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Posts posted by Treflienne

  1. 36 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

    I don't think we have received the survey for this year for some reason.

    Not everyone gets the survey.  This is the first year I recall getting one.  My email said:


    Who gets this survey?  Please do not forward or share this email with others - it is customized for you. Because of random selection, not all adults will receive a survey.  If your girl is also randomly selected to participate she will receive an email --either to this account or to her own


  2. On 3/26/2018 at 5:58 PM, ItsBrian said:

    There are plenty heavy coats that are thin and not bulky. I’m 15, and I personally hate bulky winter coats. I wear a Calvin Klein coat that has worked perfectly all winter for me. 

    ItsBrian has a good point here.  It might be worth making sure she has a coat, hat, and mittens that she likes.   At this age, maybe she wants the pretty pink winter mittens and not the black battered hand-downs from the older brother.   Depending on your budget,  it might be worth getting her something she likes if it makes life more peaceful for the family.

  3. Hi @ScottishNamoi,

    I am going to break my advice into two parts  1) to you as Mom and 2) to you as Brownie Assistant Leader

    1) First, as a mom: we want to help our kids grow up and take or more and more responsibility for themselves in an age-appropriate way. Choosing one's own outdoor wraps is a great way to work on this for younger children. In general I think that age six is not too young to begin working towards the goal of the child independently and appropriately selecting her outerwear, and living uncomplainingly with the results.

    In a non-camp setting, for example if your children want to go play in the yard, in 35F degree weather, in the snow, in short sleeves, then you let them do this, and make no comment at all when they come back inside in 5 minutes to fetch coats and hats.  (And if they don't come back in 10-15 minutes, you go out and check up on them. But if they are running around they might not be cold.)

    If the child will be away from home for several hours, then, at this age, I would insist she take her coat (maybe in a daypack) but not insist she wear it.  She can decide for herself when to put it on.

    If the weather is extreme (for us, below zero Fahrenheit (-18C) will typically only occur only a few days a year) then provide more supervision.  Enforce appropriate clothing if needed.

    31 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

    ensure her comfort and safety, whether she is willing to accept it yet or not.

    Absolutely insist she do it your way if it is safety issue. (frostbite, hypothermia). But if it is merely a comfort issue, let her do it her way and learn from the results.

    This process may take several years and will generally involve her being uncomfortably (but not dangerously) cold or hot at times, as the child makes her choices and learns to live with them.  Complaining at you needs to be discouraged.  Remind her who decided what she should wear.

    2) To you as Brownie Assistant: Here my advice is based on GSUSA Brownies, take what is useful and leave the rest.  At camp you are there for all the girls, not just your daughter.  You need to (figuratively) take off your Mom hat and put on your leader hat.  So you should treat all the girls the same way.  If you are reminding your daughter about her coat, don't do it any differently than you would for the other Brownies.  Better yet, have another leader (whose daughter does not have coat problems) deal with all the Brownie coat issues.  She can (depending on the weather circumstances) either a) remind them to think about whether they want coats or b) tell them all they need to take coats with them or c) require them all to put their coats on.  Talk this strategy over with the other leaders in advance. This is what we did when camping with Brownies -- any girl asking for help was directed to a leader who was not her mother.


    • Upvote 2

  4. 1 hour ago, RebekahTN said:

    and they quickly put something together.

    That is actually my impression in general of the materials that came out with the wholesale revamp around the time of the 100th anniversary.  I think they tried to change too much all at once, and had trouble doing it well.  A few badges seem coherent and well thought out.   Other badges seem really scattered.  And the Daisy Petal characters and the Dez spider were bizarre.

    • Upvote 1

  5. On 3/26/2018 at 3:43 PM, ScottishNaomi said:

    She goes on numerous guides camping trips mainly to get to know the other guides from other areas and, due to the fact it can get cold, especially at night when they are around the camp fire singing songs and generally interacting, I always try to ensure she is wearing her warm jacket and has it done up but she refuses point blank to wear it so I leave her to her own choice but she then complains to me whilst I'm tucking her in bed, that she is frozen.

    Any tips?

    I found your scenario a bit confusing, possibly because of the difference between the Girl Scouts and the Girl Guides on the two sides of the Atlantic.

    If I understand right:

    You live in Scotland.

    Your daughter, age 6 is a Brownie in Scotland, and you are an assistant in her group.

    Your daughter camps with the Guides.

    You are along on these camping trips, and you tuck her into bed at night after the campfire.

    Here are my questions:

    1) If she is age 6,  isn't she the age to be a Rainbow, not a Brownie?

    2) If she is a Brownie (or a Rainbow) why is she camping with the Guides (age 10+)? Are you using "guide" as a general term for any member any age of GirlGuiding?  Or is the Brownie Pack camping together with the Guides.  Or are you also a helper with the Guides, and she is tagging along as your daughter?

    3) Why are you tucking her in at night?  Is this a mother-daughter campout and all the Brownies have their mothers along to tuck them in? If not, and you are there as her leader, not as her mother, then shouldn't you be treating her exactly the same as the other girls? And surely you aren't tucking in all the girls?  (In Girl Scouts of the USA we were strictly told that the adults were not to enter the girls' tents, even for Brownies.)

    4) Just how cold were these nights?  Freezing (32F = 0C)?  Cool (50F = 10C)?

    So it is a little difficult to give specific advice, because the description in confusing, but that partly might be because of the different countries and Guiding/Scouting organizations.  So please clear things up about how things work in Scotland.


    • Upvote 1

  6. Given how limited the number of badge choices is for the girls, I was interested in the new STEM badges available.  So last summer I shelled out money and bought the pamphlets for the new Daisy, Brownie, and Junior robotics badges.

    I was really disappointed in them.  Here is an example from one of them:
    Junior Robotics. (for 4th-5th graders)
    Badge 2 Designing Robots.  (This badge has 5 steps)

    Step 3 Plan your robot.

       "Engineers look for needs in our world and build robots that solve problems both big and small. If you could build a robot that solves a global problem, what would your robot do?  What would it look like/ What parts would it need?  Brainstorm and sketch your ideas for robots that can help others.  Share your sketches with other Juniors to improve your designs, and choose one to create a prototype of in Step 4"

    Step 4 Create a Prototype

        "Engineers create prototypes, a quick way to show an idea to  others or to try it out.  It can be as simple as a drawing or  created with common materials, such as cardboard, paper, and string.  Now is your chance to build a prototype of your robot.  Remember, you're creating a robot, not a simple machine, so you'll also need to create a step-by-step program for your robot to 'run.'"

    This badge sees really unsubstantial, merely let's-pretend and arts-n-crafts.

    Kids this age are capable of more.  When my son was this age, he was programming Lego mindstorms robots, and learning to write simple programs in Python.

  7. 13 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

    Update on more girl (and unisex) uniform options.

    (Olive green skorts) is on the list.   Adjustments to the blue skort are already in the plans (like pockets).  On the list is also a Capri pant and new unisex shorts made from a performance fabric.

    Really? No pockets in the skort?!  Didn't they realize that girls would want pockets, just like the boys?  I hope they don't feminize other aspects of the program to "accommodate" the girls.

    Just last week I heard a group of 6th-8th girls complaining that it was no good that girls' pants (unlike boys' pants) don't have pockets.

    And really, at the cub age, the girls can wear exactly the same clothes as the boys, anyway.


  8. 48 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

    I am currently a Den Leader of 1 (we had one more that backed out for some reason) and I don't know how many others there are in the Pack. I am going to spend some time trying to recruit more Webelos to get us up to 3 or 4 for the Den.

    If I remember right, that Webelos is your daughter.   What are you planning for next year?  Any plans for a BSA4G girls' troop  in February 2019? 

  9. GS camps are owned by the council, and their amentities vary.  I can speak to what I have seen in my state.

    Generally girl scout troops do not camp together as a troop during the summer.  The council-owned Girl Scout camps are busy with council-run day-camp and over-night camp  programs from the time school gets out in late June until sometime in August.  During this time period troops are not permitted to reserve campsites at the girl scout camps, because they are in use by summer camp.  And girls attend summer camp as individuals, not as troops.

    (A troop wouild be allowed to camp as a troop elsewhere during the summer, but I have never actually heard of it happening with troops around here.  Generally the girls most likely to go to summer camp are the troop leaders' daughters, (not surprising, since these are the most scouting-enthusiast families).  Going to summer camp gives them a chance to camp without their mother nearby.)

    Ammenties vary by camp.  What I would call rather ordinary would be:

    Sleeping accomodations:  Platform tents: wooden floors, canvas wall, canvas roof, no mosquito netting.  Saggy metal cots with thin vinyl-covered foam mattresses.  Bring your own mosquito netting for your cot.  Platform tents are big. Could easily fit eight+ sleeping bags in there, but for summer camp will tend to have 4-6 girls per tent.

    Each unit also has a fire circle, and some kind of "unit shelter" (roof, no walls) where girls can gather for activities on rainy days without getting soaked.

    Latrines (dignified with the name "composting toilet")

    Waterfront: a swimming area and canoes on a lake.  Kayaks for the camp staff to use when supervising the girls.

    Dining hall for most meals.  Archery area.  Arts-n-crafts cabin.

    One of the councils in my state has fancied up its camps.  One camp has horseback riding.  One camp has sailing.  One camp has a high-ropes course. Some fancier sleeping accomodations than platform tents. At the same time, they are closing smaller camps used just for day camp or troop camping.  At this council's camps, it appears that flush toilets
    outnumber latrines.

    As far as shooting activities, one of the councils say in its policies: "The use and/or possession of any firearms and weapons on [council name's] properties are strictly prohibited except by law enforcement officers."  I think some other councils may permit riflery.

    If you want to get to know the local camps better, check and see if the camp hosts an open house sometime in the spring.  Also look to see if the council sponsors a Mommy-and-Me or Daddy-and-me camping overnight. (These won't be the actual names, they don't want to exclude girls attending with grandparents, or other relatives, in lieu of parents.)  I enjoyed going to these.  It was like going back to summer camp for a night.  I also got to scope out the camp to size it up for taking a troop there during the school year, and I got aquainted with the camp director.

    Don't forget to check out the camps of nearby councils.  For us the closest Girl Scout camp is out-of-council, but is only 15 minutes drive from our house.  The in-council camps are much further away.




  10. 48 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

    Girls in scouting ... I think this is a good change.

    I think GSUSA is dying as a scouting organization -- or rather living on as a completely different kind of program for kids.  Instead of girls who are old-enough to do so, growing through the game of scouting, what I am seeing being promoted instead is a light-weight feel-good program for little girls: do crafts once a month, sell cookies, and call yourself a Girl Scout.

    It makes me sad. I've been a GSUSA member for decades.

    I am really quite appreciative that BSA will be opening up to girls, offering girls a chance at a more traditional scouting program.  Don't know whether it will appeal to many girls, but I think it will benefit the girls who do join.   


    • Like 1

  11. 26 minutes ago, fred johnson said:
    • Lions and Tigers ... I think this has been a bad change.  Families establish a perception of scouting in their first few years.  At K & 1st grade, youth are just too immature.  The perception of scouting starts bad and does not recover.  A few units may do it well, but the majority just don't.  Then add family burn-out from five plus year cub scouts.   Then, add the endless repetition.   ... Cub scouts was originally created as a program for youth too young for Boy Scouts.  It was meant to be just a few years.  ... Then when we started scouting, Tigers were just a friend of the pack, full membership.  IMHO, we should go back to Cub Scouts starting in 2nd grade and then it's a GO SEE IT and GO DO THINGS program.  Essentially, start scouting when the kids are ready for using knives and starting fires. 


    GSUSA has this problem.  They recruit kindergarteners into Daisies. And these kindergarteners really cannot do much yet.  By the time the girls are old enough to use knives and light fires, their families have become accustomed to Girl Scouts as a once-a-month light-and-fluffy not-much-asked-of-kid-or-family activity.

    When my daugher hit second grade (start of Brownies) I signed up for my GSUSA council's "troop camp training" which is a prerequisite to building fires with your troop or taking kids camping.  I also invited the other moms in the troop to take the training along with me, if they were interested.  It turns out I scared the parents, who didn't want to see the troop camping, and they gave this feedback to the other leader, not me.

  12. 44 minutes ago, Tampa Turtle said:

     Cultural exchange is great. Some Aussie scouts introduced me to the joys of the "Jaffa Iron".

    I heard it as "Jaffle Iron" -- but I haven't heard the term for decades, brings back memories.   The friend who introduced me to a jaffle iron was an Australian girl, in Japan,  a scout in my troop, which was registered with GSUSA TOFS but had British leaders.   The cultural exchange part of scouting is something I highly value.

    • Upvote 1

  13. 37 minutes ago, JustAScoutMom said:

     The BSA training shows everyone what they need to do and what their role is, so they can immediately add value. 

    I've been gradually working my way through the training videos on my.scouting.org, in particular the SM/ASM series.  I must say that I am impressed.  They are helping me understand how, in theory, the roles fit together in an idealized troop.

    I found the GSUSA leader training (which is all council-specific) singularly unhelpful.  As a troop leader, mostly I had to rely on memories of my childhood troops, and my collection of old Girl Scout handbooks, supplemented with what I could turn up with the help of google.  The one training I did find helpful was my council's "Tent Camp Training" - not becuase of the camping aspect, but because of the opportunity to spend 24 hours interacting with the experienced old leaders who were leading the training.

    • Upvote 1

  14. 4 hours ago, JustAScoutMom said:

    girl scouts.  There is no institutional knowledge within the troop.  

    This is a huge problem in my service unit for the Daisy/Brownie/Junior (K-5) troops.

    And it is a change from the era of my childhood.

    Back the in the 1960s/1970s (when my mother was a leader and my sisters and then I were scouts) many mothers were SAHMs.  In my experience, the scouts met weekly in large multi-grade groups immediately after school, when both girls and moms were available. Everyone was home from the meeting in time for dinner to be on the table when dad got home.  Girl Scouts was definitely not family-focussed, but (apart from camping weekends and extended field trips) it did not cut into the limited "family time" in the evenings and weekends when all family memebers were home.  Multi-grade troops allowed the younger girls to learn from the older girls and the new assistant leaders to learn from the more experienced leaders. Large troops allowed the patrol system to work in some fashion.  (At the elementary grades, more like Brownie Sixes than like the BSA boy scout patrols.) Siblings could go to a neighbor's house after school if they were not involved in the scout meeting.

    Today, if one could find willing available volunteers, there would be nothing forbidding GSUSA troops from still being organized this way.

    But society has changed, and the Girl Scouts have not coped with that change at all.  Moms have joined the workforce, schools are not requiring the same type of  best-behaviour in groups as formerly, and the Girl Scouts have not yet adapted to these changes.

    Now, many women are now employed full time.  The leaders have limited time for volunteering after their job and home responsibilities, so troops typically meet only 1x/month, evenings or weekends.  Moreover, the Girl Scouts (at least our council) strongly discourage tag-alongs at meetings and especially on outings, so one needs to make arrangments for one's other kids.

    The K-5 troops are also quite small and isolated.  It is a rare troop that has more than a dozen girls.  The leaders find large troops difficult to manage.  I suspect that it is because school discipline is much laxer than in the past, and the girls have never learned how to be well behaved and considerate in a group setting.  The smaller
    the troop, the fewer "problem" girls disrupting the meetings at the slightest whiff of boredom.  But in order to be small, these are therefore single-grade troops.  They form up in kindergarten, with two moms recruited to be leaders (who may themselves have had no previous experience of girl scouting.)  They continue along till about 4rth or 5th or maybe 6th grade, gradually dwindling in size each year, and then finally disband.  (A very few troops survive into middle school or high school.)

    And since the troops have no institutional knowledge, then what the girls and leaders choose to do is not particularly scout-like.  Hello trips to see the local ballet performance.  Goodbye pocket knives and campfires and overseas Brownie/Guide penpals.

    So, how can the Girl Scouts solve these problems?  I'm not sure that they ever will, since many don't see that there is a problem at all.  Many families seem to be happy with Girl Scouts as a "light and fluffy" feel-good once-a-month social activity that their girls do with other girls they know from school.

    It seems to me that the Cub Scout "Family Scouting" model is an attempt by BSA to deal with these sorts of societal changes.  If there is something for everyone in the family at the same time and the same place, then scouting can become a family activity: Mom & Dad as den leaders and K-5 children as cubs.  Or Dad as den leader, older kid as a cub, and younger kid (supervised by mom) as a tag-along.  Or a scout-age sibling recruited to be a den chief. If scouting is a family activity it will feel that scouting is part of family time, rather than cutting into limited family time.  If the kids don't behave well in large groups, then divide them into small dens, but still have the whole pack do some things together so that the kids feel that they are part of a larger whole.

    Will it work for the cub scouts?  We are still waiting to see.  

    I've certainly seen this "family" model work well in a church setting: everybody goes to church on Friday nights: younger kids in AWANA, older kids in the youth group, parents either helping out with the kids or else in an adults' bible study.


  15. 47 minutes ago, David CO said:

    Nor is there anything preventing a girl-led boy scout troop from making the same choice. Imagine the frustration she would feel if she were to join a boy scout troop because she wants to go camping, and then the other girls voted against it. 


    There is a difference.  In BSA camping is required for rank advancement.  In GSUSA camping is completely optional - a girl could earn Gold Award never having camped a day in her life.

    I've been looking at some of the BSA training videos on my.scouting.org.   According to these videos,  the scoutmaster and troop committee are supposed to ensure that there is an outdoor program.   In GSUSA,  leaders are not exhorted to make sure that the troop has an outdoor program.  

    I would expect that a girl who did not like camping would, after looking at the BSA rank advancement requirements, decide that she did not belong in BSA4G.

    • Upvote 1

  16. 11 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

    There is likely little credence to the statements that CO and troops can elect to remain single gender.  No doubt that will change in short order.


    4 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

     In fact, the only people I've encountered gung ho about girls in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts are parents. Even the girls I've talked to are not that interested.

    I don't think that there would be enough interested girls for all the current troops to go coed, even if they wanted to.

    I know one girl who is gung-ho about joining BSA in 2019: my daughter. Problem is I know only one girl: my daughter.  Seems like it will need a minimum of 5-10 girls for a viable patrol or "linked" troop. None of her female schoolmates are interested.  The girls in her GSUSA troop (grades 6-12) don't seem very enthusiastic about camping.  About a month ago I talked with the scoutmasters of the three boy scout troops in our town -- to see if they were aware of any girls eager to join boy scouts, and to sound them out on their attitudes to girls in BSA.  While they were generally positive about girls in BSA,  they had not heard of any other interested girls.  So it seems to me that if we do find enough interested girls in our town, then they had better all join the same BSA4G troop, which means that at most one of the troops in town will have a linked girls troop, leaving the remaining troops strictly single-sex-boy.

    That would not be bad.  The boys (or families) wanting a boys-only enviroment would have it available, even while girls are able to start benefitting from the BSA program.

    Meanwhile I am trying to learn about the BSA (never been involved before) so that I will be available to volunteer in some capacity if needed.  The training videos on my.scouting.org have been helpful there, as has been reading y'all's discussions on various BSA related subjects.


    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1

  17. 2 hours ago, blw2 said:

    but I don't really get the girl troop and boy troop thing.  To me it might seem better to have male patrols and female patrols...maybe.

    but realistically and logistically genderless is where it 'wants'  it needs to go....

    Because 11-14 girls and 11-14 boys naturally separate and don't want anything to do with each other.

    Even at church we have coed elementary school stuff,  coed high school stuff, and separate boys and girls groups for the 6th-8th grades.  

    Also, in a coed environment tasks can easily divide along gender roles, depriving the kids of a chance to learn valuable skills more commonly associated with the other gender.

    The linked-troop option seems very nice in reducing the overhead involved in getting a new troop off the ground, and in providing institutional know-how.  But I can see families of girls (like mine) as well as families of boys wanting to keeping kids' experience single-sex.

    • Upvote 2

  18. From my point of view as a parent of a girl, the ideal would be for my daughter to join a well-established, long-running, girls-only troop which has long experience using the BSA program.  Unfortunately such troops do not exist now, and will not exist in 2019, though they might possibly exist in ten years' time.

    For I do see benefits to a single-sex enviroment, for both the boys and the girls, especially for the middle school grades, and especially for kids who attend coed schools.  But a well-functioning coed group might be better than a poorly-functioning single-sex group.

    So that raises the question: how to implement the BSA4G program for girls, so that they have a better experience than they do now, and so that it does not mess things up for the boys?

    Is it better to start with a small, just-getting-off-the-ground girls-only troop, hoping to eventually build it up?  (As a prospective future volunteer, that seems daunting.) Or is it better to start with what is functionally a girls' patrol in an existing troop?  And if so, how do to it in such a way so that the current boy scouts and scoutmasters are happy with the situation?

    I would appreciate any comments you have on what plans are being discussed in your local areas, and whether you think they are good or bad plans, and why.

  19. On 2/28/2018 at 4:20 PM, Tampa Turtle said:

    Over heard several scouter-committee moms who are also GSUSA leaders say that they are planning to bring their daughters over (and some friends) next year to our Troop. (The exact words used were "I do not care what a few people say we are going to STORM this Troop." (Her emphasis, not mine) Also "If they say we need two female scout leaders we can do it on paper none of us have to go camping or anything."  Two said they were going to start the beginning of next school year and not wait until 2019 because what is the point.

    I was sorry to hear about Tampa Turtle's experience.  I would have expected better behaviour.  Even though GSUSA dropped "courteous" from the Girl Scout Law when it was revised in 1972.


  20. 4 hours ago, gblotter said:
    5 hours ago, DuctTape said:

    In the end it is up to the local unit to provide a robust program.

    Local units are the face of Scouting and the boots on the ground to make any program work. But local units can do only so much to rescue National from their own bumbling mistakes (then and now).

    Same issue in GSUSA.  

    There are some GSUSA folks who think that the GSUSA national organization has long made too many poor decisions about program materials and program direction.  Now that another choice (BSA) is becoming available, some of these folk may turn up in BSA as refugees of a sort.  I have no idea how many.

    My pet theory is that part of the problem for GSUSA is that GSUSA national headquarters is located in New York City. (Not a good spot for outdoors-loving people.)  At least BSA headquarters is in Texas, not in the middle of New York City.

  21. 10 minutes ago, gblotter said:

    Paying homage to a historical label like Girl Guides will likely help traditionalist swallow the pill a bit easier, but our Texas brainiacs don’t have a great track record in this area.

    Some of us history-minded GSUSA oldtimers who are thinking of switching to BSA might like "Girl Guides".  But I see two big problems with "Girls Guides" as a name for BSA4G:

    GSUSA would hate it, because they are the WAGGGS member in the USA, and BSA is not.

    And the girls themselves who don't know much scouting history, just like their older American sisters 100 years ago, will want to be called "scouts" and not something else.

    • Thanks 1

  22. I found Eagle1993's description of their local troop's plans for adding
    girls very interesting.  (a girl patrol in existing troop, or a girl
    troop meeting at same time/place as the boys.)

    Has anyone heard, in their towns, of anyone planning on starting up an
    actually separate troop for girls?  (I.e. at least meeting at a
    different time or in a different room than the boys, even if sharing
    some resources.) 

  23. I've been lurking for a little while, trying to learn a little about
    the differences between BSA and GSUSA culture, but I guess I'll jump
    in and speak up now.  I have a 6th grade daughter, who after hearing
    the BSA plans to admit girls in 2019, and after reading an old Boy
    Scout handbook, tells me she wants to become a Boy Scout as soon as
    the program is available to girls her age.  So we are thinking about
    crossing the Tiber.

    A couple of comments on the differences: BSA has camping and outdoor
    skills built into the rank advancement.  GSUSA does not: outdoor stuff
    is completely optional.  Combine that with "girl led" which often
    means "majority rule", then if the majority of girls in a troop don't
    want to camp, then the troop does not camp (and the majoriy of the
    girls in the troop are happy with that situation). But some of the
    minority of want-to-go-outside-and-get-muddy girls may find BSA
    attractive.  Other families seem to be perfectly happy with the GSUSA
    program as is.

    • Upvote 2
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