Hard choices

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-01-2003
Hard choices
4
Sun, 05-04-2003 - 8:39pm
I have been co-leading a troop of Brownies for almost 3 years and most of my girls are bridging to juniors. My co-leader is moving and I must make the desicion on whether or not to take over the troop of juniors and find a new co-leader or let my dd join another troop and all her troop mates will likely be scattered in different troops.

Though I have really enjoyed the past few years I thought that I had made the desicion not to do this again, and to let dd join another troop. Reason 1, i thought now that dd was older, she would enjoy more independance from me with a different leader, going on trips and campouts without me. 2, I Don't know what the heck I'am doing with juniors. I have 2 years education in early childhood education and my expierience lies with the early years. 3, the Junior level looks complicated, will I be able to do It well? And 4, my almost 4 year old will be a Daisy in 2004 and I wanted to lead her troop and see her through Brownies as I did her older sister. Now I could lead the junior troop for 1 year, but I think it would be wrong to bail on them to lead the younger troop. Or I could lead 2 troops, meeting different times? But I have 3 other kids besides DD. Would i find the time?

But I just came back from encampment and had a wonderful time with my girls. DD, age 9 has a hard time making friends and this troop has been a wonderful expierience for her. I wonder how she would do away from me though? I love this group of kids and I am really torn on what to do. Advice please!

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-25-2003
In reply to: zeebs71
Sun, 05-04-2003 - 10:06pm
I don't have any answers but wanted to tell you that you are not alone.

My situation isn't as complicated but different. But I know what you are going through. I would think that if you were upfront that next year is the last year you can lead her troop and find a good co-leader that knows the situation. Be honest and FIRM that you can lead for only one more year. Since your daughter has a hard time making friends I wouldn't recommend finding a new troop. And honestly non of us have any idea how to run a junior troop either.

My situation is that I have a small troop of 2nd & 3rd grade Brownies. We only started this year and honestly I still feel like I am getting my feet as a leader. I have been running the troop by myself. (I have lots of registered adults and they trade off helping at meetings/field trips.) Half the time I am ready to keep going next year even though I have NO idea how to run a G.S. junior troop either and half of me is ready to quit. But my daughter loves G.S. and the troop has really helped her make friends this year. Last year there was NO troop for my daughter because no one was willing to lead it and I feel really bad abandoning these girls. So far the parents have been really happy with me as a leader.

So I wasn't sure exactly what to do. I am going to insist that if I keep this up next year SOMEONE will have to co-lead with me. Plus I have the problems that I don't want to bridge my 2nd graders early and my council agree's with me on this. I think I found another troop that would be willing to take my 2nd graders in exchange for taking her 2 3rd graders. (They already have 2nd graders that go to my troop.) I am going to talk with my parents and see what they want. And then to complicate the matter a neighbor asked me if I wanted to start a neighborhood troop with her. While I love that idea.. I don't feel I can abandon my 3rd grade girls. Sigh.. I am so mixed up about this. I think I have found a "good" solution but I honestly would just love to stand back and have my DD join a possible neighborhood troop. But I don't think it will happen.

Sigh...

Diana


Sara, IVTimothy
Avatar for tinansteve
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-28-2003
In reply to: zeebs71
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 12:42am
First off my situation is sort of similar I have 2 troops one 3rd year Brownie and 1 daisy so next year I will have Juniors and Brownie's it seem to work out okay we do every other week one is daisy one brownies so it isn't as hard but to top this off I have a 4 month old at home and am becoming Service Unit manager next month. I have an idea for you though maybe you could lead your daughters troop this year and find 2 co-leaders one who will be willing to take over for you next year so you sort of train them for a year to help them get their feet wet help them out with the cookie program etc. after a month or so I would tell them you are going to have them start planning the meetings and running them but you will be there for support. but the idea is to let them slowly start taking over this way they don't feel overwhelmed. By doing this the following year you will be free to run your other DD troop.

just a thought

Tina

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: zeebs71
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 11:54am
I like Tina's suggestion...you would be more likely to recruit TWO new leaders than one if they knew the would not be the sole person responsible. You should have a parents meeting and ask them, after all their kids count too and they might have some good ideas.

I would also ask around the SU, you might find another Junior leader in a similar situation. Is there another brownie troop with just a few bridging up? Or a troop of 5th graders that wouldn't mind becoming a 4th-5th grade troop? I guess what I'm saying is even if you don't take the troop, the girls don't necessarily have to be scattered. If that is the best option, they are likely to quit rather than go to a new troop. Merging larger parts of troops is also a delicate matter, requiring tact and patience on the part of leaders who might be set in their ways.

This is really the job of your SUM or organizer or even field executive, you don't have to do this all by yourself! You are not alone, so please ask them for help.

THis is a good time to mix things up and give the girls new faces to work with. IMHO if they get set in their ways, they will head off for Cadettes assuming they can't add any new people, and that is how troops dwindle into nothing. I already have a plan to merge my troop with a friends troop when our girls all head over to the middle school. My dd is in K, so we are really planing ahead! I am also like you in that I have a younger dd and have to plan ahead for her Daisy Troop. I'm hoping to have a co-leader ready to take over Brownies at that point.

Good for you for thinking about this in advance so you don't leave folks hanging!!! Another thought for you...whatever happens, work on it ASAP, have the girls meet their new leaders BEFORE bridging, get to know any new girls in their troop, and make exciting plans for fall. Or even summer!

Avatar for homeschooltwins
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2003
In reply to: zeebs71
Mon, 05-05-2003 - 2:35pm
Everyone's suggestions are great; find another leader/co-leader, cut back on meetings to twice a month or less, form a parent committee so you are aren't doing ALL the work, etc. In other words, do everything you can so the current troop isn't broken up, and so you will have time to help with the Daisy troop too. The other parents have to understand that they are responsible to help out too - GS isn't just a drop-off-and-run program.

As for the independence issue, I wouldn't push it. Let your dd be the one to decide when she's ready for it. Trust me, it will happen soon enough, and then you will be longing to have her back, being just a little more dependent on you. Maybe it's just me, because I homeschool, but I really feel we push our kids away from us waaaay too soon. I feel the longer my dd's are under my *influence,* the more ingrained our family values will be in them. In that way, I hope they become more immune to peer pressure, and things like drinking excessively, smoking, drugs, etc. Likewise, I feel the longer they stay in GS, the more socially aware they will be.

Of course, you have to do what's better for your family. You can't leave your other kids out in the cold, putting all your energy into two GS troops at the same time. You must have help with GS! If you can't find volunteer moms inside your troop (or in the new Daisy troop), then you'll have to go outside. That's where your SU comes into it, helping to find some leaders/co-leaders.

Good luck and let us know how it turns out.

Homey