I am an Ambassador in the Girl Scouts and am working on my Gold Award. I work with my local service unit. I co-lead a troop of seventh-graders. I work as a counselor for the local Girl Scouts day camp. And I would like to set the record straight about some things (“Boy Scouts change name to open door to girls,” May 3).

First of all, Girl Scouts USA is not in financial trouble; in fact, we’re doing amazing. Second, there are no plans for GSUSA and the Boy Scouts of America to combine. The Boy Scouts have decided that not enough people are joining and want to capitalize on the Girls Scouts’ success by allowing girls to join.

Girl Scouts is an organization focused on empowering the next generation of women, and we are doing an amazing job at it. I would not be who I am without it. I personally know 51 girls who would be willing to go on record about how Girl Scouts shapes who you are.

The more girls who join the Boy Scouts, the more Girl Scouts suffers. I am pleading with all girls and parents who are considering joining the Boy Scouts, please stick with the Girl Scouts. We will not let you down. We will teach you not only how to cook, sew and do crafts, but also how to camp, carve wood, shoot archery and start a fire, and how to be a leader, how to stand up for yourself and others, how to respect the environment, and how to love yourself for exactly who you are. These are all things I have learned, and I promise you that you will never regret joining the Girl Scouts.

I understand that Boy Scouts is glamorous and gets a lot of recognition, but Girl Scouts has more heart. We have the passion and the drive to get up at 6 in the morning and go sell cookies, to sing our hearts out at camp, to keep practicing that knot until we get it perfect, and to never give up, no matter how many girls we lose. The Boy Scouts can try and poach our members, but we will never stop fighting for our girls and making sure that they get the full Girl Scouts experience and learn everything they possibly can.

So girls, stick with it. It’s the best decision you’ll ever make.

Alexandra Schaible, Lakeville


Yes, there have been abuses, but here’s the other side

I realize that elder abuse is a sensitive subject to many people, because there certainly have been cases of severe abuse of elderly people under the care of nursing homes and/or individuals. I don’t for a moment condone any of that. But there is another side to the story that I’m not hearing anyone talk about: that of those who work tirelessly in the care of the elderly with compassion and love.

I don’t know of anyone in any workplace who comes under such close and detailed observance as those working in most nursing homes. Maybe the problem is that not all homes have such scrutiny, but the ones I’m aware of certainly do.

I challenge anyone who doesn’t think that most homes give great care to spend one week watching just what these workers do. Because the pay is generally low, there are often no health care benefits; they almost daily work short-staffed, and they often get pooped on, peed on, thrown up on, bled on, bitten, punched, kicked and called names. They do not respond in any negative way, because they realize the residents are not always “with it” and don’t really mean it. Plus, it’s part of their job to just respond kindly. And most of them do.

I know this because both my parents were in nursing homes for a long time, and I was able to observe a great deal. While there are abuses, I just want to give a shout-out to those dedicated workers who labor daily in nursing homes to care for residents they genuinely care about. They wouldn’t do that job if they didn’t care. They could go somewhere else and have less stress and probably better pay. Please just remember those good folks when people begin to lump all nursing-home workers as being abusive and uncaring.

Dyann Schumacher, Glenwood, Minn.


His wife, in his defense, continues her indifference

Does Camille Cosby believe that the Constitution and its amendments should stop the media from reporting news about sexual assault victims? (“Wife: Cosby convicted by ‘mob justice, not real justice,’ ” StarTribune.com, May 3; read her full statement at tinyurl.com/camille-cosby.) Her husband, comedian Bill Cosby, got his fair trial, and the jury convicted him. The jury did not have access to the media. The prosecutor was a black woman. What are the “barricades preventing dissemination of the truth”? Was it the judge?

Emmett Till, whom she references, had one false accuser. Bill Cosby had 60 accusers. Darryl Hunt, whom she also references, was innocent, but does that mean we shouldn’t have criminal trials anymore? Is she arguing that victims should not be allowed to testify in court because a victim lied in court in 1955?

Camille should direct her outrage at Bill. He had been sexually assaulting women almost from the beginning of their 53-year marriage. Was she in the dark for decades? Did she know something was going on? She should look at the list of sexual assaults and ask herself: “Where was I when this happened?” How did 60 women know to lie about the assaults on days when Camille wasn’t there?

Think about this: Sixty women who are not friends and didn’t know each other have accused Bill Cosby of sexual assault. They come from different cities and occupations. The only thing they have in common is that at some point they crossed paths with Bill Cosby. The circumstances of the assaults are similar, usually involving quaaludes.

Camille Cosby hitched her wagon to Bill Cosby 53 years ago. She is Mrs. Bill Cosby. Everything she has — money, homes, prestige and self-worth — is tied to him. Nobody wants to admit that their whole life is going down the toilet with a scumbag husband. She needs to take some of her millions and go see a psychiatrist. And then make an appointment with a divorce attorney. But she may just decide to live the rest of her life willfully blind to the truth.

John Wong, Edina


Even in coverage of accused killers, there’s gender bias

We’ve come a long way in blurring the lines between what is stereotypically considered male and what is stereotypically considered female. But before we think we’ve got it made, let’s challenge ourselves to ferret out those biases we don’t even know we have — the ones that are so deep within the fabric of our being that we don’t even know exist.

A recent example: the news coverage of Lois Riess, the Minnesota woman accused of murdering her husband and a woman in Florida. I don’t think I saw one report that didn’t refer to her as “the Minnesota grandma,” or “the grandma accused of … .” On the flip side, I have not read one article about James DeAngelo, the accused Golden State Killer, in which he is referred to as “the California grandpa,” or “the grandpa accused of … .” Why? Not because he isn’t a grandpa — he is. It’s because the thought of the cookie-baking, mitten-knitting grandma as a killer is beyond our realm of thinking. The reporters know this, so they include that detail to make the story all the more salacious. Apparently, though, it’s not so hard to picture gramps in the same role.

Gender bias? Yeah! Biases are insidious — we all have ’em! It’s just that a lot of us don’t know it. Until we do the work of bringing them into our consciousness and being aware of them when they are in play, gender biases will continue ad infinitum.

Caryn L. Schall, Minnetonka