Mooma Duck

Girl Scouts changing to focus more on leadership. Organization trying to be more relevant to today’s girls.

Another A2 Snooze article

Oh dear. What *do* they mean by “focus more on leadership?” What kind of activities will be devised to teach kids about leadership? Whenever the concept of “leadership” pops up in my poor, overworked, underpaid little brain, it conjures up an image of ducklings parading along behind mama duck.

I know where they’re going with this. A few years ago when I was a girl scout leader, the big buzzword was “careers.” And people were looking down their noses at anything resembling the “crafty stuff” that girl scouts often did when I was a kid. What possible use could sewing and stuff like that be to girls whose parents want them to grow up into doctors and lawyers and CEOs and astronauts and whatever?

A disclaimer: I was a pretty awful girl scout leader. Actually, I don’t generally enjoy being in a room full of screaming, unruly kids unless there is another adult there who’s good at crowd control. I am not good at crowd control. Fortunately, I always managed to make myself secondary to a friend or two who were better at that stuff. It helped. Somewhat. I’m still glad that particular aspect of my life as a moom is long over. Except that I miss seeing those friends…

But what *is* wrong with “crafty” activities? Here’s what I think one of the many pathways to “learning leadership” is:

  • Present girl scouts with a taste of a wide *variety* of activities: crafts and camping and theatre and horseback riding and field trips to the dinosaur museum, etc., etc. Oh, and “careers” and even “leadership” do fit in there too.
  • Most of them will become *interested* enough in their own chosen activities to pursue them further.
  • Some might even begin to gain some expertise in their chosen activities.
  • That should surely increase their sense of self-confidence.
  • And then they can become “experts.”
  • And maybe even teach other people how to do the things they have become proficient in.
  • And, voila!, become leaders.
  • Sometimes in spite of themselves.
  • And having those leadership skills might help those girls down the road when they are establishing actual careers.

Roight? grokGROK!

So, how do you teach “leadership?” What resources are the national Girl Scout council going to provide for “leadership” activities? This article doesn’t say *anything*. It’s just one vaguely-defined term after another. “Mission” and “focus” and “core tenets.” “Discover, connect, and take action.” How? Where? When? Why? What the heck am I missing? And where is the fun?

4 Responses to “Mooma Duck”

  1. Isa Says:

    recently, i’ve been terrified by continuously coming back to the conclusion that people are trying to effectively squash the fun out of childhood in exchange for other “more important” activities. scary.

  2. Webmomster Says:

    Very scary.

    However, when I was going thru the Girl Scouts system as a kid, I never understood why we (as *Girl* Scouts) ALWAYS did the indoor crafty activities, while the *Boy* Scouts got to learn how to camp and build campfires and set up tents and sleep on the ground and cook outdoors and go on hikes and Make Things and have pinewood derbies and go to Sporting Events, and other stuff that I found far more appealing as Scouting Activities than sitting around knitting mittens for the Mitten Tree hosted by the Mitten Bay Girl Scout Council or making *stuff* out of popsicle sticks. BORING stuff. Where’s the leadership in that? The Boys DID get their leadership and confidence in trying out new activities and adventuring, etc. No WONDER I was such a wimp for so much of my life.

  3. jane Says:

    I was a Girl Scout for 7 months. (no, it didn’t really ‘take’) And we did go camping twice. One was ‘winter’ camping. In October so not exactly winter, although it was cold! the other time was for the Bicentennial Bash – a collection of many hundreds of girls from southern MI I think. we only had 4 girls able to go that weekend so weren’t able to participate in any of the activities.

    of course we loved it! we went hiking in the woods when everyone else was doing…. something else. and we pulled our pads out of the tents and lay in the warm spring sunshine. it had nothing much to do with “scouting” but we had a good time with each other, which has to be worth something! heck, maybe we even learned about Leadership – being our own leaders in dreaming up activities, while others were merely “following”.

  4. kayak woman Says:

    Webmomster, you are just about the most un-wimpish person I know! But I do agree with you about the girl vs. boy scouts thing. It just wasn’t the main point of my blahg yesterday. Actually, from my observations at Haisley, boy scouts *still* have considerable advantages over girl scouts. Although most of the actual troop leaders were moms, the overall organization just seemed to have more oomph. Why? I think it was because males were at the “upper” levels. SAY WHAT? What the heck are you talking about, Kayak Woman? Have you gone nuts? We thought you were a feminist, more or less.

    Okay. The scouting organizations are *volunteer* organizations. We’d get some women in higher-level leadership roles (like school-wide, for example) who’d organize some really cool things for a year or maybe two and then they’d *burn out* and quit. Or we’d get women who would volunteer for those positions and sort of fade away once they discovered how much work was involved. Jobs and kids and dogs and cooking and house-cleaning and carpooling and other volunteer duties. It was just too much. In the boy scouts, the *men* seemed to look at scouting events as *fun*. A break from their other responsibilities.

    What I really meant about the crafts was not that girls should be relegated to staying inside making cutesy little hand-made items all the time. I just feel that creating something with your hands (and whatever tools might be needed) is a valuable learning experience and has its place. I know you agree about that 🙂

    Maybe I’ll do a further blahg entry about the camping someday when I’m feeling a little dry, if y’all know what I mean 😉