Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts
11
Wed, 01-27-2010 - 7:27pm

I'm curious to hear thoughts on how well you think Girl Scouts is organized vs. Boy Scouts.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-2004
Fri, 01-29-2010 - 9:37am

WOW.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2009
Mon, 02-01-2010 - 3:59pm

Well I only have girls and the only thoughts I have on BS is that it is soooo different. Whether it's better or not, I would think there are benefits to both types of organization.

Anyway on the part about interacting with different troops and age groups is that we have Service Units. Maybe your service unit is not very strong, but ours is, it is just for our part of town & I think that is at least 20 troops. We have monthly meetings for the leaders with just our service unit and we plan 3-4 events per year that the service unit gets together, like Thinking Day and a Mother Daughter Tea, Bridging and Service Project Day. We vary the events every year although we always do Thinking Day and we always do Bridging!

Anyway at these events there are Daisy's through Seniors, so we can and do see the troops of other ages. Also I do try to pick the brains of those leaders with older girls. My troop is 7th grade Cadettes and I think we have the same girls. Mine mostly want to hang out and talk, it can be pretty frustrating.

In the frequently relevant (to so many debates on Ivillage) words of Inigio Montoya from The Princess Bride "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

In the frequently relevant (to so many debates on Ivillage) words of Inigio Montoya from The Princess Bride "You keep using that

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Mon, 02-01-2010 - 4:32pm

We do have a pretty strong Area/SU and we do things together throughout the year, too.

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iVillage Member
Registered: 10-06-2010
Mon, 02-01-2010 - 5:48pm

Both Scouting programs are different. It is really not possible to compare them, or to say that one is "better" than the other.

They are different. Very different. At their very structure different.

I have a son and daughter. Both were youth Scouting members from 1st thru 12th grades. I volunteered in both Scouting programs as leader (and wore other hats with the units as well) and also at the District/SU level.

Depending on how/where you draw your girls from, your Troop could still have a history. Both our boys, and girls, are based in our local church/school. There are Scouts in each grade (K-8). The kids participate in both church, and school, events as Scouts, in uniform. Some events are done together, some are not.

While the older girls do not particularly like becoming "program slaves" for the SU, they do not mind putting on their own activities with other levels of girls. They do have to be encouraged, and given the opportunities to do so.

While the leadership of younger youth is formalized more in BSA, GSUSA can do it to, it just takes a bit more work. It also needs the GSUSA Troop leaders to learn how to BACK OFF, and ADVISE, not to take over and run. Despite what GSUSA does with their programing (and they do seem to toss it around in a brand new way every few years or so lately), many leaders still can't figure out how to let go, and teach the girls to run things.

BSA, like GSUSA, tends to start losing kids in middle school, and it gets to be even worse in high school. For both the boys and the girls, neither high school group particularly LIKES to hang out with "little kids" (5th - 7th grades, 8th grade is marginally better). Often the older ones have a tendency to participate less, and only when it is an activity they find some value in (fun or something to put on college app).

If, when they finish 8th grade, they are interested in something a bit different, see if they want to visit a BSA Venturing Crew, or Ship, in your area. They can be registered in both BSA and GSUSA. Then they can decide for themselves which program they prefer.

But remember, both programs have good and bad aspects, and both programs are only as good as the volunteers who put them on.

One more idea - If you are looking for leadership opportunities for your girls, don't forget about your brother. Ask him about the possibility of the girls planning some kind of program for the Cub Scout Pack at his church. I would bet that there are quite a few Cubs with Girl Scout sisters.

 

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2002
Tue, 02-02-2010 - 12:26am

I've got a 5th grade daughter and I'm leader for her troop. I've got a 3rd grade son and I'm assistant leader for his den. I've also got a kindergarten boy who attends everything with us! So, we have yet to experience Boy Scouts, just cubs scouts and girl scouts.

In my troop this year, I've got girls from 7th grade through 3rd grade. That's not typical, but it's how it is. My 7th graders lead things sometimes for the juniors. My juniors help out with the school's daisy troop. All of my girls 4th and older lead a Saint Patch the first Wed. of each month for all interested daisy, brownie, and cub scouts at the school. They prepare ahead of time and break into groups to lead smaller sections of kids for each session. They don't get to really do things with other troops of girls too much, but we do have service unit events like a tea, caroling, swim party, bowling, and a father daughter dance. I wouldn't say they even really interact much with each other at these events.

I sometimes find it hard to step back. But I find that when I spend enough prep time, I'm able to let the girls get things done more on their own. And over time, they've gotten better at getting things moving... and it's been like 2 years that I've had them on this path. I had to walk them step by step through the meeting opening procedures I wanted, plus have a visual aide and kaper chart, but now, after months of the same routine, they are really doing it themselves and reminding each other what needs done rather than me doing it... and that's just the opening.

I also throw in quite a variety to the meetings like a speaker, a field trip, a craft, a new game or song to teach the Daisy's... And we do tons of service projects.

With the cub den, it's very different because they are all the same grade. It's almost entirely adult led activities. They would just bounce off the walls without the adult force propelling them in the right direction. They do see the other levels of cubs each month at our pack meeting or activities.

I like some parts of girl scouts better. I like some parts of cub scouts better. I like it best when I find a new game or activity that I can prepare once and use for both groups the same week! I've taken ideas from one and mixed them with the other to see how it works. Last year, I had a girl scout camping trip one night and the next a cub family camping trip at the same place. I only had to set up once and got to stay for 2 nights. Each session felt very unique... not one thing about either was really the same, except the location of my tent! I'm not sure what else to say because I'm tired and it's after midnight and I need to go to sleep, but I've wanted to respond to this post for a few days and now I did.

-Jen

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-14-2007
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 9:01pm

I'm glad someone opened up this discussion about GS & BS.

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2002
Mon, 02-22-2010 - 11:27pm

Interesting how you said that you pretty much have to follow the girl/adult ratio for all events. We have a few that are like that because of space (like caroling in the nursing home- just a lack of space). But parents are welcome to come along... I do expect parents to pay their own way on any kind of a trip or to pay just as the girls do for group meals on camping trips and such. It doesn't have too much of a "family" feel to our trips/events. Sometimes it's hard to get enough adults to participate.

-Jen

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-19-2009
Tue, 02-23-2010 - 4:35pm
We haven't charged parents for dues for our troop for the last 5 years because we've sold enough cookies to cover everything. But when a girl didn't sell any cookies at all, zero, last year we decided in the future we'd have those parents (who opt to not sell cookies) to pay dues. It hasn't come up again though because that girl moved away and the rest of our gs do sell.

In the frequently relevant (to so many debates on Ivillage) words of Inigio Montoya from The Princess Bride "You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means."

In the frequently relevant (to so many debates on Ivillage) words of Inigio Montoya from The Princess Bride "You keep using that

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2002
Thu, 02-25-2010 - 8:41pm

The one girl in our troop who only sold 19 boxes this year (and who has a Daisy sister who sold a whopping amount more because she wanted to go out selling) her mom offered to give us a donation since she realized that we were putting out a lot more money for her daughter than she was helping to put in... Now we will just see if that donation arrives?

-Jen

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-29-1999
Fri, 02-26-2010 - 9:45am

We've set a threshold for selling as well.

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