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Why Do Some GS Service Units Close Up Shop for the Summer?

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This next week our SU is having their last SU meeting of the season. The next one won't be until August.


Last year my daughter was a daisy and they ended their meetings in April and we heard didley squat about girl scouts until September! This year I am the Brownie leader and I am meeting every week all year long, throughout the summer! But I am one of the few. Most Troops in my SU for some reason quit meeting altogether in the summer, OR they meet less frequently (once a month).


I am wondering.... WHY are we not treating Girl Scouts to a full-year program?

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Hi Joni :)

Yes, this is a petpeeve of mine as well.

Way back when, some councils were so resource-poor that they only purchased insurance plans that covered 8 or 9 months of the year! I caught heck in the old Peacepipe GS Council - I was assigned to caddy for a Brownie troop and I asked the troop leader if I could come to one of their troop meetings to help the girls get ready for day camp (I taught them buddy system and proper footwear and how to dress, etc.) Well, apparently that troop meeting was not covered by their insurance! Goofy.

So a lot of this shutting down for the summer business might be a hold-over from way way back when.

There are still places around that believe that troops have to spend down every dime in their troop accounts by the end of the school year every year! I dont know where these ideas come from - just bizarre.

Our current council doesn ot have SUM meetings during the summer months, so therefore the SUMs do not schedule SU meetings during the summer - apparently if council has nothing to say, there's no point in meeting! Goofy!!

Keep meeting! It's the best season of the year for Brownie activities!

Anne in Mpls

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That's not just a Girl Scout problem. Cub Scouters and Boy Scout leaders ask the same question. The answer is often, "If we plan an event, not everyone will be able to come" My response is, "So?" If ten out of 30 come, that's good from them and the others have missed out. The whole thing is silly. How many parents today whine, "My kids don't have anything to do . . ."



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When I was a cub scout, packs pretty much shutdown during the summer. This was a big shock to me when I became a boy scout and my troop (and pretty much all troops) continued to meet and do stuff during the summer). Sure, you're going to have some boys gone for some times during the summer (I was), but you should have enought to do something.


Since that time, cub scouts have been encouraged to do stuff during the summer (there are the 'summertime pack' awards to encourage this, there is cub scout day camp during the summer, etc). With boy scouts you have summer camp, troops doing their major trips, etc.


I would think girl scouts would take advantage of this time as well.

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Most summers our service unit does try to plan one event, but we have never held su meetings. We are doing well to have leaders attend during the school year. I doubt we would get many over the summer, but then I find our meetings to be a waste of time more often than not. (and I was on the service unit team). I've only made it to one roundtable this year, but it was much more productive than any service unit meeting I have ever attended.



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We have one activity planned for each summer month for all the girls of the SU. We will have a couple of SU meeting (esp. to finalize plans).

Our region is also having several camps for the girls.

I (Daisy troop leader) am not having regular meetings during the summer.



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I think that many of us GS leaders are so burned out by May, that we are desperate for a couple of months off. In our Boy Scout troop, there are a dozen adults who all pitch in to run the troop; in our Girl Scout troop, there's me and my co-leader. And I am also service unit manager and day camp registrar. We are TIRED. For whatever reason (and I really don't mean to open the can of worms about who volunteers with GS), more parents volunteer with Boy Scouts than with Girl Scouts, at least around here.


Plus, the BS summer camp structure is by troop; the GS structure is by individual.


I will encourage the girls to schedule some summer activities, but I don't want regular meetings. I often wish the boys would cut back on their regular meetings in the summer.


My two cents' worth.


--Kim near Seattle

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  • 5 weeks later...

I just found out too that the Cub pack takes the summer off as well.


I don't know.. as a Brownie leader who decided to go ahead and meet throughout the summer, I definitely see a decline in attendance. I think I will meet through July and then take August off. I am going to need that break. Since I am the leader, I am there at every single meeting, even if only ONE other girl or parent shows up. I am there because I made the schedule and I plan to stick to it.


It really does make me angry though that I asked all my parents before we made the summer schedule, who wanted to meet weekly throughout the summer and who didn't. Seems like everyone either said YAY or were indifferent. So I planned all the meetings, bought all the supplies for the meetings - and now we are having minimal participation.


Now I get why folks take the summer off! lol

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BTW I am with GoldWinger on this, in that if even HALF the troop show up for meetings and are getting something out of the program, I say continuing to have those meetings is a good thing.

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  • 3 months later...

So, this isn't just my area.


My daughter has been looking forward to joining scouts since she could talk because her brothers have been scouts for years. I've read enough here and a couple other places to know that Girl Scouts and Cub/Boy Scouts are radically different, but that's ok because although my daughter has been involved with camping and other outdoorsy stuff since birth, she is very much a girlie-girl. What little I know of girl scouting today, and can remember from my time in scouts waaaaaay back when, it's just up her alley.


Her: Mom, when can I be a girl scout?

Me: When you are 5.

*a few months later*

Her: Mom, I'm 5 now, can I be a girl scout?

Me: You have to start kindergarten. We'll talk to the Girl Scout leaders when they have their table set up at the school open house, next to Daddy with his Cub Scout table.

*a few months later*

Her: School's started. Daddy put my name first on the Girl Scout list at the open house. Am I a Girl Scout now?


Unfortunately, my answer is STILL that she has to wait. They have recruited a leader to start a troop with 5 girls from my daughter's school, but the leader has to be trained and the meeting place/time set. But one of the potential meeting times coincides with her brother's den meetings, which Mom and Dad are both leaders of two different dens. Sooooo, she may end up in the troop down the road, which already has a leader and meeting place/time established, but they won't be starting up meetings until sometime in October.


Although Cub Scouts went all summer, they kicked into high gear a month ago. Dance classes started 2-3 weeks ago. Cheerleading started practices 6 weeks ago. Soccer practices started 2 weeks ago, so did T-Ball. Daisies won't get going for another 2-4 weeks yet. They may have had 5 girls put their name down as interested at that open house, but I don't see them keeping them interested. I've already made a number of commitments that will allow less and less time for Girl Scouts and I've been trying to hold back because I know it's coming. In fact, the only reason I know what the status is of the new troop is because I've made an nuisance of myself.

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I'm kind of glad to hear this because it confirms my own experiences, but sad to hear it because it's obviously not a good way to run an organization.


My daughter is turning 5 next summer, and I want to be able to start or help start a Daisy troop in the fall. But I looked at the training schedule and saw that the workshops generally don't start until late September or October, an dI don't want the girls to have to wait.


I contacted my local council, saying I'd like to register and take training in the spring so I can be ready next fall, but have gotten no reply. That was a month ago. (I know they're busy with getting stuff ready for this year, but still.) I recently learned that they are no longer scheduling regular training sessions, and have switched to an "as-needed" training schedule on a unit-by-unit basis, and dropped the "homestudy" option.


Seems like they're going backwards when all the other competing organizations are moving foward full speed.

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I'm actually a 4th year Cub Scout leader, but here's my opinion anyway...


"We are TIRED"--This is absolutely the reason why our Cub Scout pack slows down significantly over the summer. You need to avoid parent & leader burnout. Our Cub pack holds no pack meetings or den meetings over the summer. We only have two committee meetings from May-August - one mid-summer to set the budget and schedule for the next year, and one in August to plan for the first pack meeting. We have day camp in the summer, and have optional participation in a few parades, etc, but most of the pack takes it easy for the summer, including the leaders. I take our Webelos camping once a month during the summer, but that's more fun than anything else.


In short, as committee chair, I'd rather let most of the den leaders have an easy summer with few scout responsibilities knowing that they will come back in the fall with more energy and enthusiasm.



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Some reasons behind your problems with Daisy Troops and training -


The GSUSA Scout year runs from Oct 1st to Sept 30. So, for those brand new Daisy Scouts, they technically are not officially registered Scouts until October 1st.


Just like with a Tiger Den, getting a new parent to step up as a Leader as soon as (or before) they have filled out a registration form for their daughter can be VERY iffy.


Unlike BSA, which will let an untrained leader start running the den right off the bat, many GSUSA councils require the leader take training before the Troop can meet.


Here is where the real sticky part is.


GSUSA is undergoing a massive reshuffling. Councils are being combined, Troop levels are being rearranged, and programs are being changed. Even though the new programing has started to be offered, not every council (or even very many) have any training it place for it. I'm not sure if GSUSA even has any available yet. Councils do not want new leaders to take "old" training because it will not gel with the new program levels or the new level programing.


As a result, in many cases you get a Catch 22 situation. You have to have training to start meeting as a den, but you can't take current training because it is outdated, new training is not out yet, so you will have to start meeting before you can take the training, BUT you can not meet before you take the training.


Many councils are doing an equivalent of Fast Start, just to get the leaders the basics, until the "real" training comes down the pipe.


For those waiting to start Daisies, I would call your Council and make noise. Remember the squeaky wheel and good luck.

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The same reason BSA was telling everyone all about the wonderful new Cub Leader Specific Training, then did not actually release it until almost a year later, and still messed it up!


That, combined with so much being in a state of flux, gives you a pretty good mess to deal with.


Contacting your council and asking what the heck they are up to is the best way to start.

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