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To stay with or leave Brownie Troop?

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I signed up my daughter for Brownies a couple of weeks ago. They meet once a week at 6:00 pm in her school. I didn't know what to expect, but I'm close to taking my daughter out of the troop. The leaders are very nice, but very disorganized.I thought there would be more structure and activities related to a girl scout meeting. The girls do a craft, a snack and go home. My issues are the time of the meeting, 6:00 pm is a little late for 6 year olds to gather IMHO. The troop leader can't seem to keep the girls focused and calm. They run all around the auditorium and don't listen or care if a meeting is going on. I stay to observe the meeting to see if its worth keeping my daughter in, but so far I don't see any difference between this girl scout meeting and a playdate after school. I'm not sure when or if I should suggest in a nice way to the troop leader what I think about the meetings. I know the troop leader is trying, maybe it takes several meetings before it all comes together. Maybe my expectations are unreasonable. My daughter still wants to attend, but the interest is dwindling only after 2 meetings. I know the Girl Scouts can be a wonderful experience and its a great organization, but my impression so far has been disappointing.

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Lots of things come to my mind as I read your post. I have been a leader for 7 years now, and a Service Unit manager for 3. First of all, is this a new troop with a new leader? Has she had any training yet? Sometimes leaders start out new and get training after starting out; she may not have any ideas on how to structure a meeting. Second, does she have anyone helping her? How many girls are there? My experience is that a group of Brownies can be very hard to control unless there is sufficient adult help who make it clear to the girls what behavior is expected of them. Third, is the meeting time at 6 because of the leaders work schedule? This may be the only time that works for her.


My suggestion is to ask the leader how you can help. I bet she would jump at the offer. If you are good at paperwork, ask if you can help with things like permission slips, cookie sales, newsletters, girls records, etc. If you have outdoor skills, offer to provide them for a field trip or meeting. If you are crafty, offer to lead a craft from time to time. You could offer to organize a Try-It for the troop to do.


If the leader is not open to your help and continues to run a disorganized troop, you can check into other troops in your area, or you can start up a troop yourself.


It can be a lot of work to run a troop; most parents have no idea how much time we spend making phone calls, finding resources, etc. I have Cadettes and they run their own meeting, plan out their year, pick trips to take and service projects to do, etc, and I still have a lot of work to do! And I still have to remind them at times to stick to their agenda. As Brownies, we camped, did a number of service projects, went on lots of field trips (everything from horse backriding to nature hikes to roller skating to swimming...), did Try-Its as a troop as well as some of the Council patch programs, and made crafts. You could help with stuff like that.


If the leader indicates that she does not want your help or does not appreciate your ideas,find a troop that does, or do like I did and start your own! There is training provided and should be support from your Service Unit. It really can be lots of fun!



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Welcome to the forum.


MomScouter has given you excellent advice.


The only thing I would add is to be patient. Two meetings is way too soon to make such a decision.


You will find the meetings to be much more interesting if you are involved in putting them together rather than sitting on the sidelines watching and critiquing.

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I DO get involved and I DON"T sit by the sidelines. I've helped out each meeting I"ve been to. I'm the ONLY parent that comes to the meetings. There is 5 adults for 8 girls. Thats quite a good low ratio. It isn't for lack of help. You're right, I will probably see if a few more meetings change the situation. You're comment was very premature to assume I wasn't there helping out......

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I don't think anyone meant to imply you weren't helping.


I have been a leader or assistant since my daughter was a first year Brownie, she is now a 3rd yr Junior. One thing I can say- the first few meetings of every year are a little hectic, even with an experienced leader. My troop hasn't gained or lost a girl in 3 years, but our first 2 meetings this year were still crazy. The girls are out of the routine, there are lots of papers for parents to fill out, and with the start of the school year, everyone is struggling to regain routines.


My question to you would be- what are the other 3 adults doing? You said you are the only one helping out, but there are 5 adults there. In my experience, extra adults hanging around and not pitching in only leads to chaos. It's hard to get little girls to focus and listen to you with their mother's right there. They either want to cling to mommy, or they figure they can do whatever they want to do, since mommy is right there and not telling them they can't do things.


Do you have the handbook and badgebook? Read through them, and put together a patch-earning meeting. I would suggest starting with Girl Scout Ways and Manners. Those two lay the groundwork for the whole program.


Good luck to you! I would hate to see someone with your interest become disillusioned with the program.

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My apologies. I meant no malice in my post.


When I read your post..."I stay to observe the meeting to see if its worth keeping my daughter in"...I took that to mean that you were merely an observer and not an active participant.


Good luck in whatever you decide.

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  • 2 weeks later...

Except for the 6pm meeting time you could be describing my daughters' troop. It's a new troop also with brand new leaders. I went to the organizing meeting but did not volunteer to be an official leader because I just started as Cub Scout den leader.

We were so excited to be starting Brownies. I loved Girl Scouts. My daughters wanted to be in Scouts like their big brother, but they are disappointed. The leaders hardly talk to the girls. They just put out a craft and leave them alone. This time they were supposed to be making a mobile based on the food pyramid. Most of these 1st grade girls didn't know what a food pyramid was so they were confused and missed the point.

I frequently find myself taking over the meetings. The first 2 meetings they finished a half hour early and several of the girls did not have their rides there. So I made a friendship ring and sang the only Brownie song I know. Then I led some games I made up on the spot. The leaders did tell me that their Brownies are their oldest children and that they don't know a lot of games or activities. Ironicly it is the thing I feel least comfortable doing, but Cub Scout materials provides lots of ideas that I adapt.

This third meeting I called the leader in advance to see how I could help. She did not seem to think they needed to do anything except the one craft. I suggested a game that went along with the theme and she seemed pleased. I also offered to take all the girls outside in the 30 minutes between school ending and the time the meeting start. Still even though the 2 of them were by themselves for 25 minutes they did not have the craft ready when we came back.

I know they are not getting the support they need from the district. I am trying to be supportive and give things a chance to improve. I don't want to step on their toes since they did take on the responsiblity of being leaders. Still, I worry that one of my daughter's is so disappointed with it. She wanted to go canoeing and camping and do lots of outdoor things. So far we haven't left the school cafeteria and they don't seem to plan to in the future.

We will stick with it for at least a year before asking for another troop.


Mom of twin Brownies

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Wow; I see two issues, lots of dedicated scouters asking you not to quite 5 seconds before the miracle happens, and significant dissapointment on your part.


For my part, based on my experience with my girl scout daughters and cub scout son I have to suggest a few things. 1) Stick out one year, it's not long in the scope of things and you will teach your daughter a valuable lesson in perseverance through a committment. 2) continue to take a leadership role. 3) help make the meetings different than a play date so the girls see the difference: use an opening and closing ceremony, songs, chants, whatever it takes. 4) Finally follow their lead: if they want to run around, let them! not all girls are suited for "lapwork" or crafts, some love to run around and play. Organize that activity into meaningful gameplay. After a year is over, discuss with your daughter whether or not she would like to commit to another year. If she doesn't, and you have followed the sage advise of the other posters, you will know for certain that you've given it a fair shake.

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