I was a Girl Scout for a hot minute when I was in grade 3. Actually I think I was a Brownie – but still not even for a full year. In Grade 2 I had tried to join the Boy Scouts when we were living in Folk Polk, Louisiana. The school announcement said if you wanted to be in the Boy Scouts to meet in room such and such. I was the only girl that showed up. Because I was just learning English they just assumed it was a language barrier problem. I went home and told my Mother about it and she said she did not understand it either. Daddy tried to explain it to me and said there was a “girl version” but I just thought that was silly. Why do we need to be in two different groups if we are learning the same thing? When we moved to North Carolina I went to my first Girl Scout meeting and heard about the camping and was very excited. My leader was not very active. She thought sleeping in a gymnasium was camping enough. I was so disappointed. No tents, no fires, just sleeping bags on a cold floor and some dumb movie about cats going to heaven. What a disappointment. I wanted to learn about knife safety, knot tying, survival techniques and how to filter dirty water for drinking. After working hard to collect pennies for Unicef and hearing that the troop wanted to do a manicure party, I quit. Fast forward to my first daughter who in Kindergarten. I learn that Girl Scouting is totally different. There are Daisy Scouts – how adorable! They had little blue beanies and they earn petals on a daisy – AWWWWW. So we go looking for a troop and all the Daisy troops are filled. We were so sad. No worries. JoAnne to the rescue! JoAnne was leading some troops of her own in a different council so she told us we could just Juliette and tag onto her troop until we found an opening. My 15 year old has JUST completed her Silver Award. We are turning it in tomorrow on the VERY LAST DAY. LOL She has discovered she is a procrastinator. There were also some delays out of her control though (not to make excuses). Her grandfather was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer and that threw our family into a loop. Then the pandemic hit. But all that matters is that she finished it. It was a long few years in the making. If she has met all her parameters and the GS Council sees fit to award her with the Silver, I will be sure to share it here. What I have learned through both my girls being Scouts is that Girl Scouts is better for girls not because we are the weaker sex or that they must be divided – but it gives the Girls a place where they do NOT have to compare themselves to Boys. I have spoken to plenty of moms who have had Girl Scouts and Eagle Scouts in their brood and they have all told me that Boy Scouts are not better – just different. The quality of each individual troop or den depends on the people who run it. What I did not understand as a child is that all of these people are VOLUNTEERS. I have such great respect for leaders now. Yes, I still believe my leader was not the best one for me but I appreciate that she volunteered. Sabrina has had several leaders and some were fantastic and others not so much. JoAnne is creme de la creme! I wish we lived in her district. Because my kid’s magnet high school has high demands and because she belongs to a FIRST Robotics team, she decided her best bet was to be an independent scout so she did not feel guilty when she missed meetings. So are back to what we had done at the beginning and starting next year she will Juliette again. We may tag along with JoAnne’s troops on trips and I hope she will go for the Gold. I digress – so there are a lot of BS about Girl Scouts that need to be clarified. I have heard people say that Girl Scouts only learn domestic skills. WTF? Who told them THAT? My kiddo has learned survival skills in a “Zombie” theme camp and learned how to handle blades and made a survival kit that rivaled any of the ones you could buy. She has learned archery, camping skills and how to ride a horse. Many people think Girl Scouts do not camp. Even I thought that because of my short experience. Wrong again. Sabrina has camped many many times in all seasons. She began with backyard camping as a Daisy then moved on to platform tents on scout property, did tree house camping and then tent camped. I am hoping she will get to do some primitive camping this spring. She and her troop had to plan all their meals, handle all the prep and did most of the cooking and cleaning afterward. Another misnomer is that Girl Scouts do not do high adventure. Again, this depends on the leader and the troop but there are plenty of girls that spend a week on a sailboat, go backpacking, kayaking, dog sledding, rock climbing, horseback riding, whitewater rafting, zip lining, snow tubing and so much more! JoAnne’s troop is always going on destination trips. Girl Scouts learn how to be leaders in the best way. They do the work. I don’t know how many meetings I have observed where the leaders will tell the girls – figure it out. So yeah, they have to really learn from the ground up. They experience all sorts of leadership opportunities as they earn badges, explore STEM and by doing community projects. Earning the Bronze, Silver and Gold awards require extensive leadership. Earning these award are not for wussies! I have really seen my kiddo grow while working in this Silver Award. The last misnomer that I hate the most is the whole, “nothing compares to the Eagle”. Shut. Up. Okay okay okay – so the Eagle gets a lot of press thanks to the good ole’ boy network. I salute all Eagle Scouts – you did a good job. However, the Gold Award requires 80 individual hours and a ton of pre-requisites. Just like the Eagle it is worthy to mention for college applications and scholarships. It also enables a recipient to jump a rank when entering the military. I LOVE the way a girl has THREE opportunities instead of one by earning the Bronze, Silver and Gold Award. Each step allows the girl to grow and learn from the other before going for the ultimate award. That is a much smarter way of approaching a goal, I think. If there is ANY big difference between Girl and Boy Scouts it is sadly investments. I see companies really investing in Boy Scouts but very few helping with Girl Scouts. Our girls break their backs selling those Girl Scout cookies (which I hate but that is for another blog post) for very little profit. I would love to see Girl Scouts do a better job of attracting corporate sponsors but that is just my opinion. Overall, I am very proud of both my daughters and their achievements in scouting. Both girls have earned the Bronze – I am hopeful Sabrina will be approved for her Silver and if they go for the Gold I will be cheering them on all the way.