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Girls scouts - what do they do?

May mom

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I was never a girl scout growing up. My dd6 wants to be one and her school is trying to start a troop. What do they actually do? All I know is they sell cookies and learn to camp. I'm sure there are some variations based on troop but are any of you a troop leader or have daughters in girls scouts? How much do you usually spend on as far as time and money? Thanks much!
 

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Both of my dds were Girl Scouts and I got pretty involved in both troops over the years. I acted as "nut mom" for my younger dd's troop and I was a co-leader of my older dd's troop for awhile. I think it's a great organization.

Meetings are however often the leader, and troop, decides they will be. Some troops meet weekly, some less often. For the younger girls the troop leader usually sets the meeting. As the girls get older they start taking more responsibility for the running of the troop, and the meetings. The meeting content varies by age. The younger girls seem to do a lot of projects, and some of these projects lead to badges.

Some troops require dues, again this is usually determined by the leader and the troop. A percentage of the monies that are "earned" through the cookie sales (and other sales that go on) do go back to the troop, for the troop's use. I'm trying to remember what types of things we did with that money. I think it was usually on troop trips, like camping trips, or other outings.

Hope this gives you some kind of idea.
 

scrapngen

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Actually, learning to camp is not necessarily covered...It all depends on your troop leader. Mostly, Girl Scouts work on earning badges which nowadays covers a huge variety of activities. Younger scouts typically do more crafty things, while older scouts cover a broader range of skills. A troop is as good or bad as the leader, IMHO. Some troups meet once a week - others twice a month. They are not supposed to be expensive, but once again, that depends on your location and choices your troop makes for activities. Also, once a child is a girl scout, they can go to area camps and often take special classes offered by museums, zoos, etc. Generally, some parent help is required, even if it is just bringing snacks once in awhile. Cookie sales can be big in some places, so if you are not into that, beware!!

Talk to whoever is trying to organize the troop. They are probably going to be the troop leader. A troop can be lead by a team as well, which can be nice so that it is not all on one person's shoulders.

Some troops are better at focusing on the core values of being good friends, responsible citizens, etc., and incorporate little lessons into the troop meetings or build teamwork among their troop. Others focus just on the "fun."
 

Luanne

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You can also probably find out some more detailed information about what types of things are going on in your area if you can find the website for the local council. You may be able to find that information from the people coordinating the troop, or you can google Girl Scouts Maryland and see what you can find.
 

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Both my girls were scouts, and I spent quite a bit of time with the troop. I was one of only a couple moms who had a van:)

When younger, the troop picked out the badges and they all did the same activities. As they got older the girls would decide themselves what badges to earn, and would work independently at the meetings.

We did a lot of camping, some field trips to local museums. Our meetings were held in a large local church with a wonderful kitchen/dining hall area, which we put to a lot of good use:) They did crafts, community service projects, marched in the local parades....

It probably depends a great deal on what type of community you have - I live in a rural area and my girls really enjoyed it (I did too!!) It was one of the few chances they really had to socialize with some of their friends outside of school. Our troop had girls from 7-18 years old, I think in more populated areas the ages are not so spread out. As a driver I probably put more time in than most of the mothers - including the weekend camping trips. Most moms, and a couple dads, stayed for the meetings which lasted a couple hours each week.
 

May mom

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Thanks for all the quick responses. It is something my dd really wants to do but I didn't want to get her hopes up that we would participate without an overall idea of what troops do. There is a meeting next week to see who is interested. We'll go and take it from there!
 

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Luanne

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I hope it turns out to be something your daughter, and you, want her to get involved in. I think it was a great experience for both of my dds. My younger one was in the same troop from Kindergarten through 5th grade. When the girls entered middle school the mom who had been the leader almost the entire time pulled out. She'd just had another baby, and her dd (the one in the troop) didn't want to be a scout any longer. I think most of the girls felt at that point if their leader (who they adored) was leaving, they were done too. Older dd was in scouts from 3rd grade through middle school.
 

May mom

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Another question: If my daughter joins a troop in her current school and say 2 years later, we left that school and the new school had a troop, could we join that troop (does the membership transfer with you)? Thanks.
 

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Another question: If my daughter joins a troop in her current school and say 2 years later, we left that school and the new school had a troop, could we join that troop (does the membership transfer with you)? Thanks.

Yes - she can transfer anywhere - including the badges that she has earned.
 

vacationhopeful

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I was a Girl Scout thru 12th grade. I was in sleep away camp every summer from after 5th grade on, including after 10th and 11th grade ALL summer long - as I lived and worked at camp both of those summers. I earned my Red Cross Life Guard/Saving certificate both of those summers. Hence, I work 2 summers during college as a Lifeguard.

I was on a 5 county Girl Scout council for HS level Girl Scouts and we ran a COED camping weekend with the Boy Scouts... very popular.:D I went thru the international round-up selection process, but was not picked for one the 3 patrols our council sent (but the council sent us 16 rejects to Maine & New Hampshire for a 10 day trip, which I felt was even a better trip than camping in a field somewheres for 10 days in hot July).

I play a horn in HS band and got to play bugle at camp both summers. I loved the POWER trip waking everybody up 10 minutes earlier or put the camp to bed 30 minutes late. One of those summers, us Program Aides (me and 2 other HS age girl scouts) crowded around a 12 inch B&W TV outdoors on a picnic table with the business manager and the handiman to watch the first landing and human steps on the moon (as everyone else slept).

And my mom never did anything with Girl Scouts, but my older brother in HS loved to drive me and my friends back from weekend camping trips on Sunday. My 3 or 4 girlfriends and myself had to ride with my brother and his 3 buddies in a station wagon home from a weekend camping trip with all our gear. My brother was NEVER late picking us up and none of my girlfriends ever found another ride home. I truly think that is why they liked camping. And most of us attended different high schools.

So, yes, there is camping. And singing camp songs. And badges. And selling GS cookies. And there were so few things back then to do after school.
 
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ronparise

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What do girl scouts do? ........boy scouts


Seriously ...my daughter was believe it or not a boy scout; actually a sea scout and at the time her boat had the only all girl crew in the country

One of the reasons she is the woman she is today is that scouting experience...
 

normab

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I was a GS in the 1960's for 6 years. We learned so much, my troop leader was really a "leader" and she organized our meetings and trips so we always learned something and we earned our badges bit by bit. We met weekly back then.

I learned to do basic cooking--we had to cook a meal using oven and stovetop, I learned to sew-made an apron from a pattern, we did lots and lot of community service projects. We "hiked" local trails and cooked on our campfires, followed by SMORES! I got badges for campling, swimming, hiking, babysitting, biking safety, I can't even remember them all..

I earned about 20 badges so that means I learned alot along the way.

Having said all that, it really was a great experience for me based on our leader. Your DD's experience will depend on alot the leader. Cookie sales are a small part of being a girl scout in my opinion.

I hope your DD enjoys it and does it for several years.

:) Norma
 

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One opportunity your daughter will have this year would be to participate in the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouting. In June there will be a sing-along on the mall in Washington DC. Wish we could attend, but it is right in the middle of finals week, and oldest DD is a HS Junior.

I don't know what part of Maryland you are in, but in most areas troops are organized by school, but she doesn't have to join a troop at her school, she can join any troop that is the appropriate age and has space, or is willing to make space (there are guidelines of how many adults must be present based on the number of girls). You own involvement will be at whatever level is comfortable for you. Chances are, if this is a recruitment meeting, they will not only be looking for girls who are interested, but adults who are willing to be leaders. If you have the time and energy to work with a group of 6 year old girls, by all means jump in. It will be a rewarding experience for both you and your daughter - or her father or any other adult could be the leader too. One of our most engaged new leaders in town is a grandfather!

If you (or her father or anyone else) decides to be a leader, let us know. There are obviously several of us here who can help. I can pass along links to some great online resources, as well as a few great Yahoo groups. I've been a girl scout since 1st grade, been a leader, and until recently was in charge of recruitment for my town.
 

Luanne

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To tag on to Mel'sl post, in my area, and I'm sure in pretty much all of them, there are great resources for Girl Scout leaders. I took part in several training classes that were very beneficial.

P.S. I was able to be a co-leader while holding down a full-time job.
 

pjrose

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What they do depends very much on the leader(s) and the girls. DD's troop leader was more interested in crafts, so they were always making things. Sometimes there'd be an outing, which might be shopping, or might be to a ceramic painting or chocolate making place. They usually made crafty things for mother's day, Christmas, and so forth. That troop fizzled, and she joined another one; they went on a few campouts, had game nights, and I don't remember what else. Then they also disbanded.

One major (IMHO) problem with girl scout troops is that the troop keeps the same cohort of girls - and as the girls become more interested in boys or parties or whatever, the troop loses members and disbands. In contrast, boy scout troops are continually replenished with new members from cub scouts, so as the older ones lose interest and age out, new ones join. That also provides great opportunities for older scouts to teach the younger ones.

I'm sure DD would have stuck with girl scouts if it had followed the boy scout model, and I'm sure it would have been very good for her.

If your daughter wants to give it a try, by all means encourage it!
 

Luanne

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One major (IMHO) problem with girl scout troops is that the troop keeps the same cohort of girls - and as the girls become more interested in boys or parties or whatever, the troop loses members and disbands. In contrast, boy scout troops are continually replenished with new members from cub scouts, so as the older ones lose interest and age out, new ones join. That also provides great opportunities for older scouts to teach the younger ones.

My response to this is......maybe. It is usual for a troop to all be girls of the same age. But, as the girls get older and their interests change, it's not unusual for girls to drop out for various reasons. This happened to my older dd. So, what we ended up doing was folding two troops together. The girls who wanted to continue on were able to do so. And we picked up another girl, one who had moved from another area. So, it is possible for those girls who are still interested to remain in Girl Scouts and some do, all through high school. My daughter left the troop she was in mostly because of the leader.
 

pjrose

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My response to this is......maybe. It is usual for a troop to all be girls of the same age. But, as the girls get older and their interests change, it's not unusual for girls to drop out for various reasons. This happened to my older dd. So, what we ended up doing was folding two troops together. The girls who wanted to continue on were able to do so. And we picked up another girl, one who had moved from another area. So, it is possible for those girls who are still interested to remain in Girl Scouts and some do, all through high school. My daughter left the troop she was in mostly because of the leader.

Yes, this is how DD got into her second troop; a few of the girls from the first one wanted to continue so joined it. But still, without a yearly influx of younger ones, the troop is going to get smaller and smaller. I know my DS liked being Troop Guide to the younger ones, and that would have been ideal for DD too if there were such a thing.
 

heathpack

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I was not a Girl Scout, I'm sure GSs totally rock.

However, you might encourage your daughter to consider other options as well. I was a (suburban) 4-H-er. In the late 70's/early 80's, we learned cooking, sewing, crafts, natural history & public speaking. My brother's group learned science, woodworking, electronics, and aviation. There were summer camps to attend as well. I have to say I learned some really valuable & practical life skills, to this day when someone tells me they don't know how to cook, I have a little trouble completely understanding what this means. Maybe modern 4-H girls don't learn those things, but I'm pretty glad I did, even if it seems a little old fashioned now.

Mr. H was a Sea Scout like Ron's daughter. Incredible to me that a group of 11 year old boys were learning to provision a boat, navigate and sail ocean passages, anchor safely, and generally be responsible, patient, smart, and non-complaining. His troop even sailed from California to Hawaii on a 45 foot boat, unbelievable, letting a bunch of boys plot a course and sail across the Pacific Ocean.

There are some really great options out there for kids, Girl Scouts are great, I'm sure, but so are some of these other programs. Worth taking a bit of a look around to see what's out there.

H
 

pjrose

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There's also Venturing - somewhat related to Boy Scouts, but co-ed. I believe Venture Crews are organized around some kind of theme, like EMT, or sailing, or camping, or ???

Getting her involved in activities is so important, especially something that she WANTS to do! Scouts, band, sports, etc.
 

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Back when I was in grade school, I belonged to Brownies, which was probably comparable to Cub Scouts. I don't remember too much except I was bored, so it probably depends on the leader and agenda. I didn't go any further in GS, and I'm not sure they were even selling cookies then. :confused:

I also belonged to 4-H at a young age, and there we did camp-outs, sewing, and I'll never forget the session I had to present about how to wash dishes (give me a break). I hope the newer versions provide more options for the young ladies, and I'm sure they do.

Being 'out on the farm,' it was a great way to interact and practice social skills, so they were both worth it from that standpoint.
 

heathpack

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I'll never forget the session I had to present about how to wash dishes (give me a break).

Hahaha!

We were able to pick what we did our demonstrations on. (For those of you unfamiliar with 4-H, a "demonstration" is when you stand up in front of a panel of judges and show them how to do some new skill you learned. Then they "grade" your performance- how well you explained the skill, how well-organized you were, articulate, etc.)

I remember my first demonstration was how to make French toast. I was in third grade. Then the next year, as a fourth grader: apple muffins. Then cream puffs- yes homemade Choux pastry in fifth grade. Then beignets in sixth grade. And finally in 7th grade: how to sew an A-line skirt.

I remember all these because it was such a big deal in our 4-H group. You really had to practice & prepare for these and make sure you had what you wanted to say down pat (sort of like now when I prepare a continuing education seminar for a large group of veterinarians). I am still impressed that we were taught to do all these things. It was a lot of fun, too.

H
 

MuranoJo

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Just saying I wasn't given an option, I was assigned to present about how to wash dishes. There's no way I would have volunteered for that. Goes to show the leader had an influence.
 

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My DD was a girl scout from K through 3rd grade. She sort of lost interest when some of the other girls in the camp became BFFs and started getting really clique-y. For example, one activity was held at one of the girls' house. She invited her 4 BFFs over about an hour early and then they got to sleep over while the rest of the girls in the troop got picked up after the event. For an innocent 8 year old, that is a strange/uncomfortable thing to have to explain as a parent.

I actually blame our troop leader for allowing that to happen and not fostering friendships with ALL the girls. My DD had a lot of other interests by the time she started 4th grade so when it was time to start up the troop again, we bowed out.

I think a lot depends on the leaders/moms. I was disappointed in the experience with my older DD so I never even brought it up with my younger one. I am a little sad about it but I decided I would not say anything to her unless she actually ASKED to be in a troop.

Katherine
 
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