So angry about safety issue

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2002
So angry about safety issue
Tue, 11-06-2012 - 9:28am

I haven't called the council yet due to my day yesterday, but it's at the top of my to-do list this morning.  I had signed up my daughter (and encouraged my other girl scouts) to sign up for a program at the local state park.  It was the ONLY program that the council scheduled in our county and I wanted to show support for it since it was fairly close (only about 40 minutes away).  The morning was supposed to be all about Native Americans in our area and the 2nd part which was billed as a separate program started at noon with cooking lunch on the campfire then helping to fix up the life size wigwam shelter.  Since it's made of grasses and limbs, it needs patched up each year.

The program was being held at a remote section of the state park, at the end of a 6/10 of a mile one lane road.  There is a small parking field, a barn where they keep supplies, and a port-o-john.  At the back of the barn, there's an overhang where they do their programming out of the rain/sun.  The wigwam sits just off to the side of the barn by a campfire ring with benches and a couple trees.  That immediate area is closed to hunting, however the rest of this remote area is open to hunting.  Saturday morning, as the girls arrived and gathered at the barn overhang area, we were clearly able to watch 2 groups of hunters walking in the field hunting pheasant.  We were clearly able to see when they shot a bird and it fell.  We could see them with their blaze orange on and tell even that that one group had a younger boy/girl with them because of size and that they let him/her try to take the first shot.  The hunters pretty much stayed further away from the edge of the hunting zone than they had to because of all the girls by the barn.  I was concerned at first that they would even have scheduled a program for this area during an active hunting season when it could have been done on Sunday.  I was concerned, but I figured with the park educator in charge, they would be safe.  I know the guy and I feel that he was very practical and had a good head on his shoulder.  As he started the program, he welcomed everyone and then the next thing out of his mouth was the safety stuff about where they could and could not go and why and how to be safe during the day.  I left after the opening (and I was sure I could get out the one lane road!)  There were about 25-30 girls in attendance (grades 6 and up) and 2 or 3 other adults with the park maybe 5 other leaders, and 1 paid Girl Scout council staff person who arranges programming.

I had originally signed up to be an adult to stay for the day, but my husband had to go to his great uncle's funeral Thursday after work and would not be home til Saturday right before our re-scheduled trick or treat.  I also have the two boys that I had to get to their basketball practices and whatnot so I made arrangements with another leader friend of mine to bring my daughter home at the end.  I really wish I would have stayed.

So, when my daughter got home, she is telling me about the day and I find out that after lunch, they wanted the girls to go gather long grasses to patch the wigwam.  The park educator sent them out to the edge of the field to get some, then realize that's probably not a great idea since none of them are wearing blaze orange and it's hunting season- so the adults get the grasses and bring them to the girls... they have fun fixing up the sides of the building, but it doesnt take the whole amount of scheduled time.  So while the park educator and the 2 other park people climb on top of the wigwam to fix the roof, the Girl Scout lady takes them back to the overhang to wrap up.  Some leaders take their girls home early.  Some decide to stay.  Then the Girl Scout lady decided that since they were at the park, they should take a hike.  My leader friend said the hike was about 45 minutes long.  And when they got out there on the trails, they ran into a couple hunters and their dog and realized they had made a mistake.  (I SAY THAT's A HUGE MISTAKE). So the Girl Scout lady decided they would just make a lot of noise while the finished their walk.  I asked my daughter if they decided to sing those loud crazy songs or anything and she said no- just walking on the leaves made a lot of noise.  I am just livid!  She risked the safety of my daughter.  No other adults anywhere thought that going on a hike was a bad idea.  Not even my own daughter (who knew better) said anything... they all just went along with the crowd.  I am just furious.  How can I trust someone who makes such bad decisions to be in charge of programming for our area?  And it's not like they didn't know it was hunting season- they watched the hunters and heard the gun shots all morning and were warned by the park educator.

I'm going to make my call now that the offices should be open.  They  need to know about this terrible mistake where luckily nobody got hurt.

-Jen