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No, it would be splintering off from GSUSA all together. That has actually been discussed in my neck of the woods. The girls in my senior troop think that Studio 2B is the most ridiculous thing they have ever seen. Charms instead of badges? Like was said earlier, if an organization tries to change in order to satisfy people who aren't even a part of the organization, it is in serious trouble. The girls who are in seniors now are there because they liked the program and wanted to stay. The girls who were polled were not in scouts and probably won't become scouts even now that Studio 2B has been invented. Girls stay in scouting when they are older because they were scouts when they were younger. Why is national trying to lure all these girls into a program that was never meant to be? Juliette Low is turning over in her grave right now with all these changes. She wanted girls to be able to compete with men in today's society (or yesterday's society, as the case may be.) But "what's the most important thing in your bag? Lip gloss?" What happened to camping, hiking, science, astronomy, firebuilding, sailing, and then a little child care and cooking tossed in with that? I have been a Girl Scout for 34 years, and a senior advisor for 20 of those years, and now I have two daughters, one in Brownies, and one in Juniors. I am currently the Junior leader as well. But I never thought that one day we might be looking for another organization to belong to, since the one I thought I would stay with for life has obviously gone down the toilet.

Ok, I'm done ranting and raving. But really, we're up in arms here about what to do about all of this. Isn't national there for the Girls? And if the Girls want the old program components, then what?

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So is there someone we can write to in National to lobby for keeping the old program as an option? Or at least building upon it if they want to be more flexible in requirements? (which is fine by me since everyone fudges at those badge workshops anyway). BSA has several parallel programs for teenagers -- I don't know much about Venturers but when I was an Explorer, every post had its own interest. Mine did backpacking and canoeing trips, others were "Sea Scouts," a friend of mine was in a post that was associated with a firehouse and trained them all as EMT's. Isn't the point of scouting for teenagers to get them away from the pressure for everyone to be the same?

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Please write to National and let them know of your concerns. Better yet, ahve all of your girls write to them. There is a 'contact us' at both the GSUSA website and the S2B website. I wrote to them and I did get a reply. Here is what they wrote:


'Thanks for taking the time to write in. I would like to respond to several of your points.


Cost of materials. The cost of Girl Scout materials and resources has been raised over the years. This is the first time that girls were surveyed to establish what they spend on similar items. The pricing was set accordingly. You can get a copy of the New Directions Research conducted by the Girl Scout Research Institute to see the full report.


Supplemental, optional program. STUDIO 2B is not a program, although there are resources with the name and logo on them. It is the way we serve girls 11-17. There is only one Girl Scout program with age level appropriate activities. STUDIO 2B was announced at the 2002 National Council Session as a pilot with data gathering and a report to be made at the 2005 Session. Nothing is being replaced. The age-level designations of Cadette and Senior are phasing out. If age-level designations for girls 11-17 are to be kept as is or changed remains a question. However, girls can continue to call themselves by those designations if they choose. In fact you can look in the book Highlights of Girl Scouting 1912-2001 on page 53 and see all of the age-level changes that have taken place during our existence.


IPs. The Interest Patchs are being kept. We heard you and many others very clearly. The book is being updated and will be out in summer of 2005.


Volunteers 18-29. The girls, as reported in the New Directions Research, said they wanted to spend some time with adults a little older than themselves to learn what the next stage of life might be like. They clearly stated that they want to be around young adults in addition to spending the most time with their current leaders. So again, we hope to widen girls experiences in Girl Scouting not remove them.


Putting resources on the Web site. More and more things will go up on www.studio2b.org just keep in mind that is a site for girls. There will be an informational section of the GSUSA site at www.girlscouts.org in late August called Girl Scout Central which should provide more resources for both adults and girls.


Hope this helps clarify some of the issues youve raised. Enjoy your summer!'


Personally, I think this program will flop.




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I think it will flop eventually, too. But concerning your reply from national - I don't believe them. We have heard too many things "under the table" from people at our own council who have attended national trainings. I think that national is giving us a line about the fact that studio 2B is NOT replacing the interest projects, etc. I think they're outright lying.

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First I'll explain jumping the shark for those unfamiliar..


Big popular TV series, Happy Days, is now seen to have declared its ending when they wrote an episode in which The Fonz jumped over a shark while waterskiing. There's a whole website devoted to this.


Now, it's my hope that S2B is *not* our Jumping the Shark episode in Girl Scouting. Then again...


Ok, now to something real..

It *is* official - National got such a huge outpouring of negative response specifically regarding their making the focus book charks and IPPs equivalent, that they have indeed done an about-face on this.


The IPP book will remain. The title will be changed to IPs for Girl Scouts, 11-17.


They are revamping how focus books are to be used towards the Silver and Gold. Mainly, they will be used for *other* requirements, but not for the IPA requirement.


Please also note, that girls may complete their awards using the old requirements, current requirements, or a mix of the two, or fit their work into the new requirements. Flexibility is being emphasized during the transition. There is a lot of confusion - but no girl should lose any of her work in the process.


Please note that I am not an official source of information - this is just a summary of what has been shared on the GS trainers list.


Yes, (sadly - mho)the designations Cadette and Senior are no longer official program age levels. Currently it's just "Girl Scouts, 11-17". (which obviously is no good and I would expect that shortly they will be coming up with *some* kind of actual name!)


Girls may choose to still use the terms and participate in bridging events if they choose. (Yha, I know...the meaning of the ceremony is lost once the terms no longer mean anything. They're gonna hear lots on this one too. I'm predicting some serious backpeddling on the lack of a *name*)


GSUSA has dumped so much money into the market research behind S2B that they are ot going to scrap it anytime soon. But they are responsive (somewhat) to specific concerns about program delivery. So I would advise that if/when you write, be *very specific* about what needs to be kept/changed/modified.


For instance, the cost and quality of the charms. They are currently talking to other potential suppliers for the charms in an effort to improve their quality. How bout an embroidered equivalent that would bring the cost down? The charms just aren't doin it for a lot of our girls. Have em available for the girls who like em, ok - heck, I'd even think it'd be cool to be able to wear a symbol of my gold award on a charm bracelet. But make available embroidered insignia to "speak" more to the girls who have been with GS over the longterm.

Frankly, I think all of the pins should be avilable in an embroidered option for field/camp wear. Pins catch on everything and break. I'd like to see an embroidered WAGGGS and GS membership patch - may not happen, but I'd sure like it.


A nyway, I think I've wandered through this topic for long enough so I'll stop for a breather :)

Peace out,

Anne in Mpls

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I just got my leader magazine with the photo of the current president of GSA, an African American woman. And it occurred to me we may be seeing a cultural divide in what people view as the best way to improve girls' self esteem.


Many of my African American friends put a high priority on personal appearance as a sign of a person having self respect. When we all do little drama skits at office parties, theirs often resolve with the lead female character styling her hair and getting new clothes when she overcomes whatever obstacles were ruining her life.


You don't have as much class division in the African American community -- a bank vice president could have a sister who is a crack whore. They let people know their values by the way they dress and speak more than by not associating with people whose values they disagree with. Whites prefer to move to ever more distant suburbs and only associate with friends like themselves.


White mothers are more likely to see a lot of concern for personal appearance as a sign their daughter is being sucked up by society's pressure on girls to conform to boys' expectation -- to be pretty, but helpless. We want girl scouts to teach our daughters that it's okay to be strong and not worry what other people think about them. Black mothers already expect their daughters to be strong, but fear their strong willed daughters may be caught up in activities that will bring them to harm and prevent them from achieving the successes they are capable of.


Maybe we need to get everyone to understand how different ethnic and cultural groups define self esteem so our program can accommodate all of them. Could we possibly discuss this issue without people getting defensive?

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Actually she is not President of GSUSA. Cynthia B. Thompson is the Chair of the National Board of Directors. This is the highest volunteer position in GSUSA. The highest paid staff position is Chief Executive Officer. This is held by Cathy Cloninger (who is not African American). These two women, together, lead the GSUSA.


Ms Thompson is not responsible for Studio 2B. She was elected Chair on 10/19/02. Studio 2B was introduced at the National Convention which was held 10/17-20/02. National was working on this for quite a while before they decided to present it at the convention.


Cultural differences are recognized in Girl Scouting. There are many ways that we try to bring these differences to the attention of our girls. The "Connections" booklets are one way that comes to mind. Dealing with the different cultural attitudes within a troop is up the troops leaders with help from their Service unit and council. You can not make one mold fit everyone that is why Girl Scouting has always been flexable.



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Well, in the latest "talking points" being distributed by National, it appears they are no longer being vocal about the push for young volunteers - 18-29 - this age grouping is not even mentioned. What do you suppose that means?

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There are sure some good points in this thread! I'm a former leader & a mom of a Senior Girl Scout (as she identifies herself). After some serious soul searching, she recently left the troop she was in since Brownies because the other members want to focus on fashion, spa treatments, and Studio 2B type activities.


Just before she left the old troop, she attended Senior Leader training, where they were briefly oriented on S2B. She came home very upset about Girl Scouts. She said "I don't want to be in Girl Scouts to learn how to be a Barbie Doll".


My daughter hunted around, found and joined a traditional troop which focuses on community service, camping, career exploration and adventure. They don't plan to do S2B activities because the girls don't want to. She loves her new troop and wishes she'd found it sooner.


She's finishing up her Gold Award project, and she feels she'll be done with Girl Scouts before they completely lose their identity because of the S2B focus. She was originally planning on continuing while she was in college as an Adult Girl Scout. But she has no interest in S2B, which she calls "Girl Scouts Lite", and if she continues in scouts, it'll probably be in a Venture Crew.



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Nonononoo...When she is in college she can finally be in Campus Girl Scouts and they are really coming on strong now! They have national conventions and they are totally downright COOL. O the other hand, I do hear real good stuff about Venturing but nothing says she cant do both ;) Anyway, we need girls like her around to keep us all on the right path!

Check out the national Campus Girl Scouts website: http://www.campusgirlscouts.org/

and also a page on the official GS website.


Anne in Mpls

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One of the most disturbing things about Studio 2B is that GSUSA is running full-page color ads in a national teen magazine (Girl's Life) touting S2B without mentioning Girl Scouts anywhere (I mean no where -- no tagline, no tiny type in the corner, not even a subliminal out-of-focus trefoil in the background). When I called national to ask if funds donated to Girl Scouting were being diverted to advertise a program that denies (by ommission) its links to Girl Scouts, I was told that this was not an issue because Girl's Life donated the space for the ads.


When Studio 2B was introduced, it was billed as "another way to be a Girl Scout". We were all told it was completely optional. The girls in my troop looked at the materials and made a decision "by" girls, "for" girls -- they decided "by" themselves that S2B was not "for" them. They thought the topics were stupid, the books were poorly written (they laughed out loud at the pathetic attempts to be trendy), the costs were way too high and the charms were absolutely ridiculous for older teenagers. They said it looked like a program for "younger girls who don't really want to be Girl Scouts"...and that's exactly the demographic this mess was designed to attract and retain.


But now, even though my girls are among the many young women who never left the program -- the program is leaving them. Because now, unless enough of us -- leaders and girls -- complain loudly and long, participation in S2B will be mandatory within the GS program. (Yes, I know, you don't have to be a Girl Scout...but if this stuff goes through, even Girl Scouts won't be Girl Scouts.)


In response to leader and girl complaint about the "all-self-esteem-all-the-time" approach of the first set of focus books, national has announced "harder" topics in the set slated for release in 2005 (like science and math). In one worldwide blog, S2B was described as "self indulgence and teenage navel-gazing angst" -- another person described the books as "pajama party games".


As far as S2B signalling the "dumbing-down" of the program -- even with the new IPA/IPP book scheduled for publication in 2005 (which should allow girls to continue earning more traditional awards in a patch format...?), national tells us that girls will be setting their own goals rather than meeting set or standard requirements.


And the focus books? Girls can "complete" them more than once simply by setting new goals. (Oh? You set two goals in that book as part of earning your Silver Award? Great -- go back and set a few more goals and you can apply the same thing to your Gold Award! Gold? I think we've gone from 24-karat to some cheap tarnished alloy.)


It's all about money -- the money they make from memberships, from selling cookies, from forcing us to buy ridiculously priced program materials and awards. My girls keep asking me this: if the GS organization is so concerned with conservation and "using resources wisely", then why don't they just put all these program materials online for free and easy access by all? Why? Because they can't make any money off of us that way.


National will tell you that in a time when girls routinely spend $16 on a CD and $8 to get into a movie, they can certainly afford these materials. Wrong! The girls want that CD, and they want to see that movie -- why in heaven's name would they want to spend $7 on a booklet they'll never read again?


And they will tell you in training that any photocopying is expressly forbidden (they don't make any moey off that, either).


There's a great quote from Juliette Low about what a badge is -- the gist is that it's not something to show what a smart girl you are or simply something pretty to wear on your sleeve -- it's that you have learned enough and done enough "to offer service" or "to provide service" in a particular area. I can't remember it verbatim, but I'm sure of the "service". Question -- how does one provide service in self-indulgence? I asked our council trainer about that quote -- she replied that she took it out of our training because "everyone does service now" (meaning groups like Crosby scholars, school lifeskills classes, etc.) -- she went on to say that since other people are now "doing" service, we (GS) can "back off" from it. Juliette is bound to be spinning fast enough to start a fire without matches!


As far as leader age goes, national did backpedal a bit on their "youthful advisors" campaign -- for an otherwise intelligent organization, they continually insult and antagonize the very population of volunteers they depend upon for survival -- but if there are college-aged women out there who have the time and desire to be advisors, that's wonderful (sign my troop up!). They'll still need the moms-in-the-minivans if they plan to take the troop on any of those wonderful trips that keep girls coming back to meetings, because most college kids don't drive seven-seaters.(This message has been edited by Wishboat)(This message has been edited by Wishboat)

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AMEN! My husband has been saying all along that it is the money...

So, how do we all get together and protest the program? What do we all do now? A few letters in the mail from me and the girls in my troop won't do the trick - what can we do to make national listen to us?

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Wishboat, can you point me to the worldwide blog you mentioned? I'd really like to read it.


I think you're right on the money (literally) on everything you've said; its clear you work with and really listen to the girls.


Just as Girl Scouts seemed to be making a real push to get the Gold Award recognized by the general public, they come up with this lame S2B plan a complete about-face of the intent of the Gold Award. If the Gold Award gets dumbed down, will the recipients lose the benefits they get? Currently they get recognition such as extra points when applying to a U.S. military academy and many colleges, a grade increase and extra money if they enlist in the military, and other tangible benefits, just like those given to Eagle Scouts.


Like Reeena is wondering, does anyone have ideas on how can we can get National to listen? They may be sort of listening, hence all the adjustments and tweaks to S2B. But I suspect National is seeing a lot of protests as just resistance to change. Resistance to change is normal, but how do we convince National that its not resistance; this program is really bad.


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