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SJayneI
02-24-2012, 05:31 PM
I have a 4 year old and I love the idea of Girl Scouts for her. We are a lesbian family so I want her in environments where she can be open and proud of her family, just like any other child.

I visited the Girl Scouts booth at the local Women's show and was assured that there is not discrimination and that everyone is embraced. The lady even encouraged me to be a troop leader. Ok.......I felt very encouraged.

Then, I visited the website of the regional chapter and read the letter from the CEO in which I came across as sentence that went something like this: We do not allow advocacy or promotion of any lifestyle or orientation.

I was curious to know what that meant, so I called them. I identified myself as a homeschooling mom, but not as a lesbian. She seemed very uncomfortable and kept reassuring me that this sort of conversation would be redirected. We talked for quite a bit and I could tell she has assumed I was very religious. I could tell she relaxed quite a bit when I told her I was lesbian and my daughter has 2 moms. She told me that they have lesbian troop leaders and that she could have one contact me if I'd like.

I'm still a bit unsure of this. I think we'll probably do it and see what happens. I want my daughter exposed to all sorts of people, even those who disagree with who her parents are, but I do want her respected.

I am curious to know of any experience anyone has had with the GS and your thoughts on the above.

It might help to know that we live in Oklahoma and is a city that has a church on every corner......sometimes more.

Resaj
02-24-2012, 06:44 PM
I have a 4 year old and I love the idea of Girl Scouts for her. We are a lesbian family so I want her in environments where she can be open and proud of her family, just like any other child.

I visited the Girl Scouts booth at the local Women's show and was assured that there is not discrimination and that everyone is embraced. The lady even encouraged me to be a troop leader. Ok.......I felt very encouraged.

Then, I visited the website of the regional chapter and read the letter from the CEO in which I came across as sentence that went something like this: We do not allow advocacy or promotion of any lifestyle or orientation.

I was curious to know what that meant, so I called them. I identified myself as a homeschooling mom, but not as a lesbian. She seemed very uncomfortable and kept reassuring me that this sort of conversation would be redirected. We talked for quite a bit and I could tell she has assumed I was very religious. I could tell she relaxed quite a bit when I told her I was lesbian and my daughter has 2 moms. She told me that they have lesbian troop leaders and that she could have one contact me if I'd like.

I'm still a bit unsure of this. I think we'll probably do it and see what happens. I want my daughter exposed to all sorts of people, even those who disagree with who her parents are, but I do want her respected.

I am curious to know of any experience anyone has had with the GS and your thoughts on the above.

It might help to know that we live in Oklahoma and is a city that has a church on every corner......sometimes more.

Well... I live in GA where we also have one or two churches on every corner. Our troop meets in a church, in fact. I am the Daisy leader. I am not a lesbian. I don't think this will impede you at all in the Girl Scouts, however. The organization itself is open and welcoming and quite willing to put any gullible soul to work!

I am not religious. I'm not even sure where I stand with God at this point in my life and I'm not patriotic at all. I admit that saying the pledge every week (which I hadn't yet taught my daughter) and the Girl Scout Promise (on my honor, I will try: to serve God and my country...) still gives me the heeby-jeebys, but... I sort of don't say that part. Nobody seems to notice. Lol.

Honestly, my daughter is having a great time. I can't imagine anyone looking crosswise at you or her except maybe an ignorant parent. Being a leader,if you choose to do that, is a little overwhelming at first, especially if you--like me--were never a girl scout yourself. We have had a little parent drama in our troop but the larger organization is very supportive.

The focus really is on the girls getting together and having fun while learning new skills that prepare them to succeed in leadership roles in the future. It starts small with Daisies learning the Girl Scout law and it steadily grows from there. There is nothing inherently anti-gay as far as my experience with the Girl Scouts. They are just doing their best to empower girls to succeed. I think any parent wants that.

farrarwilliams
02-24-2012, 07:00 PM
Well, you know that many serious right wingers think that Girl Scouts is some sort of liberal plot, right? And they started something called American Heritage Girls that's a conservative alternative to GS. I'm pretty sure that's why the woman was nervous talking to you. They get angry people who say nasty, homophobic things to them because they refuse to be against same-sex couples and kids. I think they're trying really hard to stay out of the culture wars and people are trying really hard to drag them in.

I think it's possible that you could encounter intolerance by individuals in a troop, but the overall organization has a history of standing up against that, including on issues of sexual orientation and gender identity.

baker
02-24-2012, 07:47 PM
I love the idea of GS (I was a Campfire Girl as a child). I attended a GS "open house" last year and was completely turned off!! It was the leader...she was a loud-mouth, ignorant, un-cooth women who only "b-tched" about cookie sales. I know it was just the leader. I would still love to get my dd involved in GS, but the leaders here are not very good. I complained to GS HQ. I know I could volunteer to be a leader, but just don't have the time at this point in my life. I hear wonderful stories from friends throughout the US who have wonderful GS experiences....just didn't happen in South GA.

kewb22
02-25-2012, 08:16 PM
Girl Scouts is all in the troop leader. Good leader, good troop. My dd is a Juliette (independent girl scout) and we get together with some friends who are also registered Juliettes once a month. The girls work towards badges together.

Jeni
02-26-2012, 09:43 AM
Dd has been in Girl Scouts for 3 years now and we both love it. You are very lucky to live in a place that seems so open. I don't think people would respond so kindly around here.

skrink
02-26-2012, 10:18 AM
The leader makes all the difference. We tried Brownies years ago and it was an unmitigated disaster. VERY religious, rule bound, dull. This year we tried again and found an extremely laid back troop. The leader is very casual, and it's quite the crunchy group of folks. It's a relaxed atmosphere, not super active, but friendly. We attended the council-wide World Thinking Day celebration last weekend and I was blown away by the differences in all of the troops. If you don't find what you're looking for the first time out, keep looking - there's bound to be a place for you and your daughter.

JLeck
02-26-2012, 10:35 AM
I was a GS leader for 7 years. I ended up being a leader because we had a terrible leader for the first year. Find a troop with a good leader, or be the leader yourself. It's fun and the girls can learn all kinds of things. We learned camping skills, knitting, first aid, and all kinds of other stuff. World Thinking Day is a fun event. We also got to spend the night at the zoo in OKC and the Science Museum too. Pretty cool. My daughter is still friends with most of the girls from the troop. My co-leader (also my SIL) & I are second Moms to a lot of the girls, even now during the teenage years.

Our troop had no religious content, expect the bit in the pledge. We did have our meetings at the local Catholic Church, because they were kind enough to support our troop. We welcomed everyone. When new girls were looking to come into our troop I always had them visit our meetings a couple of times with their parents so they could see what we were like. I say give it a try. :)

lakshmi
02-26-2012, 12:21 PM
Girls Scouts sort of freaks me out. Personally I don't like them. Or their damn cookies.

But I do know that a friend was complaining recently about the troop here because the leader wasn't bubbly.

ESNQueen
02-26-2012, 12:42 PM
We have some serious issues with girl scouts here, but it's more with the inept people running it than the policies. I tried and tried to get my daughter into a troop a couple of years ago - kept getting told the only troops in the area were based at the public schools, so I contacted those leaders and they wouldn't let my daughter join because she didn't go to the school. The local council said that isn't an issue, she could join any troop I wanted her to join. But the leaders wouldn't even give me the paperwork, so I didn't want my daughter in a group where she would obviously be treated like an outsider by everyone.

Then we located and joined a troop of all-homeschooled girls, which was nice, except half the time the leader and I and one other family were the only people who showed up to events, and everything was at least 45 minutes away from us. It was an extremely frustrating experience. So, now we are scout-less and pondering 4-H for next year.

TeachingStars
02-28-2012, 06:18 AM
Girls Scouts sort of freaks me out. Personally I don't like them. Or their damn cookies.

But I do know that a friend was complaining recently about the troop here because the leader wasn't bubbly.

In the same boat here.

lakshmi
02-28-2012, 01:57 PM
TS: Glad that I am not the only one. I feel sort of like a freak in the world.. All that troop and pledges with funny finger holds..

skrink
02-28-2012, 02:58 PM
TS: Glad that I am not the only one. I feel sort of like a freak in the world.. All that troop and pledges with funny finger holds..

Ha! I get this. I was pretty resistant to trying scouts. My very uptight, better-than-thou in-laws are thoroughly into the whole thing - any way to measure and compare accomplishments and they're all over it. "So, how many badges/journeys/whatevers have YOUR girls earned??" I have strong feelings about Boy Scouts (having seen the crap that goes on, all the way from the pinewood derby events up to the bogus Eagle Scout projects) and projected that somewhat onto GS. I met the troop leader at a kids' yoga class and we hit it off. Dd and her kiddo hit it off, and dd was asked to join. It's not perfect, but right now there's more right than wrong so here we are. I'd love to find a hs'ing 4H club nearby that doesn't have a blatantly religious tone (in theory 4-H may not discriminate on basis of religion, but when you're the only one there who isn't praising Jesus it can get a wee bit uncomfortable). I do think dd would benefit from a mixed gender group, and I wouldn't mind getting away from the pledges with the funny finger holds. ;)

cassiemc
02-28-2012, 06:09 PM
I can only speak for myself. I would not have a problem with a lesbian family or leader. My daughter has been in GS since Kindergarten. It's been 5 years now. I think GS is one of the most accepting groups for children. I would not allow my boys to be Boy Scouts because of their anti-gay, god is awesome policies.

SJayneI
02-28-2012, 07:31 PM
I am getting a real sense that Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are very different. I find that weird!

Jeninok
02-28-2012, 07:36 PM
This is very interested we pulled DS out of boy scouts for a variety of reasons, ranging from the fact that the meetings were nothing but chaos and he acted horribly to their views on religion and homosexuality.

We have been thinking about campfire. I did it as a kid and loved it, when it was only girls, but it is co-ed now and fully inclusive.

crunchynerd
03-09-2012, 04:31 PM
Me too. Part of it was, my sis and I were both in, and I really took the Girl Scout Pledge seriously. We'd put our hands on our hearts and sing "On My Honor, I will try..." and the very same girls who were angelically reciting it, were the very next 10 minutes mercilessly bullying the others under the oblivious noses of the troop leader. We didn't camp out or get dirty, had to sit on little plastic padded mats to keep us from getting on the dirty dirty ground (the mats, called "sit-upons" had to be worn belted to us, banging our backsides with every step, and I found it uncomfortable as well as humiliating). We did, however, blow up balloons and dip yarn in starch and wrap it around the balloon, dry it, and pop the balloon, once. We also colored in coloring books, a LOT.

The biggest lesson I learned there, followed me through life: We were coloring in coloring books, as usual, and one of the Mean Girls made fun of the Wei-Fen for using the "wrong" color for people's skin. A fight ensued, with all the girls insisting on having sole knowledge of what people skin should be, in Crayon. "Pink!" "White!" "Flesh!" "Apricot!" while poor Wei-Fen dissolved in tears of frustration, crying "But People are ORA-A-ANGE!"
She was sobbing.

I was horrified. She was the only non-caucasoid there, and nobody else seemed to get that they were insulting her into the ground, almost declaring that she couldn't be a "people" if she didn't agree that "people" are either white, pink, or apricot. Orange was the closest approximation the box of crayons offered, to her eye, and the other girls ganged up on her about it?! How was it even their business what she colored HER picture?

None of that was the fault of the troop leader, though she also liked to yack on the phone and not pay attention to the little monsters who liked to bully...but it was a huge life lesson to me.

I have heard from many sources that it all depends on the troop leader, and one of these days, if we can all agree to pay a flat fee instead of selling cookies (my girl is allergic to the ingredients anyway!), I might consider starting a troop. But I bet my style would get on the nerves of other mothers, because we'd be learning knot-tying, and how to make fire without matches, dig an emergency shelter, and navigate on land and make backcountry water filters, not doing makeovers and shopping sprees.

jazz
03-11-2012, 12:00 AM
I am a girl scout leader, and worked in girl scouts at camps for years. The organization is LGBT friendly, but the friendliness of the troop can vary from troop to troop. The organization is also atheist friendly, and obviously people's attitudes there vary from troop to troop too. But you can officially say or not say any part of the girl scout promise or the pledge of allegiance that you wish. You can change the word "god" to the name of a specific deity or deities, generic words like god, goddess, nature, or say nothing as you wish.

Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts have nothing in common with one another except that the idea for having girl scouts came from the fact that boy scouts had been started a few years before. But there's never been any actual connection between them. Boy scouts are homophobic and anti-agnostic/anti-non Judeo-Christian. Girl Scouts is the total opposite.

I would say to contact the troop leaders she puts you in touch with and see if you hit it off with one of them. Then see if your daughter feels that she fits in.

Oh, and our troop is agnostic about cookies. We have families opposed to them on un-natural/unhealthy-food grounds. We have families opposed to them on commercialism grounds. Some of those wanted to donate boxes, some didn't. We have families who wanted to sell a few to relatives. We have families who wanted to sell lots! We just gave the materials out to parents and told them we were completely fine with whatever they wanted to do. None of the families who didn't sell are expected to contribute more in any way. (The troop gets so little as it is per box!)