I almost totally forgot but it is National Girl Scout Day and it is always celebrated on March 12.
Girl Scout Day recognizes and celebrates the Girls Scouts of the USA(GSUSA). This date celebrates the creation of the first Girl Scout group (troop) on March 12, 1912.
Lady Olave Baden-Powell, founded Girl Guides and was the wife of Lord Baden-Powell (who created the Boy Scouts in 1910), she was born on February 22 (1889).
On March 12, 1912 Juliette Gordon Low started the first Girl Scout group in Savannah, Georgia with 18 girls. The Girls Scouts became a national organization, and was chartered by the U.S. Congress on March 16, 1950. Today, there are millions of girls currently involved with Girl Scouts. Both Girl Scouts of the past are still involved with scouting and continue to be involved as adults. Heck, even a few dads like myself have been sucked into Girl Scouts!
Currently in the Seattle/Puget Sound Area it is Girl Scout cookie time. In our household Thin Mints are the most popular. The annual Girls Scout cookie drive helps to teach the girls valuable skills about selling, managing money, and how to be rejected by complete strangers and their own friends and family. However, the cookie sales do generate income to support girl scouting activities like camping, canoe trips, summer camp, and horse camp.
Our Troop 42301 has eight Girl Scouts plus adult leaders that keep our troop going. This coming Friday March 14, 2014 we will be headed to Seattle to visit the Smith Tower and the Museum of History and Industry (MOHAI). In fact, we plan to use both the Sound Transit Light Rail trains and the Seattle Streetcar system (South Lake Union route SLU) to visit both the Smith Tower and MOHAI.
Well, Girl Scout Day Camp is over and we all survived! It was actually a very well run camp and I would go back next year. It isn’t easy have running any kind of camp and a day camp is especially hard. Luckily, this is Girl Scout Day Camp and as a father, I can skip out on being a senior manager of such a function. I don’t mind helping but don’t stick me in charge of anything. Let me be a warm body that makes sure your kids don’t kill themselves.
Trust me, I like to be in charge but at Girl Scout Camp, I firmly believe that the mothers are totally capable of handling all functions of the day camp. Heck, we have lots of great moms in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts so I know they can handle a Girl Scout event. Both Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts events are tough. You are a volunteer leader running a bunch of teenagers and other clueless adults (not really) and everything has to run smoothly. Nothing ever runs smoothly when you are a volunteer.
However, my hat is off to the wonderful mothers and daughters that ran the Service Unit 026 day camp this past week. They did an awesome job and I was very pleased with everything. I will recommend this day camp to all of my Girl Scouts.
As always your comments and thoughts are welcome on my worthless advice blog!
Today was hump day at our local Girl Scout Day Camp. Day 3 out of 5 days is now done. For my all my kids, I have attended their Cub Scout, Boy Scout, or Girl Scout day camps as a parent volunteer. I have served as staff member or just as a guide parent. Regardless, most of these camps are run by volunteers who do their best to give the Scouts the best experience possible. However, since we are all volunteers, sometimes things don’t run as smoothly as possible.
In the first place, it is extremely hard to get parents to commit to help out for four or five days. Sure, let’s give up some more of our limited vacation time to work at summer camp. A lot of parents want to help but they may have other younger children that they actually need to take care of. You can’t just lock them in the car with a bag of potato chips, some water, and a few coloring books and call it good. Gone are the good old days where your parents left you unattended in the hot car and told you and your siblings not to kill each other. And if one of your siblings was stupid enough to get hurt after a playful game of “Smash Your Sibling into the Car Door” and was crying when your mom got back, heaven help you and them. Even the victim of the crime was guilty. Everyone was punished.
Ah, parental justice. Everyone is guilty….even the crying kid.
So naturally, when I get halfway through scout camp week and get to the ‘hump’ day, I’m pretty delighted. I know it is a downhill coasting trip and I just have to make it through the next couple of days and then I’m done.
It isn’t that I dislike Scout Camp. Scout camp is a lot of fun for these Girl Scouts. The thing I dislike is the fact that this is hard work. It is much harder than my actually career job as a school photographer. Even in my role as a safety advisor where I just shadow my group of ten girl scouts around to make sure they don’t wander off or get left behind, it is a tough job.
Girl Scouts is very focused on having the older Girl Scouts lead, train, and teach the younger scouts. It is an excellent program for that but they still need adults around. I’m one of those adults. My job this week is that of a safety advisor.
For example, my unit leader is going into the 11th grade and she is in charge of 10 Girl Scouts (Junior Girl Scouts). These eight to nine year old girls like to wander off. This is especially true if their mother is one of the main people in charge. Just like the mayor’s kid is the worst, the poor people running the game have the worst behaved kid (except my kid of course).
My unit leader is also learning that kids move at their own pace. Girls (and boys) take forever to change from their swim suits back into normal clothes. They are always leaving behind their backpacks or water bottles at an activity station. They really don’t pay attention to where their lunch pail is at or that everyone is headed to the next station.
On the plus side, the Girl Scouts are definitely better behaved than Cub Scouts that are same age (or older for that matter). Boys always have a stick in their hand in an insane effort to hurt themselves or each other.
The only major drawback for me when attending summer day camp for Girl Scouts is the singing. I’m a terrible singer and I hate singing. Even in Boy Scouts they like to sing songs in the hopes that they will drive me nuts. I hate singing so much I don’t bother to learn the lyrics no matter how many times I’ve been subjected to the same song.
It reminds me of a prisoner torture scene where the prison warden starts playing “It’s a Small World” over and over until the suspect talks. That is how I feel when I have to sing songs. And in Girl Scouts, we sing lots of songs. Songs about birds, songs about watermelons, songs about squirrels, songs about bears in tennis shoes, and then when that is all done, we have songs about singing more songs. It never stops.
So let’s start singing a song about the end of my blog! Leave your comments and hit that “Like” button so Cyndi (my imaginary stalker) can buy a new dress.
Ah, Boy Scout camp….the dirt, the camping, the lack of good bathrooms. It is all the experience of growing up and not having your parents hovering over you every minute of the day. Some parents enjoy sending their child off to summer camp (hey, free babysitting and they get fed three times a day? What isn’t to love?). Others are quite anxious that their little baby is headed off to summer camp. I can understand that.
Compared to school, summer camp is the helicopter parent’s worst nightmare. At school, the parents know what their child is doing. They can view their child’s grade online. They can volunteer to be the room parent. If their son messes up, they can email the teacher, then do a follow up voicemail to make sure the teacher received the email, and then write a note to the teacher (and send it back in the child’s homework folder), and to make sure the teacher got the note in the homework folder, the parent can come to the classroom before school starts.
Of course, it doesn’t matter that the email the helicopter parent sent was at 4:30 pm on Friday afternoon, the voicemail they left was at 4:35 pm, and the note they wrote was at 4:37 pm, and when they show up at school 35 minutes before school on Monday morning, they wonder why the teacher hasn’t replied yet.
Now, these helicopter parenting skills just won’t work for summer camp. Scoutmasters don’t answer emails and they don’t return voicemails. At the last summer camp this past week, I had no Smartphone coverage. And I like it that way.
During summer camp, helicopter parents don’t get a daily report from their kids about how their day went, they don’t know what they are eating at every meal, they don’t know what their bunk looks like, and they don’t know what they are working on. It is a wasteland of no information, a fog bank of the unknown, and a storm of mystery. Their helicopter is grounded.
What happens to the poor scout when their helicopter parent isn’t around? They survive. They wear the same clothes all week long (using these clothes as a bib, towel, and Kleenex). They don’t think of showering, they spill numerous food items on themselves and others. Brush their teeth? What is that?
Now what kind of Scoutmaster would let this “Lord of the Flies” attitude prevail? The same Scoutmaster who gives up his vacation time to go to summer camp with your child. The same Scoutmaster that pays to attend summer camp (yes, I pay to watch your son be a screw up).
Our job as Scoutmasters is to remind your son to put on sunscreen, drink his water, get to his merit badge classes, and wash his hands. If your son chooses not to do the fore mentioned items, that is his choice. Yes, it is a stupid choices but it is his choice. We’ll ride his ass and remind him about ten times a day but it comes down to him doing it, he has to be self managed. I’ll tell him to take a shower but that doesn’t mean he’ll do it. And when I ask him if he has taken a shower, he’ll say “yes” but that shower was the one back at his house three days ago. When I see him on the trail, I’ll ask him if he has been drinking his water (from the water bottle he left back in his cabin) and he’ll say “yes”. And when I see him sunburned and ask him did you put on sunscreen, he’ll answer “yes” (he put in on yesterday….doesn’t it last three days because he didn’t take a shower?).
We are constantly reminding them to do things for their well being but that doesn’t mean they will actually do it. They’ll walk off and pretend to do something but they don’t.
Now we all know that the helicopter parent would be hovering and following their scout back to their tent, making sure they grabbed their toothbrush and toothpaste, escorting them back to the water spigot, watching them brush their teeth, and then walking them back to their tent and carefully instructing them how to place their toothpaste and toothbrush away.
Will they die if they don’t brush their teeth? Probably not. Will they be shamed into brushing their teeth after EVERYONE tells them that their breath smells like the inside of an outhouse? Yes, most likely they will brush their teeth after other scouts say they can smell their stinky dead rat breath from across the table. Peer pressure can be a wonderful motivator.
As I’ve said before, not letting your child do things on their own will lead to their failure in school, at Scout camp, and in life. Scout camp is the week long test of how you have failed as a parent. Does your child come back from summer camp smelling like the sewer plant down the street? Does your scout come back with no merit badges completed because he can’t do them without you?
One of the worst mistakes you can make is packing your scout’s backpack for summer camp. If you pack it, how is he going to know where anything is in his backpack? Have him lay out his clothes, you double check, and then he can pack his own bag. Then he can find everything at summer camp and his Scoutmaster won’t be asking him where his toothbrush is.
Land that helicopter now. Let your son do things on his own and learn from his triumphs and failures. Let him be peer pressured into doing the right thing.
As always, your witty comments and vast knowledge are welcome!
We just returned from another week at Boy Scout Summer Camp. As with all the years prior to this, a few of us always think of ways we can improve our experience as adult leaders. This is our reflection time. This is the time when we think back and review all of our mistakes and ask ourselves “Why? Why do we still keep doing this?”
Over the next few days, I hope to gather my notes and thoughts about summer camp. Last year, I didn’t blog about my experience because I was lazy. Hey, I’m honest. It is one point in the twelve points of the Scout Law. There were good stories there but I just couldn’t get my butt in gear to write about them.
This year I actually spent 20 cents and purchased a 70 page spiral notebook binder (it was on sale; I’m frugal). We had our brainstorming session where no idea is a bad idea (unless I tell you it is a stupid, really, really stupid idea and why do you even think you should be talking?). And I now have some material to work with.
These thoughts will be wrapped into a Guide Book for Assistant Scoutmasters. A rookie Assistant Scoutmaster will definitely benefit from my vast amount of knowledge. I’m pretty sure jaded seasoned scoutmasters will also enjoy it as well. I’m sure all Scoutmasters will find it helpful as well because frankly, it will be awesome.
This Guide will be directly to the Assistant Scoutmaster. I know you probably want me to write about the head honcho job: Scoutmaster. Here are my thoughts about the Scoutmaster job: I don’t want to be writing or commenting on a job I don’t do. We’ll stick to the back up Scoutmaster’s job that I know. A tale about taking naps and wearing flip flops.
Overall the Boy Scout camp we did this past week was a great one. We trekked all the way from Kent, Washington down to Tillamook, Oregon and attended Camp Meriwether.
Camp Meriwether is located right on the Oregon Coast and we had a truly wonderful campsite location. Our campsite was on a bluff overlooking the beach and I must rave about how amazing the view was. I was able to see the ocean waves from my bunk. Each night I fell asleep listening to the waves crashing and the sounds of four scoutmasters snoring away….
We had great weather through the whole week. Not too hot, not too cold. We really lucked out.
As always your comments are welcome! Put down the milkshake and hit the “Like” button!
Last week during Spring Break, we took our Girl Scout Troop to the Stone Gardens Indoor Rock Climbing Gym in Bellevue, Washington. The Girl Scout Troop loves to go to this place and play for two solid hours. And I enjoy allowing them to challenge themselves in the safety of indoor climbing gym wearing the appropriate safety gear.
The only person to get hurt was yours truly. In my misguided notion that I have superpowers, I fell attempting to leap from one climbing handhold to the other on the free climbing wall. I realized that my arms don’t quite stretch as far as an orangutan as I fell backwards towards the floor.
Sure, the fall was only onto my back from a good ten feet up (maybe higher but we won’t tell my wife that) and I almost gave myself a concussion, but it was fun. At least that is what I kept telling myself. My friend Mark (the other dad to attend this event) got a really good laugh that I hurt myself. He showed me pictures of me doing a really good job of climbing and a picture of the rock face where I had been before I fell. He wasn’t quick enough to capture my rapid descent to the matt and the aftermath.
Luckily, I was able to hold back the tears and keep up my macho appearance in front of my daughter and her fellow Girl Scouts.
One worthy tip to note is if you have a Boy Scout or Girl Scout Troop is to inquire with different venues if they offer a non-profit rate. We saved about $5 per climber since we were a non-profit group.
Thanks for reading! Your comments are always welcome!
I know you are all dying to hear how our Girl Scout Troop is doing. We have nine Girl Scouts in our troop with active and supportive parents. I’m very lucky to have the support of the parents because I couldn’t do it alone. I have enough trouble dealing with my own children much less nine Girl Scouts in the age range of 9-11 years old.
None of them are “bad”. Sometimes, you have to have a witty sarcastic title to hook your blog readers in….
This is the big Girl Scout Cookie time of the year. We are on track to sell about 1000 boxes of cookies this season. My Cookie Manager Kristen told me we sold about 800 in the presale and now have about 200-300 more to sell. This is what our Girl Scout Troop has committed to. What we don’t sell, we have to buy. At $4 a box, we want to make sure we sell every last box of cookies. If you need some Girl Scout Cookies, keep us in mind!
Over the next few weekends, we’ll be selling Girl Scout Cookies outside of your local supermarket or drug store. Our Scouts are still young and cute so they can sell the cookies fairly easy. I was talking with another mom from an older troop (her daughter is in 8th Grade) and she said it was harder. On the other hand, she did have a few boys at her middle school excited she was selling cookies and wanted to buy some.
at the Key Arena in September. We are extremely excited about both events. Last year, the Girl Scouts had an awesome time with the indoor rock climbing at the gym. Stone Gardens had two of their staff helping and encouraging the girls the whole time. They showed the Scouts how to put on the equipment, how to climb, and how to descend correctly. Very easy going and safety focused. They offer a non-profit rate as well so it was fairly affordable. If your Girl Scout Troop is the adventurous type, this is definitely an activity to consider.
The other event we did last year with our City of Kent Parks & Recreation Department basketball team (most of our Girl Scouts played on) was the Seattle Storm game in September. I have an awesome Dad (Joel) who is great at organizing these outings. He set up last year’s event and is doing it again this year. Thanks Joel!
Last year, we had enough tickets sold to do the Fan Tunnel at the beginning of the game. Our Girl Scouts and Girls Basketball Team, along with their parents and siblings, created a Fan Tunnel for the Storm players to run through and out onto the court. A very good experience for everyone involved. Again, I’d highly recommend getting some firm commitments from your troop members and booking a block of tickets to the Seattle Storm. This year we plan to have 50 tickets and have 38 tickets sold. So if you are free on Saturday September 7, this is a good chance to see some professional basketball in Seattle for only $20 a ticket.
If you do want to go, here is the Group Sale Rep’s information:
I recently found out one of my best friends didn’t listen to my advice and has decided to “step up to the plate” and become the Cubmaster for his son’s Cub Scout Pack.
Hey, I’m known for being sarcastic but it when it comes to volunteering, I’m all in. I like being involved in a worthwhile activity. I like being with my daughter at her Girl Scout Troop and I like being with my son at his Boy Scout Troop.
I admire my friend’s decision to become the Cubmaster. He’ll do a great job.
But then you also have to be Brave and (a little) Stupid to take on leadership job. I’m all for volunteering but that is way too much responsibility for me. I prefer to help out in a support role where I can be the muscle, but not the one in charge. If you are the one in charge, you get blamed for everything that goes wrong. Who needs that?
(Disclaimer: I was the Den Leader for my son’s Cub Scout Den and now I’m an Assistant Scoutmaster in his Boy Scout Troop. And I’m also the Girl Scout Troop Leader for my daughter’s Girl Scout Troop. So I speak from experience on being Brave and Stupid when it comes to volunteering!)
How many times have you gone to a volunteer function and heard some attendee complain how much it sucked? This could be an auction event for parents or a kid’s day camp for Girl Scouts. These critics complain about everything: the volunteer staff, the weather, the setting, the accommodations, the kids.
They complain that the kids didn’t have fun at day camp or the staff wasn’t trained enough. Um, excuse me, they are volunteers. They do this job because they believe in the cause; not because they get an awesome paycheck!
If you don’t like what is going on, they do something about it. Stop the complaining, volunteer, and help out!
I do agree that some volunteers are worse than others. If they are goofing around and not teaching the subject (as it is with some teenagers), then I can see how the event sucks. If the volunteer isn’t into the job, of course they aren’t going to do a good job.
Nowadays, it is hard to get people to volunteer to help. With both parents working or a lack of childcare for the other kids in the family, it is hard to be able to volunteer. No one seems to have the free time to help. Some people are nervous to volunteer, thinking that they won’t be able to help in any matter.
I admire my friend for taking on the Cubmaster job; it isn’t an easy job. He’ll have to plan meetings, deal with whacko parents, solve disputes, handle numerous meltdowns (by parents and kids), and still have a great attitude. He’ll do all of this on top of his full time job.
So hats off to all volunteers, but a big “Thank You” to all the volunteers that hold a leadership role. I wish you all the best in this unpaid position of parent complaints and whiny kids.
We recently returned from a week long summer camp with our Boy Scout Troop where I learned about the Stick of Stupidity. I went along with three other Scoutmasters to oversee our group of twenty-two scouts ranging in ages of 11 to about 16. Some of these scouts have been to summer camp 3 to 5 times, others are on their second tour, and a few are attending their first summer camp.
Some are homesick; others are having the time of their lives without a mother or father looking over their shoulder. With a fistful of dollars and a trading post willing to help part a scout from his parents’ money; some scouts have a wonderful experience at summer camp.
One thing in common all scouts (regardless of their age) have is the strong need and desire to sharpen a stick to a very sharp point and carelessly carry it around. These sticks come in various sizes ranging from the “Toothpick of Stupidity” to the “Log of Stupidity,”
To help you understand, I have created a few definitions to better illustrate brilliance in the making.
Toothpick of Stupidity: A stick slightly larger than a pencil in width and roughly 4-13 inches long, it is sharpen to a fine point, and then carried in the mouth. One might mistaken this as a useful instrument such as a spoon or fork when it is protruding from the Boy Scout’s mouth, yet upon closer inspection, it is indeed a sharpen stick being carried in the mouth. This is usually carried in the mouth to keep the hands free to slap another scout, pick up a rock, or find yet another stick.
Stick of Stupidity: This stick ranges in size from 13 inches to 34 inches. It is really useless for any given purpose because of its short size yet it remains the most popular of all Sticks of Stupidity. By far, it is the most common for a number of idiotic reasons: easy to find, can be sharpened quickly, is easy to replace with another scout’s stick in a pinch. Since many Sticks of Stupidity look exacting alike, they are a major reason for accusations of theft between scouts. Scouts forget that there are another 300,000 sticks all the same in the woods around them.
Sword of Stupidity: The sword is closely related in size to the Stick of Stupidity but as been made into the shape of a sword. The most common look is the Samurai swords of feudal Japan. The “blade” is careful craved out of the stick to resemble the shape of a samurai sword. The handle might be crave with a crisscross pattern or wrapped with twine. The Sword of Stupidity is made at the expense of one’s own personal hygiene (showers? I’m too busy making a sword!).
Walking Stick of Stupidity: While a walking stick is helpful to many people, the Walking Stick of Stupidity is not. A long stick, one would think a walking stick would be a wonderful thing to help on a hike for balance, extra support, etc. These are all great points except that this walking stick is sharpen to a fine point. With this fine point, it is jabbed into logs, dirt, in between rocks, a fellow scout’s legs, and gets stuck quite often. The owner often stops to sharpen the point, thus slowly down the whole hiking party making a five minute hike into a 55 minute ordeal.
Staff of Stupidity: The Staff of Stupidity and the Walking Stick of Stupidity are often mistaken for each other due to their same length. Yet, the Staff of Stupidity is really too thick and heavy to be an easy to use item. The owner can barely get his hand around it but will insist that they can. The Staff of Stupidity is dropped on a regular basis because of the poor grip the owner has. Sharpening the Staff is very hard and is more of a rounded point than any other stick in the Sticks of Stupidity family.
Log of Stupidity: While most logs can be used as a bench, a bridge, or support beam, the Log of Stupidity gets its name most from the use of it as a play toy, not as a useful device. It is any unstable log that rolls back and forth and you can stand on. The user of the Log of Stupidity should stand on the log with untied shoes (or hiking boots), hands deep in one’s pocket, and rock back and forth in a matter that will make the log move. You are usually done with the Log of Stupidity will you fall flat on your face and almost knocking out all of your front teeth.
I hope these definitions are helpful in identifying the various Sticks of Stupidity when you see your scout with them. Please keep in mind that all Sticks of Stupidity are called out by the Scoutmaster and the scout is told to take the stick out of his mouth or thrown into the bushes or told to get off of it. While we are tempted to see the concept of Darwin’s survival of the fittest in actions; all Sticks of Stupidity have a short life span. I have personally sent many to the campfire for their conversion to ashes. Yet, they seem to come back again regardless of how many times Scoutmaster, parents, and other concerned adults tell them to get rid of them.
As Yoda would say “Made by Boy Scouts, Sticks of Stupidity are.”
Well, it is official…we have created Brownie Troop 42301 (nicknamed “Splinter Cell Troop”). We have broken away from the old troop and transferred over four girls and are adding three more new scouts for a total of seven (in case you needed some help with math).
I’d like our Brownie Troop to be known as the “fun” troop. With the departure of four of the members of the old troop, we have killed the old troop off (or given it a serious death blow). That really wasn’t my intention. My daughter and I were prepared to join another troop but we would be leaving her friends behind. I was also prepared to suffer along with my daughter in the current troop so she could be with her friends. However, after I received a phone call from one of the other parents saying to count her in if I decided to make my own troop; I decided to take the plunge and create my own Brownie Troop.
Now, our departure was going to be a quiet until I asked my daughter if we should start our own troop or join another one. Of course she wanted to start her own (what princess wants…princess gets!). I had a Cub Scout Den for my son, why shouldn’t I have a Brownie Troop for my daughter? Then she mentioned the new troop to a few non-Girl Scout friends and they wanted to join. I’m excited that we have some new girls interested in Girl Scouts! But word must have gotten back to Leader J and Leader T because they mentioned that I might be starting my own troop. I guess that is why we weren’t invited back to re-register for the next year (seriously).
Now, I’m not one to dwell on the past. We are moving on. This evening, we made our troop official by filling the paperwork and turning it in. We were assigned our troop number and we are on our way. Our first field trip is coming up at the end of the month to the Museum of Flight in Seattle. It should be a fun time!