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  1. #1

    Default boyscouts and girlscouts, opinions/exp?

    The recent news and poll got me thinking...

    I've shied away from both groups because of their conservativeness plus it always rubbed me wrong that girl scouts seemed to be all about business and selling cookies instead of camping and outdoors stuff that MY girls would be interested in. I can tell you my little introverts would never sell a single cookie.

    DH was in boyscouts as a kid and my brother was, seems like fun, but the whole gender thig and conservativeness still rubs me wrong. If we lived on a more progressive coast of the US it might not be bad, but we're in a conservative backward part of the US so I'm sure its very conservative, so I'm not sure it's even kids I'd especially like my son to hang out with when he's old enough.

    All that said, I'm just curious what the others have experienced or thought.

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  3. #2

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    I think there is quite a bit of variation in the activities from troop to troop. You may have to "shop around" to see if there's a troop that does the kinds of things you're looking for. Also check out Earth Scouts and Spiral Scouts.

    My daughter is in an all-homeschooler Girl Scout troop and there was no pressure to sell cookies. They did lots of neat activities--took a tour of the State House and a firehouse, did some science experiments and cooking, and learned new games and songs. And because the leaders tend to be a progressive, free-spirited bunch, there's no pushing of patriotism or respect for authority.
    Mother of two monkeys...daughter age 10 and son age 11.5.

  4. #3

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    I signed my daughters up because the list of activities the group did last year seemed interesting. They went camping, had dances and tea, bbq, and community service activities. They are not allowed to sell cookies here so that part of it is out. Its cheap, only 150$ per year per child and it was close to my house.

    The religiosity bothers me a bit and it might have turned me off in Canada where there were other options for clubs. Here there aren't too many affordable non-sport options that are close by so I jumped at the chance to put them in.

  5. #4

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    I think, honestly, it depends sooooo much on your local area and your individual troop. Some Girl Scout troops are very cookie focused. Sell the cookies, take a trip. But others aren't at all. Some are very light on the outdoor skills and are more focused on other areas of scouting like team building and technology and so forth. And others are really outdoorsy and wilderness focused. And some BSA troops do a lot more fundraising that you might realize. Some do a lot of outdoor stuff, but others are very light or are super focused on things like the pinewood derby.

    As an organization, I have issues with the BSA. I don't really have issues with the GSA, though I think the days of gendered scouting probably need to end.
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  6. #5
    Senior Member Evolved Deli76's Avatar
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    both boy and girl scout troops vary from troop to troop. Our local girl scout troop from what I hear isnt all that great. And another was formed for that reason. I hear there is more planning on what to do than actually doing it. When we decided to home school, I looked for a couple of activities for dd and although difficult, I found an all homeschooled girls scout troop. And I believe we have joined a great troop. With it being all homeschooled girls, we all have alot more time and opportunities available. So far since August, they have camped, gone to the food pantry, Gone to the Texas Institute of Cultures (there is a girl scout exhibit). They have learned about budgets for clothing, groceries, school supplies. They have learned about animal care and a budget for that. They have learned many songs. They have learned how to cook. They learned the difference between needs and wants.They have planned out meals and activites for camping. And I believe they still have a service project to be completed. We did sell cookies, but it was never pushed or focused on. We also sold nuts too. Oh my and the art work the kids did was awesome! Dd loves it!
    I dont know how I would feel about genderless scouting. It would be interesting to see how it would work out. But boys and girls have such different needs and their maturity levels differ. Some boys and girls dont get the needed boy time and girl time they need.
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  7. #6

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    I don't think it's fair to really compare BS and GS because they really are two completely different organizations. About the only common denominators are that they're geared toward children and they're run by adults (sometimes a parent, sometimes not). BS push their popcorn and GS push their cookies. Meh. Can't speak for the rules within the BS world, but in GS you don't have to sell cookies (or nuts in the fall) if you don't want to. They prefer that you do, but they don't force it. Like others have said, troops vary greatly based on their individual leadership. The troop leader is the key and, if you want to control things, you can always be the troop leader for your child(ren). With GS, they also have a Juliette option; the girl is not part of a troop, does not pay dues to a troop, pays an annual fee to the GS council ($12 I think), and can participate in just about anything that a standard GS does.

    From our personal experience, I love what the GS Daisy books (grades K-1) teach as far as character lessons: responsibility, respect, sharing, caring, doing one's personal best, etc. and the books (especially the Journey books) include nature, animals, and global awareness. The only mention of religion I've seen in the books so far is the "My Promise, My Faith" award...what that faith is, is totally up to the parent. Or you can skip the award (we did). The only issue we've had where religion came into play was at a couple of the day camps; the camp leader led a group prayer. IMO, I think situations like this benefit us because it turns into a good learning opportunity for DD. I want her to know how to behave respectfully when someone else is having a religious moment of their own. I don't care what the religion is, I want her to be able to stand quietly and respectfully while they have their moment. Easy way to avoid those, though, (if it's an issue) is to simply don't attend the camp OR to excuse yourself from the group by faking a bathroom break.

    As to how conservative the GS are, I don't they're conservative at all as a organization. In fact, they've come under attack by the more conservative religious groups as being too liberal. An example of this can be found here: The Catholic Church and the Girl Scouts: A scandalous mess :: Catholic News Agency (CNA) Take the 'facts' in the article with a grain of salt. So far, though, we haven't had anyone try to proselytize to DD. Except DH & me.
    Last edited by murphs_mom; 05-26-2013 at 01:18 PM.
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  8. #7
    Senior Member Arrived Teri's Avatar
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    We are in both. It's been a very positive experience for all of my kids. I have disagreed with BSA, although I am greatly encouraged by their recent change and fully believe that it will go all the way in the very near future.
    As a homeschooler, I think we tend to be viewed as on the fringes of society. Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts are organizations that people understand. My kids enjoy them and I wouldn't force them to do it, but for my purposes, I like that they have something "normal" that they are doing (not that German dancing is not normal ).
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  9. #8
    Senior Member Evolved Jeni's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CatInTheSun View Post
    The recent news and poll got me thinking...

    I've shied away from both groups because of their conservativeness plus it always rubbed me wrong that girl scouts seemed to be all about business and selling cookies instead of camping and outdoors stuff that MY girls would be interested in. I can tell you my little introverts would never sell a single cookie.

    DH was in boyscouts as a kid and my brother was, seems like fun, but the whole gender thig and conservativeness still rubs me wrong. If we lived on a more progressive coast of the US it might not be bad, but we're in a conservative backward part of the US so I'm sure its very conservative, so I'm not sure it's even kids I'd especially like my son to hang out with when he's old enough.

    All that said, I'm just curious what the others have experienced or thought.
    As a general rule, Girl Scouts is much more liberal then Boy Scouts. They are all about empowering girls and making strong women who can work in leadership roles as adults. But troops are varied and can have leaders that don't follow that line of thinking.

    I just got home from picking up dd from her first camping overnight with GS. She had a blast. I imagine that's a troop level thing. If you have a troop leader that's into it and has the organizational skills, the troop will go camping. If not, they won't. But you can always sign your kids up for GS camp without their troop.

    My dd doesn't sell cookies unless she's doing a troop booth. I don't allow it. We don't live in a neighborhood. I buy enough for her to earn her online selling badge. Someone usually buys enough to earn the overseas solider badge, and then a couple other people buy. Sometimes it's just not practical for anyone but close friends and family to buy.

    I agree with you about the Boy Scouts. Dh was in it for about two years, so he's not real hardcore about it. But ds keeps asking when he can join and I keep putting him off. I feel terrible, but I just don't know how I feel about him joining this particular group.

    Quote Originally Posted by Gummers View Post
    Its cheap, only 150$ per year per child and it was close to my house.
    Wow! Really? I thought ours was asking a lot at $50. I was sweating moving to another troop next year who was asking for $90.
    Last edited by Jeni; 05-26-2013 at 02:41 PM.
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  10. #9
    Senior Member Enlightened wendygrace's Avatar
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    We also do both and I agree they are two completely different entities.

    For girl scouts, we are in a mixed (school and homeschool) group right now and we shopped around before we found the right group for us. The group we're in has kids of all ages (which is rare, I understand) and I liked that because the older girls helped lead/teach the youngers. It is really neat to see the growth in the girls. We went camping three times a year (fall, winter and spring) although they do tend to cabin camp vs tent camp. However, we hike as well as other outdoorsy stuff. The thing I like about GS is that it is supposed to be girl led so as the leader, the girls and I sat down at the beginning of the year and planned what activities we wanted to do and then I went from there. They got to earn the badges they wanted to earn as a collective. My daughter and I are going to miss our troop terribly as we are moving two hours away. I have yet to really find a group in our new area so we may end up Juliette for awhile. The only time religion has ever been an issue is occasionally there is a prayer said but since we live in a very christian area I have taught my children to just be respectful (be quiet) as if someone was just giving a talk about something. There is a pin that can be earned but it is optional.

    My son has been a cub scout for several years and became a boy scout this year. We are bothered about their gay and religion stance however it has not been an issue for us so far. Most of our Troop is pretty inclusive but noone really talks about it. It just doesn't come up. We talked to our son about the issues and he wanted to help change things from the inside. His belief was that unless people who are part of the group speak up, they won't listen (which really is the case with the boy scouts). I do believe that individual boy scouts turning in their surveys about allowing gay youth is the reason that the boy scouts have decided to allow it. Baby steps. He is working towards becoming an Eagle with a Boy Scouts that allows both gay youth and adults and atheists. We do skirt the atheist issue because we are Unitarian Universalists though so that does help although earning the religious values badge was not an issue so far.

    oh and our girl scout fee was $12 for council and $20 for dues. as a leader I spent way more than that but it was my choice. My daughter loves selling popcorn (and fall product) so its a non-issue here. I love her entrepreneurial spirit.

    boy scouts is $150 but they get a portion of that (and anything else they sell) into their scout accounts. The $150 is earned through selling popcorn or the parent can pay it up front.
    Last edited by wendygrace; 05-26-2013 at 08:08 PM.
    Homeschool mama to dd, 9 and afterschooling mama to ds, 11.

  11. #10

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    Thanks to everyone for your thoughtful responses. I really appreciate it!

    Since I actually know a woman who is a GS troop leader...and she home schools....and the meetings are held at my church (the congregation is a safe haven for progressives)...maybe I should consider this. A mutual friend's dd was in the troop when she was younger...maybe I can get some info from inside the troop from her before talking to the leader.

    Of course, that troop's meetings are a time conflict with their MA class, but one step at a time. LOL

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boyscouts and girlscouts, opinions/exp?