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Weekender

American Heritage Girls

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"I'm talking Christian, Muslim and Jewish all together now - THAT troop leader (me, for instance) would have to be an insensitive clod to end a troop prayer with "In Jesus Name We Pray" no matter how trippingly the phrase comes to my lips as a card-carrying UMC member."

 

SagerScout, I disagree. I see nothing wrong with that as long as you don't make it an every meeting thing. What if the next meeting you let somebody say a muslim pray? As a staff member of a scouting camp this is what we often do. We allow several people of different faiths say their pray throughout the week. If you ask me I would say it is very respectfully done this way. We never have complaints and everybody is now even more aware of the religions and beliefs of others.

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An interesting thought, and I agree very appropriate with a mixed-faith adult group - but where children are involved, with the inherent UNbalance of power, it still seems that the fact that I am Christian and they are not could set up a conflict in the child. I like to think that they look up to me, and I don't want to be perceived as advocating, however subtly, that the faith in which their parents are raising them is wrong. Even if I happen to think it is!

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Sorry to break my promise, but I have to respond to this offensive implication:

 

Just because we don't beat lesbians up and hang them on fences does NOT mean that we are supporting child abuse.

 

This statement is way out of line and has nothing to do with any previous post on this thread. In fact, the only hateful and bigoted statement that I've seen so far, is this one.

 

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Beating people up?!? Where did that come from?

 

Youngblood I do agree with you but some faiths do not view it that way and that is the issue. Depending on the particular division of faith some believe that being exposed to a prayer of a differing faith is an attack on their own beliefs. Also there are some faiths (some forms of B'hai) that do believe in God but don't allow the participants to speak or write the name of God.

 

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Rooster7 & Weekender,

 

Thanks for your earlier posts regarding your faith. I, too, am a Christian & agree with both of you.

 

Now back to the thread!

 

Ed Mori

Scoutmaster

Troop 1

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Julia, I'm going to jump in here and back up Rooster on your comment about beating up lesbians. This is obviously a reference to the tragic Matthew Sheppard situation. As many may know, he was brutally beaten and left to die, and one of his assailants happened to be an Eagle Scout. Your implication is that BSA's policy caused the assailant to want to kill gays, or that Boy Scouts approve of this act. I find that implication offensive. It may be that his scouting experience did not do enough to make this young man the type of person we hope scouting helps develop, but scouting did not create this monster. I find your cheap comment particularly troubling because the remainder of your post is well thought out.

 

Since I've now jumped in here, I will add a few comments to this discussion. My family is also involved with Girl Scouts. My daughter is very active, and my wife is an active adult leader of her troop. I am also a registered leader, however, because of my Boy Scout involvement, I only help out if they are desperate for another leader on an outing. I would urge every parent with a daughter to at least consider Girl Scouts. Just as with Boy Scouts, each Girl Scout troop is unique, and I would bet that with a little looking, and parental involvement, which everyone here would no doubt give, a very satisfactory Girl Scout experience will be found for your daughter.

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You folks are right. My snippy, catty comment was out of line and off-topic to boot. It was a reaction to my feeling defensive in this forum, where I fear gay friends would not be welcomed. Please forgive me.

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SagerScout,

 

I appreciate the retraction.

 

As for your gay friends, I harbor no hatred for them. I don't like his or her "lifestyle", or attempts by folks to promote that lifestyle as moral. The fact is, I find many gays to be likeable. In regards to my own behavior, I stake no claims to purity. What separates us, is our views on the behavior (lifestyle, orientation, preference, whatever one wishes to label it). I see it as sinful, always will. That does not mean I have no sin. Nor does it mean I condemn and hate those that are sinful (regardless of the sin). It does mean I abhor the behavior. If my child has a temper tantrum and strikes out, I find that behavior detestable too. Yet, I still love my child.

 

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SagerScout, I want to thank you for your perspective on the Girl Scouts as they really are -- not the distorted version portrayed in the first link contained in the post that started this thread. (The AFA link, the AHG site seemed fairly bland in the brief glance that I gave it.) It agrees with my own more limited experience with the Girl Scouts.

 

Each of my daughters spent a too-brief period in the Girl Scouts, and I have worked on school-related issues with women who hold positions at various levels in the local GS hierarchy. What I have learned from this is that Girl Scout leaders and parents, at least on the local and council levels in my area, provide and expect the same fundamental things from their program, for their daughters, as their counterparts in Boy/Cub Scouting. And that includes principles of morality.

 

In fact, we have a number of families in our pack that also have daughters in the Girl Scouts; some of our parents (including our IH) are Girl Scout leaders; and at least one of our leaders (our Cubmaster)is married to a Girl Scout co-leader. And she has now become our pack's CC as well. So while the programs may differ, since the groups of people running the programs in my community overlap so much, it is difficult to imagine how the "moral tone" could be much different.

 

It is regrettable that all of the responses to SagerScout's post have focued on one ill-considered comment. Her basic point is correct.

 

In light of this, I had to laugh when I opened up the local section of my local newspaper this morning and saw the headline, "Scouts honor trailblazing women," and right underneath that was a picture of two women hugging and kissing each other. Don't worry, the two women were a present and a former Girl Scout leader, one giving the other a congratulatory hug and peck on the cheek regarding an award she had just received at a Girl Scout dinner. I know the older of these two women from some community work I have done, to which she and her husband of about 60 years are financial contributors, and they also have been school board members, Chamber of Commerce honorees, benefactors of local artists and symphonies, and on and on. If she is a lesbian, there sure would be a lot of surprised people in my town, not the least her husband, children and grandchildren.

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Thanks, NJ, for focussing on my real point rather than my foolish sniping. I'll repeat it for those who were distracted in my earlier post. In my experience, Girl Scouts USA is an organization that is truly committed to teaching living skills in a diverse community, and to that end tries very hard to protect the parental right to instruct their children as the family wishes. In my area, there are individual troops that are exclusively one faith or another, and in these troops the practices of that faith are followed. In other troops, such as my own, I welcome all girls and thus have an obligation to be aware of and sensitive to their individual needs. So I have 7 different religions represented in 8 girls, ability levels from extremely gifted to technically retarded (don't tell her, she doesn't know she has limits yet!), and income levels from pretty darn comfortable to food stamps and needs-a-campership. My troop has suffered a high turnover rate, not so much because they don't like us but because we're in a neighborhood where people move a lot - some military, some not. Plus, in several cases I've lost scouts due to family disintegrations.

 

Yes, it's much harder as a leader to manage than a nice stable little troop of bright, homogeneous middle class kids from two-parent families and all one religion, but often the difficult tasks are the most rewarding.

 

However, be careful what you wish for. In the BS troop we just had a first visit from a new boy that appears to be quite severely emotionally impaired and that's going to be a whole new challenge... of course, my own son is also technically in this category so you'd think I'd feel more confident...but you'd be wrong. There's always something to keep us on our toes.

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Sager, Sager, Sager, Sager, Sager,

 

First the beating up and hanging on a fence comment and then

 

"Yes, it's much harder as a leader to manage than a nice stable little troop of bright, homogeneous middle class kids from two-parent families and all one religion, but often the difficult tasks are the most rewarding. "

 

So, leaders of bright homogeneous middle class kids from 2 parent families and one religion DONT have challenges? They dont face problems and should not be honored for the time and committment they have made?

 

And where in today's society do this group even exist? (especially the 2 parent part)

 

I applaud your committment to a culturally diverse and ethnically mixed group that also has various levels of intellectual abilities, but denigrating others does nothing to exalt your efforts which stand on their own.

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OGE -

 

Gosh, I did NOT mean to denigrate anyone and I'm certainly sorry that you saw it that way. Of course we all have challenges with our troops and of course I respect all of those who serve youth in Scouting. I did not mean that as any kind of a cut at all to anyone. Perhaps I was just trying to give myself a pep talk. I apologize completely and abjectly to anyone who was offended.

 

This time I have to say that I still don't exactly see how you got this interpretation from what I wrote; but I'm awful sorry if anyone took offense as absolutely none was intended.

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This is from the official GS site. Please note that GS is growing percentage wise for whatever reason, and that generally tends to be very inclusive and respects diversity, much like BSA.

 

"Girl Scout Promise and Law

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

The Promise and Law provide the framework and ethical code for the Girl Scout program. The values expressed in the Promise and Law serve as the foundation for all activities in the Girl Scout program. Girl Scout membership is extended to all girls who accept the Girl Scout Promise and Law.

 

Girl Scout Promise

On my honor I will try:

To serve God* and my country,

To help people at all times,

And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

 

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be

honest and fair,

friendly and helpful,

considerate and caring,

courageous and strong,

responsible for what I say and do,

and to

respect myself and others,

respect authority,

use resources wisely,

make the world a better place, and

be a sister to every Girl Scout.

 

Used thoughtfully and often in your everyday life, the Promise and Law can help you take action when you are faced with a decision. They can help you define or articulate the personal values that will give meaning and direction to your life.

 

 

*The word "God" has always been used to represent the spiritual foundation of the Girl Scout movement. Since Girl Scouting is for all girls, girls whose beliefs are expressed by a word or phrase other than "God" may substitute that for the word "God" when they say the Girl Scout Promise. When written, the word "God" is always in the Promise. "

 

Hope this clears up the question of God in the promise. It allows the individual their own interpretation. In my case Christian. All my girls in my troops are at present Christian and so our prayers, graces, are currently on the Christian side. We do however explore diversity and include songs from around the world and study various cultures regardless of the predominant religion of the country. More to follow...........

 

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Differences between the programs..........

 

I have three girls in GS and one boy in BSA. I run the programs about the same.........

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Here's my take

 

I have been a Girl Scout leader for 10 years and came up through the program. I have been a Cub Scout Den Leader for a number of years and am now a trained leader for our Boy Scout troop of 80 as well as the troop Secretary. I have also been the Program Director for the Cub Scout Day camp of over 200. I do scouts, as I am sure do you.

 

Boy Scouting and Girl Scouting structures are different. I wish they would get the two together and take from each program the good and get rid of the things from each program that drive me crazy.

 

The programs are structured differently as you know. Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout Packs are very larger and much more like 3-5 Girl Scout troops put together. Girl Scout troops are more like Dens or Patrols in size and as a result have some limitations in program and finances. Heck by the time you get to Senior troops you are lucky to have 3-4 girls. In a Boy Scout troop the numbers are not that different though. In a troop of say 30 you might not have more than 3-4 17-18 year-old boys either, but you have lots of younger boys providing more opportunity for leadership and variety of program. It is one of the Boy Scout structure's strengths. I might also add that the Boy Scout program nationwide is funded cooporately a little better. Not fair or right, but there it is.

 

The Girl Scouts, even though girl led much earlier, still reflects the interests of the adult in charge. If the leader is just not a camper, even though the girls want to camp, they might not do much camping. I provide a varied program with a slight leaning toward camping and physical activities, not because I love rock climbing, but because this group of girls do. Last year I had many more girls that loved crafting sooooo we did more of that.

 

Boy Scouts have more Camping and Leadership, Girl Scouts have more Service and Leadership. Both have badges (a little more skills oriented in Boy Scouts and a little more career and service oriented in Girl Scouts, plus Girl Scouts include the gender issues that women have come to focus on since the 60-70's). Women are more service oriented. The amount of service that Boy Scouts are required to do (of course some do more) for rank advancement until Eagle is a joke compared to what Girl Scouts do. Each Cadette and Senior interest patch requires a ton.

 

The path to a Gold Award is really hard. The path to Eagle not quite as hard. I have a 12 year old boy with Life rank and all but 1 Eagle required badge and a huge number of extra badges. He is not an over achiever and not particularily ambitious. It is just easier. The badges, because of the range of ages in a Boy Scout troop are designed to be done by a 12-14 year old boy. My 17 year old Girl Scouts has taken on some Challenge projects that were harder than many Eagle projects by far and it's just one step towards the Gold. Unfortunately if you put Eagle on your application the interviewer says "Ahhh", if you put Gold Award they say "Huh?" Truly unfortunate.

 

Girl Scout troops are structured more like a Cub Den in that they don't have rank advancement, they just move up by grade. The Gold, Silver and Bronze awards add another element but once again are service oriented. I have worked with 4-6 5th grade boys and 4-6 5th grade girls......trust me they are different, due to the delayed maturation of boys. Girl Scouts allow camping earlier and with less adults as well as cooking, real cooking, and knife work. Girls are just ready sooner. I run both programs about the same, borrowing resources from each for the other. Girls like knots, boys like knots. Boys like rock climbing, girls like rock climbing. Boys like sewing,yes they do, girls like sewing. In their interests they are not that different.

 

However due to the small size of Girl Scout troops regardless of the girls' interest in camping, in most cases, if the leader is not a camper, they won't do much camping. If they were in larger groups, like the Boy Scouts, I think you would see mixed ages......some camping, some roller skating, some crafting.

 

Anyway I like both programs. Both include God in their promise, but the Girl Scouts have opened up the interpretation, hence their growing membership enrollment. That does not preclude your promise to a Christian God, but allows for different spiritual beliefs within the troop as well. Faith is a personal thing. If you are looking for an experience in Girl Scouting with only like minded individuals you can find it in a troop, but keep in mind that no one who wishes to join in the future will be excluded due to a different interpretation.

 

Within Boy Scouts we have chosen not to join a LDS troop because of the predominately LDS membership. It doesn't fit with our beliefs. Just a personal choice. I am also sure that not everyone within our current troop believes as we do ........but more share the same beliefs and so it is a better fit for us.

 

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Regarding Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. The basic concept of both of these organizations is to make our children aware of their duty to their community thru service, their school by interacting with other children, and their God. To make these children the future generation better by what they do in the Scouting movement. The BSA has chosen to be on one side of the proverbial fence regarding the Gay/Lesbian issue where as the Girl Scouts have chosen another. I personally have talked to all three of my children and told them just because we dont agree dont mean we exclude someone from our lives by their choice. As long as their personal choices dont affect children in any way, that is good. Each of these organizations started on one principle and that was to get our children out and off the streets and become good citizens when they are of age. This is only done with good leadership and programs. I have studied different religions all my life as a hobby. Yet I have found out that this gives me an edge. It helps me to understand and respect others religions even if i disagree. Yet I won't ever slight someone else's religion by saying my religion is better than yours because we as humans are always making mistakes and I dont want to be the person to destroy a person's faith. We all must understand that we all have opinions like belly buttons and because of it we shouldn't necessarily bicker over whatever issue we disagree but use that to learn and understand even if we actually do disagree with it. I have a saying that should help somewhat. " I dont care the color of skin, tongue you speak fluently, or what your religion is based on, just treat me like you would like to be treated and let's have a mutual respect for each other and the differences included."

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