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I have had a Webelos den for 2 years, brownie troops for 7 years, junior troops for 5 years and a Senior troop for 1 year, plus worked with independant Seniors. I also am the Secretary of a Boy Scout troop and volunteer at large.


The programs are a little different but boys and girls do do a lot of the same things.


The Girl Scout Program is a bit heavy on paperwork and permission paperwork and has a much stronger emphasis on DIVERSITY. No person of different ethnicity, religion, or gender preference is barred. The promise, while not eliminating God, allows for the individual to define God as they choose. There are not the homosexuality issues and problems associated that BSA is dealing with at present. I don't doubt that there are women that are lesbians in Girl Scouts. Generally that is not an problem for me or the organization as I understand it.



In the badges there is more flexibility in the requirements such that if you are doing a High Adventure/Rock Climbing badge you choose among the requirements to complete it.


For Brownie try-its choose 4 requirements and are offered about 7-10. Brownies are like Tigers-Bears. Brownies can camp and do. Both tent camping and lodge camping and the parents do not come along. Just the required trained adults. Brownies may use knifes and build fires with supervision. Whittling chips don't exist. Girls generally don't take the same risks with knives.


Juniors (Webelos and first year Boy Scouts). The badge level is about the same for Juniors as the Merit Badges for Boy Scouts. A 12-18 year old boy and 12 year old Girl will not have much difficultly with them. A 4-5th grader will have some difficultly with them. The swimming badge is very similar. You choose 6 out of 8-10 requirements for there badges and there is a lot of flexibility again. The girls badges include not only skills but a number of hobby/craft badges (boys have some like Basketry, Leatherwork, Collections, Art, etc.) The Junior badges expect more proficiency. Juniors is less adult led. Juniors focus on Leadership, skills, camping, Service, and self knowledge and improvement.


The Girl Scout program includes much more focus on self esteem, self awareness, badges on both, badges on current issues of drug abuse, and smoking, and peer pressure which you don't see at all in Boy Scouts or Cub Scouts except for a little in Webelos "Fitness" and Boy Scouts "Personal Fitness". Girl Scouts is still dealing with women's/girls needs to achieve in careers still largely dominated by men and to have a strong self image. All the badges have career requirements. Not just what's available but to talk to WOMEN in these fields.


The Cadette and Senior badges have a pattern of choice. You must have 2 Skill requirements, 1 Technology requirement(to introduce/direct girls to technology where they are underrepresented), 1 Service requirement(usually pertaining to the subject), 1 Career requirement(working with women in those areas) and then 2 free choices from those areas. There are 4-6 requirements offered in each area. You chose the most interesting for the girls or the most doable. Badges may be done individually or as a troop. Troops are the size of a Patrol. The Cadette and Senior Badges are designed for 7-12 graders and are generally more difficult than most of the Merit badges although some are not. For instance they assume you can swim and there is not a swimming badge as that is covered at the Junior level. The Water sports badge has other more difficult requirements which are in things like "Lifesaving", "Scuba diving", and "Small boat sailing"


There are no ranks. There are only levels by grade like the Cub's Tigers, Wolves, Bears, Webs.


Bronze awards are earned at the Junior level and are like the Eagle in that they have badge requirements and service/project requirements. The girls may do the project by themselves or with a group and it may benefit Girl Scouts or the community.


Silver Awards are earned at the Cadette level and include a Career pin, Leadership Award, a Cadette Challenge, Badges, and project. Once again they are able to do this on their own or as a group and it may benefit Girl Scouts or the community.


Gold Awards are earned at the Senior level and include a Career pin(hold a job or other options), a Leadership Award( at least 30 hours of Leadership within and outside scouting), a Senior Challege (working on yourself, with your family, with your community, service-lots, and a small project), Badges to support your chosen project and a large project involving but not limited to 50 hours of your own time (other individual's time does not count on your project but you must have a leadership aspect so others participate, you just don't count their time in your total). The project must benefit the community and generally is includes way more than 50 hours of the Senior's time.


My second daughter is interested in plants, so she designed and built 4 wheelchair accessible planters for a senior home, cleaned the garden area, moved rock and redid the landscaping, painted and weeded existing planters, got donations of soil, bark, weed barrier, paint, flowers, and wood. She led the men's group from church in weeding and mowing, and later a Junior troop in a planting day with the residents. It was tons of work for her individually and as in all Eagle projects grew beyond her original plan. It happens. She also spend a great number of hours with the residents just visiting.


My oldest daughter is pushing the time limit for her Gold. She is running art workshops for the library for seniors and youth as well as painting murals for the new library. Her interest is in art and has won many contests, so this is a natural choice for her.


The Girl Scout troops are small so not as much variety may be offered in activity. The patrol sized troop selects the activity. The leader may guide. We do camping, leadership, badges and service. Girl Scouts do much more service, as it is a requirement for each badge. They also do a lot of leadership. The older girls frequently RUN unit campouts, and badge workshops, and unit events. They receive guidance but they plan it, buy for it, organize it and run it. An event can include, in our area, about 200-300 girls and parents. A campout about 100 girls and leaders. A workshop 80 girls in two shifts. They RUN it.


Girl Scout troops tend to camp a little less but not all troops and they tend to do more badges. They have much more service and from what I have seen more leadership opportunities.


Anyway I like and am involved in both groups. I camp with both, and I guide boys and girls in badges. Depending on the troop there may or may not be much difference.



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There have been some changes since I was a GS!


But all in all - the basic program, as our council ran it, is not all that different than it was when I was a girl. More "awards", apparently to make it more like the BSA ranks - but the intent is the same.



this was VERY informative - THanks!

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