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dottieanna29
07-18-2011, 08:38 PM
Anyone hear a member of Earth Scouts? I looked up information a while ago but I was interested in checking it out again and the website seems to be gone. Searching brings up a site that is more of a community with blogs and a forum rather than an official informational source. Anyone know what's up or have a link to the website?

Thanks.

Hampchick
07-19-2011, 07:47 AM
This has come up before elsewhere. They are the hardest organization to find which is unfortunate. http://earthscouts.ning.com/

dottieanna29
07-19-2011, 08:02 AM
Thank you. The -ning site is the one I found. I'm waiting on approval but it seems there's no where to just get information without registering. A few other sites calling themselves Earth Scouts don't seem to be the real one. I like the idea of Earth Scouts but I'm probably going to have to start a group or do it as a family so I hope once I'm registered it's easier to get information.

anywaybecause
07-24-2011, 12:31 PM
Did they every get back to you?

dottieanna29
07-24-2011, 05:14 PM
They did get back to approve my membership at the site. I've been exploring but it's mostly blogs by existing groups and forums. I'm having a little trouble finding information about starting a group. I also received an email today saying that it might be shutting down so I'm not sure what's going on there.

Looks like we're going to look more into 4H, Spiral Scouts or Campfire.

mamaraby
07-24-2011, 06:17 PM
They did get back to approve my membership at the site. I've been exploring but it's mostly blogs by existing groups and forums. I'm having a little trouble finding information about starting a group. I also received an email today saying that it might be shutting down so I'm not sure what's going on there.

Looks like we're going to look more into 4H, Spiral Scouts or Campfire.

That's sad to hear. We're open to GS for our daughters, but BS is absolutely out of the question which always leaves me looking for alternatives. I had always wondered about Earth Scouts as a possibility.

anywaybecause
07-24-2011, 06:27 PM
I'm considering a Spiral Scouts group near me, but I really need to get back to the leader before she thinks I'm a total flake. It's too bad Earth Scouts seems to be falling apart -- it looked like a worthy option.

Hampchick
07-25-2011, 11:30 AM
Oh bummer. Another group to look into is Roots & Shoots.

acountrymomma
08-04-2011, 12:56 PM
Oh! Thank you for mentioning Roots & Shoots! I'd been considering trying to start another 4-H group in our area, as the one we are currently involved with seems to be loosing focus (the leaders are also homeschoolers, but have started a very involved co-op/christian academy & they were already extremely busy). But I feel a little uncomfortable with all the requirements to start a group as well as not wanting our original group to feel slighted - we really like the folks in it.

Anyhow. It's been sad to see the dramatic shrinking of member participation in 4-H. The budget has been slashed, extension office staff has been cut dramatically, and it seems like families are spread so thin, with so many activities/sports/school commitments/etc. We will remain with 4-H because we love the variety of individual projects & showing, but I'm really looking for a way to get the children who live in our very rural township together, build a spirit of community & learn how much joy can come from becoming a positive participant in the life of the world.

I'll be taking a close look at Roots & Shoots now!

raegan
08-06-2011, 01:07 AM
Strange coincidence, but going through old papers today, i realized I had torn a page out of an old UUWorld magazine because it featured an article about the founder of the Navigators (http://www.navigatorsusa.org/index.html). I was interested because it seems more survival-skill-y like BSA, but without the Theism and homophobia, not to mention it's co-ed. DS is only 6, though (technically, it "starts" at 7). It definitely looks intriguing, but honestly at this point, I want "plug and play," not more wheel inventing on my own.

Which brings me to EarthScouts--our homeschool group tried DILIGENTLY to get one going, but the whole time we were having to reinvent the wheel because the national guidance just wasn't there. The leaders got burned out after months of it & it fizzled. We had also looked at Spiral Scouts when we were deciding which program to choose, but (ironically) didn't think it offered as much in the way of established curriculum/ideas as ES. :roll:

We've also done a bit of Campfire, but it was with our church because they were starting a new chapter, but it wasn't organized very well & was not "plug and play" like I expected an established curriculum to be. (Our regional organization had a massive implosion just prior, which probably contributed to the outcome; there was only some basic help available to the leaders.) There is another homeschool chapter we may touch base with, though.

There is one big 4H for homeschoolers here that's very Jesus-y, and some of the aforementioned comrades have discussed charting another, secular, course. But it's one of those things that I doubt they will really get around to, yk? (see previous statement re: burnout) We still may use many of the 4H guides as curriculum supplements, though. They are thorough and CHEAP! ;)

My big thing, looking down the road, is opportunities for interacting with other kids in the same organization and for leadership in state/regional/national organization. My kids may not be interested, but giving them an opportunity to practice leadership skills in ways "regular-schoolers" get to (in the form of student government & state org's) is important to me.

*don't throw anything at me* but I think I'm just going to try to find a liberal church with a BSA group that meets at a convenient time for me and start DS1 in that next year. It's really the only option with survivalist skills--which is right up his alley. (Seriously, he begs to watch Man vs. Wild nearly every day. In fact, I used specific episodes to teach him about the places we went on vacation this spring, lol.)

dottieanna29
08-06-2011, 08:02 AM
I fully understand doing what you need to do. We still may end up in BSA and GSA. Definitely not my first choices but I know our local BSA troop is very non-religious - I was speaking to a Muslim mom at t-ball and her son is in what would be my son's den. She had talked to the leader specifically about how the religion is handled.

I contacted our "local" 4-H cooperative, which is out of Rutgers. I still haven't received an answer but maybe they are slow to answer with all our big fairs going on right now.

Any of the other organizations and it looks like I'd have to start my own group, which will have to wait until we are settled into our new house sometime next year.

Mrs. Weasley's Wand
08-08-2011, 06:35 PM
We have been doing Spiral Scouts for a little over a year now and have been very pleased with the direction our leaders have taken our Hearth. It does seem like the national organization can be a bit disorganized and it can take awhile to get things going. Like 4H, I believe Spiral Scouts also allows you to participate as an individual family.

For those families who want to stay involved or get involved in 4H, they can do so at an individual or family level if an established club is unavailable or you don't wish to start your own club at this time. I was an individual member for most of my teenage years due to lack of appropriate clubs in my area. The county found ways for me to be a "county of one" when it came to qualifying for state events and the other counties also worked to help me out. (I was the only senior in the horse project in my county.) I imagine the same would go for individuals who resided in larger counties, where other clubs might pull together to offer advice later on for the older kids when it came time to try to qualify for things. Individual members/families are also eligible for space in the 4H exhibit halls at the fairs, though you may need to state your case. It was a non-issue where I was and people could not have been more supportive. My lack of a club held me back from nothing except companionship of other kids to work with on a weekly basis. In truth, the lack of a local club is what drove me to attend the state wide events, so I could meet other kids that shared my interests. I competed at several national events and participated in several of the national programs in DC and Chicago despite being without a regular local club. There are ways of getting your kids the benefits of the 4H program without feeling like you have to run a club for other people's children.

LadySybil
08-18-2011, 01:47 PM
We had a local Earth Scout group but, like a pp mentioned, there was very little outside help and the local leaders burned out. Have you gone through the info on this (http://www.earthcharterus.org/ecus-youthchildren) page? It was almost a year ago, but I think that is where we got a copy of the various guidelines and badges and projects...

We're probably going to go with GSA (despite the similar names, the Girl Scouts are not affiliated with the BSA and they don't have the same religious orientation/core values... the Boy Scouts of America are actually affiliated with a group called American Heritage Girls) just because there is so much organization and support already in place. We looked into Spiral Scouts, Druid Scouts, 4H, Roots&Shoots, and CampFire but in each case the local (or kind of local) groups seem to suffer from frequent burnout. I'm not sure if that is because there isn't much national level support or because of the individuals involved at this end, but I really don't want the kiddos getting invested in a group that goes belly up every other year!

We've heard good things about the Rainbow Girls (originally a girls' group for Masonic families but now open to all) but as the minimum age is still several years away for us I don't know how religious/spiritual/secular it actually is in practice. It might be an option worth exploring though if there is a group near you.

kohlby
08-27-2011, 08:00 PM
Though I'm not quite comfortable with the boy scouts, I did let my oldest son join since there were no other options unless we did it as a family only. I live in the Bible belt and in the 14 years I've lived here, I've only met one other person who wasn't a Christian. There is no Spiral Scouts or anything else like that for groups. My oldest has a very free mind and is not a conformist at all. We let our kids believe what they want. ODS is only 8 but does not believe in a god. I told him that was fine and that we support whatever he wants to believe, but that he also had to understand that the Boy Scouts could kick him out if they knew and that it wasn't right, but it's the way it was. When he learned the law, he decided that "God" would be the god of Bakugan so he'd be comfortable with it. ODS is getting a lot out of Boy Scouts and is a free-thinker so I'll let him stay in as long as it's working for him. (Though he's likely to tell someone one day that he doesn't believe in God and that may be the end of that. He understands that so I'm fine with it). If there were another option other than Boy Scouts for ODS, then I wouldn't have let him do Boy Scouts. Instead, we're letting him do it until it no longer works for him.

Girl Scouts is totally different. DD is starting this year and I've stumbled into training to being a leader. The uniforms are optional. The "God" in the Girl Scout Promise specifically has a note in the leader's guide that it can be replaced with any word that the person feels comfortable with. I would not be able to be a Boy Scout leader due to my religion, or lack of. But Girl Scouts has nothing about that in there. I was a girl scout and was brought up with zero religion. It was never an issue. DD does have her own mind but does care what others think as well. So that personality in Boy Scouts could be an issue. In Girl Scouts, it really doesn't matter based on my experiences as a Girl Scout, what I've seen at DD's meeting, and from reading the Girl Scout leader training info.