Saturday, November 29, 2008

Girl Scouts

You have girls? They in Girl Scouts? Yeah, I thought not.

Reading this article about the Rethinking of Girl Scouts and remembering my time in Girl Scouts. We had just moved to a new town when I was in 4th grade and mom wanted me to make friends. My sister had been in Brownies when she was younger and the offer of a troop of 4th grade girls that all went to the same school seemed like a good idea. And in theory it was. Quickly though I learned that really it was an extension of a popularity contest, this time with mom's involved. One mom was the "leader" of the troop but really she was kind of a looser at that job. The "Co-Leader" was salivating after the "leader" title and so hyper-prepared for things, foisting around rules and badge work. It wasn't pretty and as a 4th grader I remember watching these two women kind of duke out the leadership role during our meetings.

Selling cookies was really entertaining because as an elementary student I quickly understood from my mom that selling things for school was a burdensome task- and she was right. I had no motivation to peddle things to my neighbors that had no value. Crocks of yucky cheese, teeny overpriced candles, and then Girl Scout Cookies. Now don't get me wrong, I love Thin Mints and those Lemon Cookies. But $4.00 for 12 cookies, are you serious? So my mom would buy some for us at home and the folks she worked with would buy several boxes but that was really all of me selling stuff. What potentially killed my motivation even more was what we were to do with the cookie money. Humanitarian good right? Paying for the big trip to a museum to learn stuff and earn badges? No. Each of the girls in the troop got $50 to spend on a trip to the mall. Yep. It was great at the time but I do remember being confused by our mission as Girl Scouts.

So am I sorry that Girls Scouts is dead? Sort of, but really if that was their mission in 1989 they were showing a real lack of direction and mission. Maybe some forethought, some innovation and driving forward Girl-hood. But Girl Scouts I'm guessing became irrelevant a long time ago for Girls and families. Truly that's too bad because I really do believe that Girls need direction and from as many sources as will provide it the better. I'm thankful I had lots of other places to look. Sadly though, Girl Scouts wasn't one of those sources.
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