Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Becoming a Girl Scout Leader

In 2013, everything was about Backyard Safari and scouting for Bug-A-Boo.  She loves animals and nature and she loves to explore outside.  For her 5th birthday she had received some of the coolest gifts.  All of the things were from a toy line called Backyard Safari.  She got an explorer vest and hat and an accessory belt and then she asked for a tent and several other accessories.  She would set up her camp in the backyard and spend hours playing.

Around this time I was also redecorating our living room to incorporate some elements from the Disney Pixar film UP!  Bug-A-Boo loves this movie as much as me and Prince Charming and as she would play Backyard Safari she would use our UP Wilderness Explorer Guide book to assist her in her adventures.  She even memorized the Wilderness Explorer motto.

So as the summer went on she continued to play Wilderness Explorer and she started to ask me about getting into a real Wilderness Explorer program which led us to Girl Scouts.

We wanted to make sure that we chose the right program for our family so I started doing research.  A lot of research.  We were worried about Girl Scouts mostly because of the bad press that Boy Scouts had gotten in recent times about discrimination against the gay community as well as their grounding in Christianity.  We did not want to be a part of any organization that would discriminate against anyone based on religion, sexual orientation or anything.

I did a lot of research about Girl Scouts online as well as talking directly to several friends who were very involved in the organization.  Everything I read and everyone I talked to was very positive about Girl Scouts and reassured me that they were nothing like Boy Scouts.  I felt as though I had to do my due diligence and seek out other organizations to compare to.

I looked into Frontier Girls, Campfire USA, Camp Wyandot and Earth Scouts.  I even toyed around with creating my own group and basing it on the Wilderness Explorers from the movie UP!  By researching all of these different groups I found a lot of information online that I knew I could use to start my own group for Bug-A-Boo and her friends.  We were pretty serious about doing it this way and even created a logo and a letter of invitation for friends that we thought would be interested in a group like this.

While doing the research to come up with our own program I realized how intense it could be as well as what the legalities and liabilities involved.  I decided to go to an informational meeting for Girl Scouts of Ohio Heartland and hear what they had to say and ask the questions that were important to us.  

The meeting was amazing but unfortunately, I found out that our elementary school did not currently have a Daisy troop.  I had a few options:  
  1. I could put Bug-A-Boo on a waitlist for a troop and hope that she could be placed.
  2. We could sign up as individuals and do the program on our own at home.
  3. We could go on the waitlist for a troop while proceeding with the program on our own while we waited to be placed.
  4. We could be guaranteed a troop if I became a Troop Leader.
Well, the decision was an easy one.  I signed up to be a Troop Leader and started completing the training the next day.

Months went by and we had no word on starting a troop so Bug-A-Boo and I started working on some of the Daisy Journeys on our own at home.  We started with 5 Flowers, 4 Stories, 3 Cheers for Animals.

Finally, in October I received an email that I had been assigned a Troop.  I was given a list of 11 girls with their names and contact information and that was about it.

At this point I had no idea what I was supposed to do so I reached out to our council and was advised to contact the families and see if anyone would be interested in being a co-leader.  We needed to have at least one other volunteer or we could not have a troop.  Once we had a co-leader we could set a date for a family meeting.

After a few weeks of back and forth I had a parent step-up and volunteer as a co-leader.  I set up a meeting and started working on an agenda and what direction I wanted to take the troop.

I was very excited to get started and was looking forward to meeting my Girl Scout families.  

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