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  • Brownie troop denying membership?

    My daughter is a brownie troop and the parents are asked to lead one meeting/year. One of our parents (we'll call her Joan)led a meeting on community service and followed up the meeting with an e-mail to all the troops parents, as well as two potential members (they had told the girls they wanted to join, one actually attended the meeting).

    Joan was called by the asst leader of the troop and told that under no circumstances was she to e-mail the group or invite any new members. Joan was also told that one of the girls who wanted to join, was absolutely not allowed to join now or ever. After further discussions, it was made clear that the problem was with the "mother" of the black-balled girl, and not the child.

    I understand that a leader can limit the number of members in a troop, but can they pick and choose (basically inviting those they want to join and intentionally excluding others?).

    It sure does not seem like the "girl scout way" to me. We are trying to reach the leader to talk to her about it, but our option is to standby and support these actions, or leave. Our daughters love the brownies, and we are willing to start a new troop, but with all the paperwork and training, it may not be until next sememster that everything gets approved....

    Any other suggestions on how to handle the situation? Is this normal?

  • #2
    Firstly, I wouldn't send out a troop wide e-mail and include non-members on it, but water under the bridge.

    Secondly, the asst leader needs to rein it in.

    Thirdly, if Joan is still upset about this, or if you are, contact your service unit manager. If you don't know who that is, call council and they will point you to the right person.

    Personally, I don't think troops of any kind should be run like private cliques. There are times when it is best for the majority for a child not to belong to a specific troop, but to reject one out of hand becuase of Mom? Even if Mom's the neighborhood trouble maker or the cause of significant trouble in a the leader's personal life, the girl should not be denied Scouting.

    If you want to start a new troop, go for it. It takes time and perserverence, but look at it as doubling the amount of Scouting available in your community.


    • #3
      Thanks for the comments.

      As far as sending out the e-mail, it was in reference to our first meeting, and it was known at that meeting that these two girls were wanting to join (one had attended). At that time, we did not realize that it was not open enrollment...our misunderstanding.

      But I also understand your point about keeping "troop" business, within troop members.

      As far as the assistant...I know from past experience she's saying exactly what she was told to say. We are trying to get the leader to call us back, as we really would like to speak to her too.

      Thanks for your other comments. I will contact our Service Unit Manager.

      Thank you again for taking the time to respond.


      • #4
        Sorry for jumping in on a GS thread, but I just coun't help it...

        I don't know what "open enrollment" has to do with anything ?!?!

        The one question that needs to be asked - IS this the type of leader I want shaping my child? If the answer is no, then its time to start the process of making your own troop. Either that or the current troop leader needs to be asked to recant her statement and allow the girl(s) to join.

        I know I might get flamed for this, but I'm soooooo glad I have 2 boys. It seems the clique issue never goes away for some gals, even as adults. Boys might beat the crap out of each other on the playground, but the next day they are running around friends again. Girls on the other hand inflict untold emotional damage onto other girls with the "she can be my friend, but you're not...." psychological warfare of pigtails.

        Sounds like this troop leader is the type to teach just those actions.

        The rest of the parents need to stand up to her in a united voice and make themselves be heard, or start their own group.


        • #5
          I have been surprised more than once at how GS is operated.

          We once were planning a JS night at the elemantary school. We contacted and invited the local GS Troops (two in the school) and both of them told us they were not interested in participating, they "didn't want any more GSs."

          We thought that was a bit bizarre, but that's what they said.


          • #6
            If the troop leader can't get past their ego for a child that has nothing to do with her conflict. Then I'd pull my daughter from that troop as fast as I can. If she's capable of this spitefullness on a child that hasn't done nothing to her. Imagine her reaction towards a child that can be troublesome? No this is a person that has no business being in any child program.


            • #7
              Well, myself and one other mother pulled our daughters from the troop. An e-mail went out to all parents in the troop asking them to speak to the leader and get the facts for themselves. The leader responded back to everyone that the child was not permitted to join the group, and that she didn't trust the other mother and the other mother did not trust her and she would not have the family in the group.

              The Principal of the school was notified by the mom who's daughter was not allowed to join. He is going to meet with the troop leader. Needless to say, he was appalled. Also the local GS council has been contacted. They too were stunned and are working through this. They said the troop leader can limit the number of girls, but they are definitely not allowed to pick and choose members. Our leader has made it clear that this is not a numbers issue, but an issue with the parent.

              Probably the greatest thing from this is the lesson learned by my daughter. The little girl that was not allowed in the group came up to my daughter and thanked her for not going to the meetings and not telling the whole school about it. My daughter realized at that point how much it meant to her friend that we atleast stood up and are doing the right thing.

              Thanks for all the advice.


              • #8
                First let me say I think this is sad, but not isolated. I am the leader at the "other" school that has taken in girls that were not "allowed" to join or only wanted to join GS if they could go to a different troop. While you all brought up great points, I want to point out another side of this issue and point out that not all leaders who turn away girls are ugly green heartless monsters.

                First, your job as being a leader depends highly on your parents. They are the supporters, drivers, family cookie coordinators, fellow campers, etc. Picture yourself for a moment, your own family responsibilities put to the side, feeling overwhelmed, and you just got your registration paperwork in turned in and have done your "happy dance" because it is done for another year. Then, someone with good intentions sends out an "invite" to join the troop and the one girl who wants to join you know her mom will cause more work, frustration, and you now have to re-submit your paperwork. Not an ideal reason but we all have our limits.

                Second, there are times you have to stand yoru ground. A couple of years ago that I had come to the VERY difficult decision not to accept for the new year, the only reason I did not have to go through with it is because she dropped from the troop. My decision was primarily based upon the mom's behavior. She was always late, needed special treatment (in my opinion just for attention), brought her son who was out of control to the meetings after repeatedly requested not to, and verbally abused her daughter in my presence whithout any cause. While I felt that scouts to this one girl was for the most part good, although I hope sitting at home with the TV was less confrontational with Mom. It came down to protecting the other girls in the troop, although I did report the situation to the authorities out of concern for this girl.

                Putting "restrictions" on leaders would loose leaders and then effect the girls. If I were in this troop I would first talk to the leader and offer to serve as a "buffer" with the mom and help ease the obvious tentions, or go start my own troop.


                • #9
                  BrownieMom, you deserve a case of your favorite cookies. You have truly shown your girl how to live by the Girl Scout Law.

                  As for problems with parents, that should be handled within the adult world, and it should not even be noticed by children as young as Brownies. No one is perfect, and at times the burr under our saddles may seem like an acutal knife in the back. However, that's one of the things that helps to not only build our character but truly reveals it.

                  As far as I'm concerned, the Leaders in question do not exhibit leadership, judgement, discretion, or compassion.


                  • #10
                    Ribbit-thank you for all of your points. And I would agree there are situations in which there would be problems with a parent that would certainly cause issues. And we considered this as a factor too before we acted. That is the main reason we insisted on speaking with the troop leader to see if this was the case.

                    We even offered to speak to the mother to lay ground rules of sort, for her participation (no different than the rules we all expect to abide on time, respectful, etc)....My thought was that if the leader does not like this mom, and this mom does not like the troop leader, but they both LOVE eachother's children (go figure), we should be able to work this out without hurting the little girl.

                    I appreciate all that troop leaders do. I was ocokie mom for a very competitive troop and I know there's alot of work people don't really comprehend until they "serve". Again, we are hoping the girls and PARENTS of the troop will see a valuable lesson with all of this, and a healthy resolution will be reached.

                    Thanks again for all the comments.