After going over the new registrations for this year we noticed one of the new girls in the troop has, for lack of a better term, two mothers, and one of them wants to volunteer as a leader. I know there is no national GSUSA policy, so I called council and they do not have an issue with it, nor do we. The problem may arise when the other girls in the troop realize the situation and start asking questions, or worse yet teasing the girl. We're talking about Juniors, and we all know kids that age are inquisitive, impressionable, and sometimes downright mean. Has anyone had a similar situation?
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- Nov 2004
On the other hand, the girls might surprise you with their understanding, tolerance, and maturity. Diversity and inclusiveness are good!
- Nov 2006
A chance to demonstrate acceptance, tolerance, maturity, and friendship versus bigotry, homophobia, and bias? Which would I chose???
Seems like an easy answer to me.
Don't get me wrong. There was never a question as to whether or not she/they would be allowed to be part of a troop. The girl and her mother(s) are both welcome and the registrations have been submitted. I also hope the girls do surprise everyone.
- Sep 2006
And? This girl will only be slightly different from the girls who have a mom and step mom since there might not be a Daddy in the mix, or maybe there is. You'll find out at your first big family event.
Sounds like you have lots of good opportunities here and you're backed up by the levels above you in terms of non-discrimination. But, just a thought, different troops legitimately have different characters and styles and cultural mixes, and sometimes it's beneficial to let prospective new members know ahead of time what makes YOURS special. If it's not their cup of tea, you've let them know instead of surprising them.
I let people checking out my troops know, for example, that we have a mix of religions in our membership, even though we meet at two Christian churches, including my own. I think this is especially important for my target audience, homeschoolers, because many of us have strong religious views, and some of us come from backgrounds where we may expect more homogeneity than my troops have.
I let prospects know, in every first-contact email and phone call, that we have Protestants, Roman Catholics, a Jewish family, some unaffiliated believers and some agnostics. Why? Because four years ago, before I was a leader, I saw a family quit a very nice troop and flee in horror, after they finally noticed one of the leaders and her daughters substituting the word "gods" for "God" in the promise. They had attended for a couple of months! Sadly, the mom had missed the initial parent meeting that explained the GSUSA policies about God in the promise and religion in general. She would also have heard what the troop members' and leaders' various religions happened to be. She had made a wrong assumption that the troop was explicitly Christian in orientation, and honestly felt she could not continue with us. I suggested American Heritage Girls to her as a Christ-centered alternative; but don't know if she ever made it there, because she didn't answer my note. Hope so. Her girls were sweet and liked scouting.
Anyway, I don't know how precisely you'd let prospective families know you have a family with two moms, without sounding like you're gossiping. But it might not be a bad idea to be simple and direct and positive. Setting a clear tone of respect and NOT surprising people gives them a chance to prepare their own children, should they feel the need. Or flee, if they must. Actually, in your shoes, I would ask for guidance from the moms in question. Surely they've been down that road before, and will probably have some good insight. Plus, consulting with them avoids the issue of gossip entirely.
My two cents.
My wife and I were talking about it last night and I suggested she call the mother who volunteered for just that reason. It's obvioulsy not something she is ashamed or embarassed about, nor should she be. On the other hand we're not going to make it a point to inform others, if she wants people to know before they realize it themselves that is her business. It's not like when other leaders volunteer there is announcement made that they are hetrosexuals. There are a few parents who might have an issue with it, but they have issues in general so it will all work out in the end.
- Aug 2005
Are all of these girls going to different schools? Because if they're going to the same school, chances are, they already know.
GSdad, you made me giggle. "Hi, I'm Tia and my husband's a man. Any questions?"
>It's not like when other leaders
>volunteer there is announcement
>made that they are hetrosexuals.