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Old 03-06-2020, 05:55 AM
Skald the Rhymer is offline
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Is a seven-year-old girl in 2020 better off in the Boy Scouts or Girl Scouts?


The oldest of my bio kids, age seven, has expressed the desire to go into scouting. I myself was a Boy Scout back in the day but left as an adult because I disapproved of their stances on homosexuality and atheism. That said, I am giving my daughter's request serious thought. But my favorite sister, while not sharing my concerns about the atheism and homosexuality bans, is not in favor of her niece joining the Girl Scouts. When we were kids, baby sister says, nothing useful was taught by the Girl Scouts; she experienced it as only being about selling cookies and envied the stuff I was taught. Since contemporary Boy Scouts allow girls to join, my sister says, that is what I should enroll my daughter in.

But our experiences were 30 & 40 years ago. So parents of children that age: is my daughter better off in Girl Scouts or Boy Scouts? Which will lead to her learning more and having more fun?
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Old 03-06-2020, 06:17 AM
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well a lot of people say the same thing about the boy scouts also but it also depends on the troop i mean ive heard where boy and girl scouts learned what would eb home ec skills (like how to turn on a washer and dryer a skill many seem to lack these days)

if it wasn't for the girl power movement id of thought they'd merge together and be the "urban scouts or "people scouts" like you see in tv shows
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Old 03-06-2020, 06:18 AM
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I think troops (both BS and GS) vary tremendously. I hated Girl Scouts, but that's because it was a troop at my church, led by the churchiest church ladies at the church. So my troop never did the fun stuff that I later discovered other scouts got to do.

One summer my mother sent my twin and I to Girl Scout camp. We had a blast. It was hard going back to my troop after having the real Girl Scout experience.

If I had a daughter, I would try to find a cool GS troop rather than sticking her in a BS troop. I would do this to prevent my daughter from turning into one of those annoying "not like other girls" girls. These are insufferable creatures who think girls (except for her!) are uniformly stupid and boring, while boys are inherently cool, smart, and interesting. Also, there are ways to expose her to cool activities without doing the troop thing.

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Old 03-06-2020, 06:22 AM
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If you tear into any organization you will find stuff you don't agree with, unless it's your organization and you have set yourself up as ruler supreme. The larger and more public it is the more negative stuff you will find.

Also realize that nothing is perfect, no school, no parent, no nothing. There are flaws in everything, and that is the way we are raised. Sometimes a parent can make up for the known shortcomings of such a organization when it comes to child raising.

For my own child, I would talk to her and let her try both out and see which one she likes, and if I saw nothing of note in that experience I would let her chose. I would also talk about my concerns which would go something like 1: The G/S from what I've heard learn things like knitting and baking and are pushed to sell cookies, they don't do many fun things. 2: the B/S do the fun things, making fires, camping, hiking, exploring. I would not mention their stances about homosexuality and atheism because I would not know of in the local chapter it would even come up, and if it did I could handle it, including their stance on it.

Last edited by kanicbird; 03-06-2020 at 06:23 AM.
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Old 03-06-2020, 06:46 AM
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Both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts depend very much on the individual leaders. It was true 40 years ago and it's still true today. When my son was a Cub Scout, there was one leader who was very influential - and she would have them do art-and-crafts stuff during the meetings. Not particular interesting projects or ones where they would learn something useful - more like "glue these pieces of cut-out felt on a hat ant you'll have a Thanksgiving turkey. She lost influence, and the registration tripled when the "arts and crafts" leaned more towards making a working clock.My daughter belonged to one Girl Scout troop that didn't do anything fun, and then one of the mothers started her own troop which went camping and on other trips all the time.
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Old 03-06-2020, 07:00 AM
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At age 7, you're looking at Cub Scouts vs. Brownies. My experience at Cub Scouts (as a parent/leader) was very positive, but monstro is right that it is highly dependent on the individual group, who is running it and what they put into the program.

I could write a lot about what Cub Scouts is, but whatever program is in your area could be so different that my experience is irrelevant.

I have heard more complaints about Girl Scout troops being lousy than Boy Scout troops, but if you have a well run troop in your area, those complaints aren't relevant either.

You should be aware that the Boy Scout national organization has filed for bankruptcy, due to child abuse cases from years past. The expectation is that it will be 'reorganized', pay out damages, and continue operations. They have seriously revamped their local leadership training, procedures, and checks on volunteers to be far more protective of the children.
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Old 03-06-2020, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monstro View Post
I think troops (both BS and GS) vary tremendously.
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Originally Posted by doreen View Post
Both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts depend very much on the individual leaders.
What they said.
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Old 03-06-2020, 08:11 AM
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Former Scout and parent of current scout, agreeing with those who say, it depends on the particular leaders and culture of the group. It's not like the national organizations are dictating what a leader decides to have their kids do.
So check out the troops you can find in the area and go with the one that seems to fit your daughter the best; whether it's organized under Girl Scouts or Scouts BSA only really affects what color the uniform is and what they sell as a fundraiser.
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Old 03-06-2020, 12:07 PM
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Uh, your daughter should go into girl scouts...

What she'll experience depends on the individual leader. My mom was my troop leader and we did arts and crafts (things like coasters), sewing (which I didn't particularly enjoy, but agree it'd be useful to know how to do), and horseback riding. I entirely support troop leaders who do more outdoor adventurous type activities. If that's the kind of stuff she enjoys but you're having a hard time finding a girl scout leader who does those things, maybe there are other clubs or kid groups she could join. Girl Scouts is hardly the only place you can do that.
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Old 03-06-2020, 12:23 PM
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Uh, your daughter should go into girl scouts...
Assuming that this isn't a woosh, or that you believe that girls should be in Girl Scouts, and boys in Boy Scouts -- the BSA started letting girls join both Cub Scouts (which is what the OP's 7-year-old would be in) and Boy Scouts (which is now formally named "Scouts BSA") in 2019.
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Old 03-06-2020, 12:44 PM
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Contact the local council (I think both girl scouts and boy scouts have councils) and tell them what you want for a troop.

I was in girl scouts and I know very few woman who got their Ms. Fix It badge (yes, all those weird home things, like the power, water and gas shutoffs, learned how to build fires and cook over fires. I did all that in girl scouts, plus learned about female health issues, and met women who were doctors, etc.

I also went to girl scout camp and met other scouts who didn't want to get their hands dirty, wouldn't participate in a pudding fight (there was a lake to clean off afterwards, or showers) and basically preferred to sit and gossip.

So basically, do some research.
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Old 03-06-2020, 12:58 PM
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Talk to other parents in your area! If there are settings (either in meatspace or online, e.g. facebook) where you can get into conversations with them, ask them if they have kids in scouting, and what the brownie/cub scout groups their kids have been in are like.
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Old 03-06-2020, 03:12 PM
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I'll add to the "it depends on the specific troop/pack" chorus.

The cub scout pack my son goes to is relatively informal. We have a couple of girls, who are pretty much integrated into the dens of their age. I think the formal guidance says to keep them separate, but that's just not practical given the numbers and quite frankly given the activities and advancements seems pretty silly.

Maybe more conservative packs in other regions have a different philosophy.

I don't know anything directly about girl scouts, but I've heard quite a few woman of various generations make a similar comment: when they were in girl scouts they were envious of the more "fun stuff" their cub scout siblings got to do.

So it depends not only on the local troops/packs, but what your daughter wants to get out of this. I think that should push you in one direction or the other.

It doesn't strike me as unacceptable to do some troop/pack "shopping". I think religious folks do that with churches all the time. Just try a few local organizations until you find the one that fits you.
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Old 03-06-2020, 03:26 PM
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Pack shopping is super common in our area. I'd give serious thought to both girl or boy scouts - many of the girl scout troops I know now do camping/survival things as well as crafts and service projects. As noted upthread, talk to the leader, talk to the parents of girls that are involved.

I have a boy who is active in boy scouts and would admittedly be hesitant to have my daughter join even if there were a girl among them. Most of the boys and their families are perfectly nice, but my son tells me that there's a lot of horseplay and one of the boys in his troop frequently exposed himself during campouts until finally getting kicked out of the troop. I seriously considered having my son quit scouts or find a new troop but he really enjoys this troop now and the other troop in our area condones some amount of hazing among the boys, so that's a non-starter. (I'm really selling scouts, aren't I?)

Anyway, yes - pack shop. If you would prefer your daughter not be in a more coed troop but she's interested in camping and such, there are girl scout troops that do that for sure.
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Old 03-06-2020, 03:36 PM
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I'll add to the "it depends on the specific troop/pack" chorus.

The cub scout pack my son goes to is relatively informal. We have a couple of girls, who are pretty much integrated into the dens of their age. I think the formal guidance says to keep them separate, but that's just not practical given the numbers and quite frankly given the activities and advancements seems pretty silly.

Maybe more conservative packs in other regions have a different philosophy.

I don't know anything directly about girl scouts, but I've heard quite a few woman of various generations make a similar comment: when they were in girl scouts they were envious of the more "fun stuff" their cub scout siblings got to do.

So it depends not only on the local troops/packs, but what your daughter wants to get out of this. I think that should push you in one direction or the other.

It doesn't strike me as unacceptable to do some troop/pack "shopping". I think religious folks do that with churches all the time. Just try a few local organizations until you find the one that fits you.
Our pack sort of toes the line on paper, with separate dens for girls and boys, with separate leaders, but in practice, they're all in together and there's one den leader for boys and girls. For example, I'm the den leader for Den 1- the boy Wolves, and there's girl Wolves Den 11, with some den leader on paper, but in practice, we're all the Wolf den, and it's boys and girls together.

I think a lot of the choice would depend on how outdoorsy the girl is/wants to be. If she isn't interested in camping, hiking, fitness, etc... then Cub Scouts isn't her thing in all likelihood, as that sort of thing becomes more prominent as they get older, with the actual Scouts BSA programs being more or less centered around that kind of thing.

If she is interested in outdoorsy kinds of things, then Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts is probably a better fit, as they have a LOT of outdoor resources that the Girl Scouts don't have, and the program is centered on that kind of thing.
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Old 03-07-2020, 01:33 AM
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I would echo the suggestions to shop for troops you like, as well as find out how much expected /allowed / encouraged to participate and what kind of parents there are.

We have our kids in an environmental group which is run by parents. It works for us but another friend has her son in a band and the parents are expected to put in all sorts of time and money, much more than what you would expect. There are constant battles among the various parent cliques.

It’s not likely, I hope, but this sort of thing happens.
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Old 03-07-2020, 02:49 AM
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I don't know if the rules are the same in the US as in the UK version, but it's worth checking, if you look at the Boy Scouts because they do more camping/outdoorsy stuff if there are other girls the same age and female leaders. I worked for a while with a woman who was the only female leader for a troop with just one girl; if my co-worker wasn't able to attend an event, their safeguarding rules said the girl couldn't attend either, resulting in her missing trips and having to come home early all the damn time. She'd started when they were properly mixed, but the other leaders were parents of kids that had now left.
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Old 03-07-2020, 07:07 AM
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I agree that your scouting experience is dependent on luck of the draw—what type of leader you were assigned. I drew a losing hand from the get-go.

I looked forward to joining Cub Scouts. Visions of camping in the wilderness, fending off grizzly bears with my pocket knife and rescuing damsels in distress danced in my head.

My scout leader was a morbidly obese woman who wore an ill-fitting red-haired wig. It looked like a fright wig, but she wore it to improve her appearance.

The only adventure I had was walking to her house for the weekly meetings. When we arrived, we were sequestered into her dark, dank basement. She had us pledge allegiance to the paper flag taped to the wall, then do 10 jumping jacks (she didn’t do any herself).

After that rigorous “calisthenic” work-out, “Red” relined on her sagging couch against the wall and ordered us cubs around her ping-pong table to continue our year-long project.

The “project” was building a miniature town made out of caramel candy blocks. Every once in a while Red would heave herself off the couch and shuffle over to the table supposedly to judge our work, but really she just wanted to stuff her face full of caramel candies.

The heat from the incandescent lamp melted my caramel house into something resembling a blob, or perhaps a Peter Cook architecture.

I would consider my scouting experience a total failure, if not for my winning first place in the Pinewood Derby. That was a proud moment in my life. I cheated, but I was only 7—sue me.

I also got a badge for rescuing my next door neighbor girl from drowning in the creek down the street. I didn’t tell them that the creek was only about a foot deep and I was the one who pushed her in the water in the first place.

So, I recommend matriculating your daughter into the Girl Scouts—maybe they fight grizzly bears there.
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Old 03-07-2020, 01:40 PM
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Alot depends like said above, on the leadership plus the other kids. Will they get along with the others.

Another is the adults. Will all the Mom's get along? What roles will they expect you as a parent to play? You might get along better in a BSA troop where its a mix of Moms and Dads. I found my sons BS troop suddenly became better organized when one of the Mom's tool a leadership role.

Its just how people are. Men and women see things different and bring different dynamics to the group.

I will add that one rarely finds girls still in girl scouts past age 12 or so.

Girl Scouts has been forced to improve because of competition with the BSA. For example they now do the Pinewood Derby which was always one of the big points of cub scouting. They are moving away from the stupid "Journeys" program and just doing crafts to now actually doing camping.

Compare:

The Girl scouts shopping page. Which has dramatically improved. 10 years ago it was maybe a few water bottles and hats. Now full camping gear. They have brought back the GS knife which they dropped in the 70's. No GS Ax yet.

To the Boy Scouts shopping page. It still offers way more items including items for women and girls. They have dozens of knives, ax's, and shovels.
  #20  
Old 03-07-2020, 01:44 PM
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But people definitely love them some Girl Scout cookies. No one has cravings for the stale-ass overpriced popcorn that Boy Scouts sell.
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Old 03-08-2020, 04:39 PM
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But people definitely love them some Girl Scout cookies. No one has cravings for the stale-ass overpriced popcorn that Boy Scouts sell.
Well its odd. When troops have switched from GS to BS and switched from selling cookies to popcorn they note some differences. For one, GS cookies sell easier because of the low $4 price. However BS popcorn, because its more expensive, they get more donations than sales.

Also look at prizes given. For GS cookies they MIGHT win some little teddy bear or something whereas with BS popcorn they win really cool prizes like camping and fishing gear.

With both most of the profits go to nationals.

BS troops are also open to selling other items like Christmas trees, garbage bags, etc... Or do service projects for money. My sons troop works at one event and they got like $500 for one afternoon. NONE of that money goes back to nationals.
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Old 03-08-2020, 05:53 PM
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I hate to say how long ago I was a scout, but I started with a troop that began with the last year in Brownies and shifted to Scouts (the troop was started that year is the reason why). I honestly don't remember many craft projects at all. We did lots of practical things, and I remember lots of park outings when we were still too young for "sleep away" camp. But we went to several camps when we were older. I enjoyed my time, even though it petered out by age 12 or 13.

I don't know if there's the same effect with scouts, but one reason for all-women colleges was the space for girls/women to develop leadership skills without being always relegated to the background by the boys.

But, as above, check out the local troops and find which fits your daughter best. That's the most important thing.
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Old 03-09-2020, 08:28 AM
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The adult leadership (including parental involvement) is probably the single biggest determinant of how the children will feel about it. I was lucky enough as a boy to have my mother and my friend's mother as our den mothers- they were both trained teachers, and knew how to wrangle 7-10 unruly boys and keep us on task doing all the Cub Scout stuff we were supposed to do. In general, the only kids who were moderately unsuccessful were the ones whose parents put NO effort into it beyond dropping them off for the meetings and picking them up.

My older son had a fairly bad Cub Scout leader last year, and I know that it put a lot of people off of Cub Scouts who otherwise might have enjoyed it and done well. Basically the big problem was that this person had a fairly demanding full-time job and it interfered with her ability to be prepared for the meetings, etc... so that the meetings we did have seemed kind of shambolic, and the kids weren't really sure what they were supposed to be doing, etc... She tried, but she failed. I ended up helping a whole lot because she was so out of her depth, and I actually had seen this kind of thing done well. I ended up taking over that grade level for our pack this year- I think I'm doing a better job- we're doing stuff in a more coherent fashion than before that's for sure.
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Old 03-09-2020, 05:39 PM
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Have you considered the Royal Rangers?




.........................flees
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:06 AM
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Serious suggestion, for a year or two from now: Have you considered 4-H Clubs? They're not just for the Agricultural Studies crowd, and haven't been for decades; they've been co-ed for decades; they have no religious subtext, being administered by the USDA; their slogan is "Learn to do by doing."

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/4-H

from Wiki:

Quote:
The goal of 4-H is to develop citizenship, leadership, responsibility and life skills of youth through experiential learning programs and a positive youth development approach. Though typically thought of as an agriculturally focused organization as a result of its history, 4-H today focuses on citizenship, healthy living, science, engineering, and technology programs. Clubs in today’s 4-H world consist of a wide range of options each allowing for personal growth and career success.
Just a thought.

Last edited by mjmlabs; 03-13-2020 at 06:10 AM.
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:18 AM
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GS and BS have gone far away from religion; so far away that Christians have created their own groups, Trail Life USA and American Heritage Girls. I know many churches disbanded their scout troops because the organizations have gone Left.
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:22 AM
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I have nothing to add to this discussion, but I wanted to let Skald know that it made Threadspotting!
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:26 AM
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I have nothing to add to this discussion, but I wanted to let Skald know that it made Threadspotting!
I noticed. I will attribute that tiny little honor to all the good advice I have been given in this thread.

I also noticed that there seems to be a dearth of new columns. Did they stop publishing new columns while I was away from the boards feeling sorry for myself?
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:48 AM
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Yeah, Cecil and Ed are officially retired, and all of the columns are dug up from the archives.
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Old 03-13-2020, 09:49 AM
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I also noticed that there seems to be a dearth of new columns. Did they stop publishing new columns while I was away from the boards feeling sorry for myself?
Yup, Cecil "retired" in 2018; no new columns since then.

https://www.chicagoreader.com/chicag...t?oid=51506906
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Old 03-13-2020, 06:48 PM
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I don't know about their policy on atheism, but I do believe that GS are considered positive on atheists and LGBT issues. I would check your local troops.

As for how the kinds of activities they're involved in, again, it depends on the troop. I personally had a lot of fun.
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Old 03-15-2020, 07:23 AM
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I have 9 year old boy/girl twins and am heavily involved in a Cub Scout pack with both of them, so I have some perspective on Cub Scouting for girls. However, the Girl Scouting program in my town is not well-developed so I didn't have much of a choice for my daughter.

My son started in first grade before girls were admitted to the program, but his twin sister tagged along to many of the events and enjoyed them. The next year, when girls were allowed to join, she did so enthusiastically. She's an artsy, non-athletic, budding fashionista girl, but loves the program. I think she likes the focus on outdoor, real life skills. For instance, she was very excited about the knife safety/skills training module so she could get her own pocketknife.

The nice thing about Cub Scouts is that it is organized on a Pack/Den model, in which the Pack, consisting of Scouts from grades K through 6, meet and do activities together sometimes, and then a Den, consisting of Scouts from a single grade, meets separately. This gives some overall control and continuity at the Pack level, so it is not entirely based on who the Den Leader is. My understanding is that the Girl Scouts program is organized almost exclusively in grade level units.

My Pack is heavily majority male, though it is evening out in the lower grades. For instance my daughter is the only girl among the dozen third-graders. Technically, she is in her own Den (because boy and girl dens are supposed to be separate), but she meets with one of the boy Dens (which her brother is in). She really doesn't mind, and has lots of fun with the other girls around her age at camp-outs and things.

My impression is that the Cub Scout program is a bit more rigid, with specific required activities/skills for each grade, as well as optional activities, with the Girl Scout program having more flexibility based on the interests of the individual leader (and, presumably, the girls).

Most of our Cub Scouts enjoy their uniforms, and the distinction of wearing them, My daughter is very into her official Cub Scout uniform skort, in addition to the unofficial leggings I got her and the Cub Scout necklace she saw and asked for when we went into the Scout Shop for Pinewood Derby materials (like pink wheels for her car). The Girl Scouts I see seem only to have felt vests, which may not have the same appeal.

In my Pack, which is very diverse religiously, the religious element is strongly de-emphasized. Basically, we tell the parents to do the religious activity with your child as you feel appropriate, and tell your Den Leader that you have done so.

All in all, they're both great programs, though they depend heavily and can vary based on the adult leadership. I feel that the Cub Scout, and later the Scouts BSA (formerly Boy Scouts) program, may be a bit more organized and skills-based. However, the best thing to do is to check out the local programs for your daughter and see which she feels most comfortable in.

Good luck.
  #33  
Old 03-16-2020, 08:54 PM
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As mentioned above, Brownie troops seem to be organized for a fixed grade level. As for my personal experience, I contacted an existing troop of my granddaughter's grade for her to join. However, I sensed some reluctance on the leader's part since all the girls already knew each other, so I just let it go.
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