Talk to Me About the Girl Scouts

Updated on June 28, 2013
J.G. asks from Chicago, IL
12 answers

I was a Girl Scout and I'm trying to figure out if I want my daughter to have the same experience. I was wondering what people's experiences have been? I want to know the pros, the cons, etc.

Since I am homeschooling, I was thinking of starting my own troop.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

Girl Scouts is completely colored by the troop leader and is a complete different experience from troop to troop.

If you are the troop leader than it will be what you make of it.

5 moms found this helpful

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answers from Baton Rouge on

My daughter was in it for one year n elementary school, and all they did was cutesy, craftsy little art projects from the manual for badges, and she was bored silly.
When she got to middle school her best friend's mom was a troop leader and she joined her Junior troop. They didn't follow the manual, didn't do uniforms, and didn't care about no stinking badges. They made their own agenda, which consisted mainly of service projects and outdoor activities. She loved it.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I had a really great experience. I had an amazing troop leader. We did many crafts, things for the community, camp-outs, field trips, learning, etc. The parents were really involved and helped whenever needed. She had to quit being a leader due to a divorce and moving. I went to the same group many of the other girls went to. I went to two meetings and hated it. There was no organization, the leader had nothing for us to do, they didn't do ANY community or charity work. The parents couldn't have cared less.

I think experiences in girl scouts will be dictated by the leader and parents. I would cation you to make sure you know what you're getting into with a troop. It will cost you some of your own money, and you will be managing girls. I think when our leader left, she was just about ready to leave. We all got along for the most part, but there were some big personality conflicts and hurt feelings. There were also two parents specifically, who were really bossy and rude.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Washington DC on

As a Girl Scout leader for six years now, I would say go for it.

Please be sure that you connect with other leaders, your Council (GS for your area) and your Service Unit (the organization of troop leaders in your immediate area). These are fantastic resources for you -- so you do not ever have to "go it alone." If you choose not to be a leader -- and it can be beneficial for some girls to have leaders who are not their moms, so that the girls have exposure to different adults -- that is fine too; your GS council can help you find a troop (go to for the national site and find info there).

Some of the materials can baffle new leaders a bit (and can baffle leaders who've been around a while too!) so do not hesitate to ask your service unit or council for help, whether you are a troop leader or a parent.

Someone posted about a troop that did nothing but cutesy crafts and her kid hated it -- that sounds like a very young troop, possibly. A troop can do as much or as little as the leaders and girls want. I have known of troops that did almost nothing but camp which turned off some girls; troops that did nothing but craft, which also turned off some girls; you need a variety of activities and each year the girls, not the leaders, should be doing more to run the meetings and decide on activities.

The best thing you can do is to talk with leaders right there where you live!

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Detroit on

My daughter loves it. It teaches leadership, responsibility, acceptance and friendship among many. My other daughter is also a girl scout but she only goes occasionally. She is younger and also has autism. This group is great with her. This summer they are camping with the troop and other scouts.

As far as cons is a room full of girls so be prepared for that. Maybe some parents can be a problem. This has not been in ours as Scouts was done in school immediately after dismissal so almost no parents aside from the the troop leaders.

If your home schooling you can also piggy back on a troop that it's your local school.

As long as your well organized and set a plan I think you should be ok.

5 moms found this helpful


answers from Austin on

I was a scout, and my best friend is a girl I met as a Brownie. I still keep up with several of the other girls, too.

My daughter just finished Daisies, and has bridged to Brownies. I got handed the troop leadership, and I am so glad I did! It has been fun to be the leader, but as Bug pointed out, you will be spending some of your own money. Whether it's because you've forgotten the troop's debit card, or because the troop doesn't have the funds for a project, or whatever, be prepared. Craft store coupons have been lifesavers.

I am the sort of mom who would be involved in my daughter's troop, regardless of whether I am the leader, and I am very much enjoying it. From my perspective, I get to meet other kids her age. I know who she's spending time with. We talk about our activities, but we also talk about our families and our schools; I know what music they like, and what they like to do for fun. We have also done things that weren't even on my radar to try, but we did them because scouts were doing it. And I am constantly amazed by the girls - invariably, team projects and discussions have been so much more exciting for them than individual efforts. I can't wait to see what they'll do with the Brownie opportunities!

But, I admit, it hasn't all been roses. There is always conflict. Sometimes, personalities just don't mesh. The hardest thing has been losing girls that we genuinely liked, but for one reason or another, the moms didn't connect. And yes: the girls don't always mesh, either. We do a lot of conflict resolution.

And, of course, there's cookies. Cookies are serious business. The organization and effort that goes into cookies - it's really mind boggling. It is also where a huge chunk of your troop funds will come from, so you will find yourself taking it seriously, too.

Girl Scouts of America is subdivided into smaller organizational groups, with troops being the smallest (except for Juliettes - independent girls with no troop affiliation). Above troops are Service Units - it is the Service Unit that you will deal with most, and they will provide someone to help you set up and manage your troop (not day-to-day managing, but paperwork and general advice). Contact your Service Unit and see what advice they have. The Service Unit is made up entirely of other troop leaders, so they can give you a better idea of the situation in your area.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from Dover on

I was not able to join GS when I would growing up but my daughter just finished her first (partial) year of Daisies. I say partial because although we signed up in Sept, it took until early Dec to get assigned to a troop.

She has loved her experience and except of minor issues I see (lack of planning on the Daisy leader's part and some lack of communication), it has been great.

Word of advice if you do start your own troop...please remember that not everyone is homeschooling so having a meeting at before 5:30 or possibly later (M-F) would make it hard for parents to get their kids to the meeting on time. You have to give them time to get off work, pick up the kids, and get to the meeting. **Added**if you do it right after school be prepared not to have much parental participation or help.

4 moms found this helpful


answers from San Francisco on

As Leigh R said, contact your local council office and find out who your service unit leaders are. It is crucial to go to the monthly leader meetings, you stay connected and learn SO much this way, especially since you're not affiliated with a school. They also have all the info for local events like camporees, songfests, science overnights, tech events, father daughter dances/picnics, all kinds of things you can sign up for.
I have led two troops and served in our service unit as secretary and event coordinator for many years. Your personal experience REALLY depends on your particular group of girls and parents, and fellow leaders. My older daughter's troop was always tough, lots of drama between the girls, and the parents weren't super helpful. They were also VERY flaky (so frustrating!) My younger daughter's troop was better, the girls meshed well and the parents were AMAZING. I always had lots of help and support, and it was a more focused and dedicated group of both girls and moms.
It's important to establish very clearly, in the beginning, what you want and expect. As a leader I felt community service was a top priority, and most of my parents agreed, but we also did arts and crafts, cooking, sports, skill building, songs and games and even some camping. We did overnights at the zoo, aquarium and on a WW2 aircraft carrier. Our service projects (both fundraising and hands on) benefited the food bank, the animal shelter, the church where will held our meetings, the senior center, local homeless organizations and more.
My troops were together from K through 7th grade and I truly felt like it was time well spent. We may have gone on longer but by 8th grade the kids around here have very busy lives, even just with school, homework and one sport or activity, extras (like scouts) are hard to squeeze in.
Good luck & PM me if you have any more/specific questions!

3 moms found this helpful


answers from Springfield on

I loved Girls Scouts!!! Community service projects, volunteering, camping, outdoorsy things! Loved it!

You could start a troop with other homeschool girls if there are a lot in your daughter's age range.

I just wanted to make a comment on what Boss Fan said about the timing of meetings. She brings up a good point, but our troops (until middle school) met after school. School was done at 2:55, and the troop usually met at 3:00 or 3:15 in a room in the school or the parish center. I did go to a Catholic School, but there are ways to meet right after school. Maybe you meet at the school or have the parents ask that the girls ride the school bus to your house or at a church (churches are often very supportive of scouting and will allow troops to use a room) across the street.

It's really a great organization!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Des Moines on

I think it depends on how many other activities your kid is already involved in. One more thing could put you over the edge. My dd has to be involved in very physically active sports, etc. She wasn't interested in Girl Scouts. My niece was the same way...she quit shortly after joining.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Minneapolis on

We tried it and my daughter (and I) didn't like it. The leader was very "hung-ho", serious GS leader, and there was an event pretty much every week. It seemed like they needed money for everything, and the events seemed too much like school, and not enough fun.

But then, I don't care for things with too much protocol or ritual, and my daughter is the same.

I did 4-H as a kid and enjoyed that.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Cleveland on

i have so much to share with you. i'll try to come back and add more but if i don't, pm me in 2 weeks and i'll fillyou in.

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