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Beverly
09-27-2011, 01:43 AM
My four year old dd has been invited to join a mixed age Girl Scout Troop. Even though I think the parents and girls involved are great, I am not sure it is a good fit for her to be around so many older girls. I am totally undecided.

My six year old son also wants to join Girl Scouts. I remember a rare boy or two who was allowed to join when I was in scouts, but now the policy is that a biological boy may only join if he identifies as a girl. K-bot is desperate enough to say that he will pretend to be a girl for GS events. Cute, but not ok since it is dishonest.

Cub Scouts has been suggested, but I have issues with the Boy Scouts.

Does anyone have suggestions for scouting for boys that isn't wrapped up in politics of any kind?

kristinabrooke
09-27-2011, 02:39 AM
I have been looking into various options for my daughter as well. I found the following which are somewhat political in that they focus on taking care of the Earth, but I think they are interesting.:

http://www.earthcharterus.org/ecus-youthchildren/earth-scouts - I emailed them and they did not respond. It's been 3 weeks.
http://www.rootsandshoots.org/ -

HTH-
Kristina

AddlepatedMonkeyMama
09-27-2011, 08:02 AM
Spiral Scouts: http://www.spiralscouts.org/

farrarwilliams
09-27-2011, 08:40 AM
We know people who do Earth Scouts and really like it.

Greenmother
09-27-2011, 09:05 AM
I was thinking about something like that. Either that or just doing it on our own. We prefer to be outside anyhow. And doing all kinds of crazy things.

skrink
09-27-2011, 10:20 AM
We've been thinking about Kids for Peace. http://www.kidsforpeaceglobal.org/ Don't know much about it yet, but it might be worth a look.

JinxieFox
09-27-2011, 10:41 AM
We did SpiralScouts, but I don't know how things are now... We were members around 2007-2009, and their headquarters was not the most organized. Getting badges and pins took a while, so I hope they've improved!

Their program is great, though. When you become a member (whether as a Hearth or Circle) you can download the books and get started right away. If there isn't a local Hearth or Circle, starting your own is quite simple.

jess
09-27-2011, 11:20 AM
Campfire - http://www.campfireusa.org/
4-H

Beverly
09-27-2011, 12:46 PM
Thanks everyone! I am leaning toward Roots and Shoots because when I signed up to get information I found a group that is located nearby and made up of homeschoolers. I am waiting to hear back though. I couldn't manage to access any of their activity guides and as silly as it sounds, I am hoping for some type of recognition program like patches or badges so the kids have a tangible reminder of their contribution/accomplishment. I didn't see anything like that on their site, but maybe I am missing something.

Spiral Scouts has me a bit wary just because it seems to have a religious basis. Maybe someone with more experience can tell me more about it?

Are Earth Scouts still active? When I googled it, I found a bunch of discussion about how they seem to have collapsed and are hard to get involved in.

Thanks again for all the great help!

~Beverly

anywaybecause
09-27-2011, 01:08 PM
Spiral Scouts does have its beginnings in a religious organization, but the circle we are in is not religious at all. I think it may be a circle-by-circle choice.

JinxieFox
09-27-2011, 02:01 PM
Spiral Scouts was born out of the Aquarian Tabernacle Church, which is Pagan. It is obviously geared toward Pagan families, however the program is easily kept secular and any involvement in obtaining religious awards is purely voluntary. The FireFly Promise mentions serving the "Wise Ones" - ancestors, spirits or deities, depending on the person's/family's path - and the SpiralScout's Oath says they will "respect the Divine".

raegan
10-01-2011, 01:42 AM
I would not call Spiral Scouts religious by definition; it offers a religious path of badges/recognition for those of any faith if a child chooses to pursue that path. I know a lot of UU churches offer SS as a sponsored program because of that reason. (A number also offer Campfire programs because they are equally inclusive.) I don't really have any experience with anything but Earth Scouts (which was several years ago and even then was more or less create-your-own activities based on these values), but wanted to point out that SS isn't *really* religious.

laundrycrisis
10-01-2011, 12:17 PM
There was an Earth Scouts group here and I found it to be very political. One of the badges they can earn is "economic justice".

Stella M
10-01-2011, 03:37 PM
It's funny, 'cos if we had Earth Scouts here and I found out you could do an economic justice badge, we'd be all over it :)

laundrycrisis
10-01-2011, 03:45 PM
It's still political though. Maybe polar opposite of some BSA troops, but still, political. I really just wanted fun nature-focused activities. IMO it's a shame grownups have to go dragging their own baggage into kids' activities.

Stella M
10-01-2011, 03:59 PM
Sure :) I can see that would be frustrating.

Beverly
10-01-2011, 08:54 PM
That does make Earth Scouts more interesting...hmmm.
We found a near by Roots and Shoots and should be checking them out on Monday.

kristinabrooke
10-01-2011, 09:35 PM
My four year old dd has been invited to join a mixed age Girl Scout Troop. Even though I think the parents and girls involved are great, I am not sure it is a good fit for her to be around so many older girls. I am totally undecided.

My six year old son also wants to join Girl Scouts. I remember a rare boy or two who was allowed to join when I was in scouts, but now the policy is that a biological boy may only join if he identifies as a girl. K-bot is desperate enough to say that he will pretend to be a girl for GS events. Cute, but not ok since it is dishonest.

Cub Scouts has been suggested, but I have issues with the Boy Scouts.

Does anyone have suggestions for scouting for boys that isn't wrapped up in politics of any kind?

I received a ton of information from EarthScouts today. I can forward it to you if you PM me your email address.

belacqua
10-01-2011, 10:53 PM
I know almost nothing about scouting, but I am rather impressed that the Girl Scouts allow boys who identify as girls. I wonder if that's caused problems (I'm thinking specifically of a neighbor who leads a Girl Scout troop and would not be happy about that policy).

raegan
10-01-2011, 11:06 PM
It's still political though. Maybe polar opposite of some BSA troops, but still, political. I really just wanted fun nature-focused activities. IMO it's a shame grownups have to go dragging their own baggage into kids' activities.

But I'll point out that some faiths DO hold economic justice among their major tenets, so it's not exactly "adult baggage," but a value which is worthy to instill and reward via a chosen scouting program. We are members of a faith that holds it so, and I didn't feel like I was politicizing my then-4yo by discussing ways that our purchasing choices impact others.

jazz
10-03-2011, 02:45 PM
I've never seen boys in Girl Scouting, actually, and I've been involved with Girl Scouts for... err, must be going on 30 years now! At family events, sure, but not troop ones.

But I have seen Boy Scout troops that had girl members, specifically at the older levels called Explorers or something like that I think.

I'd love for boys to be allowed in Girl Scouts, because I like the organization and its openness. I figure I'll look into Earth or Spiral when my son gets a bit older... or I've toyed with the idea of getting Boy Scout materials via a relative who can get books, etc. and run a renegade troop unaffiliated with the national.

tamitakesphotos
10-08-2011, 11:32 PM
Navigators USA (http://navigatorsusa.ning.com/) looks pretty cool to me. But you'd probably have to start your own group, as it's not widespread yet. I also looked into Campfire when we were looking for a BSA alternative. Luckily, the homeschool group I joined was just starting their own scouting group. The kids chose the name Wildlife Scouts, and we're just making it up as we go. All inclusive, for the whole family.

raegan
10-09-2011, 01:18 PM
Navigators USA (http://navigatorsusa.ning.com/) looks pretty cool to me. But you'd probably have to start your own group, as it's not widespread yet. I also looked into Campfire when we were looking for a BSA alternative. Luckily, the homeschool group I joined was just starting their own scouting group. The kids chose the name Wildlife Scouts, and we're just making it up as we go. All inclusive, for the whole family.

wow--where is your Wildlife Scouts group? That sounds cool! Missouri Department of Conservation offers a Conservation Frontiers (http://mdc.mo.gov/education/outside-classroom/conservation-frontiers/about-conservation-frontiers) program that's sorta scout-like, and a friend and I are leading a Conservation Club as part of that in our main homeschool group. It's free to MO residents, but I *believe* you can get the stuff at a nominal fee if you're out of state. You can dowload the PDF for free from the site, of course. It's a family activity setup, too.

WRT Navigators--the guy who developed it is a UU who was dismayed with the exclusionary policies of BSA. I saw a short article about it in the UU Magazine a few months ago and it definitely piqued my interest. If it weren't for that whole "I desperately need a drop-off, plug-and-play" thing, I'd definitely be all over it. The program is completely secular, though--not a UU program; the guy just happens to be UU and the program exemplifies UU values (which are just general "be a good person" values). :)

Greenmother
10-09-2011, 01:53 PM
In most cases, you have to go group by group to determine if adults have loaded their cultural baggage on the troop.

I will say, I recall directly though that BSA tried to claim copyright over the word SCOUT, and tried to sue Spiral Scouts for infringement back in the 90s. Spiral Scouts is Pagan, and BSA was in the grips of adding the anti-homosexual agenda stuff to their pledges.

So sometimes when one group attacks another, it causes the attacked group to politicize as well, in order to defend it's rights. I mean how dare Pagans display the gall to be visible, having children and suggesting that to the rest of the world that they don't eat said children, and in fact try to educate them about being in the world and taking care of the environment and other people. The nerve!

[okay off my soapbox]

Mrs. Weasley's Wand
10-16-2011, 04:35 PM
We're in Spiral Scouts. Our circle is secular. We love the fact that both of our children are in the same scouting group and we found an organization that does not force us to compromise our ideals so our children may participate. My impression is that the national body remains a little disorganized, but our co-leaders are incredible and while this remains frustrating for them, it has not really affected our own experience.

My personal experience is with 4H, and we will probably get involved in 4H at some point, some day. At the organizational level it is secular and co-ed and the opportunities to travel and do things at a regional and national level are outstanding.