Girl Scouts for 5Yo?

Updated on May 28, 2014
V.G. asks from Birmingham, AL
11 answers

Other than cookies, I have no knowledge about girl scouts. Can yall give me some pros/cons about joining? My daughter is 5 and needs something to be involved in. She is very intelligent, but also ADHD/ODD. She really only thrives when she is challenged in a structured environment. We tried karate, but that didn't work since the kids had no incentive to earn belts (they just handed them out after each class regardless of performance).
Anything I need to consider before joining? Is she too young?

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answers from Reading on

Wow, this is a tough one! I'm going to be blunt. I have to say, having been a leader for 7 years. We are not professionals. We are moms with minimal training. Some troops are super organized, some are really chaotic. It's completely going to depend on the patience and experience of the leaders. I can honestly say although a child with ADHD doesn't worry me, I would have a difficult time with ODD. If I have to devote all my attention to one girl for behavior issues, the rest of the troop suffers. At the daisy level it's a 5:1 ratio, and I think there have to be two leaders. But still, that's a lot to ask of moms who are just trying to help out. If you are able to guide them on what to expect and how to help her, great. If her level of ODD will be disruptive, though, you may need to reconsider this plan.

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answers from Sacramento on

Our daughter joined Daisy Scouts at five. I think it's a super organization, encouraging girls to be good leaders (a lot of focus on developing leadership skills), think about their communities and be kind in general.

The ADHD/ODD may be a challenge, though (speaking as the mom of a son with these conditions), unless she's on medication and being treated for the conditions. There is a lot of sitting quietly involved in the troop meetings while the leader talks. Our son could in no way have handled that before medication, although on it he could.

In scouts, you do earn new patches regularly. The right troop will have fun activities and field trips to keep her engaged in the program. However, I think it really comes down to whether your daughter's conditions are treated or untreated as to whether she could handle the meetings.

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answers from Dallas on

Many girls join Daisy Scouts at age 5 in Kindergarten. All of the leaders are adult volunteers - usually the mothers of some of the girls in the troop. Each troop has a little different flavor depending on the leadership and the girl participants. There is usually a structure to the meeting. In Daisy Scouts, most of the badges are earned as a group, but I believe you could also work on other badges with your daughter that the troop is not planning to do as a group. Are you willing to help with the troop on a regular basis and make sure that your daughter is behaving so that her behavior does not disturb the rest of the group? I am asking as a former scout leader who served for nine years. One of my most frustrating year was the year we had one child with ADHD and a bad case of ODD. This child was dropped off by her mother and we (2 adult leaders) could not control her to keep her from hurting the other girls. She had very unpredictable behavior. Sometimes she would behave fine. Or she might walk by a table of girls that were working and pull a chair out from under them. She might become angry and dump over a project that she was working on with the other girls. We told her mother the only way she could stay in the troop was if the mother agreed to be there at every meeting and every field trip. That worked for about 3 meetings. Girl Scout leaders do not receive training (or did not receive training) on how to manage a child with serious behavior problems. I am not saying this is how your child behaves, but be ready to volunteer if you want your child involved. You might check with your local Scout council and see if they have any troops with leaders with the training to help your child.

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answers from Indianapolis on

She's not too young. She will be a Daisy. My daughter is moving to Brownies next year but loves being a Daisy. The Daisy leader should have programs set up for the girls to earn badges. They will sell cookies too. You should let her try it. She can always quit if it's not for her. I would not buy the tunic or sash unless she plans to stay in. Good luck!!

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answers from Washington DC on

Like Veruca who posted below, I have been a leader for seven years. Girl Scouts is very inclusive and open to all, please know that. But it also is highly flexible, which means that -- especially at the younger levels like Daisies and Brownies -- the leaders might run a very structured troop or they might run a looser, more casual troop. Either style is fine; GS is about flexibility; some troops do tons of formal badge work, others don't, and some camp tons while others don't, and there's MUCH more than cookies involved.

But if your child truly needs firm structure that's the same every time, and you are seeking that in a Daisy troop, please take time to talk extensively to the leader before you ever have your child at a meeting, and if you and the leader try having her in the troop, be certain you are present for the meetings and are willing to pull your child aside for a break, if that is needed at any point. Leaders DO get training -- some posts seem to indicated that there's almost no training for leaders, but there is -- BUT that training does not specificially cover working with kids who have ODD or other diagnosed conditions, and as Veruca noted, if one child is absorbing all of the leader's attention and energy due to defiance etc. -- the entire troop is affected.

I would recommend you first approach the Girl Scout Council that covers your geographic area (go on the national web site at to find your council) and then ask the council to put you in touch with your "service unit" that covers troops in your immediate neighborhoods and schools. A local leader also should be able to tell you how to contact her service unit leader. The service unit leader might know if there is a troop locally where the leader has experience with ADHD/ODD etc. and that's a way to begin.

Girl Scouting is amazing and my daughter has loved it and plans to keep doing it, and I love being a leader. It's great and welcoming for all girls, whatever their issues or backgrounds or interests. But if your child acts out when things go outside a set structure, you might want to consider very carefully and just give this a trial. The leader would need to know exactly what to expect and you would need to be present. And be aware that at many a meeting, things may change at the last second -- "We were going to do badge X today but the weather's great for once, so we're going to start with games outside instead" or "Sally's out sick today, so Susie, you'll need to work with Jenny on this artwork instead of Sally like you planned." If things like that would throw your daughter off and make her act out, it may not work for her.

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answers from Cleveland on

Pros are that it is a very low cost activity compared to other sports or activities, It can feel like more because it isn't just a one fee thing, it's $12 in our area, to join, then what ever it is for the uniform under $20 I want to say 8, and the place might have dues for craft supplies again for us $10 per year or a fee for an activity/field trip we found a lot of free or low cost ones. but still $50 for a year of free babysitting!!

Cons- girls scouts is not structured where it will provide the routine it sounds like your child needs. if she needs to know what exactly is happing next and can't handle going with the flow it might be tough.

Our troop had a typical routine
come in a do a coloring art type activity as everyone trickles in
say the promise and pledge the flag
discuss what the adults had planned based off what the girls said they wanted to do last time,
do an activity like a science experiment, a cooking thing,a craft for a nursing home etc.
then usually a game or song
then a closing to talk about what to do next time or down the road.
but we get side tracked ALOT by responding to what the kids like or don't like.

She can earn badges for the activities each one usually has 3 things she has to do.
if they do a Journey which is several badges around a theme there may be a lot of listening to readings and discussions of the broader topic. if you pm me I can show you some of the ones available and ones we have done.

because there is so much individuality between leaders and troops, you may find some are strict about earning the badges and some just hand them out.

Best thing to do is Google Girl scouts. find one in your area, ( call your local school or church or something and ask around if you can't google it) and ask if you can just have your dd try one meeting with you in attendance to see if it will fit.

if you volunteer to be a leader you can control ALL of it and decide how you want to handle the badges and the meetings. It could be just the perfect fit for your dd and be fun for some other girls too!

If this isn't sounding good to you, then I would suggest talking to her doctor/therapist/guidance counselor at the school and asking for suggestions on local activities that would be a good fit for someone with her challenges. We have friends whose son really found his niche w ROTC in Highschool. I know there are summer camp programs in our areas for kids with special needs that work on skills for their particular issue. the drs might know of them.

Good luck, I think scouting is great, but it might not be right for all so do your research and do a trial run.

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answers from Rochester on

Daisy Scouts starts in kindergarten. The two years as a Daisy focus on learning the Girl Scout law (honest, fair, friendly, helpful , etc) and the promise. The badges they earn are pretty simple to earn, but it us up to the leader how much more they want to do. A friend of mine has a daughter whose troop marched in parades, picked up garbage, did trips to the zoo, etc. My daughter's troop met twice a month and basically just did the badges and sold cookies (which you do not have to do). Her leader has been super unorganized, hasn't kept promises, and let the girls run the show and then got upset with them when she started to lose control. I was overall very disappointed with how her troop was run. Enough so that we might start our own troop. It scares me a little though because I've known troop leaders who quit because there were too many discipline problems that sucked the fun out of it.

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answers from Lakeland on

She can join Girl Scouts she will be in a Daisy troop at that age. I would check out the Girl Scouts website and contact a troop near you. It is usually one or two of the moms that are troop leaders and the other moms can also volunteer to help.

I will tell you that all troops are different. My daughter is currently a GS and her troop leader is very unorganized. My daughter finds this frustrating and annoying but we are considering another troop near us.

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answers from Oklahoma City on

In kindergarten they send home many fliers about sports, organizations, and community activities the kids can do.

She could be playing T-Ball or parent pitch softball.

Soccer, gymnastics, dance, basketball, and more.

You even have a BMX track in your area. As soon as a child can ride a 2 wheel bike they can ride the track and compete. Some kids start at age 3. It's a wholesome family environment and lots of fun for adults and kids. Anyone can ride BMX. The Oak Mountain Track is only a few minutes from Birmingham.

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answers from Boston on

It is fun but mostly social, service and crafts, if that helps.

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answers from New York on

Gym classes where she can expend some of her energy. I would not put her in Daisies. She needs to be moving!!!

1 mom found this helpful
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