By: Carleen Lattin, Troop Leader and National Council Delegate in Elmira
As many of you know, last week I attended the Girl Scout Convention in Salt Lake City. Many of my groups and news feeds are still buzzing with topics that will continue well past the ending of the convention. Some of them are the development of the outdoor badges journey/program, advocacy and continuing to swap and share with new friends made at the convention.
Feelings like this and experience is what makes Girl Scouts unique. With the launching of the Girl Scouts Convention app, it allowed you to customize your schedule, post updates and pictures and connect after everyone has returned home. It is a great feeling of girl power and the power of lifting your voice to make your opinion and ideas heard.
Many people often compare Girl Scouts and Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts and have been asked why families aren’t as heavily involved in Girl Scouts as they are in Cub Scouts/Boy Scouts. As anyone knows girls and boys are wired different for sure. Many factors shape the reason for the differences in the way troops may run.
In my case personally, we don’t discourage families completely. Some activities, such as ceremonies, picnics, etc. can be family involved. If a mom wants to be involved, I highly encourage her to register to volunteer to help the troop. Otherwise, it is not necessary to have the whole family there. There are numerous reasons, including other family members may not be interested in what the girls are doing. Other reasons are simply may not be safe or are enough resources for everyone.
Remember that our founder, Juliette Gordon Low, started our organization in a team where women had few rights and were often expected to serve their husbands and have children as they got older. She was truly a pioneer in her time, one of a kind and definitely a trailblazer for girls and women today. Girls now need to have that progression of slowly gaining confidence to do things without mom and make her own choices, within reason. Of course, I would expect parents to want to accompany their daughters at the Daisy or Brownie level, for example.
I still remember a girl in my troop, who is now in 8th grade. She started off in 2nd grade, very shy, clinging to mom and wouldn’t go anywhere without her. But I remember the time when mom couldn’t come on an overnight trip and she said to her, “That’s ok mom. I’ll be alright.” What a moment! Sure, she had her cell phone and called her to check in but in my mind, I’m thinking “Wow…” This is what Girl Scouts does to girls. Gives them courage and confidence to come out of their shells, make choices. With these choices, made confidently, they make the world a better place.
Realistically, would I want my family to go everywhere with me through high school, college? I love my family, but girls like to spend time with their friends, boyfriends, be silly and just be girls! The best thing a parent can do is to trust their daughters to allow them to go places without them and to trust them to make the right choices. On the same token, know who they are with and that person’s contact information and make sure that their daughter and the contact person has your contact information.
Wow, what a little bit of girl power can do!