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(The Daily Beast)   Girl Scouts USA defends the sale of dozens of historic Girl scout Camps to developers saying that girls just aren't interested in camping anymore. Besides, every minute those loafers spend lounging in a tent is a minute they aren't selling cookies   ( thedailybeast.com) divider line
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3338 clicks; posted to Main » on 15 Jan 2014 at 4:10 PM (4 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»

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2014-01-15 06:34:58 PM  

Uisce Beatha: My boys are both Boy Scouts - and while the national organization may be hostile (yeah, they allow gay scouters, but not leaders, and atherists are techically right out), the local councils have a lot of leeway.  Ours, being in the aforementioned college town, has a troop that is probably at least 1/3, if not more, non-Christian.  Both my boys are pretty straightforward about their lack of religion.  Not a problem in our troop.  It's my hope that local change and acceptance like this will lead to national tolerance.

To be clear BSA does not require the Scouts to be Christian, only believe in a higher being.  That being said BSA troops are chartered to organizations and are part of said organizations youth and community focus.  As majority of troops are charted to churches (LDS / Methodist largest groups) that would lend itself to be a Christian focus.  Those chartered to non-Church groups, not so much.

Also with gay scouts now being allowed, many Baptist churches have bailed
2014-01-15 06:37:15 PM  
My 9 year old is in Girl Scouts. She has a great troop that does a lot of volunteering and are big on camping and hiking. Of course we are fortunate to live in a rural area with lots of camps.

I made her go door to door selling cookies. I took a sheet to work, but made her come up with a marketing plan.
2014-01-15 06:38:14 PM  
Missing from the article is the fact that the camps are "in disrepair" on purpose. I noticed from comments that someone mentioned that the councils would not let volunteers repair the camps. My wife is a troop leader and was at a camp they were slated to sell (lake-front property, mind you). The custodian there was talking about how he wanted to do repairs but the council forbid him from doing it. Of course they never said it, but it's easy to see that the purpose was to make the camp look run down and in need of expensive repair.

There's another camp (Camp Coleman, mentioned in the article) that's one of, if not the, oldest GS camp. People volunteered entire construction crews to fix roads and such to the camp, but the council refused. It caused a big deal, and the people upset about it ended up taking over the council in the next election from what I understand.

I can't speak for other councils, but here the troop leaders have the hardest time doing anything. Everything requires red tape. And if a problem crops up, the council will probably side with the parent rather than the leaders. The leaders/volunteers are literally the lowest person on the totem pole, and it takes some pretty extraordinary circumstances for the council to back them. We literally had a parent that was abusive (nearly got into a fist fight with another troop's parent over a cookie booth location) and constantly threatening to sue because her girl was not being treated special. She got removed from my wife's troop but she pitched a fit so the council paid for her to go on the troop's special trip that they sold a ton of cookies to go on. To make a long story short, the lady stole a good amount of money from the council (I want to think several hundred to a thousand dollars) because they paid for the trip for her via VISA prepaid card, with the stipulation that she returned the unused balance for her motel room and food. Yeah, that card never showed back up.
2014-01-15 06:48:29 PM  

Far Cough: But they've become so insular, pseudo-religious, and quasi-military.

They've always been quasi-military.  That was kinda the point in the beginning.
2014-01-15 06:49:54 PM  
I attended Camp Cleawox on the Oregon coast when I was 12 years old. It was one of the best and most memorable childhood summers I ever experienced.
2014-01-15 06:57:12 PM  

RatMaster999: Far Cough: But they've become so insular, pseudo-religious, and quasi-military.

They've always been quasi-military.  That was kinda the point in the beginning.

Yeah, I know.  But I was on a roll.  :)
2014-01-15 07:03:05 PM  
Those little farkers stiffed me on a box of cookies five years ago. Burn 'em to the ground, I say.
2014-01-15 07:03:13 PM  

/ that is all
2014-01-15 07:09:56 PM  
JohnCarter:Also with gay scouts now being allowed, many Baptist churches have bailed

Because God knows even being tangentially associated with somebody who doesn't involuntarily fall into convulsions at the thought of peaceful co-existence with the Sodomite is a mortal farking sin.

//sounds dirty
2014-01-15 07:44:37 PM  
I know someone who worked for a charity aimed at helping young children with guidance and mentorship who once told me a story in which a high level state director for the organization, when asked at a party what the organization's mission is, responded: "To make payroll."

I also know people involved in the Salvation Army who tell stories of donated items being cherry picked by higher ups or stolen and sold on EBay by people at all levels of the organization.

So this isn't surprising news.
2014-01-15 07:58:30 PM  
I was a Gold Award Girl Scout (Like the Eagle for the uninformed) so getting a kick etc...

What the fark is this shiat?!  I wasn't a huge camper but some of my fondest memories from Girl Scouts.  Granted I was in Scouts 15 years ago, and clearly a lot has changed.  They have a Bronze Award now and they added the Ambassador rank for Juniors and Seniors in high school, and now this "Journeys" bullshiat.  I went to look at the new handbooks and it looked like a bunch of fruity girly bullshiat.  God there are so many things wrong with this picture.

The Girl Scouts last I heard were a NON-Profit.  They should not be thinking in terms of CEO's and whether their books are selling like the girls are farking consumers.  Oh, and I sold my OWN cookies mother farker.

/My troop leader used to yell at us if we were slacking in the super market because "She wasn't selling them for us"
//I'm not trying to be boot-strappy, maybe they used to be tough in New Hampshire.
///Yay troop 1573!
2014-01-15 07:58:38 PM  

Hand Banana: Do kids even go outside anymore? Little fat asses just sit on their XBoxes all day now.

Well, that's the thing. Even if you make them go outside, every damn one of them will still be carrying an ipod and a phone. They don't even know how to interact with the natural world anymore.
2014-01-15 08:06:37 PM  
I don't know about the Girl Scouts but no local Boy Scout leader is getting rich working as a professional Scouter. I'm an Eagle Scout, I was an Asst. Scoutmaster for 10 years while both my nephews got their Eagles, my cousin got his Eagle, and his sister works as a volunteer for the Buffalo area council. He (my cousin) spent approx. 5 years working as a professional Scouter, working for a local Council (I can't remember what Council he worked for). His pay was low and his expenses weren't covered. All his weekends were taken by Scout business, so no free time for him (or his wife). He was never reimbursed for mileage despite driving all over fark for Council business. His wife spent almost as much time as he did on Scout business, it was "expected." He finally couldn't take it any more, he had to give it up as the stress was getting too much for him.

As for National, I've always assumed that the everyday people working there made a reasonable paycheck, and that the upper leadership did quite well. But that's an assumption on my part, I don't know what they are taking home. I just know that the pro's at the local level could always have done much better outside of Scouts.
2014-01-15 10:25:52 PM  

Fireproof: Far Cough: Boy Scouts: we hate gay people

They started allowing gay Scouts a few months ago, and it was a pretty big deal. Where the fark have you been?

Too little, too late.
2014-01-15 10:41:55 PM  
This is a shame; my fondest memories as a kid were at GS camp.  I wasn't really into the troop thing because my local troop was run by an uptight Jesus freak that made us sit quietly doing arts and crafts which I hated, but I continued to go to the camp long after I quit the troop.  I wouldn't trade those summers for anything.  It might not have been roughing it, but we slept in tents, cooked food in the campfire, learned to build fires, hiked, canoed, swam, kayaked, went horseback riding, stargazed, played volleyball/soccer, sang songs, played all types of games, etc.  Not that you can't get that experience at another camp, but when I was a kid GS camp was around $100-$150/week vs. other camps that were ~$2000 for 4 weeks.  So not only did you have to send your kid away for longer, but it was more expensive.  I'm sure it's probably a lot more now too.

This truly makes me sad.
2014-01-15 11:05:56 PM  
Here Johnny/Janey: Join us weekly to participate in outdated, contrived rituals and go after these worthless merit badges so that you can attain some pointless credential. Oh, and dodge the creepers in your club who want to sexually exploit you. And sell some farking cookies/lightbulbs/popcorn/magazine subscriptions, will you, you sniveling little shiat? We gotta move some product here.
2014-01-15 11:08:17 PM  

JohnCarter: To be clear BSA does not require the Scouts to be Christian, only believe in a higher being.  That being said BSA troops are chartered to organizations and are part of said organizations youth and community focus.  As majority of troops are charted to churches (LDS / Methodist largest groups) that would lend itself to be a Christian focus.  Those chartered to non-Church groups, not so much.

Yup. Or troop is chartered through a Methodist Church. Thankfully they are incredibly tolerant, as we are lucky enough to have a fair few Buddhists, a couple of Jain and Hindu, and a notable minority of atheist kids in our troop. The diversity benefits of living in a town with a major university...
2014-01-15 11:34:57 PM  
I'm a "Girl Scout Dad".   My daughter (Cadette, Bronze award), is in a fairly active and geeky troop.    She's gone to Girl Scout camp, she's done sleepovers....

....And and does lego robotics as part of a Girl Scout Mindstorms team for FLL.

What's funny is that she started as a Brownie, and only last year started to sell cookies -because she had too much else going on to interest her.

That being said, I wish the local council was easier to work with.
2014-01-16 12:04:57 AM  

KarmicDisaster: It's too bad, my wife keeps telling me about the awesome time that she had at GS camp back in the day, she still talks about it. It would be great if kids could still have that experience.

"This one time at GS camp I stuck a ...."
2014-01-16 12:31:43 AM  
That's a shame.

*checks local GS website*

I'm happy to note that La Casita is still being used by the Girl Scouts, and looks pretty much as it did when I camped there as a Junior scout in the early 1970s (damn, I'm old). Well, it wasn't really camping...we were supposed to sleep outside in tents, but ended up staying indoors nearly all weekend because one girl saw a snake shortly after we arrived at the camp, and the troop leaders were overprotective. We weren't allowed to flush the toilets during the day, and had to be escorted to the nearby outhouse when nature called. :(
2014-01-16 12:42:04 AM  
Let the gay boy/girl-scouts have them.
2014-01-16 01:33:22 AM  

Uisce Beatha: JohnCarter: To be clear BSA does not require the Scouts to be Christian, only believe in a higher being.  That being said BSA troops are chartered to organizations and are part of said organizations youth and community focus.  As majority of troops are charted to churches (LDS / Methodist largest groups) that would lend itself to be a Christian focus.  Those chartered to non-Church groups, not so much.

Yup. Or troop is chartered through a Methodist Church. Thankfully they are incredibly tolerant, as we are lucky enough to have a fair few Buddhists, a couple of Jain and Hindu, and a notable minority of atheist kids in our troop. The diversity benefits of living in a town with a major university...

News to me, seeing as how I was non religious and managed to be an Eagle Scout. Sure there's that 'reverent' part of the scout law, and many churches offer up their facilities for troops, but there is nothing that says you have to be religious, just have to be true to your faith. You just can't lie about it. So if you choose to worship at the altar of St Mattress every Sunday you're still being reverent.

As an aside, apparently 'reverent' is only part of the Scout Law in the US and the Philippines.
2014-01-16 03:32:47 AM  

My daughter is in GS. Goes to campouts, does a lot of service projects, and really enjoys it. She actually switched troops to a much more active troop so she could do more stuff. The dads and I took them out for a father/daughter campout too, unassociated with scouts, and we had a blast fishing, hiking, and (short) cliff jumping.

I spent over a year trying to find a troop for my daughter. I never managed to do it. She could be a "Juliette" (an independent scout), but she was never offered the troop experience. Two cookie seasons came and went, with us walking past the girls at the grocery store, my daughter so upset that she couldn't join. We'd ask the troop leaders, and they'd say that their troops were full, and to call council. They'd also say things like "Hang in there" and "It takes time to get their attention".

What they meant was that just getting a call-back from council would take weeks, if they ever bothered. And if they did call back, they wouldn't be able to help, and would promise to have someone else call - a call which would never come. I filled out the contact form on the website monthly for a while, hoping for a call back. I was shuffled here, there, and everywhere. My email was added their fund-raising list. Did we want to buy cookies or the other stuff they were selling? No? Then they really were not interested, in spite of the fact that every single time I talked to anyone, I explicitly offered to take the training and volunteer with a troop.

I'd been a Brownie leader years before with our older girls. In over a year of actively trying, I never talked to anyone who could help me get training, find my daughter a troop, or anything like that. I eventually got an email about a year and a half after starting, after we'd found an alternative. The woman contacted me to offer to let my daughter be a Juliette, and had no record of the calls and emails I'd sent asking about leader training. We politely declined.

The experience is there, you just need a parent to lead it. That's the bigger problem I'm finding: in our neighborhood, it's always the same handful of volunteers leading packs/troops, helping out at the schools, etc. We need more volunteers to really take some responsibility. There are lots of ways to direct that energy.

I am sincerely happy that your daughter is able to participate. I cherished my years in scouting, loved being a CIT, a counsellor, and later Brownie leader with my older girls and would have liked to have my youngest daughter share those experiences. Sadly, there are plenty of girls out there that can't join scouts because the councils are so focused on fund-raising and whatever else, and they don't have time, even over the course of a year, to call a mother back, tell her how to get training, and point her in the direction of starting a troop.

Eventually, we found another organization, took training, got background checks, went to the meetings, and am now an assistant leader. During my training period, I talked to several other moms who would have been happy to have joined their daughters in Girl Scouts, but had the same problems I did. These are women who have happy memories of their own time in Girl Scouts, and who followed through on the volunteer front - people who want to help their own girls and other girls, and who actually do the work of running a troop. The kind of people you want in your organization.

But they aren't worthy of a call-back from council.

Screw monetary donations. Go volunteer. A bunch of childless folks here could even go mentor stuff like First Lego League.

Just realize that in some areas, it can't be with Girl Scouts, because they aren't organized or interested or whatever enough to accept willing volunteers. They're too busy.

For the record, I just checked, and the camp I spent my summers at is closed at the moment, and the council has been merged with another. They are looking at selling the land.

The comments on this article pretty much sum up everything I know to be true about Girl Scouts now:

Girl Scouts' Financial and Leadership Woes Threaten 100-Year-Old Group
2014-01-16 04:20:22 AM  
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2014-01-16 07:22:25 AM  
Full disclosure: I've been a BSA leader for 5+ years. Den leader, Cubmaster, Commissioner, Treasurer, Scoutmaster are some of the roles I've been in. I was also a trained GS Troop Leader as well. I left that position as there is no room for a male leader in Girl Scouts (unlike the Boy Scouts where the leadership is more inclusive.)

RapMstr:  My daughter (who is in HS and one of only three HS aged GS in our service area) has expressed jealousy in what her brother gets to do at camp.

Your daughter needs to look in to Venturing, the BSA co-ed program.

senoy: I think Girl Scouts have a branding problem and they don't understand their constituency. They also face the problem that all organizations for kids are dealing with in that kids are spread incredibly thin.

Boy Scouts addressed this issue by essentially returning to very conservative traditional roots. They emphasize outdoor activities and conservative values and they have a solid constituency because of it. Sure, it creates more than its share of enemies, but those aren't they people that were joining the Boy Scouts anyway. If you join the Boy Scouts, you know what you're getting. You're out in the woods building fires and setting snares with a bit of service thrown in for good measure.

The Girl Scouts tacked the other way and attempted to adopt a very progressive, feminist slant to their activities. The problem was that the people that join organizations like the Girl Scouts aren't really the same people that support very progressive policies. You ended up having a progressive leadership and a more conservative membership and that always causes issues. It's hard for most people to actually identify with Girl Scouts as anything more than those kids that sell delicious cookies for way too much. As an organization, if you can't sell yourself as more than a cookie peddler and offer a tangible benefit derived from membership in your organization, you're going to lose out to dance, soccer, gymnastics, basketball and everything else on a young girl's plate.

I have been saying this since my daughter joined GS.  This is reflected primarily in the  hierarchical arrangement of the BSA (National, Region, Area, Council, District, Troop or Pack, Patrol or Den) vs the communal arrangement of the GSA (National, Council, Community, Troop). BSA youth can move from unit to unit at the discretion of the unit leaders. GSA youth have little say in what unit they can join: it is directed by Council. My daughter was wait-listed for 6 months when she first wanted to join. When she wanted to move to a troop that her friend was in and that was in her own town (vs. one town over as she had been joining), it took more calls and signatures and waivers to make that happen. My son wanted to change packs because of a conflict with the meeting night. One form and $1 and it was done.

Don't even get me started on financing. If a boy scout moves units, his Scout account follows him. If a Girl Scout moves unit, her Scout account GOES TO COUNCIL! (Unless the unit she was in disbanded.)

GS troops make about $.25 per box of cookies sold. BS troops/packs receive 35% of the popcorn sales made. Each unit then decides how much of that 35% is set aside for each scout: some do 50%, some 75%, some none (but do not charge any annual/monthly dues, provide uniforms and books at no cost to the scout, and subsidize camps).

Finally, in BSA, the units are owned wholly by the Charter Organizations. If a unit has a need, the org is responsible. If a unit disbands, the assets return to the org. The org has responsibility and investment in the Unit. The unit gives back to the Org in service.

The GS troop is owned by Girl Scouts of America. They are not tied to a charter organization. There is no 2-way investment in place. It's just a meeting place. As such, there is no recognition nor participation between the troop and community unless the troop feels like it. And they are rarely that motivated.

There are so many other areas that the BSA has it together and the GSA falls short. It doesn't matter. Because the over-arching attitude I've experienced from the GSA is: We don't care if it works. As long as the BSA does it, we will NEVER do it that way because boys drool, girls rule.
2014-01-16 02:13:00 PM  
The women where I work are shying away from GS for the reasons many have you have stated--the program itself is downplaying outdoorsmanship.

And at the same time our Boy Scout Troop is being pestered to let sisters of Scouts come along to the campouts and traditional activities because they see their brothers learn to shoot guns, proper ways to use knives, build things out in the woods, learn to canoe, and cook around open fires.

/Scout leader for 11 years.
//Oldest son getting Eagle this weekend.
///Second son getting Eagle this summer.
2014-01-16 10:16:15 PM  
Our closest camp -- which is extremely basic -- wants an average of $50 for a single day "camp" (like a two hour event) and about $300 for a three-day overnight camp. If you ask about the cost, the response is that "other similar camps are far more expensive."

I led for a few years. I know the cookie money our scouts earned were just enough to keep the troops above water (meeting place, craft supplies, etc.) but the Service Units and higher levels have enough money for salaried employees. Surely if they want people to use the camping facilities, they could alleviate the cost for starters.

Oh and when a camp promises archery, your daughter expects archery. You show up and there's no archery and you ask about it, you get the cold shoulder. The problem isn't that the girls don't want to camp. It's that they rarely want to camp twice.
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