When I was a little girl, my mom signed me up for Girl Scouts. I loved doing crafts, was a bit terrified of the idea of camping without my parents, and Christmas caroling at the retirement home melted my heart, even then. For some reason, I stopped being a member. It could have been my ever-changing mind bouncing around different activities and interests or it could have been the few moves we made to different towns. As a teenager, my mom’s friend ran a troop and offered for me to join. I imagined what it was like when I was a Brownie and thought I was a bit old for that but I joined anyway. Oh, how I’m glad that I did!
The activities in Girl Scouts grow with your child so I was no longer making picture frames for my mommy (she still has the one I made as a Brownie, though!) or going to Father/Daughter dances. Instead, we were doing fundraisers to go on real vacations. We visited Dollywood in Tennessee and I’ve found photographic evidence to suggest that we visited Busch Gardens too, but mommy brain doesn’t allow me to hold that many memories in this noggin. Our camping trips were filled with scary stories and sisterhood, so much bonding that you really need as a teenager.
One of my favorite stories… We had all of these stations at our campsite to earn certain badges. Two of the stations were right next to each other. One was to carve soap with our pocket knives and I can’t remember what in the world that badge was supposed to earn. At the same site was the first aid badge, where our troop leader was teaching first aid. I managed to slice my finger open so I walked up to her for a bandage. She told everyone that I was volunteering to demonstrate and I was cracking up as she went step-by-step, showing everyone all of the proper steps to take. I still have a scar from that cut but the memory is totally worth it!
My point is that one of the reasons I love the Girl Scout organization so much is that it’s something your girls can do for life, with age-appropriate activities from kindergarten to high school, and then becoming a troop leader after that! The values instilled in Girl Scouts are also important to our family. The Girl Scout Promise talks about serving God and your country, which is something we teach our babies every day. The Girl Scout Law encourages every girl to be honest, friendly, considerate, caring, courageous, strong, responsible, and respectful. When earning Girl Scout badges, one or many of these values are part of the learning that occurs.
Another awesome thing about Girl Scouts are…THE COOKIES!!
Cookie sales start today and they’re really important to us. In my household, we use cookie sales to our advantage for a lot of teachable moments. My husband likes the girls to be present in all of their sales, so that they can learn about hard work and how it pays off. When I was a kid, my mom took the order form to work and sold hundreds of boxes for me. I realized that I never earned the awards and bragging rights that came with it because I really had nothing to do with it. When I attended booths, I was quiet and overall, I feel that I just wasn’t very active in the sales of my own cookies. My husband and I wanted something different for our children.
Girl Scouts doesn’t advise going door-to-door but as long as my husband or I are present, we use our own discretion. We ask that our daughters do the talking, be friendly and courteous. Say “please” and “thank you”. We’ve actually grown to know many of our neighbors this way. I allow the girls to post a video to my private social media pages, asking if my friends and family are interested in making a purchase. We try to have them be present when delivering cookies to friends who’ve requested it as well. My husband runs the booths with the girls and he ensures that they are making the polite requests themselves, and he oversees as they handle the money so that they can understand this as well. In the past, I’ve been criticized for how we operate cookie sales with our children and maybe it’s not for everyone, but we love what it’s taught them. They see their efforts paying off and they’re proud of themselves.
Girl Scouts (and Boy Scouts, I’m sure, but my son isn’t old enough yet!) is an organization that my family will always make time to include in our activities schedule. The sisterhood, the lessons, the fun, there is so much that comes out of being a Girl Scout. My memories of it are so happy and watching my girls have this experience is beautiful to us both.
If you’re interested for your girls, check out www.girlscouts.org.