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My Brownie Daughter Wishes She Could Camp For Real

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My daughter, who is starting 3rd grade next fall, is just dying to go camping on a "real" camping trip like her brother does with the Cub Scouts (overnight once/year with the Pack).


Her troop has gone on overnights in a dormatory like place where they sleep inside an air conditioned building on bunk beds, but the mothers would NEVER even consider sleeping in tents, even for just one night.


My Cub Scout Pack Committee Chair is heavily involved in her (older) daughter's Girl Scout troop too, and she says the same thing. Her troop went camping recently where the girls slept in older canvas wall tents (no mosquito netting, etc...) They ended up sleeping in her van that night. My first thought - there goes another batch of young woman who will be horified at the thought of going "camping".


She came camping with our den for the first time two weeks ago (her husband had insisted on coming the previous two years - this year she insisted on coming). She was stunned at how fun it was. We cooked simple meals, used bug spray with DEET instead of Skin-So-Soft, sat around the campfire and told stories, and then retreated to nice tents - with mosquito netting.


What is the deal?? My daughter is so sad about it. She says she wishes she could be a Cub Scout instead.

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These leaders are the ones that really drive me nuts.

First off, there is nothing in GSUSA policy prohibiting Brownies from tent camping. (I shouldn't have to say it, but there are a lot of folks who believe this. A *long* time ago - I researched where this myth came from - a Brownie GS guide to the outdoors stated that "Brownies do not go troop camping" - but in that era, "troop camping" meant camping by patrols for more than 3 weeks at a time! Well, that went out of style, but what people remember is the *one* brief admonition, *in a long chapter on Camping with Brownies!* that "Brownies do not go troop camping".)

Now, that out of the way, individual councils are free to limit use of their facilities any way they see fit. There are a lot of councils who have so little in the way of camping facilities that they reserve these for use by older scouts. Hrrmph. Individual councils are also free to require just about anything they want to require in order for a troop to go anyplace. Most of this is good sensible stuff and amounts to much the same as the BSA tour permit idea.

The main impediment is that GS Leaders all too often are wearing way too many hats and doing none of them really well. See the other thread on this point.

Now, for your daughter - what are you willing to do about it? Sounds like you're involved in providing your son a well-rounded quality scouting program. What are you willing to do for her? Maybe your CC's GS troop would organize an overnight for your daughter's Brownie troop as a service project - likely you're in the same Service Unit.

Best of luck!

Anne in Mpls

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My troop has been camping at our Council camps since they were in first grade (now most are going into 6th). Some parents come, some don't, it's up to them to decide. We have stayed in 'platform tents' as well as 'cabin tents'. We usually do this at least twice a year. The girls have a great time, and our Council camps are great. Our council requires a certain degree of training for leaders before they can take the girls camping, and I made sure I got this all training my first year as a leader. Unfortunately, not all of the leaders in our Service Unit will take this training so their girls miss out. Then when they get to Juniors the girls loose interest and quit because they are tired of doing nothing but crafts!


I am fortunate in that my co-leader and I are involved in BSA and have learned some outdoor skills beyond what GSUSA teaches. We are both talking about taking the 'Becoming an Outdoor Woman' course (not a GS training) to further develop our skills so that we can take the girls camping beyond the council camps.


I wish that GSUSA would put as much money into developing their outdoor program as they did for S2B! Our council has the tent camping training but it ends there....I'd like to see some training on backpacking, or orienteering, or the like.


I would suggest that your troop investigate camps outside of your Council, if your Council does not have the resources. What about summer camp? Does your daughter go to resident camp? At our Council this is in platform tents and they do cook some of their own meals over a fire, use dunk bags, etc.


If the problem is that your leader does not want to camp or does not have the skills, why not get involved and take the lead on getting the required training and organizing a campout? It is a lot of work but it sure is fun! Make sure the girls create a Kaper chart so everyone has a chance at wood gathering, firebuilding, cooking, cleanup, etc.

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If your daughter's leaders do not like tent camping the odds are that they will discourage this in their troop. In most councils there is a progression of outdoor training that the leaders have to go thru in order to be able to take their girls camping (any type). I would bet that your leaders have only taken the basic outdoor that enables them to lodge camp.


As MomScouter said, your best bet is to register as a GS volunteer, take the outdoor training yourself and run the camping trips for your GS Troop. I bet there are other girls in the troop who would like some more challenging camping experiences too!


One other thought. Why doesn't your daughter go with when your Pack goes camping? We make our Pack camping trips open to the entire family. It makes it easier on the family because then one parent doesn't have to stay behind. It also gets more kids camping and having fun!



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