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Troop is not very fun


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#41 smoortgat

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 08:37 PM

If you feel that selling cookies is exploitation, have you offered to open your pocketbook, and fund an entire year of Girl Scouting for your daughter's Troop?

No?

Scouting costs money. It has to come from somewhere.

Have you offered to pay for at least your daughter's costs? How many patches, awards, etc, has she earned? How much has she used in supplies? Does the Troop have to pay any type of rental for their meeting space? Are you charged for the TOTAL cost of any outing attended by your daughter?

No worries!, Perhaps the Planned Parenthood Fairy will drop a bundle of cash on your Troop leader's doorstep! Oh, whoops. Sorry, can't have that now can we.

Seriously, if you have not organized a product sale (cookies OR popcorn) you have NO idea what goes into it or what the kids do, or do not learn.

The GSUSA program, as in ANY youth program, including BSA, is only as good as the volunteers involved. If done correctly the girls learn quite a LOT from product sales. That is why GSUSA National has incorporated it as part of their program.

GSUSA Troop/Groups are YOUTH run from kindergarten thru 12th grade. It is age appropriate, and a learning experience, but even kindergarteners have input in their Troop.


It starts with the girls picking a form of "government" for their Troop, It goes on to the girls deciding what awards they want to earn, and activities they want to do, including service activities. Then the question is how do THEY pay for what THEY want to do. Barring any "Sugar Daddies/Mommies/Mythical Creatures", the answer is usually a combo of dues, and product sales. The GIRLS figure out how much their "year of Scouting" will cost, and how many cookies/candy/calendars/etc, they will have to sell to achieve that goal. They also have to decide what kind of profit they want from the product sales. Do they want a higher Troop profit per item, but no gee gaw incentive awards? Or do they crave the fancy stuff, and stuffed animals, and so opt for a lower Troop profit, which means they will have to sell more to reach their dollar goals? (BTW - while a box of cookies might be easier to sell than a tin/box/bag of popcorn, the profit per box is approximately 13%, not 30%.)

So, up to this point the GIRLS have been involved in (to varying degrees based on age) : politics, researching, goal setting, budgeting, math skills, money management, and time management.

As the product sales approach the GIRLS decide if they want to do booth sales, order-taking, or a combo. If they decide to do booth sales the GIRLS help to decide what product to order, and how much. The GIRLS help decide where/when to hold their booth sales. The GIRLS create advertising for their sale. The GIRLS display their product at the booth. The GIRLS sell the product to their customers.

So, to the above we can add, art skills, imaginative thinking, business skills/ethics, public relations, marketing, customer service, salesmanship, and yes, leadership.

Yes, selling cookies is a National sale. Yes, it is considered a sales PROGRAM, along with being a fundraiser for BOTH the Troop and the Council.

Exploitation - NO. A great learning experience for the girls - YES.

To further the point the financial aspect was never and I mean never discussed with the girls. Al they heard was who was getting what prize. Nothing to do with Balancing money or anything . In fact our troops finances are a tightly held secret known only by the leader. Who came up with the cash when they couldn't afford the van rental for the camp. Ill let you guess. And I'm on disability.
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#42 smoortgat

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Posted 01 June 2013 - 08:45 PM

ScoutNut your approach seems utopic. And I would like to see it in action maybe my daughter will join your troop. Please come here and show us how its done. Ill back you you sound like the leader we need. In fact I think the Whole of LA needs you. Sort of like a GS version of Nanny McPhee
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#43 ScoutNut

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Posted 02 June 2013 - 07:01 PM

Nope, not utopic at all. Simply a LOT of hard work. The Troops that I know of that really worked well (including ours) were the ones that had a core group of parents (moms AND dads) who liked, and respected, each other, worked well TOGETHER, and who believed in what the Scouting program could bring to their kids. Our girls are all adults now, and Lifetime Girl Scouts. My daughter has abandoned Chicago for the Bay area, perhaps you could move your Troop up there, and persuade her (or my former Boy Scout son who moved out there with her) to help!
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#44 qwazse

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 10:57 AM

I think SN hit the nail on the head. Parents need to show solidarity and respect. For some folks that does not come easy. (I hate pulling the suburban middle class card, but I am afraid it applies to that demographic more often than not.) Smoort has been shoveled a heavy dose of disrespect. The moms might not feel that way, but nothing hurts an Eagle scout's feelings more than a bunch of people saying "Yeah, sure you can set up a camping agenda, but don't expect all of us to sign on!" So then everything else, ... the cookie sales, the camps they go to, etc ... becomes colored by that experience. Now granted, when one of my venturers called for a day at the spa during a brainstorming session, I "deep six-ed" that card after the meeting. But if she would have continued to be enthusiastic about it, promoted its benefits, made it cost-effective, and brought others on board, I would have knuckled under and got that pedicure with the rest of the crew. That's kind of the point, the Good Book says we should be encouraging one another into "love and good deeds." When that happens in scouting, it infects the next generation. When it doesn't, the kids see the parents' frustration and won't have anything else to do with it.
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#45 ParkMan

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 01:24 PM

I see this a bit differently. My son is in a large CS pack. My daughter in a large multi-level GS Troop. In both units, you see some families into camping, but many others that are not. For many families in the pack, CS might as well be a arts & crafts/field trip/fun activity. There are many for whom CS is not a "lets all get out in the woods" program. In my daughter's GS troop, you see exactly the same thing. smoortgat's posts sound like there is a little bit of "look, I know how scouting should work - you all just need to do what I say". You may be 100% correct technically - however, you are in a group with a different culture. You've gotten a lot of good advice here on how a GS Troop can run, but the reality is that the Troop may not want it to run that way. If the families are generally happy as is, why should they try to go spend a bunch of energy changing it. This is not a uniquely GS problem. My son's CS pack has exactly the same problem too. My general advice is that unless you see a real desire in the families for the program you describe, then decide to either go along as is, or go to another Troop. If you stay, don't expect grand changes, but do try to broaden their views from time to time. In my daughter's GS troop, there were folks who said "this is how it should run". But then as the unit grew, there were probably 20 different leaders involved. They all had different goals & desires for the program. SN was spot on - those parents worked together and found a good common ground.
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#46 smoortgat

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Posted 03 June 2013 - 11:13 PM

Qwazse Thank you for your comments ParkMan: I agree with you point however, if you look back and my earlier posts. I was seeking advise on how to find a program more suitable to my daughters desires and allow me to participate without feeling completely out of place. This year I got behind all of the activities cheerfully and with enthusiasm even when I didn't agree with the activity. Of course my gender prevents me attending overnight event which is fine by me. and I wouldn't allow my daughter to camp out in a mall. I became an official GSUSA volunteer and took several GSUSA training classes. I solicited donations to make up for finical shortcomings and wrote a check to cover activity costs. I have a good report from most of the girls and have heard many of the girls tell me that they don't like the program as it currently is. My daughter has told the other girls what we do when we camp. That is when I put the camp together with the leaders endorsement. I tried to put together a camp with activities that all would enjoy and a minimal cost so that all could attend. It wasn't until the parents heard that they would need to participate that any issues began. qwaze hit the nail on the head it is demographics, If I were in a small town or in the midwest I probably wouldn't be having this conversation. I'm a native Los Angelino but I have had the benefit of living in several towns and yes there is a difference. Many parents view GS as a inexpensive baby sitting service which breaks my heart to see especially when there is a weekend activity you can see the hurt in there eyes as the parents seldom if ever let them join. So now I'm torn do I pull out and find another troop or other kind of group, or do I stay and try to encourage a program that the girls will enjoy. For the record the girls are not consulted about the activities that the troop does. As far as me becoming a leader: I'm not willing to take the risk. I will be happy to co-lead if anybody would be willing to step up and lead.
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#47 ParkMan

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 08:14 AM

Hey Smmortgat - Yes - sorry if I went a bit off the path from your earlier comments. I definitly remember you started this looking for a new troop. I think we're on pretty much the same page - you basically have a choice - stay & see if you can "fix it" or go find a new troop. I won't try to convince you to stay - sometimes it's better just to find a new home with folks who may be thinking similar things. Sorry if you've already mentioned this... Have you had a one-on-one coffee with the primary leader. Maybe she has similar goals to yours, but isn't sure where to start. Or maybe she's overwhelmed and would welcome some help. If she just really likes what they do now, then that's a sign that affecting change will be difficult.
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#48 smoortgat

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Posted 04 June 2013 - 10:09 AM

Hey Smmortgat - Yes - sorry if I went a bit off the path from your earlier comments. I definitly remember you started this looking for a new troop.

I think we're on pretty much the same page - you basically have a choice - stay & see if you can "fix it" or go find a new troop. I won't try to convince you to stay - sometimes it's better just to find a new home with folks who may be thinking similar things.

Sorry if you've already mentioned this... Have you had a one-on-one coffee with the primary leader. Maybe she has similar goals to yours, but isn't sure where to start. Or maybe she's overwhelmed and would welcome some help. If she just really likes what they do now, then that's a sign that affecting change will be difficult.

I like my leader she is new but is good with the girls. She is a true girly girl. and of course I am a polar opposite but I do play along. My only criticism about here is that she a total by the book leader and is strongly influenced by several mothers in the group that don't believe I should be there . She has never been disrespectful to me directly however I do know that she as said and done things behind my back even though she had asked me to put together some activity. I did confront her with that and it does seem to have stopped. She knows that I am one of the few parents that she can count on to help wherever possible. She too is frustrated with the lack of support from the parents but she seems to be afraid to get firm with them.
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#49 MerryMarshGS

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 10:02 AM

I know it was last school year since you posted and I hope all has worked out. Your post is NOT how Girl Scouts is everywhere, Not how I experience it and not how I am going to have it be for my girl. I was a Girl Scout Brownies all the way through college and now have taken on as leader for my Brownie in MD. My mother took over as a troop leader for me because my troop was failing, although we girls didn't know it, we were just having fun. My mother was a girly-girl, and all about the crafts. Her first parent meeting she had and told the parents up front this is who she is and if they want the troop to do out-of-doors she would support it. I was lucky enough to have a family in the troop who stepped up and who were park rangers and army out-of-doors people. Some of my best Girl Scout experiences were with them. The combination of indoor work with my mom along with my amazing out-of-door experiences made me who I am today. I have a troop that wants it all with only a couple of parents stepping up. I wish I had you in my troop! I would suggest trying to just have them agree to a couple of events that you can set up. If you have tried and it hasn't worked I would talk with the council (oversees the troops) and see if they have a better troop fit and she can always do any council event on her own (or if there are two or a few of them interested just they could do the event). Also she could be a Juliette (although that is a GS on her own and the group experience is what we like so much). The Girl Scout programs that they have now (I'm getting used to and becoming a fan) are pretty good for the young ones and as I see the upper levels as pretty amazing. I worked an environmental education camp for six months and occasionally we would split the regular classes up by gender. It was amazing the difference I would experience with the girls speaking up more and stepping up more without their boy classmates there. Whether it was the girls not doing science as confidently or embarrassment or early puberty and wanted to impress. I do think there is a benefit to an all single gender experience in Girl Scouts. I hope it works out for you two.
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#50 gsdad

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 12:17 PM

At least they let you sign up.....Our GS council would not let a man run a troop....So my daughter tags along with the Pack and Troop....

We experience some pretty significant discrimination from the local girl scout units. Too young too old, wrong school, wrong neighborhood, just short of wrong color....

I do not like the AHG, there have been a few reports of them Bullying their way into events that were closed because it was at capacity by using that mutual support letter.......


I was in the same boat. I signed on to help my wife, the parents and kids loved it. The camp Rangers treated me like I was Richard Allen Davis. My daugter is now in a Crew and loves it.
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#51 gstroop841

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Posted 09 January 2014 - 01:03 PM

Sounds like there is confusion about the differences between Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts!! Lots of girls don't like to go camping and do outdoor activities. Girl Scouting is basically set up to be girl led at every age with age appropriate activities. Sometimes leaders forget that the "mall" is not the only age appropriate activity that the girls might want to do! So if the leaders are not suggesting other things, then the girls need to. As parents you should be encouraging your daughter to explore her world and make suggestions to her troop leaders. Boy Scouts do 90% outside activities, do they go to museums, or the theater or ice skating, roller skating? These are things that Girls Scouts do as well as outside activities. While boys are learning survivalist training, girls are learning to be more well rounded, it's just who we are by nature. So if you are a father and wondering why your daughter's troop is not as enthusiastic about outdoor activities, maybe you need to fill the void and help the girls become excited about it or start a troop that only does outdoor activities! That's my sound off for the day!!
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#52 richardcampbell

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Posted 25 July 2014 - 06:33 AM

your concerns are obvious..... i am a father too.... be cautious and take you time before making a decision..
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#53 Sidney Porter

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Posted 31 July 2014 - 11:06 AM

I have not been around GS much. My sster was one back in the 70's and I have known girls that are the age on my son that have been involved. In my limited observation they lack the structure that the CO gives. It seem like anyone can start a unit, it is usually a parent of a group of friends who are the same age. That unit doesn't really seem to get bigger by adding younger scouts. It seems to have the issues that sometimes comes with the self charted packs and troops they never grow. As far a the girl scout program it appears that they have the opportunities to do the hiking and camping and such. But it is really if the unit takes advantage of it. Sure they do crafts but so do cub scouts. If you look at the age appropriate items for cubs vs the girls the same age It seems like the girls can actually do more within the rules.
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