other ways to show appreciation, thankfulness, and love that don't require physical contact. Saying how much she's missed someone or thank you with a smile, a high-five, or even an air kiss are all ways she can express herself, and it's important that she knows she gets to choose which feels most comfortable to her," the organization wrote.

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While some were critical of the Girl Scouts of the USA's post, many Twitter users welcomed the advice.






A USA Today poll on Twitter asked what people think of the Girls Scouts of the USA's advice. A majority of respondents agreed with it.


How you raise your daughter has a lasting impact. It's important to raise her feeling she's in charge of her own body, and avoid consent issues when she's older. Everyone has the right to say no, no matter how old you are.

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When Molly Reeser was a student at Michigan State University, she took a job mucking horse stalls to help pay for classes. While she was there, she met a 10-year-old girl named Casey, who was being treated for cancer, and — because both were animal lovers — they became fast friends.

Two years later, Casey died of cancer.

"Everyone at the barn wanted to do something to honor her memory," Molly remembers. A lot of suggestions were thrown out, but Molly knew that there was a bigger, more enduring way to do it.

"I saw firsthand how horses helped Casey and her family escape from the difficult and terrifying times they were enduring. I knew that there must be other families who could benefit from horses in the way she and her family had."

Molly approached the barn owners and asked if they would be open to letting her hold a one-day event. She wanted to bring pediatric cancer patients to the farm, where they could enjoy the horses and peaceful setting. They agreed, and with the help of her closest friends and the "emergency" credit card her parents had given her, Molly created her first Camp Casey. She worked with the local hospital where Casey had been a patient and invited 20 patients, their siblings and their parents.

The event was a huge success — and it was originally meant to be just that: a one-day thing. But, Molly says, "I believe Casey had other plans."

One week after the event, Molly received a letter from a five-year-old boy who had brain cancer. He had been at Camp Casey and said it was "the best day of his life."

"[After that], I knew that we had to pull it off again," Molly says. And they did. Every month for the next few years, they threw a Camp Casey. And when Molly graduated, she did the most terrifying thing she had ever done and told her parents that she would be waitressing for a year to see if it might be possible to turn Camp Casey into an actual nonprofit organization. That year of waitressing turned into six, but in the end she was able to pull it off: by 2010, Camp Casey became a non-profit with a paid staff.

"I am grateful for all the ways I've experienced good luck in my life and, therefore, I believe I have a responsibility to give back. It brings me tremendous joy to see people, animals, or things coming together to create goodness in a world that can often be filled with hardships."

Camp Casey serves 1500 children under the age of 18 each year in Michigan. "The organization looks different than when it started," Molly says. "We now operate four cost-free programs that bring accessible horseback riding and recreational services to children with cancer, sickle cell disease, and other life-threatening illnesses."

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