Friday, March 16, 2012

Girl Scouts

Birdie & Princess at GS day camp
This week Girl Scouts of America celebrates its 100th birthday.  I thought it fitting that I talk about my experiences with Girl Scouts on this momentous occasion. 

I was a Girl Scout as a child and I have many happy memories associated with scouting.  We did lots of fun things that revolved around community service, learning to be self-sufficient, and exploring new experiences.  Scouting promoted an attitude of honor, curiosity, respect, leadership and commitment that I have taken with me into adulthood.  I came from a small town, so my troop's demographic was fairly homogenized, but I was exposed to a variety of personalities and I learned to appreciate the value of the differences that makes us who were are individually.  Girl Scouts definitely impacted me in a positive way.

Needless to say, I wanted my Princess and Birdie to have the same opportunity, so I signed them up to be Daisy Scouts at the beginning of first grade.   I am so glad that I did!  Scouting is a safe environment for all girls to learn how to be citizens of the world.  Girl Scouting nurtures a positive, accepting environment where all religions, cultures, abilities and disabilities are embraced.  GS teaches that these differences among Scouts (and people everywhere) are learning opportunities.

Princess being inducted into Girl Scouts

My daughters' troop leaders are phenomenal women.  They make sure every girl is recognized as a valuable member of the troop.  They take into consideration the little things that might make an otherwise overwhelming activity doable for my Princess.  They help my Birdie chose her words wisely when she is being overly emotional or sensitive.  They make my girls feel useful, valued, necessary, and successful.  They are also instilling in my girls the values of Girl Scouting that I so hoped they would-- tolerance of differences, respect of country and other people, community service, self-sufficiency, self-worth and leadership.  They make scouting something my girls look forward to, and that is saying a lot.  

It took awhile to get to this point, but here we are.  I went to many a scout meeting and preempted quite a few meltdowns and it has all been worth it.  A year and a half ago, when we first began Girl Scouts, I had to drag Princess and Birdie into the meetings.  They would hang on me and beg me to stay.  Now, when we arrive at the library for our bi-monthly meeting, my girls can't get inside fast enough.  Princess and Birdie race for the library door, turn when they get to their meeting place, and wave goodbye.  Before I can blink, they are mingling with their Brownie sisters (they bridged from Daisies to Brownies last spring) and having a blast-- without me.  I'm still saying it, but *what a difference a year makes!  (*This is one of those things I am learning is just a truth about behavior and life in general, it's just not always easy to see past the present!)

Princess having fun after a GS ceremony
Minor tangent ahead:

In honor of Girl Scouts' 100th birthday, Girl Scouts have led the entire school each morning this week in saying the Pledge of Allegiance on our school's morning broadcast.  The morning broadcast is televised in each classroom in the school to provide school-wide announcements, weather, and an opportunity to pay respect to the flag.  On Tuesday morning, my Princess wanted to help lead the Pledge, so she put on her Scout uniform as requested by her troop leader.  Birdie insisted that she didn't want to participate and left her uniform at home.  Once we arrived at school, Birdie and Princess headed for the cafeteria to await dismissal to their classroom and I headed to my subbing assignment.  When the morning broadcast started, I watched intently to see Princess's tv debute.  When the Girl Scouts popped up on the screen to lead the Pledge, I was surprised to see Birdie standing alongside her sister.  As they began the Pledge of Allegiance, Birdie whipped her hand up to her forehead in a full military salute (using the wrong hand, of course), which lasted for the duration of the Pledge.  All the other scouts held their hands over their hearts-- LIKE NORMAL PEOPLE DO!  What the heck is that child doing?!  As I made eye contact with the other adults in the room with me, I could tell they were wondering the same thing.

Birdie looking tired of me taking her picture
I couldn't resist.  The first opportunity I got, I stopped Birdie in the hall and asked her what the salute was about, knowing she would have a perfectly logical (to her) explanation.  "It was the least I could do, Mom!  I was underdressed without my uniform and needed to show my extra respect to the flag somehow.  Soldiers do that, you know-- it's old fashioned."  She gave her beautiful I'm-so-proud-of-how-smart-I-am smile and I smiled right back.  I have very good Girl Scouts.  I am glad I shared this tradition with them.  :)


  1. That was too cute that morning!!!

  2. Ok so now that I've read this from your archives I feel the need to share this with you. I attended the Girl Scouts Rock The Mall 100th anniversary spectacular in Washington DC. And I wrote all about what a wonderful time it was (sorry, sarcasm font still unavailable at this time)