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  1. #1

    Default Alternatives to traditional scouting?

    All this talk about Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts got me thinking about scouting alternatives. My daughter is a GS, but losing interest in her group, and my (nearly) 6 year old son has started to ask about Boy Scouts (something I personally don't want to encourage). Consequently, I've been thinking hard about starting something new that would include both and their friends. It would be good to have a larger community/structure to draw on, but maybe not as loaded with expectations as BS and GS. I've seriously considered Roots and Shoots in the past, but I've been seeing references to other groups pop up here and on other forums. I'd be interested to hear about experiences with groups like spiral scouts, Earth scouts, Campfire, etc., Specifically I'd like to know what these groups do, what is the emphasis of a meeting, and are there traditions that are meaningful only if you are the member of a specific community (i.e., What does Spiral Scouts look like if you aren't Pagan?)? In general, what have you liked, disliked about belonging to any of these groups?
    AtomicGirl--Mom, old enough to know better
    Athena--13, 8th grade, home schooled, 2E, wicked cool
    Monkey King- 8, 3rd grade, home schooled, future owner of the galaxy

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  3. #2

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    We're doing GS and 4H right now, and I've been looking at DIY (diy.org) as another activity to do w/DD in addition to the other two.

    I like what our local 4H has become; it's no longer just 'farm stuff'. It has evolved into a program that can be most anything a kid wants it to be. If they have an interest in sewing, computers, rocketry, construction, animal husbandry, art, auto mechanics, etc., they can create their own program around that interest. It really is meant to encourage kids to learn life skills. DD loves that we visit farms (did a dairy farm a couple weeks ago and the leader is setting up a trip to a horse farm in the near future), learn about animals and plants, and that they just have fun at each meeting (pledges, a craft or activity, & snack). And I actually like their pledge(I pledge my head to clearer thinking, my heart to greater loyalty, my hands to larger service, and my health to better living for my club, my community, my country, and my world.) and motto (To make the best better.) I love watching DD's face while she's saying the pledge with her group because she just lights up because she's part of a group. That's important to her right now. Like scouts, not all groups are going to be the same. So much depends upon decent leadership and we've got a woman who's just gold. Honestly, if we died today and needed someone to take DD, the 4H leader would be on the very short list of people I'd trust to take her and her quirks. If you've got a good local group, I'd highly recommend 4H.

    DIY sounds like it may be similar, but I haven't actually tried it out yet. With Spiral Scouts (this is based on my limited understanding, mind you), you can join with other families to form a group OR you can have just your family...it's pretty flexible. We're not Pagan, so joining one of the existing hearths/circles isn't too practical for us. I think the only existing circles in our area are made up of individual families anyway. Hopefully someone else here with DIY and/or SS experience will chime in.
    Carolyn
    caretaker for quirky DD (hatched 2006)

    *************************************
    “My bed is a magical place where I remember everything i was supposed to do that day.” - unknown

  4. #3
    valerieanne
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    We dig 4H too. Dd is doing a beekeping project this year, and there are kids doing photography, dog obedience, and the usual farm stuff. Canada's pledge is the same, but our motto is "Learn by Doing". We started our own separate Junior Master Gardener group, and it involves individual, group and communty activities. I like that it is all prepackaged, and easy to coordinate. I've got enough to do!

    Someone locally tried to start an Earth Scouts troop, but it sort of burned out quickly. Too similar to the already existing programs in a small community.
    Last edited by valerieanne; 05-29-2013 at 12:13 AM.

  5. #4
    Senior Member Enlightened iris0110's Avatar
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    We are involved in sports primarily, roller derby and Taekwondo. Because we are so over promised to those groups it is hard to consider other things. Dh teaches at our Taekwondo school and it is really like a family. Roller derby is similar, those guys are close. If I was looking for an actual scouting organization I think I would look into Baden Powell Scouts. They allow boys and girls and do not discriminate on basis of sexual orientation or religion. I like that they do traditional scouting (camping, fishing, ect) but without the issues of BSA. From my understanding if you want to start a troop you can do so through their website. You can also be a lone scout. The down side would be lack of support.

    I always liked the idea of 4H but I heard they were linked with monsanto which bothers me. We are just spread so thin right now it doesn't really matter anyway. diy.com sounds interesting.

    Baden-Powell Service Association This is Baden Powell scouting.

  6. #5

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    I love all the 4H support. There have been a couple of opportunities for us to do 4H, but I've passed for scheduling reasons. I might take another look at them, because my daughter's dream is to be a vet and I bet she could find like-minded peers in 4H. Besides the really DO have a much better pledge than the GS. Part of me was afraid we'd get involved with folks who raise large animals and I'd have to be the mean mom and say "No, I'm not raising a cow in our shed.", thereby causing a whole new round of ostracism. Since we're zoned for large animal raising, and she knows it, I wouldn't even have the usual "that's illegal, honey" thing to fall back on.

    Thanks for all the other great ideas. I've never heard of Baden-Powell scouts before and the DIY site looks really cool. And, Valerieanne, have you heard about the Junior Master Naturalist program? We live on the edge of a large National Forest and the ranger district hosts a group of students for this every year. DD is still too young to apply, but now I'm wondering if we could do that on our own.
    AtomicGirl--Mom, old enough to know better
    Athena--13, 8th grade, home schooled, 2E, wicked cool
    Monkey King- 8, 3rd grade, home schooled, future owner of the galaxy

  7. #6

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    Monsanto? Seriously?? I've never heard that one. Not saying it can't be true, just finding it highly weird. Our local 4H is subsidized by the U of MD's Extension Office. Because they take on the bulk of expenses, we only shell out $10/yr. They cover the costs of our field trips, the dinners afterward, the banquet at the end of the year, etc. I really can't see Monsanto funding something they can't profit from. Something to check into, though.

    As for large animals, um, yeah....we're in a zone that allows them, too. DD has already hit us up for a horse. We told her okay, and it would totally be her responsibility if she wanted a horse. She would be responsible for funding the stable, the feed, the vet bills, the new lawn (ours is full of crap), and the horse's equipment. She's now rethinking things. I believe she and DH have talked about chickens (over my dead body) and rabbits. Right now, she's just a Clover (kids 5 or 6 - 8yo). When she hits 8yo, then she's officially a 4-Her. I want her to stay a Clover forever...those little goobers are too ca-yute!
    Carolyn
    caretaker for quirky DD (hatched 2006)

    *************************************
    “My bed is a magical place where I remember everything i was supposed to do that day.” - unknown

  8. #7
    Senior Member Enlightened iris0110's Avatar
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    Monsanto | Monsanto and 4-H

    I read about it on another message board but here it is on Monsanto's website. I'm not saying 4h is a bad program or anything, just that Monsanto donates to the program which concerns me.

    ETA:

    http://www.monsanto.com/newsviews/Pa...-Thinkers.aspx

    Another link on Monsanto's website for 4-h makes me think they are more linked.
    Last edited by iris0110; 05-31-2013 at 11:18 PM.

  9. #8

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    (shrug) Oh well. Good to know, but it doesn't change my opinion of our local 4H. Just because Monsanto is trying to create a facade of benevolence and gain a tax deduction at the same time, it doesn't mean that we'll be ditching 4H anytime soon. Thanks for the update just the same.
    Carolyn
    caretaker for quirky DD (hatched 2006)

    *************************************
    “My bed is a magical place where I remember everything i was supposed to do that day.” - unknown

  10. #9
    valerieanne
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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicgirl View Post
    And, Valerieanne, have you heard about the Junior Master Naturalist program? We live on the edge of a large National Forest and the ranger district hosts a group of students for this every year. DD is still too young to apply, but now I'm wondering if we could do that on our own.
    No, I hadn't heard of it! Thanks for the heads-up. It looks to be regionally specific, so I'll search for something relevant to Northern British Columbia. Our first year hsing has shown that DD loves project-based learning. Thus, 4H. Watch out, it is a slippery slope! First chickens, then bees, now she's looking at dairy goats. There are tons of self-directed studies too, so make sure you check them out. We have one kid raising oxen for the local historic museum, one doing an agroforestry project with fiber goats... good stuff. (for other parents to deal with )

  11. #10

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    Quote Originally Posted by atomicgirl View Post
    I'd be interested to hear about experiences with groups like spiral scouts, Earth scouts, Campfire, etc., Specifically I'd like to know what these groups do, what is the emphasis of a meeting, and are there traditions that are meaningful only if you are the member of a specific community (i.e., What does Spiral Scouts look like if you aren't Pagan?)? In general, what have you liked, disliked about belonging to any of these groups?
    I have been a SpiralScout leader for about 6 years now, and I can tell you while it does vary from circle to circle, if you looked at our circle you'd never know that it was a pagan organization. We have all across the spectrum as far as religions of the scouts, and there is nothing that we do that screams pagan.
    Blessed Homeschoolin' Liberal Whack Job Mommy to Michael, Citizen of Portlandia and Dungeon Master, age 23, Dani, Artist in Residence and Dancing Queen, age 12, and Jack-Jack, Garbage Truck Aficionado and Future Train Engineer, 9 years

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Alternatives to traditional scouting?