Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts

Updated on June 14, 2011
T.K. asks from Grand Prairie, TX
23 answers

Is your child a scout? I'm considering it and wondering about the cost vs value. My ex was an Eagle scout and Kwahadi Indian dancer. He was very involved and it was crazy expensive for him. He got a lot out of it. Loved it really. I was a girl scout for a few years and got absolutely nothing out of it. We didn't do all the camping and adventuous stuff the boys did. WE sat around and talked about our self esteem and sold cookies. Now I have a 5 yr old boy and 4 yr old girl. I'm wondering if this is something I want to get involved in. If the costs get out of control, I will have to pull out and I don't want to start something if I know I wont be able to see it through. I also dont want to put my son in something he's going to love, but put my daughter into the cookie schilling business. Sorry if I've offended any den moms. I'm sure there are great Girl Scout troops out there. My experience was extremly lame so that's all I know, thus, the reason for my question. Are you in it? Is it affordable? Is it worth it for both boys AND for girls?

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So What Happened?

So, I'm seeing dues and den fees $12. But what do you pay for all those camping trips and adventures? Is that going to be one of those - oh mom, I need $200 by Friday type deals? I know there is a lot of equipment involved - uniforms, those green socks, patches, a tent,etc. Is that something I am going to continually be at the Scout store buying? What is the real cost of an involved group? I don't expect to skate by for free and understand cookie sales pay for a lot of what the girls do. What pays for what the boys do? Christmas trees and popcorn? Or bank of mom and dad? I'm concerned because we also do YMCA sports and I don't want to overload myself. I just want them to have that camraderie and those adventures. Another quick addendum to my question, did you run into any racism? I was recently at a scout gathering , 600 scouts, and only 2 were black. I am not calling them racist by any means. I think the Scouts is a good organization. I'm just fact gathering. Again, that's why I'm asking for your experiences. My kids are mixed, so, I don't want to send them where they aren't welcome. For the record, the Boy Scouts and those involved with Boy Scouts that I have met and have been some of the most wonderful people. I regret that my own experiance with Girl Scouts wasn't a good one.

Featured Answers



answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter was a girl scout and we did lots of camping and lots of community service work - collecting food for the food bank, roadside cleanups, planting sea grass, to name a few activities. We sold cookies, but we didn't work all that hard at it, since the troop gets such a small portion of the proceeds. We had other fundraisers, such as car washes for the things we wanted to do. We didn't worry about badges or uniforms. It depends on what the leaders and the kids wnat to get out of it.

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answers from Minneapolis on

We just signed my son up for Cub Scouts. He is 7 years old. So we haven't really gone to any meetings. I paid $33 since we joined late, otherwise it's $50/year. Also there are uniforms, which the Den leader said can be around $45 but get a bigger shirt and it should fit for a while. I think they also do a yearly fundraiser and get some donations from supporters that help with Troop costs.

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answers from Washington DC on

I can only speak to Girl Scouts (I'm a leader). Please don't let your experience -- I assume it was quite a while back, right? -- affect your thoughts on GS today.

Please visit some troops and talk to some leaders. What a troop does depends a GREAT deal on how active the leaders want to be and what the girls themselves want to do. I know of parents who were peeved because "my kid's troop only does crafts, crafts, crafts and never camps" and other parents who were upset that "my kid's troop only camps and camps and never does a craft." (Nope, neither was about our troop.) You have to ask around and yes, you CAN shop for a troop and do not "have" to put your child in a troop just because it's the one that meets at her school. Be aware that your daughter is only 4 and not even old enough for Daisies yet -- the earliest level of GS, for K and 1st grade. So you have time to come back to this and think it over. I definitely encourage you to check out different troops and ask the leaders to tell you what they did with girls the previous year (at Daisy level it will all be very simple; also your child does not have to start at Daisy to be a scout later on, you can begin at any age).

As for cookie sales, you can opt out of those and your child does not have to sell even a single cookie; however, in a well-run troop the leader should (a) make cookie sales into a teaching opportunity so girls learn about budgeting and managing money, which are valuable skills, and (b) have the girls themselves decide what they want to do with the money they earn. Older troops have more "girl empowerment" to do this and know more what they want. But cookie sales are not supposed to be about raising funds that just go into the bank and don't benefit the girls who raised them.

ADDING after seeing your "what happened" -- You should never be told "I need $200 for a field trip." EVER. That would be a badly run troop. Girls earn the money and learn to spend on their troop budget. And nobody really wears the green socks anymore! Our troop budget even covers our girls' badges and awards each year. A troop must live within its budget!

Again, don't sweat it all right now; you have plenty of time. But I suggest you go to the web site for information on the national program and definitely talk to local leaders and your local Girl Scout Council (look on to find your area's council). I'm sorry your own experience was "extremely lame" but the organization today is all about preparing girls of all ages to be leaders, and girls who stick with scouting can learn so much and do so much if they are motivated.

Regarding affordability-- girls who are in need can actually get their basics (registration fee of a mere $10 to $12, any handbooks etc.) paid for by GS. The fees are very low. There is a national registration fee and usually a troop fee once at the start of the GS year (ours is about $12 on top of the registration $12) and that's it. A troop might or might not have dues of an amount the leaders and girls set, for us it's $1.00 per meeting and it all goes back into paying for field trips or other troop expenses. I would never call it "crazy expensive" at all. Cookie sales do bring in funds that the girls decide how to spend on projects, etc., and field trips, both for badge work and purely for fun.

Finally, if you like the idea of GS after you learn more, consider being a troop leader. It's as much or as little work as you want it to be, and it's a great way to ensure your daughter gets a GS experience that beats yours.

I want to address one thing another poster said: I'm sorry her experience with the required training discouraged her. GS does require leaders, and parent vounteers who want to help with certain specific things (but not everything!) to do certain training. (First aid and camping certification are the most common other than the required classes for troop leaders.). This is so the GS experience is always safe, legal and consistent. But now, all the basic courses to be a leader can be done online, so that means less time away from your own family. First aid/CPR does require a few hours iin a class every couple of years but that's worth it, right? And camping certification takes time, but it is so that when a GS troop camps, the girls have a certain minimum level of safety. Knowing how to build a fire for family camping isn't necessarily the same as knowing how, when and where to build (or not build) a fire in a GS campsite, where thousands of other troops are going to use the same area and need it to be dealt with and left a certain way. That's my two cents' worth as someone who has done the training. I felt it pointed out a lot of things I would have done differently, and less safely, without the training.

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answers from Los Angeles on

All of my sons were boy scouts. All of my sons made eagle scout.

I can't say anything about girl scouts because I have very little experience with it and what I did was negative.

When my oldest son became 8 or there abouts I got to thinking what I wanted to teach him and the rest of my kids before they got to be adults and on their own. I was a boy scout and made it to first class before we moved to Germany. (My dad was USAF.)

My church asked me to help with the cub scouts. Then they made me a Cubmaster. I got a copy of the boy scout manual. I read it all the way through. What it taught me was that the boy scout program had almost all the things I wanted to have my kids learn before they became adults. First Aid, including CPR, how to save money and how to evaluate how you spend your money, how to camp, start a fire safely, how to cook, how to cook over a camp fire, how to tie knots, patriotism, respect for the flag and the people that serve. Service to others, both strangers and friends. All kinds of stuff.

I would recommend the boy scout program. They learn so much. Only 2 % of boys become eagle scouts. A large percentage of boy scouts learn about what they will do for their vocation from things they learned in scouting. (Steven Speilberg earned the Cinematography Merit Badge and was an Eagle Scout.)

Good Luck to you and yours.

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answers from Spokane on

My 7 y/o is in boy scouts and absolutely loves it! He had issues with making friends so we decided to let him join and I am so glad we did. Most of his den are in his grade and in his same school. It's a lot of dedication and work on both the child and the parent but definitely worth it. We've camped, hiked, fished, sledded, done garage sales, sold popcorn, picked up litter, blue and gold banquets, derby, gone to bbq's, made friends, and my list could go on! BUT you get out of it what you put into it. We have a very active pack and it seems like every weekend we have a cub scout event. It's most difficult during the times when my son is also in a sport.
And, yes, it is affordable. We have a yearly fee and then den dues. There is a lot of "contributing" but it's not always money.

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answers from Chicago on

I have boy/girl twins and they are in Cub Scouts and Daisies. They just completed 1st grade. They both love it. The girl scouts was not very expensive at all, we paid the annual fee and bought the Daisy tunic. They have done a lot of community service projects and fun activities. They sold cookies but my daughter only sold to our family and it was not a big deal. You were not required to participate in the cookies sales but the proceeds help the troop with a lot of their activities. As a parent I had to volunteer at one meeting during the school year. They met twice a month.

The cub scouts cost $50 to $100 for the year to join. If you sell popcorn you don't have to pay as much for the membership depending on how much you sell. We didn't sell this year. The uniform ended up costing about $60 to $70. That was the belt, shirt, neckerchief and neckerchief holder, handbook and baseball cap. The patches were provided by the pack. The cub scouts require a lot more parental involvement. As a tiger cub (1st grade), a parent has to attend all the meetings with the child. We had 2 den meetings a month, a monthly pack meeting and a monthly "go see it" (field trip). Den dues are up to the den. We don't have dues at ours, we just pay the admission fee ourselves if we go somewhere that costs money. My son is in day camp this week and it was $135. My husband is volunteering one day at the camp per their request. We had a campout last month, fishing derby, pinewood derby etc. We also did several community service projects and the pack has monthly hikes. It is much more time consuming than girl scouts but my son loves it and I think it is great for his self esteem. He is not involved in any team sports but does take gymnastics once a week during the school year. There is not much time for other extra curriculiars (in my opinion.) I have not seen any racism and there are minorities in our pack.

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answers from Kansas City on

GS Troop Leader here...

Updated: Uniform...for my Daisies we only enforce the Vest/Tunic rule. Which cost (depending on the troop) out of pocket 15.00...I do know some troops included that in their dues. I also went back and read some of the other answers...GS DOES do background checks on all Leaders/Asst Leaders.

The $12.00 is for the Girls Scouts and the troop does not get this money. I collect it and then pay it to our council, this money is used for many different things. i.e. paper for trainings, council sponsered events, girls who need financial assistance etc. Girls Scouts wants all girls no matter what race, economic backgroud to be involved.

Yes you will also have troop dues, and that depends on the troop and the dynamics for which the group will participate in activites. Last year was our first year, and it was a struggle, we had $30.00 in troop dues, this paid for Daisy petals, pins, and some supplies. The rest of the troop money came from a donation from a local organization (there is a cap on this so one has to be careful) the rest came from our cookie sales. Our troop dues will go up this we have planned more activities and spent our cookie money and they will be bridging at the end of the year.

You will experience out of pocket activities as well. My daughter and only one other girl in our troop wanted to go to Day camp...I paid the $60.00 for day camp...then another $15.00 for myself to attend. So I couldn't use our troop money for this...tThis pays for rental of camp, activities, and food for one overnight. Lunch has to be brought. They really do try to make it reasonable. If I participate in the activity or my other children...that is out of my pocket as well.

Cookie money is for the girls. We had one girl opt out...I did not make her parents pay out of pocket for activities, but it would have been nice...

One girl sold 10 sold 200...I didn't penalize the girl who sold the least. It's about teaching the girls.

My daughter LOVES it...and I will say that if you are worried about whether it's worth it then step up and volunteer your time to be a leader, asst. that is really the only way to ensure you get your monies worth. I will warn you leader, asst leader, and various other trainings can be taxing to a newbie...I delegated...I went to the required Leader trainings and sent other moms to the CPR, camping, cookie mom...etc.

I can't answer the racism question, we had a diverse group last year. Of 8 girls 50% were non white. I can see why though you would ask that question with your info below.

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answers from Medford on

I was a girl scout for most of my childhood. I personally loved it. We did summer camps, 4th of july parade, daycamps, sleepovers, etc...I still sing girl scout camp songs to my kids. :)

My daughter entered Kindergarten last fall and I was so excited to FINALLY get to share that with her. My stepmom (who was a regional director for GS for a long time) agreed to start up a Daisy troop. I am her co-leader. We just had our end of year/ Bridge Ceremony for the girls. They will all be brownies next year. We had a great year. We have 12 girls and they have all become very close friends. We learn about respect and honesty and safety, etc. We also learn about community support and involvement. We sold cookies and we also donated a lot of cookies to Injured Soldiers. We did crafts, celebrated birthdays, and we are getting ready for CAMP! We are all very excited about camp. :)

As for the expense, GS has changed a lot over the years to be inclusive of all girls. Technically all you have to spend is $12.00 per year for the membership and purchase the world GS membership pin, which costs about $1.50. Most girls do at min get the vest which is $15.00, but even that they use for the entire time they are in each level. Patches are paid for by the troop. and with our troop each parent volunteers Craft/Snack for each meeting. This year, I took snack once and did the craft once, which I got the supplies from the dollar store. Camps can be a little spendy, but there are also scholarships and financial aid for those.

I don't know anything about boy scouts though...

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answers from Omaha on

I'm a lifetime member of GSUSA and obviously a firm supporter. But in all honesty, you get out of it what you put into it. Some councils are better than others, some leaders are better than others, parental support can make a huge difference as well. Troop dues tend to be higher in more active troops or troops with low cookie sales.

I grew up with my mom as the co-leader of my troop and we were very active--approx 25 girls in the troop. Summer camp (Camp Green Hill in Corpus/Mathis; Casa Mara; etc.), weekend troop trips to Houston (at the time we lived in Victoria), entering local fairs, canoeing, crafts, badge workshops, etc. When we moved to Houston my mom again became a co-leader and we lucked out with another active troop--including working on the Gold Award.

Ask around and see if your friends know of a troop leader in the area that is very active/good reputation then see if you can join that troop. Otherwise, maybe volunteer to be the leader?

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answers from Appleton on

I never put my kids in scouting, they range from 36-20. I had the same experience as you did with Girl Scouts so I didn't see the benefit. I also saw a night time news report when my youngest was in first or second grade that Boy and Girl Scouts were the organization dealing with large numbers of children that did NOT do background checks on anyone involved with scouting. The reporter went so far as to use the idenity of a convicted child molester and volunteer for the Boy Scouts. Not only did they not check him out but within a few hours had him taking little boys, without the parents, into a room to try on uniforms. He had a hidden camera and documented the whole thing. The next day he went back as himself and tried to get interviews and they banned him from the property.
I was appalled and from then on I will not do anything to support Boy or Girl Scouts.
Two of my nephews, brothers, the same age as my two oldest were molested by their scout leader. Their Mom is a former school teacher and their father was very involved with their scouting activities.

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answers from Dallas on

Both my sons are scouts, one already an Eagle and the other about to be. It is very worthwhile and I would not call it expensive, especially compared to other camps or things like music lessons.
I would advise you to check out several groups when he is ready to move to boy scouts. I don't like that our troop has had some very pushy women who want to go on the campouts, go shopping for camp food or do other controlling things. This is BOY scouts for heaven's sake!
Also, some of the boys got Eagle at way too early of an age. So you know they did not do the work. That greatly dilutes the meaningfulness of Eagle.
The other think is the child must want to participate. It takes a lot of support from the parents to reach Eagle and they should not also have to conjole.

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answers from Washington DC on

my daughter is in daisys and it has only cost us $12 to sign up. They don't have to wear the uniform. Actually none of them wear it, so we just haven't even bothered buying it. They do a lot of activities. they have a camping trip (we couldn't make it though), they did a father daughter dance, tea parties, they have a summer camp too. My daughter loves it and has the best time there. I have never paid more than $12 this whole year

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answers from Austin on

Much of it does depend on the leader.... how much they are willing to put in to the activities, and such. Someone has to be willing to take the kids on hikes, campouts, and such.

As a former leader, it DOES take time and volunteers to lead the fun activities... they don't just "happen".

We've been involved in both Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts. For the most part, they loved it. We even loved selling the cookies.... it brought in funds for the troop, to help pay for their activities.

One thing I noticed about Girl Scouts is that the leaders were required to take a lot of extra "courses" ..... for example, in order for you to have a campfire at a campout, you had to have a "Certified Fire Starter" (another special course) at the campout. This was the thing that was discouraging.... to be a leader, you needed to take all these extra courses, and most of them were an hour away! It was hard to find parents that were willing to help out in that way.

Things may have changed since then.. I don't know. That was what discouraged me, ultimately... all the extra courses took time away from my family. I didn't matter that I was an experienced camper, and knew fire safety, if I didn't have the certificate, I couldn't build a fire. Again, that was just my experience 15 years ago... things may have changed since then.

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answers from Hartford on

Two of my daughters are Girl Scouts. Registration fees are annual and something like $10 or $15. Then you have the troop activity fee which depends on the troop and what their activities are like, how their cookie sales and QSP sales were the year before, so the fee could be something like $25-30. Assuming the troop typically has good cookie and QSP sales and is a medium/large troop then you won't have to pay out much for things like field trips during the year at all.

My daughters' troops each pay for their field trips and crafts and patches/badges/try-its and other materials out of troop funds. Anything extra, like if a family member goes on the field trip with the child, is something you would pay for out of pocket.

But these are things you would discuss at the Parent Meeting with the troop leaders. :-) A well organized troop leader will have a calendar of events planned out before the school year starts that can be tweaked according to weather and have things added or removed based on interest of the girls and parents in the troop.

We have really, really tight finances in our house and Girl Scouts is very affordable. My youngest daughter will be joining a troop for her first grade year so all three will be part of a troop. It's totally worth it, but the troops in our town tend to be very active during meeting, during field trips, in the community, and with each other in school. It's been nothing but a positive experience for us, including my daughter with Autism (especially in regard to her social development and empathy). The girls learn a lot of leadership and community service skills, as well as learning about the worldwide community of Girl Scouting and nature/environmental concerns, outdoor skills, etc.

I was a Girl Scout growing up and it was one of the most positive experiences I ever had. As an adult, I'm a registered Girl Scout again thanks to my daughters and participate in their troops. It's not religion-based, and is accepting to everyone.

EDITED TO ADD: As an organization GS are NOT discriminatory against religion, ethnicity, color, or any of that. And no, you would not have a troop leader hitting you up for $200. They really do try to keep activity costs to a minimum and keep in mind the finances of the parents.

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answers from Tucson on

My daughter was a GS, and I was a troop leader. It was fun and we did alot of things. There is another group called Campfire that is like GS and BS. I was one and had alot of fun with that.

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answers from Washington DC on

My boys were/are Cub Scouts. MY 22 yo did not go through Boy Scouts and wishes he had. My 10 yo is a Webelo and wants to stay in to get his Eagle Scout award. We have already been talking about the process. He loves scouting, my huby is very involved. RIght now he is the Webelo II den leader.
My daughters were both in GS. My 16 yo went as far as Juniors (6th grade) but because I had no help, had vicious mothers of daughters in my troop, I finally quit. I do feel bad for my daughterr, she really wanted to stay on.

My 2nd daughter has a great troop. She has done her silver award. She goes camping at least three times a year. The girls are taking more responsibility for the troop as they move toward seniors. THey are all in 8th grade next year.

THey earn what they spend. If they want to do something the troop has to have the money or they have a car wash or something, or sell more cookies. THis has made my daughter very cost conscious.

We have dues in CS, I think they are $10 a month. We do quite a few outings. So far their hasnt; been any great expense. He's only in 5th next year. Biy Scouts here have fundraisers adn car washes, etc to help with expenses.

In the beginnign they are adult run organizations. By the time the child gets to middle school they should have more of a say in how the money is spent. And how to earn more moeny for other activities they want to do.

THere is an organizaton, the Adventure Scouts. THis is a Coed Scouting organization. There is a chapter in NC where we used to live and they all got their PADI Dive certs while we were there. I am friends with one of the leaders.

Scouting is what you make it out to be. If you dont' like what is going on you can change it by beng a leader and stepping up to the plate. It's a great organization. PLus colleges and the military look very highly on the kids who finish the Eagle adn Gold awards.

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answers from San Francisco on

As you are hearing, all troops are different. And I think it's a little early for your kids. Girls don't start scouts until kindergarten, and boys, first grade (unless that's changed since my son was a scout?)
Anyway, if you decide to explore scouting, just be honest with the leaders up front, find out what their focus is, how much of a commitment they expect and how much cost/fundraising is involved.
I've led two girl scout troops over the past ten years. I've never been big on fundraising or pushing big cookie sales (though we do sell cookies!) We usually collect about $50 per girl at the beginning of the year to cover troop expenses, craft supplies, patches, etc. Though the past two years we haven't collected ANY dues because we have found ourselves with plenty of money in the bank. The girls in my troop (and most that I'm aware of) don't wear a uniform, just a vest or sash which costs around $15.
As far as activities, our focus has been mostly on community service. We've made things for sick children and seniors, served food at "soup kitchens," held a clothing drive for poor families, held a pet food/blanket drive for the animal shelter, and much more. The girls have LOVED helping in a real, concrete way.
They have attended scout sponsored events like sing-a-longs, father daughter dances, skating/bowling parties, camporees and sleepovers at the local zoo and aquarium.
We have had guests give the girls lessons in yoga, tennis, cooking, Irish step dancing and more.
They have traveled to the state capitol, local theater productions and to a few local girl scout camps. They have stayed in youth hostels and in each other's back yards.
They have planned and put on programs for younger Girl Scouts.
Most of the things we have done do not cost much, and no one is ever required to attend any event (at least not in my troop!) The zoo and aquarium overnights were more expensive ($80 per person) but SO worth it!
I do hear my fellow leaders complain that their sons who are currently in Boy Scouts are expected to raise a lot more money per family, but maybe that's just in this area.
Hope this info helps!

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answers from Denver on

My son is 7 and a Cub Scout. He LOVES it! I don't think its too expensive, and definitely worth it if Dad and Son are having fun. There isn't any "surprise-we-need-money-yesterday" type things. All the dues are clearly outlined. Buy the shirt a little big and he can wear it a few years. Our den is pretty relaxed about the boys wearing jeans with the rest of their uniform for regular meetings, and full attire for ceremonies and outings. The only extra costs we have ever encountered was for extra activities for loops, like bowling and ice skating. My guys are going to Magness Camp next week, and they're both really excited.

I would say definetly shop dens/troops before committing. My husband checked out a couple before he chose the one. Our 3 year old already wants to be a Scout, and even named her new kitten Daisy :) your daughter might not want to do it anyway, she might want to do gymnastics or competitive cheer (both super expensive) or some other sport. It seems like something your husband really wants to do. I completely understand, my husband was an Eagle too (best thing about his childhood lol)

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answers from Santa Fe on

Our 7 yr old son does scouts (his dad was an Eagle scout and loved doing it growing up) and he loves it. For us it has cost about $30 a year plus the cost of the uniform (about $35 for a shirt, hat, bandana and bandana clip thing). In the last year he did a week long camp that cost about $35. We did a sleepover at the Exploritoreum museum that cost $30. The camping trips have not cost us anything. There was a bike rodeo and we had to bring a dessert. All the monthly outings have been free. All the weekly meetings have been free. Our son had to do one fundraiser this year selling popcorn. His dad helped him do it. The scout den here has kids of all nationalities/skin colors and not everyone is Christian or even religious at all. I have not met anyone who is racist. I would be shocked if I did. It has been a positive experience so far. I did not do girl scouts growing up so I don't know much about it. I see friends with girls in girl scouts here and they go camping, hiking, and do other outdoorsy stuff. They also do lots of neat volunteer work. It looks like a great organization to me. I assume what they do all depends on the parents running it.

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answers from Norfolk on

Some groups are great!
Others want nothing to do with you if you don't have anyone to sell popcorn or cookies to.
I was a Camp Fire Girl years ago (before boys were allowed to join) and enjoyed it a lot up till I was a teen.

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answers from Dallas on

For Scouts, Cub Scouts was ok, especially at the younger ages....we weren't real invested in it though. Even so my son wanted to continue on to Boy Scouts and absolutely loves it. A lot different form Cub Scouts. We like camping and outdoor activities, so it is right inline with things we enjoy. Not sure if he will make it to Eagle and not pushing him too hard on this, for now though, we enjoy the various opportunities it provides. It is a lot of work to get to Eagle Scout, but even without that there is a lot to do. Much less expensive than if I had playing a club sport.

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answers from Dallas on

Honestly, I've struggled with the same things you've described above. I love what girls can potentially get out of Girl Scouts, so I put her in it in Kindergarten. Our first troop experience was HORRIBLE. The troop leader was terrible and disorganized, the other Moms were very clique-ish, and their daughters were all bossy and mean. NOT a good experience. I was going to pull my daughter out, but I asked Moms on here what I should do, and they told me to try it again, because if I found the right troop, I would have a much better experience. So I found another troop- a new troop that was forming for my daughter's first grade year- and she actually knew several of the girls from school, as well. The troop leader was much better, the Moms were much nicer, and the girls all got along very well together. We had much better experiences and did more things together. All in all, I think it was a positive experience. I am apprehensive about the cookie sales- I think they push these girls WAY too hard to sell those cookies, and they put more emphasis on that than they should, so I almost decided not to do girl scouts again next year, but then I found out that the troop leader was moving out of state. So I thought- if I lead the troop myself, maybe I can ensure that these girls get out of it what they should. So now, I'm taking on the troop, and my husband is troop co-leader. I'm pretty excited about it! After this year, which will be my daughter's 2nd grade year, if I'm still as iffy about scouting as I am now, I will decide not to do it again.

All in all, I think the scouting experience can be a highly individualized one. It depends on so many things- the leadership, the other kids involved, the unit managers- I wish there was more of a standard practice for ALL troops. I also wish they didn't push the cookies so hard, it's quite stressful and annoying. But, you can be as involved in that as you want to be.

Good luck! Either way, I hope you do decide to give it a try. To answer your question about the cost, it's very inexpensive. Registration is $12/year, and most everything else comes out of the troop's funds. We gave $20 per family when my daughter's troop first started up, to get the funds started, but if you join an existing troop you probably won't even have to do that. Some troops require that the girls bring $1 or $2 to every meeting for the troop's funds, but the stipulation is that the girl is supposed to earn that money by doing housework, etc.

Anyway- good luck!!

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answers from Dallas on

My son just started Boy Scouts after being in Cub Scouts for 5 years. He never thoroughly enjoyed Cub Scouts, but is loving Boy Scouts! I think the dues were $90/year and we never camped as a cub scout because e was always doing sports. But, they were never over $10-15 a weekend if you sent your kid with someone else and your family did not go. We only bought the cub scout shirt and book - you really don't need anything else. We were not in a very strict den though so this may vary. He has been on two weekend campouts as a Boy Scout and they were both $20. Right now he is on the Summer camp for an entire week and it was only $125, plus equipment, but he can reuse it. We have a great troop. And, he is mixed as well and there are not many black kids in the troop. I'm not sure why, but I have never ran into him not "fitting-in" and I wouldn't think the other kids feel that way either. Overall, it is not very expensive and takes up a lot of their time. Maybe you could visit a den next Fall as they pretty much take the Summer off.

My daughter is starting first grade next year and wants to do Girls Scouts so I guess we'll give it a try.

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