Girl Scouts II

Inspired by this thread over in GQ:
Former Girl Scouts, (who’d’a thunk there would be so many here!) what did you like or not like in scouting? As I mentioned in the other thread, I will be helping lead a troop (Juniors, 6th grade) and I wanna be a ‘cool leader’ but not a ‘bad influence’ so I need age appropriate fun stuff to do and a complete list of things that are lame to the average 11 year old girl.

I’ve got a really simple thing to say: It was so white. Now, true, there weren’t many blacks in my area, but there were lots of other races, and little to no effort was made to recruit them. I was always the only one with brown skin. Keep in mind this is 20 years (ergh) in the 80’s, so things have probably changed drastically now.

What I loved? The leaders really made sure that kids weren’t picked on. I was picked on a lot in school, by virtue of being so different, and having a funny name, but in GS it was kind of a break. I was really grateful to the leaders for that.

And of course, as I said in the other thread, I learned all kinds of little skills that I didn’t and wouldn’t know.

Selling those damned cookies. Every freakin’ year.

Oh, and my Nana dragging me around to do Girl Scouts stuff even though I wasn’t a girl. (I’m still not a girl.) It wasn’t emotionally scarring at all. :rolleyes:

soooo…no picking on people (there is actually anti-bullying in the Handbook now!) and don’t make boys be Girl Scouts.

Dude…that’s messed up. Sorry Winston

I was in Girl Scouts from Brownies up until one year of Seniors and did Girl scout camp almost every summer. I really liked doing stuff like camping. Part of the reason I quit was because the troop had become a lot less active and did stupid crap like “color matching”.

I know planning trips is a lot harder that just having an info meeting but that’s what made Girl Scouts fun for me. If I were leading a troop, I think I’d plan a lot of field trips and camping trips. Also, there was the badge stuff but it was never really much of a focus and haphazardly organized (which was probably partly the troop leaders fault). You might see if the girls are interested in any of the badges and set up a plan to work towards them.

I was in the Boy Scouts and had a great time. My sisters tried the local Girl Scout troops but they never did any of the fun stuff we did. So they gave it up after a little while. My advice is keep it interesting, and don’t let the troop get to “cliquey.” Lots of camping and hiking and outdoor stuff.

The best time I had in Girl Scouts was when we did stuff out of the Boy Scout Manual, but that might just be me.

Here’s some of the cool stuff my youngest daughter likes to do that could be fun outings.

She loves Geocaching. (a GPSr isn’t required)
Model Rockets (Find a local rocket club)
Native Plant rescue
Mason Bees (something for early spring)

She also likes Choppers, but her mother isn’t encouraging that interest.

I loved scouting, except for the part of where all we learned about was taking care of babies and baby sitting while the Boooooooooy Scouts got to do more funner thingies.


I dropped it like 3rd period French in 8th grade.

Yeah, I was hoping to learn to tie knots and do other cool, practical things, like Boy Scouts, but all we ever did was yarn crafts. And I don’t mean knitting or crocheting or anything practical. It was like, god’s-eye weaving and making “yarn pictures” by gluing yarn to paper to make hair, and that kind of worthless crap.

When we went “camping” slept in sleeping bags on the floor of a heated building with electricity. We made smores on the stove for Og’s sake. We took a “nature hike” (i.e. a short walk on a broad trail through the woods) that was stunningly uninformative. Like, ooooh, look at the chipmunks. Oooooh, look at the elm trees. Ooooh, that is a maple tree. Then we piled into the van and went home.

Yeah, that’s when I decided I wasn’t going to re-up.

Er, anyway, with the constructive advice: Knitting’s very trendy right now, and I’m sure your troop would like to give it a try. If you don’t know how to do it, ask around amongst moms and older sisters—and dads and older brothers, too—I shouldn’t be sexist!

I earned the book badge in Girl Scouts. That was really cool.

I also enjoyed our camping trips. And I learned a bunch of stuff about plants and bugs for a badge, which was really neat. Anything where kids get to catch insects and spiders and watch them or dissect them would be really, really cool.

Or maybe I’m just really, really weird.

Some of the intercultural understanding things we did were pretty cool, too. My Girl Scout troop was pretty multi-ethnic (which made sense, as my town had no ethnic majority) and we did a lot of sharing food from our folks and things. I learned a bunch of fun dances from other countries, too, IIRC.

Heh, my favorite badge was the book badge, too. I did that one on my own.

I liked the camping–we did a lot of serious camping–and one great thing we did was to make our own beef jerky. Also, I loved all the songs. I know so many random songs, and it’s all thanks to Girl Scouts. :slight_smile: Stuff involving knives was fun. And orienteering, and archery. Photography. Horseback riding is always good. I also liked the international fairs we did, stuff like that, learning games or eating food from other countries.

So I’m good as long as I stay away from yarn and glue? We don’t have enough girls to make a clique. I have to say that I am impressed with the new badge book, the badges are much more…umm…coherent than they were 15 years ago. I am hoping that these girls are into camping and hiking and getting dirty. If we talk about makeup and boy bands the whole time…I might quit the troop!

What I loved, and I mean, loooooved about Girl Scouts was the camping.

We either camped in a hogan (platform tent) or in a heated cabin in the winter in the middle of BFE. (Which was too my surprise located about 3 miles from where I live now.)
What slayed me about girls and all their dumbassery was how damn goofey and spazzy they got when we would go on hikes in the woods and our Older Scouts would ditch us like they told us they were going to do at the start of the hike. Yeah, it was 10pm at night in January. But getting all boo-hooey and waahhhhhh I want my Mommmie! is not going to make the situation any better, m’kay? And, gee, there is something miraculous on the ground called SNOW. Your weight in it leaves a mark and …hey…you can follow it all the way back to the safety of the cabin…Hello? is this thing on?..fine I’m going by myself and leaving my buddy to the wolves.

When this happened, I made it back to the cabin before our teenage girl leaders did.

I loved Girl Scouts until we moved & I ended up with the Lamest Leader Ever.

Before we moved my mom was the leader of my troop and she was the Best Leader Ever.

What I loved most about being in my first troop:

  • Going on nature hikes where the leader knew a lot about the native flora & fauna, and brought a few guidebooks for us to look at. I know she did quite a bit of research for these hikes.

  • Primitive camping where we learned how to pick a good latrine site, dig a latrine, how to pick a safe campfire location, build & light a fire with ONE MATCH, make a lean-to to sleep under (need your knot skills there!), cooking over a campfire with a spit.

  • “Normal” camping where we hiked into the woods & put up tents or hiked to cabins (unheated, no electricity, open-air!). There were usually firepits there where we could cook using a grill.

  • History-related stuff like learning old games kids used to play, dressing up occasionally in period clothing (or as close as we as little girls raiding our own closets were going to get :slight_smile: ), singing old songs.

  • We did do some sewing & “girlie” type things, but they were always related to something tomboyish we were working towards. Like sewing a sit-upon for hiking, or sewing a ditty bag for washing your dishes at camp; learning how to cook some things in a controlled environment (a kitchen) so that we had some basic skills when we got to our campsite.

  • an orienteering trip

Things I learned that I still use & am glad to know:

  • knot tying (I don’t remember a lot, but I remember a few & they have come in handy)
  • how to steer a canoe
  • water safety skills
  • leave your site exactly as it was when you arrived (or better if there was any litter there when you arrived) CARRY IN, CARRY OUT
  • wilderness survival skills (OK - I haven’t had to use these, but at least I know them if I ever need them!)
  • how to make a water-proof fire-bulding kit (without plastic!)
  • don’t pick a wildflower unless you can count 100 more in the immediate area (not sure if that is a general Girl Scout rule, or my mom’s rule)

Sorry for the hijack.

I would have to say learning how to knit or doing some kind of felting project ( see Martha Stewarts latest Oct. Kids issue) would rank in the cool. Felt is very cheap and very easy.

It is really sad that most moms cannot even put a button on a shirt. I am the craft mom here and to be very honest, I suck at it all ( when comparing to zee inlaws who make Martha Stewart look like Stephen Hawkings doing art.)

For functional cool, I would say CPR classes and basic first aid.

Maybe even doing something that no female I personally know of can do is read a compass and a map. And have a treasure hunt done with just a compass. I’m not being sexist here. As a female, I don’t know of any other woman who can give directions using NSWE. ( Except my aunt, who taught me to do this this way.)

Thanks for the reminder Shirley Ujest

I should have included first aid/CPR among the GS skills I am thankful to have.

And it didn’t occur to me that the orienteering trip taught me valuable navigation skills that I actually use. Still get lost inside buidlings though.

I get lost in building too. I blame society.

Me too. I wanted to be a boy scout more than a girl scout, they seemed to do so many cooler things! However, the best things we ever did as girl scouts was spend the night in both the Boston Museum of Science (twice!), and the Children’s Museum as well. Both museums has yearly “girl scout” nights where the whole place would be open all day and night to only girl scouts and their chaperones. Good times! I don’t recall if they did the same for the boy scouts. Then again, the boys scouts went camping “for real” and we never did. That may have just been my troop, though.

Arts and crafts in a church basement gets pretty boring. The best part to me was getting out and doing stuff like camping, visiting museums, going to the zoo or stuff like that. My nieces’ girl scout troop does all kinds of cool things like bicycle trips and camping. A couple of years ago they went out west and this summer they’re going to Switzerland. The one my daughter was in (for a short time) never did much of anything.