Is This Really What’s Happening To Girl Scouts? Is There a Red Tape Merit Badge?

Hi Readers — I’ve got sons, so I have not been privy to what’s happening to Girl Scouts. This letter, in response to the blog post about Iowa Girl Scouts selling four of its rustic camps for being TOO rustic,  has me dismayed. – L.

Dear Free-Range Kids: I co-led a troop from 1st grade-6th grade. Girl Scout regulations made it so complicated to go even “cabin camping” that we never got into tents. Full-day training to even stay overnight in a cabin and one of us had to be re-certified for CPR every year even though there was a permanent caretaker staff at the camp. There was a lake but the girls who couldn’t pass a swimming test had to stay behind a rope in water not even knee-deep, although there were two lifeguards in this tiny artificial lake. We couldn’t go canoeing in the waist-high “lake” on the property because neither of us had time to take the day-long canoeing training and they didn’t make trained staff available to do this activity (we checked to see if we could pay a fee and they said no).

We went cabin camping three times and despite all the heavy regulation, I had to fax in our request on January 2 (the first day they accepted reservations) because most of the cabins were booked for the summer that first week.

After three summers of cabin camping we asked the girls if they wanted to go tent camping and all but one said no — maybe because  we hadn’t been allowed to be more adventurous when we stayed in the cabins.

So – there was no lack of demand for the camping facilities (evidenced by the rush for reservations), but the onerous regulations made it a pain in the rear end.

Our troop disbanded due to lack of interest when the girls were in 6th grade. Now my daughter is impatient to turn 14 next summer and join Venturing.

This news is too sad. I went to day camp at Camp L Kee Tah in Des Moines county when I was a squirt. — Unhappy Camper

SOON ENOUGH? Wait!  I left my Galaxy in the pedicure lounge!

Wait! Did you guys sign the canoe, open water, oar-as-thumping hazard and  frog bite waivers?

87 Responses to Is This Really What’s Happening To Girl Scouts? Is There a Red Tape Merit Badge?

  1. Tara February 13, 2013 at 9:38 am #

    The Girl Scouts as an entire organization from the top down is not the same as it was when we were young.

  2. TRS February 13, 2013 at 9:41 am #

    Go get your training! I am a GS leader, Archery Instructor…… My husband is camp qualified so I really don’t find limits to what the girls can do. I am a RN so First Aid and CPR qualified.

    I am sending my daughters on a day long teen camp to kayak, shoot arrows, and learn fencing.

    Honestly – I do hate the freaking paperwork. However, it has nothing to do with being too scared to let the kids try things but more with being in such a litigious society. You have to be protected by the Green Wall (GS insurance) or you could find yourself getting sued.

    So what you have to sign a waiver. Just sign it and have fun!

  3. Nanci February 13, 2013 at 9:43 am #

    This is very sadly true. My 10 year old daughter is in Girl Scouts. To do anything “officially” through Girl Scouts takes an enormous effort. It’s beyond ridiculous. They have rules and regulations about everything under the sun and the leaders have to do intensive training to let the girls do the most basic of things. The leaders are volunteer parents they don’t have time to sit through days and days of training. In my daughters troop we got around the guidelines by camping in non-Girl Scout camps. We rented a camp with a small lake and canoes and kayaks. All the moms secretly agreed that it was not an “official” Girl Scout camping trip, just moms who happened to bring our girls to the same campground at the same time. That way we were all responsible for our own children. Of course the only way this works is for all the moms to come on the camping trip! At least the girls had a great time, swimming and canoeing all day while the moms sat around the pavilion and snacked and chatted :) At night we roasted ‘smores, had a flashlight scavenger hunt, and slept in tents. I too have been very disappointed in the Girl Scout program, our troop has made it fun by having many of these non-official outings, but as a whole the organization is WAY too concerned with liability. My son is in Cub Scouts and we have loved that organization. I too am planning to have my daughter join venturing (co-ed part of Boy Scouts) when she is 14!

  4. TRS February 13, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    I have a troop of 15 girls – 7th and 8th graders. My daughters are working on their Silver Awards, going to be Aides in Training at a GS Summer Camp this year, saving up to go on a GS Destination to the Amazon. Rolling eyes at this article. GS is what you make of it.

  5. Jenn February 13, 2013 at 9:49 am #

    You can still do a lot of things in scouting. In order to do those things troop leaders have to be willing to get the training and certifications. And the girls and young women have to be willing to put forth effort, as well.

    A troop can vary drastically depending on interest. One troop I worked with did almost exclusively science experiments and observations. Another troop I worked with loved arts and crafts. Another troop I worked with did a lot of fundraising in order to do exploration activities, including backpacking and tent camping.

    There are many things about Girl Scouts/Guides that aren’t the same, but creative leaders and scouts can still do plenty of activities.

  6. motherofshebear February 13, 2013 at 9:53 am #

    We are very outdoorsy family – my girl was tent camping and canoeing long before turning one, hiking, biking etc. We do all of this a lot. One problem was always a lack of other kids around. So when she turned 5 I thought about girl scouts – finally she would be able to do this with other kids (or at least some camping)! To my dismay all info I could find on their website was about selling cookies and doing crafts and some community work. So now I wonder – is there any other organization that is not yet afraid of woods? Or is my daughter sentenced to the company of her parents only?

  7. TRS February 13, 2013 at 9:55 am #

    I don’t know why people can not wait to sign their daughters up with Venturing and be a part of such a discriminating organization.

  8. Denise February 13, 2013 at 10:00 am #

    TRS- Because the issue you find most central about Venturing is not the issue that they find most central. And that’s not a moral failing.

  9. TRS February 13, 2013 at 10:03 am #

    motherofshebear, you could volunteer as a leader. My daughters have been in GS since the 1st grade. They are now 7th graders and have done a lot. The Overnight Summer Camps are a lot of fun. My girls have gone caving, rock climbing, canoeing, kayaking, camping, cooking over an open fire, zip lining, ropes coarse……. Plus they are now learning how to be leaders. They are the Girl Leaders of our SU Girls Council. They have been accepted into the Aide training program at a Summer camp. They will learn how to lead a group of small girls independently in activities so that they can actually be leaders when they are in High School.

    I am a GS Archery instructor so my daughters come out with me whenever I am teaching another troop how to shoot arrows. They are getting to be quite the sharp shooters. When they turn 15 I am going to have them go through the training and become certified to teach.

    Girl Scouts offer Destination trips all over the world for Scouts starting in 7th grade.

    People need to do their homework and get involved. It is a great organization that develops wonderful girls that will be leaders in the future.

  10. Jennifer February 13, 2013 at 10:04 am #

    My daughter was in Girl Scouts from 1st grade through 5th. After 5th she lost interest- too much competition from softball and middle school band. I was a Girl Scout in the 1970’s, in the Phillippines, and the fact that we were in a developing nation with a potentially unstable dictatorship did not stop us from camping- but the bureaucracy involved in becoming a volunteer and taking the troop outdoors was enough to stop my daughter’s troop. When my daughter first started in Girl Scouts, I was interested in volunteering, but since I work full time, I found it nearly impossible to coordinate volunteer requirements with my work schedule. Some of the activities suggested for troops in our area were along the lines “Go to a salon for girls and get mani-pedi’s”- there was much less of an emphasis on activities involving the outdoors and learning about the natural world. During cookie season, of course, there was a huge emphasis on cookie sales. I think one of the biggest issues, however, is that there is just too much competition for girls’ time and interests. When I was in elementary school, there were far fewer after-school activities- scouting was practically the only activity on offer. It is much different now, especially once girls start middle school.

  11. randomglitter February 13, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Girl Scouts are highly regulated because parents are sue happy and carrying insurance on these programs is very expensive. You can’t blame the organization, blame parents who want to send their kids off with other adults (who volunteer) and then act insane if their child has bug bites when they return. Girl Scouts have to stay relevant to continue, and rustic camping is not something most girls/parents are interested in doing in my experience. I’ve been involved with GS for over 10 years as an adult leader, and I’m camp trained and CPR/AED/First Aid certified. I am totally a free range mom, and the amount of whining from both children and parents involved in a trip like this will drive a Scout Mom crazy.

  12. TRS February 13, 2013 at 10:09 am #

    Jennifer is right. I think there are so many options for our daughters now that they tend to drop scouts because of the other demands. My daughters LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the Girl Scouts. I am their leader – it has been a ton of work but so worth the effort. Now I just encourage the girls to stay in Scouts and do what you can do. Right now we just meet every other month as a troop but our Council offers so many teen events they can sign up for individually. I am no longer considered a leader but now my title is “advisor.” It is really up to them to make it what they want.

  13. TRS February 13, 2013 at 10:21 am #

    Training is fun. I always have a nice time and get lots of good advice and learn from the other leaders I train with. It really does not take that much time.

  14. Molly February 13, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I totally hear ya – the demands on volunteers are so incredible, and the limitations they put on camping are so onerous that much of the fun of discovery is eliminated. My husband had to go through 2 full days of training (even though he is an old Eagle Scout) just to take our daughter’s troop “camping” in cabins. And of course he is in a separate cabin but still got dirty glares and the leaders had to field questions of concern from some parents. Geez, is every dad a pedophile to these people?

  15. KLY February 13, 2013 at 10:26 am #

    Those saying “Oh, you just have to go ahead and DO it, no big deal” are missing a huge point: Not everybody CAN take the time and put that much into endless training and jumping through hoops. The fact is that the growing amounts of red tape are hurting the children most in need of the things scouting *should* provide an opportunity for. I checked into the troops in my area, when my daughter was the age to start. The choices were not fabulous. When I was that age, and there was no local troop that fit out needs, my mother agreed to volunteer and start one, so of course I looked into it. There was no way I could have managed it; it was nothing like when I was a kid. And it is only getting worse.

    So congrats if you are able to take all the training, afford the time needed for all of the extra requirements, and afford the out-of-pocket costs a lot of it takes to get things moving… but try to remember that it is not so easy for everyone.

  16. Silver Fang February 13, 2013 at 10:42 am #

    If the Scouts aren’t going to emphasize camping and outdoor life anymore, they might as well just shut their doors. Another sign of the sad time we live in.

  17. Jennifer February 13, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    With regards to the training- for me, it became more of a cumulative effect- it wasn’t just one organization. That, I could handle. It was that I have more than one child, and every time my husband or I wanted to volunteer for anything- girl scouts, cub scouts, sports, teaching Sunday School, each group required its own training. We’re an outdoors family, and really, it was just easier to do a lot of the outdoors stuff on our own with our kids.

  18. Warren February 13, 2013 at 10:49 am #

    @TRS

    The problem is that you have to be certified in everything these days. So being involved isn`t as easy as you make it sound. It is one thing to have the meetings at night, where it gets touchy is when you have to start taking time off work.
    Taking the week for camping is fine, but when you add in the other week or two of time off to become trained and certified to do things I have been doing all my life is not fine, it makes being involved impossible.
    You see all that extra vacation time, I do have it, but I am then taking vacation time away from my family.
    I took the canoeing course for my daughters school. Had a 18 yr old teaching me, until I stood up and pointed out that the overly safe approach they taught was in fact creating stupid risks, that would cause people harm. Luckily he listened and somewhat bowed to 30+yrs of actual experience.

  19. motherofshebear February 13, 2013 at 10:50 am #

    KLY – your reply states my point exactly. I don’t want/ can’t make a new career just to maybe get my daughter some camping buddies (and only maybe; after reading another posts about that I’m really doubtful). TRS – are you living in WA or OR states? :) because here in PA camping can’t beat football when it comes to demand…

  20. a-non-e-mouse February 13, 2013 at 11:01 am #

    I am a cub scout leader, and we have a lot of the same requirements. Youth protection training, two outdoor certified leaders for camping trips, and additional training required for anything involving water, even if there is already a trained staff at the facility. But the training isn’t difficult; many of the training sessions are combined, and there’s a lot of common sense. Would you want your child heading into the woods with a leader who didn’t know basic first aid? Would you let you child go with a group to a swimming or boating event without the knowledge that the person taking them is able to swim?

    Yes, all this training is a result of our litigious society, but I can’t imagine the parents of the nine other boys I lead letting me take them into the woods without knowing I have the skills necessary to handle an emergency, should it occur.

  21. belleweather February 13, 2013 at 11:08 am #

    Even when I was in Girl Scouts in the nineties, we weren’t allowed to camp — my troop was led by lower-middle class working moms and even then the training that they would need and the cost in time off work and child care was too high. We ‘camped’ in a hotel room three years running, and learned about makeup, skin-care and curling irons. Or rather, they did. I sat in the corner and read “Dragonriders of Pern”, and then quit the girl scoutss the next month. Hanging out in a hotel room talking about make-up and boys was not an activity that was in short supply in my life when I was 12. Going camping — really, really camping! In a tent with canoes and backpacks, like my friends in the Boy Scouts got to do — was.

  22. Jennifer February 13, 2013 at 11:13 am #

    Cumulative effect again- one year, I took “youth safety” training 5 times, for 5 different organizations. It was essentially the same training, but no group would accept certification from another. It would be great if there could be a standard on some of this training that seems to be duplicated that multiple organizations would accept, so you only had to do it once and it would transfer.

  23. katrin February 13, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    When my daughter started Daisies in 1st grade, the meetings were after school at a church 1/4 mile from the school. Three moms were needed to come to the school to drive them! I guess the GSA deems it safer to take 5 girls in a car, than allow them to walk on a quiet road with sidewalks. I was told this was policy at the higher level.

  24. Warren February 13, 2013 at 11:52 am #

    @anon

    You do not have to take a course, and be certified to supervise kids, to take kids camping, canoeing, hiking, swimming or any other activity.

    And in my personal, experienced, opinion no weekend course, or four hour course can ever compare to a lifetime of experience.

    All these courses can do in the time allotted is teach the basics. Lifetimes teach it all. Which would you prefer to have instructing or teaching your kids?

  25. Maggie February 13, 2013 at 11:55 am #

    @TRS It’s great that you have the time to complete the training. The original writer clearly stated that she and her cohort did NOT have the time to complete the day-long canoe training. When one is already volunteering one’s time, it’s hardly appropriate for others to criticize them for not giving even more time.

    I would imagine that GS varies depending on the demographic makeup of a region. In towns/neighborhoods where most families have both parents are working crappy WalMart jobs to make ends meet, there’s probably fewer volunteers able to give large chunks of time to meet training and certification requirements. I know I had lots of time for volunteer work when I didn’t work outside the home. Now that I’ve started a business, not so much. I have to put my time and efforts where the do the most good. Others have to make those choices as well.

  26. colormeleah February 13, 2013 at 11:56 am #

    When I was a girl scout, not many years ago, my wonderful leader had the same issues. We couldn’t go tent camping, white water rafting, any many other activities us girls wanted to do. My brilliant leader decided to form her own group, The Juliets, http://www.girlscoutsnorcal.org/pages/for_girls/juliettes.html. This allowed us to do the fun things we actually wanted to do, like canoeing and camping.

  27. a-non-e-mouse February 13, 2013 at 12:06 pm #

    @Warren, you do if you want to do it with a Cub Scout pack.

    If it was just a group of kids from the neighborhood, no, you don’t need any of that training. But thanks to society, I’m not going to do it outside of an organization such as the scouts. I can’t afford to be sued into bankruptcy because one of the kids got a splinter or a bee sting.

    For the record, I was a scout when I was younger (1980s) and the leaders had some training, but nowhere near the level we have now. I went camping with my family in a tent for years. I was a red cross volunteer as a teenager; I was CPR certified, first-aid certified, honor camper…none of it matters to the people who write the insurance policies for the BSA. I could be a professional firefighter, saving lives every day. If I don’t have the BSA certification that I know what THEIR practices are, I am not covered by their insurance if something should go wrong.

  28. Kristin February 13, 2013 at 12:14 pm #

    Go get the training! I did it when I was in EIGHTH GRADE and took a bunch of Daisys camping with a few adults, but I was the trained one. You will find that you need training in any organized group situation, camp etc, go get it!!

  29. RobynHeud February 13, 2013 at 12:19 pm #

    With all of the training that is required to make sure the leaders are qualified to take the kids out, isn’t it just a little ironic that we still occasionally hear about troops who get into bad situations, usually which could have been avoided? As a previous poster said, these training courses teach the basics. There is only one person I can think of that I would explicitly trust to take my kids out camping and that’s because not only is he a close friend, avid camper, mountain man, and hunter, he’s also an ER nurse and has a great deal of common sense. I’m personally torn about whether to have my children in the scouting program once they’re old enough (mainly because my church places such an emphasis on it) because I don’t really feel that they’ll have the opportunity to learn all that scouting was originally intended to teach them.

  30. Powell Baden February 13, 2013 at 12:20 pm #

    My daughter’s GS troop does manage to go camping and other activities but only because of our awesome leaders that have given the time to get all of the required training.

    But we still do the “unofficial” trip once or twice a year. It’s probably the girls’ favorite trip of the year.

  31. Warren February 13, 2013 at 12:22 pm #

    @anon

    That is what I am saying, I may want to be involved, but do not have the time, to take all of these little insulting courses. And yes to me they are insulting. To explain why I find them insulting.
    1. Been hunting, fishing, and camping since the day I could walk.
    2. I can track an animal for miles, I can predict the weather hours in advance, to a better accuracy than the weather network.
    3. I can run rapids with the supply canoe, solo.
    4. Can effectively live off the land, not for a day, but indefinitely, should the need arise.
    5. And my buddies put this to the test years ago, I can find north 10 out 10 times, no matter the conditions.
    6. From the age of 16 to the age of 21 I was a lifeguard, taught swimming, and taught lifeguards.
    7. Have played most every popular sport out there, enough to give kids a chance to explore them.
    8. Physically, I am still capable of doing most anything, except maybe the 7 mile swims we used to do on Sunday mornings.

    None of those courses needed to be a leader, a helper or a volunteer can even come close to the experience and knowledge I have. Those courses are nothing more than an attempt to avoid litigation. I have been in a couple, and they spend more time telling you what not to do, than what you should be doing.

    The quality of groups such as guides, scouts, and most youth programs is declining, because of these courses.

    Most of us also do not have the time, to take these courses, taught by someone with less than half of our experience and knowledge. Let alone the being taught by someone that has no real world experience, and all book smarts. Sorry if this offends anyone, but in my experience this is how it is.

  32. Puzzled February 13, 2013 at 1:17 pm #

    The problem here is endemic to large organizations. The actual risk of litigation is low on a person by person basis, but a huge organization thereby is presented with a rather large aggregate risk of a huge cost. Meanwhile, the standard issue that presents is the impossibility of verifying the skills, knowledge, and practices of every individual employed. The choices are to let them do what they want – and run the risk of the uninformed doing things that incur huge costs or harm the value of the name, or to standardize practices, knowing full well how harmful that is.

    The solution is to not have such big organizations. People are afraid to do that, though, because they want the umbrella of a big organization in order to avoid liability. They should note that, in a small organization, the actual risk is much lower – especially since the people wanting these smaller organizations would, by necessity, be the people who know what they are doing.

  33. missjanenc February 13, 2013 at 1:28 pm #

    Warren, you might not want to go through the leader training crap, but your skill set would make you one heck of a Boy Scout merit badge counselor for swimming, orienteering, canoeing, fishing, rifle and shotgun shooting and sports.

  34. lollipoplover February 13, 2013 at 1:50 pm #

    “You do not have to take a course, and be certified to supervise kids, to take kids camping, canoeing, hiking, swimming or any other activity.”

    I 100% agree with this statement.

    The problem I have with all of this- why aren’t the GIRLS learrning these skills? When can they assume some responsibility for themselves- say learn to swim! I took my first lifeguard certification test when I was 13 (which included CPR) though I couldn’t guard until I was 15. ALL kids should be taught to swim, not to swim alone, and to always assess swimming areas for hazards.

    And canoeing classes? It’s called wear a life vest and try not to tip over. Seriously, this is perhaps the easiest activity to master. I can see boating safety if they had jet skis or real boats, but I’ve rarely read of many girl scout canoeing accidents lately. Stop treating every stupid activity, like canoeing, as if these girls are juggling knives and shooting flame throwers.

    And the Red Tape Merit Badge is brilliant.

  35. Jodie February 13, 2013 at 2:06 pm #

    This thread interests me for two reasons. First, when my daughter is old enough, girl scouts is definitely something I would like her to get into. I was a girl scout for a brief time and the main reason I quit was because my mom didn’t feel like driving me to meetings every week; we actually had them weekly then, and maybe some still do? The second reason is that I’m wondering, with all the sue happiness running rampant today, if a blind child (I’ve been totally blind since birth) would even be allowed in the scouts today, or if some burocrat (sp?) would decide he or she was too much of a liability. My daughter is fully sighted, but is only a year old, so I’ll be interested to see how much the girl scouts have changed by the time she’s old enough to join.

  36. Captain America February 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm #

    You know what I find humorous? All these mainly positive memories of Girl Scouts. . . and one reason I quit the Boy Scouts at age 15 was because I thought girls thought scouts weren’t cool. Ehhh!!

    I keep thinking that if I’d been smart, I would’ve stayed on through my college years: it would have been a GREAT way to let off college pressures by going on a hike or campout with the local scout troop, really get away from campus stuff.

  37. Thin Mint February 13, 2013 at 2:59 pm #

    I don’t get the Girl Scout program at all. I led my daughter’s troop from kindergarten through fourth grade and was totally turned off by the training requirements, the cookie program (a racket), and the substance of the program itself. It seems like all of the worthwhile opportunities available through Girl Scouts are more easily done just getting a group of girls together or through families. When the Journeys programs came along, I knew I had to go. Just what girls need – more mindless activities in workbooks.

  38. Andy February 13, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    @a-non-e-mouse “But the training isn’t difficult; many of the training sessions are combined, and there’s a lot of common sense.”

    Did you considered the idea that this is what irritates people? They are required to take day off from or families work just so they can listen whole day to easy common sense stuff. I bet that their attitude would be different if they would feel that what they learned is valuable and difficult. Or at least new.

    Listening to easy common sense stuff is waste of time, it is boring and it is irritating.

    Give all that easy common sense stuff written on paper or available online so they can read it on their own time. Allow them to skip lectures if they pass some written test or short practical test if possible.

    The easier and more common sense it is what the training is teaching, the easier it should be to skip it.

  39. Yan Seiner February 13, 2013 at 3:51 pm #

    I find the insurance arguments bogus…. I work with an organization that teaches rifle skills and American history. My 12 year old son shot a high enough score to qualify as a firearms instructor when he turns 13.

    These guys carry insurance for kids with guns, and they seem to have no problems with kids on the line as instructors. They do require a simple waiver if the parent is not on the line.

    I think the training requirements are just a “right of passage” to see if someone is “dedicated enough” to really want to do it. Basically, if someone really started asking questions they’d find that they’re doing this “on the advice of” someone else, but there’s no real need to do so.

  40. Warren February 13, 2013 at 4:22 pm #

    Ok survey time………..

    Who do you want camping with your kids?

    1. An interested parent with no or minimal experience, but passed a one day course.

    OR

    2. An interested parent that has been in the outdoors their entire life.

  41. LRothman February 13, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Guess it’s all in the area and who the local leadership is. My girls were able to camp – and, more importantly, go to sleep away summer camp starting when they finished Kindergarten. My son was excited to start scouts in 1st grade, until he realized that he couldn’t go to camp by himself for a week in the summer. He asked why he couldn’t just be a girl scout because they got to do more fun stuff.

  42. Jenn February 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Even 20 years ago the swimming rule was in place. As an early teen I wasn’t allowed to go in deeper than knee-deep water, it was roped off. Why? Despite being the strongest swimmer in my group I didn’t know how to do the breast stroke and wasn’t coordinated enough to “pass” as we were tested on the doggie paddle, crawl and breast stroke. I was stuck with people who didn’t know how to swim. There was red tape even back then.

  43. nathaniel February 13, 2013 at 4:30 pm #

    Reading through these comments I am struck my how much is driven by the legal system, or rather a perception of the legal system. Yes theoretically you could be sued over lots of things, but how often does it really happen? To me a lot of what I have read on this thread about the threat of being sued is just the same as the worst first thinking that this site is against in other areas.

    People hear about someone being sued (or a pedophile), and spend all their time worrying about being sued (or a kidnapper), rather than just leading the lives they want to lead. As someone has suggested if these large organizations have such rules, well then your group of kids who you presumably know and trust their parents, should go find a camp site and go camping outside of the group.

  44. DJ February 13, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

    I am a Girl Scout leader and I want any volunteers to be properly trained. I do not want someone taking my daughter camping who does not know how to properly light and douse a fire.

    I canoe and can tell you that there are proper techniques to learn for rowing and for righting a canoe. If you want to go on your own and fumble around, that’s fine, but you aren’t going to take my daughter out and teach her improper methods.

    And there are CPR and first aid programs that are good for 2-3 years. Refresher courses are easy — there are even blended learning options where you can prove your knowledge in an on-line test, go in for a practical check on actual skills and be done.

    Each GS Council is different, but I can tell you that mine (GS-TOP) offers a waiver option for training completed elsewhere. Get to know the Outdoor Education people in your council — mine are awesome to work with since I spent time talking with them about excitement for camping and didn’t start by complaining.

    And my husband is one of our outdoor leaders with full support of our troop parents. It helps that he volunteers regularly at meetings and doesn’t just show up for the camping.

    Girl Scouts is what you make of it. It takes time to have an effective outdoor program.

    Now my problem is getting a camping weekend scheduled that most of my troop can make it to — so many competing demands with soccer, etc.

  45. Andy February 13, 2013 at 5:12 pm #

    @Warren Given choice between those two people, I would take the parent that is better at handling kids.

    Reasons: Unless the activity happen on some especially dangerous place (rocky mountain, dangerous animals around or too far from civilization), the worst thing that can happen is that the experience will sux.

    You do not need 30 years of experience nor training to survive in tent in an official camp. The most likely dangers involve rain and tent full of water. Which means they can get cold and might be hungry next day (until they get into closest store).

    Similarly, I would not require neither much experience for canoeing on shallow lake if the kid can swim. If they tip over, they will swim out. I would require both experience and training if it should be canoeing on wilder moving water.

  46. Tsu Dho Nimh February 13, 2013 at 5:22 pm #

    In my daughters troop we got around the guidelines by camping in non-Girl Scout camps.

    There are many, many Forest Service and state parks campgrounds you can use without all the red tape.

  47. Warren February 13, 2013 at 5:24 pm #

    Well I will take years of hands on experience, over these courses any day, Andy.

    And no offense DJ, when it comes to “rowing” you are in the wrong watercraft. You row a boat, and you paddle a canoe. I have taken the course for canoes, that the school wanted, it was a joke. All the training in the world does not come close to miles and hours of actual paddling. You learn to read the water, you learn the signs of obstacles, you learn to read the weather and you learn mulitple ways to right a canoe. Just like with anything else, there is the book way, and there is also the real world ways. The book is fine, but without actual experience, it is worthless.

  48. FiSyd February 13, 2013 at 6:25 pm #

    @RobynHeud: Really? You only know 1 person you would trust to take your children camping? Are you sure you are on the right forum?
    It’s camping, not climbing sheer cliffs! I can’t think of many people I know who I would think incapable of taking my kids camping, and by the time my kids are 12 or so I would be happy for them to go camping by themselves.
    My friend’s son is in year 9 at school (14/15yrs old) and at his school all students spend 6 months living at a wilderness style campus where they do overnight solo hikes, among other activities. I fail to see why your average adult with basic first aid skills and some common sense couldn’t take kids camping.

  49. Donna February 13, 2013 at 6:43 pm #

    “There is only one person I can think of that I would explicitly trust to take my kids out camping and that’s because not only is he a close friend, avid camper, mountain man, and hunter, he’s also an ER nurse and has a great deal of common sense.”

    Really? You would require all that for someone to take your child CAMPING? It is not as if they are going to be fending off lions or scaling Mt Everest.

  50. RobynHeud February 13, 2013 at 6:54 pm #

    @FiSyd, it’s difficult to convey exactly what I’m thinking when I say camping, so let me try again. I’m referring more to someone who I know will actually be able to teach my children everything that the scouting program is supposed to teach you. I can take my kids camping, but I know I’m not skilled enough to find my way without a compass and a map, or to light a fire without matches and copious amounts of lighter fluid. It’s not about fearing that my children will not be safe with them, but about having a skilled mentor who will teach them the skills that Warren keeps pointing out. It’s someone who recognizes when to let the children try themselves and when to give them guidance. When I say camping, I’m imagining the long hike into the mountains, setting up a camp, and dealing with any possible hazards that come along. An overnight in a designated camping spot, with toilets and other amenities. well, then it doesn’t much matter if I or another parent takes them.

  51. TRS February 13, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    I got my Archery instructor Certificate from 4-H shooting sports. GS don’t care where you got it as long as you are certified and you can show them the papers. I am sure none of you would like your girls to go shooting arrows w/o proper guidance from a certified instructor.

    I am an RN so all my training is at work. You can use a RN or a MD that is a parent in your troop to be the first aider.

    You don’t have to train for everything. Only if you want to take the girls out on your own. I have taken my GS troop canoeing and I did not go to the training. We went to a vender that was certified by the GS Council I belong to and they took them out. All I needed was permission forms with the high adventure activity box checked. They provided the experts and had their own waiver to sign.

    I am sending my daughters and a few of the girls in my troop off to a gs day camp for teens that is full of all kinds of high adventure activities. The best thing is! I don’t have to go – we are putting them on a bus with one chaperone and they are going to a GS campground to kayak, archery, and fencing (my girls top 3 choices). There is also outdoor cooking, ropes course, rock climbing, service project, dancing, arts and crafts…….

  52. Andy February 13, 2013 at 7:56 pm #

    @Warren Well, I just do not see camping in safe official camp as a high risk activity. My point was that kids will survive uninjured with both parents. They will even survive uninjured with a parent that has no training and no experience.

    It is a camping and lake canoeing, not white water kayaking nor mountains climbing nor week long hiking out of civilizations and cell phone signal.

  53. Captain America February 13, 2013 at 9:00 pm #

    MFP—-more free pontificating.

    In reality, canoeing well means knowing a good many things about canoeing, particularly the J stroke and how to right a submerged canoe.

    One can paddle around like an amateur pretty easily in a canoe.

    I earned the Canoeing merit badge around age 12 or so, and it was not hard but not easy. Took some concentration to do well and get the hang of it.

    With respect to much of the above conversation, I think we’re largely beguiled by Mountain Dew High Adventure advertising into thinking the woods experiences are hyperactive action. Not so much like that here in the midwest.

  54. Yan Seiner February 13, 2013 at 9:04 pm #

    @RobynHeud: What happens when your friend gets hurt? I backpack with kids. The places we go are remote – as in, really really remote, off-trail, days from rescue remote.

    Why only trust one adult? Why not make sure the kids know what to do if the adult gets hurt?

    The other part of the remoteness is the fun of discovering things. We backpack, and we always try different things. Who cares if someone knows how to make a fire caveman style? Let the kids try and figure it out and see how far they get.

  55. DJ February 13, 2013 at 9:08 pm #

    Warren — thank you for the correction. I knew when I wrote my piece that “row” was the completely the wrong word, but I had a brain hiccup and could not think of “paddle” for anything! (It might have had something to do with the two children who kept asking me questions while I was typing. Or it could just be that it was one of those moments.)

    I agree that real world experience teaches much more than the book. I still maintain that a basic course (including on the water time) should be required before taking a bunch of kids canoeing. I hate watching clueless people who think they can just get in a canoe and go. (Again, if you want to do that by yourself, go ahead, but you arent going to be taking my kid). And if you have the real world experience already, I think you should be able to get a waiver and skip the course. Our GS council offers waivers.

  56. Lori February 13, 2013 at 9:29 pm #

    GS is getting to be over the top in everything. I volunteered to be cookie mom this year and discovered that I needed to have THREE references just to pass out cookies. And it’s not like the girls were going to come pick them up themselves, a parent drives them! This is a dramatic change from last time I was cookie mom and we didn’t need references at all.

  57. hineata February 13, 2013 at 9:33 pm #

    @Warren, Yan etc. – once again I am sitting here getting thoroughly exhausted just reading about all your adventures!

    Seriously, though, I get the bit about failing to cross-credit being a pain in the rear end, and also insulting. We are required to do ‘cross-cultural sensitivity training’ (or some such name), behaviour management, how to deal with ‘sensitive’ parents etc, as one part of our basic Guide Leader training. Sorry, but I am a mongrel breed married to a foreign multilingualist, trying to raise tri+ cultural kids, I’ve been teaching for donkeys years, and am currently doing a Masters in gifted ed among indigenous populations. I do not want to sit in a stuffy hall for a day listening to someone whose idea of how different cultures do things, or how to manage kids/parents, comes from some manual,

  58. Warren February 13, 2013 at 9:35 pm #

    DJ, We all have brain hiccups. I am glad your council offers the waiver, but far too many do not. I know an Ontario Provincial Police Marine Officer, who had to take a day off work, to take a water safety course to help at his kids camp. He teaches water safety, and had to take the course. This is how stupid things are. My good friend is an ER Nurse, and had to take a seperate school first aid course for volunteering during certain field trips.

    And what really burns me, is that each organization has different courses and requirements, and do not recognize each other, and most of these courses are not lifetime, but have to re certify on a regular basis.

    And schools, guides, scouts and the like wonder why volunteer numbers are down, as well as enrollment. Excuse the expression, but there is just too many hoops, and too much bullshit to deal with. Yes I love my kids, but I am not sacrificing that amount of money, time off work, and vacation time not taken with the rest of my family, just to be insulted, while I help out.

  59. Warren February 13, 2013 at 9:42 pm #

    No problem Andy, I had assumed that camping for the kids included alot of outdoor activities, not just hanging around the camp. Also that it was not in someone’s backyard, but actually in a state or provincial park. My mistake.

  60. hineata February 13, 2013 at 9:45 pm #

    @Andy – personally, if it was something I myself was not competent in, I would go for the person with all the experience, and then, if they happened to be complete jerks or seless with kids, just go along with the group to handle any people issues. (As a leader I’d usually have to do that anyway).

    Better a jerk who knows what they’re doing.

    It’s a little like when I had my kids, all by C-section. Some of the other mums about the place were complaining about how insensitive the local ObGyns were (only three or four of them in our city, old men all of them). I never could get that. When I was doped up and lying on a table with my innards open to the world, I just wanted them to be good at cutting me open and sewing me up. Who the hell cares what sort of personalities they had?

    Same with somebody taking kids out into the bush. I want someone who actually knows what they’re doing. Even if they are total b#$%tards.

    Long as they don’t toss any of the kids off a cliff somewhere :-)

  61. hineata February 13, 2013 at 9:46 pm #

    ‘useless’.

    How the hell am I going to do a thesis? Can’t even type ‘useless’? :-(

  62. hineata February 13, 2013 at 10:27 pm #

    @Warren, that’s ridiculous! About the ER nurse and the Marine Policeman, I mean. Why bother….? You’d just sit there wanting to shoot yourself in the head. (Now, remind me why I was so anti the Second Amendment…?).

    The time might come when all these organisations will fold, and we’ll all get back to doing it for ourselves. Might be better, actually.

  63. hineata February 13, 2013 at 10:39 pm #

    Though I did learn something again today, just by reading this site. For some reason I thought Ontario was one of the inland provinces, and just had freshwater lakes….

    Now, thanks to the joys of the net, if I ever need to visit I’ll know to bring my ocean-going waka, LOL!

  64. Warren February 13, 2013 at 11:38 pm #

    @hineata,

    You would be surprised at the size and the power of some of our freshwater lakes. I have had many friends, from different parts of Canada, the states and Europe stand on the shores of some lakes, and be amazed that they cannot see accross them. And that is not just the Great Lakes. Simcoe, Nippissing, are but two you cannot see accross.

    Lake Simcoe is a shallow warm lake with many great sandbars to enjoy. But within minutes can kick up swells that will swamp and sink canoes and small pleasure craft, because it is so shallow.

    Books and crash courses cannot teach you to read the water and the weather.

  65. Kay February 14, 2013 at 12:03 am #

    Warren,

    My boys are in Cub Scouts and finding parent volunteers to even be the den leaders is very hard. Nobody wants to really do it. The odds of getting someone with your criteria are slim to none. Most have minimal experience with camping which is really all that is required. Perhaps when my boys get into Boy Scouts they’ll find some die-hard survivalists as their leaders.

    And if I’m not mistaken, these volunteer parents who go through training have to pay for it, which isn’t cheap. Basic Adult Leader Outdoor Orientation and Outdoor Webelos Leader Training. And, of course, those who go to the camping session as a leader have to pay for that as well. It’s all very expensive.

    The constant medical forms every whip-stitch really has to be better organized. How’s come there isn’t just one form good enough for the whole year they keep on file? This is something I’d like to address but it has been discussed before, they said this is what’s required, no matter how redundant.

    Yes, this all has to do with a litigious society. I also believe every den leader has to have another adult present for every activity in case of claims of inappropriate touching.

  66. hineata February 14, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    @Warren, Wow! Yep, that is actually quite hard to comprehend. Obviously we are used to water you can’t see the edge of here ( we are bung at the bottom of the Pacific, after all), but a lake you can’t see across is sort of a strange concept.

    And does Lake Nipissing have First Nations communities around it? Just that sounds like the name that a Canadian professor was talking about a few weeks back (interesting guy for a variety of reasons, but talked veeery slow). Sounded like a small lake, but if it’s the same place, obviously I got the wrong message!

  67. Donna February 14, 2013 at 12:29 am #

    I think the level of training/experience etc needed depends on the level of difficulty. I’ve had no training and possess no great outsdoor skills, though I can hike, camp, canoe, swim in an average way. I am perfectly confident I could take kids on a basic camping trip in a girl scout campground with trail hikes, lake canoe trips and camp fires. It is not rocket science. For this type of trip – which is my guess all we are talking about here – I’d be fine with whoever was good with kids. Years of outdoor experience will be useless, but an ability to deal with kids important.

    As you move up in skill level of the trip, you need more training and experience. For example, if my kid is going white water rafting or rappelling, I want a guide who has both training and experience. Heck, if I am going white water rafting or rappelling myself, I want a guide with training and experience.

    The reason for training and experience is I want someone who can teach my child the correct manner of doing it. I’ve known how to run since I was about 1. That doesn’t mean that I should be teaching people how to run properly to compete in a 10k. As she ages, my child can modify her technique to fit herself but I want her to learn the correct technique first and the person teaching her needs to have learned the proper technique to teach her the proper technique.

  68. Kay February 14, 2013 at 2:06 am #

    O/T Does anyone know how to get to the previous pages of this year? The archives only go to 2012 and there is no previous page to click at the bottom of the home page from what I can find since the changes.

  69. Andy February 14, 2013 at 3:05 am #

    @Warren The amount of danger varies from park to park and place to place.

    Of course I like when my kids are learning from somebody who know how to do given sport correctly or knows a lot about that activity. If it is combined with teaching them those activities, then 1-day training combined with no experience is rather funny proposition.

    But, I do not mind if they are only hanging around in camp in nature with other kids once in a while. That is fine too. I also do not mind if their experience is not perfect and educational all the time.

  70. chornedsnorkack February 14, 2013 at 4:40 am #

    Also remember that Ontario is NOT an inland province! The two that are are Saskatchewan and Alberta – Ontario has a huge coastline on Hudson Bay!

  71. hineata February 14, 2013 at 5:20 am #

    @chornedsnorkack- got that now, LOL! Yep, Hudson Bay looks pretty darn big. Makes you wonder why they called it a bay – looks more like a small sea.

    Bet you’d need to know a bit about kayaking to paddle across that sucker…..:-)

  72. Warren February 14, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    @Kay

    That is what I am trying to get accross, here. That there are alot of highly experienced people out there, that are perfect for the role. Yet they cannot afford to do it.

    In my case the time the courses, the travel, and the time away from my business, just to be certified, would cost in the thousands. That doesn’t even include the actual time spent with the kids, that is just so you can spend time with the kids.

  73. Warren February 14, 2013 at 10:32 am #

    Yes there is alot of First Nations presence around Lake Nippissing. It is also a world class freshwater fishery, and a fantastic vacation spot. My family and I have spent a few summer vacations, on the south shore and Callendar Bay.
    And it is only a 4 hour drive from Toronto.

    To give people perspective on things when glancing at a map of Ontario, keep in mind you cannot drive accross the province in one day. Just from my Kingston to Thunder Bay, straight driving is over 24 hrs. Kingston is a few hours from Quebec, and Thunder Bay if memory serves is about 16 hours from Manitoba. So driving straight thru is pretty much a 48 hour trip. Keep that it mind when you see the size of some of the lakes.

  74. Alanna February 14, 2013 at 11:07 am #

    I know about the red tape. I rented a building at Girl Scout Camp Bonnie Brae this past January for my daughters Sweet Sixteen party. We were charged twice as much as a Girl Scout troop because we were not a Girl Scout troop ($160 as opposed to $80) and then I had to buy insurance which cost $350. I was told I needed a life guard and to be CPR certified.

    I managed to convince them that we would not need a life guard in the middle of winter. I told them my CPR certification had expired. They insisted that I bring another adult with me although I did not think I needed an additional adult. I managed to rent the place anyway, and we did have fun, but I never expected they would try to make me jump through so many hoops.

  75. Ravana February 14, 2013 at 2:15 pm #

    Girl Scouts sucked when I was a kid and they still do. I quit half way through my first year when a “camping trip” (staying in a cabin on the outskirts of town) was canceled and replaced with going to a local fun fair and then shopping.

  76. Captain America February 14, 2013 at 3:14 pm #

    for Kay above:

    In my experience, in scouting you have Cub leaders (who kind of come and go with their kids, in and out, some willing to get with the program, others just paddling along somehow) and the Boy Scout leaders (and these are guys who really commit; lifers, even, men with 30 years of experience in scouting even.

    Typically, this means scout leaders fall into two groups: the young inexperienced Cub people, and the seasoned Boy Scout people. They don’t necessarily like each other! But of all the organizations I’ve been involved in, I am totally very impressed with how everybody is fairly well coordinated with the mission; no personal politics, etc., but a clear focus on the youth. Impressive to me.

  77. Donna February 14, 2013 at 3:48 pm #

    Based on many of the comments here, it appears that the problem with the Girl Scouts is that they lack any central focus. Groups run from shopping and manicures to outback hiking and rock climbing depending on the group.

    That, to me, is a problem. One organization cannot be all things to everyone. If Girl Scouts is supposed to be about the outdoors than it should be about the outdoors, not manicures and shopping. If you don’t want to go camping, canoeing, rock climbing, etc., then don’t join the girl scouts. If you can’t handle the demands of teaching kids camping, canoeing, rock climbing, etc., then don’t become a girl scout leader. If manicures and pedicures are what you are after, form a different group.

    While this may cut down on girl scouts, I just don’t see a point in an organization that seems to exist just to get girls together with no universal purpose other than selling cookies.

  78. Lori W February 14, 2013 at 7:15 pm #

    I was a Brownie and Girl Scout leader and was also involved with Boy Scouts for years. The Girls Scouts in our area require waaay more training and red tape than the Boy Scouts. GSA had training for each level of scouting…(Daisy, Brownie, etc.,) even though it was the same group of girls. We had CPR and safety training, two different classes on camping, swim training, cookie sales training, etc. And all had to be retaken each year. We had to set aside an entire day each month just for training. We even had to take the camping training to pitch tents in one of the leader’s backyards. And that doesn’t include the district meetings we were supposed to attend as well. It got exhausting and I was so relieved to find out that the Boy Scouts made camping easier.

  79. Kimberly February 14, 2013 at 10:45 pm #

    I don’t see a problem making sure people know what they are doing.

    Girls Scouts have advantages over other groups
    1. They aren’t a hate group that discriminates against gays
    2. They aren’t a hate group that discriminates against athests
    3. They haven’t (So far) been found to have thousands of files documenting their cover up of sexual abuse of children.

    All oganizations that covered up sexual abuse of children should be charged and prosecuted under RICO – These include many if not most religions especially the Catholic Church, and Boy Scouts their wealth should be used to help their many victims.

  80. Lisa February 15, 2013 at 7:00 am #

    I signed up as assistant troop leader of my daughter’s Daisy troop as soon as she turned 5. She lasted half the year (I wouldn’t have let her quit mid-year, but we moved). Our friends in Boy Scouts, at the same age, were going camping and hiking. The Daisy troop was doing arts & crafts, earning “petals” by things like tracing their body on big paper and writing/drawing things about themselves, and other silly things. Yes, the troop is what you make of it, but the organization is set up to focus on very different things than I had expected. If you read through the Daisy handbook, you’ll see that there is almost nothing about traditional scouting skills. Lots of singing songs, talking about self-esteem, talk about friendship, etc. Yes, those things are important, but I expected my daughter to make friends by DOING exciting activities in scouts – not to skip the activities and TALK about being a friend. The biggest thing they did, in 3 months, was to put together little bags of snacks with a small craft, that an adult then delivered to a nursing home. Mind you, they didn’t actually cook anything – no measuring, using the stove or oven, etc. – just put snacks in bags.
    As for the training: people need to realize that troop leaders are VOLUNTEERS. I think it’s great that training is available in things like canoeing, archery, camping, etc. for those who want to take girls to do those activities but don’t know how. IMO, though, those trainings should be opportunities for those who need it. First Aid/CPR is one thing, but the trainings about specific activities should be offered but not required. If someone already knows how to canoe, why do they need to be trained? For volunteers looking to develop new skills so they can teach them to kids, it’s great that those trainings are offered. For those just wanting to take kids to have fun, and teach them what they’ve already learned from life experience, that’s good too. If parents think that the leader doesn’t have enough skill to teach a particular activity well, than other parents can step in and help with activities that they have experience in. Or they can collectively seek out someone to come in and with with the girls on that activity (high school kid? local Eagle scout?)
    I had never heard of Venture Scouts; looking at it, my only wish is that it started younger! I would love for my daughter to be a part of Boy Scouts, an organization which has been wonderful for many of my friends and now my friends sons. Perhaps BSA is going in the direction of someday running scouting programs for girls too.

  81. Emily February 15, 2013 at 9:44 am #

    @Lisa–I’m Canadian, but I have some understanding of how the Daisy petals work–first, the girls earn the Promise Centre for making their Promise, and then they earn one petal for each aspect of the Girl Scout Law, and then leaves and a stem for selling cookies, but I think that’s optional at that age. Anyway, do you HAVE to do the activities in the Daisy handbook, and ONLY the activities in the Daisy handbook? For example, suppose you wanted the girls to earn their “courageous and strong” petals (red, I think, but correct me if I’m wrong). Anyway, suppose you divided them into two teams (possibly with an older girl from Scouts or Cadettes accompanying each team), and then sent them on a simple orienteering task or scavenger hunt in an enclosed, safe, forest area, with an adult nearby with a first aid kit in case anyone got hurt? That way, you push them a little outside their comfort zone, but not in a dangerous way. If you did that, would you get in trouble?

  82. Katie February 15, 2013 at 10:52 am #

    Reading this and other similar things I hope my kids don’t do girl scouts. For all that money (not to mention hassle) we can have a decent trip to NYC.

  83. Emily February 15, 2013 at 11:06 am #

    Like I’ve said before, the Girl Guides in Australia seem to have a very different attitude towards children. They let the kids run and play outside, bob for apples in (probably germ-infested) buckets of water, and for marshmallows in flour (actually, we did both at the same Ranger meeting), they take them on “clean-up-the-park” expeditions without worrying about the possible “dangers” of finding a syringe or whatever, they teach them boating safety by actually taking them on a boat, and everyone does some level of camping, except the Gumnuts (Daisy/Spark equivalent), who get an indoor sleepover, because they’re young. In order to be a Girl Guide leader there, you just have to be 18 or over, female, enjoy working with kids, and be able to make the time commitment of one meeting per week for an hour or two. If you can do that, you can start participating as a Unit Helper (which I did), and then later on, there’s a weekend of training that’s at a set time, in order to become a full Girl Guide leader, and then you’re done, I think. Anyway, the important thing is, they want to get adults participating and helping right away, rather than doing layers and layers of screening and suspicion, and I think it works well. The Brownie unit would meet on Saturday mornings, and it was right next to a community gym/pool/tennis facility, so a lot of the Brownie parents would drop their kids off for Brownies, go and work out right next door, and then pick them up afterwards. Also, there was one girl in our group who had swimming lessons right after Brownies, so it worked well for her too. I don’t know why the parents just inherently trusted us, but I think it was just because we’d never given them a reason not to.

  84. Lisa February 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm #

    Mouse, not fully true for cub scouts. I’m a trainer. For your pack to go on an overnighter, you need ONE person with BALOO training. For cub-parent weekends, cub scout resident camp, Webelos Woods, etc. etc. you don’t. Cubs can’t do rafting, etc unless it’s at a council facility and flat water (per the Guide to Safe Scouting) Boy Scouts can do more and may need someone with specific training (Climb On Safety for example) for certain trips, but that training is easily taken online in about 20 minutes. There seems to be a lot more requirements for Girl Scouts.

  85. Lisa February 20, 2013 at 7:37 pm #

    Kay, the BALOO training here costs $5 and only one person on the overnight outing has to have it. The Outdoor Leader Skills (for Webelos leaders) is not mandatory although it’s really good to have. That one is maybe $10 but includes lunch which the leaders learn to cook.

  86. Callie April 28, 2013 at 4:14 pm #

    Hi! I found this article through a web search and have read the comments. I don’t know if anyone will see it this late, but I wanted to let people know of a traditional scouting program that is co-ed and inclusive for all (all faith/no faith, orientation, etc.)

    It is called that Baden-Powell Service Association. (In other countries it is called Baden-Powell Scouting but in the US the Boy Scouts have copyrighted the term “Scout”, I believe). It is a great organization for getting girls as well as boys into traditional scouting (woodcraft, outdoor skills) activities.

    Some people here might be interested:

    http://bpsa-us.org

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