Happy National Girl Scouts Day! While everyone knows about Thin Mints and Samoas, you may not know much about the girls (or the organization) behind the cookies. Having been a Girl Scout myself, I couldn’t wait for my daughter to join a troop, but I realize that a lot of my fellow moms have no idea what it is or why they would want their daughter to join.
When Do Girl Scouts Start?
While Girl Scouts is a national organization, girls participate on the local level through age-specific groups of girls (a troop) who live in the same community. Most Girl Scout troops form in kindergarten through your daughter’s local school. Registration is open anytime, but most troops form a few weeks into the school year.
Who Is In Charge?
The organization doesn’t provide leaders but relies on volunteer leadership from parents. Most troops delegate responsibility into roles such as leader, assistant leader, treasurer, service project coordinator, cookie manager, and more, so no one person is overwhelmed with taking care of everything. But, the Girl Scout organization encourages the girls to take an active role in their own leadership, so the supervision gets a lot lighter as the girls get older. And don’t worry— parents who are involved are background-checked and trained.
Is It Expensive?
In my experience, it is cheaper than many of my children’s extracurricular lessons and sports. There are yearly dues ($25), and you’ll need to purchase a basic uniform (a vest with iron-on patches). All other costs for supplies, activities, etc. are optional and determined by what each individual troop chooses. If the troop chooses to participate in fundraising activities (fall product sales, as well as the ubiquitous spring cookie sales), they can use their profit to fund/subsidize renewal fees for the next year, purchase badges for the troop, and/or go on field trips or camp opportunities.
What Kind of Time Commitment Are We Looking At?
It really depends on each individual troop. Most troops meet at least once a month for an hour during the school year, with other field trips and other activities added in. There are also optional day and overnight camps offered through the Girl Scout organization during the summer.
What Do They Do Besides Sell Cookies?
They have a great time! During their regular meetings and field trips, they learn about STEM, the outdoors, entrepreneurship, and important life skills while earning badges that display their hard work. Most troops also participate in a community service project each year, as well as the national organization’s April Showers personal hygiene drive.
Do They Really Have a Good Time???
Yes! Over the past year alone, my daughter’s troop has gotten to take a painting class at a local art studio, hike a local trail, go rock climbing, and read to dogs at The Humane Society. As one of her troop’s leaders, I’ve had a front-row seat and have gotten to watch her and her friends learn new skills, try different things, grow more confident, and make close friendships.
So, as you’re scouring the local grocery stores for the last few remaining cookie booths this weekend, just remember that every box you buy helps a troop fund some pretty awesome experiences (as if you needed another reason to restock on Thin Mints!).