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Sarbare0704
06-08-2010, 06:31 PM
I was wondering if anyone's homeschooler is in girl/boy scouts. If so how does that work? When I was little our troop met after school at the school library, is there other places they meet? Does your child feel like odd man out for being homeschooled? Also what age can they start and how do you get started?
This is always something that I hoped my kids would be involved in and I'm hoping it is still an option for us. If it is I would like to get my daughter involved as soon as possible I figure before she is joining a group that has been together many years it might be easier for her to join when a lot of others do. I would love any info you can share! Thanks!!

hockeymom
06-08-2010, 06:57 PM
I think they start in grade 1. We don't do it because of the religious message. DS has a friend who is in it though and they do fun stuff like build birdhouses for the bird sanctuary.

crazymama
06-08-2010, 07:20 PM
Well.. I believe girls can start a year before boys, boys can start in 1st grade. I'm not 100% sure about girls since I just now have a DD who is getting to the age to look into them. My oldest just earned his Arrow of Light and bridged over to Boy Scouts this year.

I have some issues with scouts.. though our local troop doesn't push it, the over all tone of scouts is a religious one. Only 1 boy in my son's whole troop wears the badge for their religion. We talked about chosing Buddhism as a religion for my son to devote to to get his badge, but then we decided that too went against our beliefs... so we just ignore all religious aspects of it for the most part, and when something comes up and my son has questions I answer them and then tell him why we feel the way we do.

Our troops around here meet at churches, the one my son is in meet at 2 very small country churches not far from our house (cubs at one church, boys at another).

There is a thing called Spiral Scout (I think that's the right name) that is secular, and also you can look into 4H.. but then some of those tend to be religious as well.

Oh and being the outcast... my son was the outcast when he joined, but he had been an outcast in public school, and though we hoped he would get along a bit better once he went back to PS this past Feb, it hasn't happened... he is still the outcast at school and scouts, he acts like it doesnt' bother him, and I know it doesn't bother hubby and I for being outcasts, we like being strange ;)

Sarbare0704
06-08-2010, 07:40 PM
Thanks for the info! I did a little more research and girls can start at 5, Funny how I was a girl scout back in the day and had no idea that it was religious! My troop must have not made a big deal of it, we mostly did arts and crafts! We have a year before she is going to be old enough and maybe if I can find a local homeschool group I like I may just play around with the idea of starting our own troop that meets in the day so by default it will be a homeschool one LOL! From what I read it seems that the leader can pretty much decide what they chose to do and what badges to earn, so that could be really fun!

crazymama
06-08-2010, 08:00 PM
You can always do it independantly ;) But then I'm sure it is a more fun thing in a group.

I wish we had more homsechoolers around here, I would look into starting a homeschool troop for both my boys and my girl, but then you almost have to have lots of boys and girls of the same age to make it a troop/den kind of thing.

jessicalb
06-08-2010, 10:01 PM
Our group just started a Boy Scout troop. They asked why Alex wasn't at the first meeting and I kind of ranted about scouts and god pledges and kicking gay kids out. They promised they wouldn't be doing any pledgy stuff with god and that if Alex is gay he won't get kicked out. I think they missed the point but it's nice that they are trying to include him. The one thing that seems to come up over and over with Boy and Girl Scout leaders is that they don't like how much control the central scouting agencies have and how much they charge. So we may eventually just split off into our own little unlabeled homeschool scouting thing.

jessicalb
06-08-2010, 10:02 PM
You can always do it independantly ;) But then I'm sure it is a more fun thing in a group.

I wish we had more homsechoolers around here, I would look into starting a homeschool troop for both my boys and my girl, but then you almost have to have lots of boys and girls of the same age to make it a troop/den kind of thing.

Both our scout groups are aged about 4 to 15ish, and that seems to work really well. The moms stay involved and kind of ramp the activities to the appropriate level for their kids.

Melyssa
06-09-2010, 04:28 AM
My daughter was a Brownie for 3 years and then a year as a Junior. The troop we were in was run by 2 homeschool moms and consisted of 3 homeschoolers and 3 girls from a private school. There was zero religion involved other than the word God in the pledge and it was a non-issue, say it or not say it or mouth it or substitute, no one cared. We took off from Scouts last year because we moved but we joined a new troop that starts in the fall. Unfortunately it's 9 public school girls and my daughter is the only homeschooler but I volunteered to be the troop's co-leader so I'll be present at every meeting and thinking that hopefully it won't matter as long as I'm there to facilitate things. I figure if we have issues down the road we can always quit but am honestly going to give it a good try and hope it all works out for the best. Both troops we've been in do meet in churches but only because the space rental is so cheap.
For what it's worth, I have found trying to find troops via your local Girl Scout website is a fruitless endeavor. I have found all troops and other scouts via word of mouth of friends or asking on local homeschool group boards.

warramra
06-09-2010, 07:35 AM
I was the troop co-leader for dd10's junior troop this year. With everything else going on in our lives that was really tough. Dd10 does not want to do scouts next year as she is playing on a travel soccer team with 3 practices/week and it is just too much. Dd7 will continue with Brownies and dd5 will start Daisy. I will just be a mom. We have to go through the central organization in order to get placement in a group, but I have found it is better to call and talk to someone in 'member coordination' then try the email through the website.

Most meetings here are in the early evenings and meet at local churches. Although some do meet in other places. This is because churches are about the only source for free meeting space.

In GS, at least the troops I've been involved with (for 12 years as a child and 2 as an adult) there is no religion. "God" is used in the promise, but it is made clear that it is whatever God the girls choose to worship and can be left out without a problem.

My personal beef with GS is that GSUSA has ruined the program. It isn't the same as it was when I was a girl and that is sad to me. Instead of emphasizing personal achievement, setting personal goals and working towards them, and working on skills...it has become more of the same teamwork, committee, watered-down ideological mish-mash I don't like about modern education. It is all about "creating women leaders for tomorrow", or some other sort of drivel. Thankfully, a lot of leaders around here feel the same and work with as much autonomy as possible to try to give the girls a fun program about local community involvement.

Also, the cookie program KILLS me. The emphasis on it is horrible. We spent 3 months this winter just focused on trying to sell the amount of cookies the central office 'suggested' we ordered, and as it was my co-leader and I had to pony up money to cover the cookies that didn't sell.

The Daisy and Brownie programs are generally fine, it is the Junior and up program that drives me crazy. So, since dd7 loves the social, arts & crafts aspect of Brownies I will let her continue, but I won't push any of the girls to stay in once they want to quit. And, like dd10, by the time they are in 4th/5th grade they will have other activities that interest them.

Amy

Riceball_Mommy
06-09-2010, 09:15 AM
The local homeschool group here just started up a Girl Scouts troop this year. My daughter is a year too young anyway and besides that they meet on a day that would leave me with no transportation. I don't know where they meet because I never pay attention when they post info.

crazymama
06-09-2010, 09:31 AM
Jessica, the amounts they charge are a big issue for us as well! We are a family of 6 with one income.. and it's not a great income either (under $15/hour!). It seems there is something that takes money going on every other week, and then summer camp at $300 is outrageous. We got a campership grant which paid $100 of it, but still to come up with almost $200 is really hard for us.

Really I wouldnt' even have him in it, but hubby says he thinks it's good for him (though he still isn't getting the respect thing that theya re supposed to be teaching the kids).

Shoe
06-09-2010, 09:31 AM
Also, the cookie program KILLS me. The emphasis on it is horrible. We spent 3 months this winter just focused on trying to sell the amount of cookies the central office 'suggested' we ordered, and as it was my co-leader and I had to pony up money to cover the cookies that didn't sell.I'm glad my daughter has no interest in Scouting because of this, but I'm glad that there are those who do, because boy, do I like those cookies! I usually buy about 30 boxes a year from some of my colleagues' kids...and then, a few here and there at tables outside the malls, etc. I think they must have slipped something more addictive than crack in those cookies...

Snoopy
06-09-2010, 09:55 AM
Just an FYI, in case you want your kids to complete the tasks for Scout merit badges WITHOUT them being in Scouts, all the badge requirements are listed here (http://usscouts.org/meritbadges.asp). You can't actually get the badges but you can use the requirements to devise lesson plans for those subjects or use them as hands-on projects. It's too bad that the national organization is so bigoted because I think the program itself is very good. But due to their politics, I refuse to let my kids join in and thankfully they've had no interest either, but I have thought about having Noah complete the orienteering merit badge requirements since we go orienteering several times a year anyway. My oldest son is attending his friend's Eagle Scout ceremony on Sunday (at church, of course). I'm always impressed with Eagle Scouts because they have to do an awful lot of work to get to that point! My FIL is an Eagle Scout and his dad was the founder of the Scouts organization in Tuscaloosa, AL, but Greg never was a Scout himself.

ginnyjf
06-09-2010, 10:05 AM
Zack is a Boy Scout and started in his first-grade year. We all love the program! Ironically, the troop he belongs to is affiliated with a Catholic parish and there is no religious overtone to the meetings or the activities or anything else. He has earned five belt loops (since he was a Tiger last year and a Wolf this year, they don't earn badges yet). The Eagle Scouts in this troop have completed some fantastic projects; they just had a very successful bone marrow donor drive last month and constructed an outdoor classroom on the school grounds (which we've used already!)

dottieanna29
06-09-2010, 10:26 AM
My oldest was a Daisy and Brownie (I was also co-leader) at a Catholic Church and there wasn't any religious tones. Boy Scouts tends to be much more pushy on the religious aspects as well as more conservative in general but a lot of it will come down to your individual troop and leaders. Some are definitely worse than others. Around here meeting in a church doesn't mean anything - everyone meets in churches for everything.

Spiral Scouts was started by a Wiccan church but is all - inclusive. Depending on where you live it may be hard to find a chapter.
Earth Scouts is another organization that is non religious - they are "all about learning to live sustainably in modern society". I'd love the join Earth Scouts (my Biology major had an emphasis on Environmental Education) but always feel I'd be looked at funny since I drive a Suburban. :p

I was thinking about doing a badge program with my kids and found this catalog - http://store.patchcon.com/merchant2/ that had a wide variety. My kids are still too young for any scout programs but I figured this was an option when they got older if I couldn't find a Scouts program that I liked locally.

dottieanna29
06-09-2010, 10:31 AM
Here's another source of patches - I think I had a paper catalog from this one in the past. http://www.patchsales.com/index.php?pageid=home

hjdong
06-09-2010, 10:38 AM
I'm no expert, we also don't do scouts (well, DH is an Eagle Scout) but I think the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts have different policies. I get my information from Penn & Teller (a very funny show, downlaoded from Netflix, not for kids or those who insult easily). The Girl Scouts do not ban gay people, but no one's allowed to have sex at functions. They have a rule allowing the word God to be replaced in the pledge. These rules came into effect in the 90s (except for the no sex one, I imagine that's always been a rule).

Snoopy
06-09-2010, 10:49 AM
I was thinking about doing a badge program with my kids and found this catalog - http://store.patchcon.com/merchant2/ that had a wide variety. Oh I LOVE those! Thanks for posting the link:)

crazymama
06-09-2010, 10:51 AM
Just an FYI, in case you want your kids to complete the tasks for Scout merit badges WITHOUT them being in Scouts, all the badge requirements are listed here (http://usscouts.org/meritbadges.asp). You can't actually get the badges but you can use the requirements to devise lesson plans for those subjects or use them as hands-on projects. It's too bad that the national organization is so bigoted because I think the program itself is very good. But due to their politics, I refuse to let my kids join in and thankfully they've had no interest either, but I have thought about having Noah complete the orienteering merit badge requirements since we go orienteering several times a year anyway. My oldest son is attending his friend's Eagle Scout ceremony on Sunday (at church, of course). I'm always impressed with Eagle Scouts because they have to do an awful lot of work to get to that point! My FIL is an Eagle Scout and his dad was the founder of the Scouts organization in Tuscaloosa, AL, but Greg never was a Scout himself.

You can also be an official scout, and work on your own and report to your local councel.

My hubby was never a scout, but he sees the added benifits in life if you can become an Eagle Scout (it's definately something colleges look at, and with being a homeschooler, something like that is a big help and there are also lots of grants and things that only Eagle Scouts can get). My DD is DYING to become a Girl Scout.. so I soon have to start looking to see what we can find in our area for her.

Riceball_Mommy
06-09-2010, 10:56 AM
I'm no expert, we also don't do scouts (well, DH is an Eagle Scout) but I think the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts have different policies. I get my information from Penn & Teller (a very funny show, downlaoded from Netflix, not for kids or those who insult easily). The Girl Scouts do not ban gay people, but no one's allowed to have sex at functions. They have a rule allowing the word God to be replaced in the pledge. These rules came into effect in the 90s (except for the no sex one, I imagine that's always been a rule).

I've seen that particular episode. My husband is very against the boy scouts but is fine with the girl scouts. I don't like some of the policies of the boy scouts either and I've never been a girl scout so I'm not sure how I feel about them. I always thought it sounded neat.

Snoopy
06-09-2010, 11:15 AM
I'm no expert, we also don't do scouts (well, DH is an Eagle Scout) but I think the Girl Scouts and the Boy Scouts have different policies. I get my information from Penn & Teller (a very funny show, downlaoded from Netflix, not for kids or those who insult easily). The Girl Scouts do not ban gay people, but no one's allowed to have sex at functions. They have a rule allowing the word God to be replaced in the pledge. These rules came into effect in the 90s (except for the no sex one, I imagine that's always been a rule). Yes, I had heard that, but the Girl Scouts, as mentioned, have the dreaded Cookie Sale and I don't allow my kids to sell anything so that rules out Girls Scouts for us (well and 3 of my kids are boys anyway, lol). I had looked into 4H for my kids as an alternative to Scouting but our 4H clubs here are very heavy into agricultural activities. I had started my own 4H club with my my kids, my ex-husband's new wife, and her kids and one of my friends, but the kids weren't into running the club themselves (which is too bad because I was hoping that this would be a good leadership activity for them) so that petered out since I was the only one doing any work and I got kind of resentful of that after a while (it's a lot of work!). I was interested in Spiral Scouts when someone mentioned it here a couple of months ago, but the tribes in our areas are over an hour away and DH won't come with us to the activities. We were part of a very loosely organized Indian Guides Tribe the past 2 years and went camping with them once a month and we might re-up with them next year. They're not secular but our tribe left the religion bits for the Sunday morning devotionals, which I skipped. I heard that next year they might not go through the YMCA for this anymore and just remain a group of families camping together once a month. I just emailed our chief the links to the patch sites (thanks Dorothy!) in case they want to keep on organizing formal activities for the kids to be able to earn the badges.

I was hoping to go camping with my own hs'ing group members a few times a year but none of them like camping :(

Sarbare0704
06-09-2010, 11:52 AM
Oh I love the Earth Scouts! I have never heard of that before! There are none near us though :(

mjzzyzoff
06-09-2010, 12:12 PM
DS is a third year cub scout and we love the program. I guess the religion isn't an issue for us, since he's been going to a Catholic school. Yes, there are a lot of religious badges to be earned and prayers at the meetings, but for us it's been take it or leave it, no one has pushed anything on us or made us feel unwelcome because we aren't Catholic. I don't think it's a bad thing that my children be exposed to religions, if nothing else it fosters more tolerance for other ideas, and isn't that something we'd all like to see?

I would highly recommend the boy scout program. It has been a confidence and responsibility builder, friendship maker, and all around GREAT time! And those Eagle Scouts... man are they something! The activities we get to do are fun and diverse and DS had an awesome time earning badges and pins this year. I also like the emphasis on manners and appearance, which seem to be lacking in this day and age.

As far as selling goes, the boys have the infamous Trails End Overpriced Popcorn Sale. We sold a couple things this year, halfheartedly. Next year we will be forgoing the sale and I'll just write a check instead.

dottieanna29
06-09-2010, 12:58 PM
Oh I love the Earth Scouts! I have never heard of that before! There are none near us though :(

Earth Scouts does allow you to do it on your own as a Family rather than a troop.

http://www.earthcharterus.org/earth-scouts/become-an-earth-scout

Melyssa
06-09-2010, 01:00 PM
..... We sold a couple things this year, halfheartedly. Next year we will be forgoing the sale and I'll just write a check instead.

I grew very disgusted with the Girl Scout cookie sale for a variety of reasons so in our last year of it I also just wrote a check to cover our share of the minimum troop requirement. The only people we sold cookies to were my husband's mother and a couple of close friends and only because they asked to buy them. I refuse to have my daughter go door to door. The only thing she participated in for sales was the grocery store booth and that was only for 90 minutes each year which isn't too bad. We'll be in a new troop this year and I plan to do the same.