What Girl Scouts CAN Do — When Not Babied!

Hey Folks — This was written in response to the post a few down from here, about a Girl Scout troop where the girls are making s’mores with marshmallow fluff instead of toasted marshmallows, presumably so no one gets hurt. One of the big-time tenets of Free-Range Kids is that kids are safer than our culture gives them credit for. In fact, the more responsibility we give them, the SAFER they become because they’re more resourceful and prepared! Here’s what they are capable of, when we train and trust them. – L

Dear Free-Range Kids: Please…. here are some of the very cool things I did in Girl Scouts and at Girl Scout Camp. Cooked all of my meals, for two weeks, over an open fire; learned to rock climb; canoed down a portion of the Colorado River; backpacked up a mountain and back down again; went on a survival weekend with no packed food; cooked drop donuts, in boiling oil, over a coffee can stove; spent a week at the beach, swimming in the big waves; water skied; sledded; camped in the snow; lashed bamboo poles together to make a camp sink and countertop; learned to whittle with a pocketknife in second grade; ate some rattlesnake in fourth grade (THAT was an unexpected one!); washed my own dishes; planned and prepared meals for the whole group; ran a Christmas party for kids in our city; edited a troop newspaper in 5th grade; sewed stuff, roasted a whole turkey in a pit that we dug in the ground; had a clam roast at the beach; sang a ton of songs, created a bunch of crafts, gave away a bunch of beaded
friendship bracelets, and received a bunch too;  made messes and cleaned them up. Used an axe to chop kindling. Learned how to build, light, and put out a fire. Slept in tents and under stars. Got in trouble for playing mumbleypegs (knife throwing at a target on the ground). And, whenever possible, toasted lots of marshmallows, sandwiched them with Hershey bars and graham crackers and ate until I was stuffed.

And THAT is what made Scouts fun! (And was a big part of making ME fun too!) – Margo N.

36 Responses to What Girl Scouts CAN Do — When Not Babied!

  1. Katie November 13, 2012 at 11:50 am #

    All of that is fabulous and unrealted to the political bent that GSA has taken lately. Does anyone know anything about what’s being done in other organizations, such as Y Guides, Campfire, etc, these days? (I omit 4-H because it’s so variable and can be done so many different ways, which is an asset but doesn’t mean much on a broad scale.)

  2. Mark November 13, 2012 at 12:38 pm #

    Yesterday my daughter’s kindergarden (so 3 to 6 year olds) celebrated St Martins Day as is the custom in Germany with a lantern lit parade – lanterns lit with real burning candles – it was a great sight to see upwards of 50 lanterns carried by the kids glowing in the dark as we all walked to the local park to sing a few songs. Much to my suprise not a single paper lantern, let alone a kid caught fire in the process!

    I suppose the Girl scounts would have replaced candles with small torches, or would this represent an electrocution hazzard, and therefore would also be banned?! ….Silly me, of course, they wouldn’t have been allowed outside in the cold dark night in case anyone got cold or was abducted, so lanterns wouldn’t have been needed in the first place!

  3. Linda Wightman November 13, 2012 at 1:21 pm #

    Even in my day (50 years ago) Girl Scouts was a pretty tame program generally, compared with the Boy Scouts. But my dad (former Boy Scout leader) and others made sure we did some of the fun stuff (e.g. mountain climbing) that he had done with his boys. And when we were in high school, our leader took us adventuring in Europe, despite the fact that the Girl Scouting organization did all they could to discourage and hinder her. We stayed in youth hostels and made incredible memories. Sometimes I think making a good life for our kids is always about fighting “city hall.”

    Twenty-five years ago, our kids were in the YMCA Indian Guides/Princesses program, which was fantastic — but again, extremely variable depending on the people involved. All I know about it nowadays is that they’ve dropped the Native American connection, which I consider a terrible shame. Here, at least, it taught respect for Native cultures, and had the support of local tribes.

  4. AJ Kuperman November 13, 2012 at 1:54 pm #

    All that this girl has done is what I would love to teach my girl scouts. I’d love to know how her leaders got around some of the rules of the GSA. I’ve been to many trainings that are more about what you can’t let your girls do than what you can teach them. When are girls were Brownies (1st & 2nd grade), we were told not to let them toast s’mores over the fire because they might catch themselves on fire. Really? They are 6th graders now and I am finally being allowed to teach them knife and fire safety and some outdoor skills. So I am totally serious when I say I’d like to know how her leaders got around not only the GSA’s rules but also parents. I’d love some ideas and resources! One last question, how old is this girl? Was she a Girl Scout in the 80’s or more recently? I was a Girl Scout in the 80’s and I was able to do many of the things she did.

  5. Emily November 13, 2012 at 2:47 pm #

    @AJ Kuperman–This may sound unpopular, but I think the right age level to start teaching fire safety (including some real-live opportunities to PRACTICE fire safety), is Sparks. I’m Canadian, so the American equivalent of Sparks would be Daisy Scouts, if I remember correctly–and, fun fact, that level is called “Gumnuts” in Australia. Anyway, you know what I meant–the youngest kids, starting in kindergarten. I wasn’t in Guides as a kid, but my parents took me and my brother on vacations to various rented cottages starting at that age, and they allowed me to roast my own marshmallows for s’mores. There might have been ONE mishap, but if there was (and I don’t really remember), then I learned from it. I think that, if I was leading a group of kids around the kindergarten/grade one level, I’d handle “fire safety” by briefly talking to the kids about it, brainstorming fire dangers, and ways to get around them, and practicing a fire drill, in the event of an actual fire. After that, I’d declare all of the kids “junior fire marshals,” with inexpensive badges or something, and we’d celebrate with real s’mores over a fire. Now, I’d still light the fire, because I’m not crazy enough to let a six-year-old do that, AND I’d keep a bucket of water handy in case something goes wrong. However, what I’m trying to say is, you ban kids from doing something their whole lives, whether that’s being around fire, or swimming, or going out without adults, then they’re not going to magically learn to do it safely the moment they turn eighteen. So, in this case–fire is not the new “F” word.

  6. joanne November 13, 2012 at 2:52 pm #

    AJ, when I was a leader (within the past 10 years) I just did what I wanted to. I guess I broke the rules, but nothing bad happened. I took my kindergarteners camping. They cooked their own meals and they toasted marshmallows over the fire. Their parents were minorly concerned about them cutting up fruit for fruit salad, but they let them do it and so I think both the girls and the parents were pleasently surprised with what the girls could do. They used my camp stove to make a simple lunch of spaghetti and browned ground beef for the sauce. My older troop and I fished (violating safetywise) and waded.

    Since my parents were not really involved in the GS they had no idea what we could or couldn’t do and they trusted me since I had been with my older girls for years. (The K troop was mostly made up of the little sisters of my older troop).

  7. Stafir November 13, 2012 at 3:14 pm #

    AJ, more than likely they didn’t get permission…and either knowingly or unknowingly broke GSA rules.

    And honestly…teaching kids to actually know how to handle themselves around a fire…and a stove….how to handle small blades for handy work. I think that’s important enough to break a few rules..trust me you grow up rather stunted if you don’t know some of the basic stuff.

  8. Mike C November 13, 2012 at 3:22 pm #

    Sounds like one of my fave quotes:

    “A human being should be able to change a diaper, plan an invasion, butcher a hog, conn a ship, design a building, write a sonnet, balance accounts, build a wall, set a bone, comfort the dying, take orders, give orders, cooperate, act alone, solve equations, analyze a new problem, pitch manure, program a computer, cook a tasty meal, fight efficiently, die gallantly. Specialization is for insects.”
    — Robert Heinlein, Time Enough for Love

  9. Sarah in WA November 13, 2012 at 3:53 pm #

    I was a camp counselor when I was a college student, and one of the other counselors (she would have been about 20 years old) was badly burned in a candle-making accident. We were digging little holes on the beach and then pouring wax we had melted over a camp stove into them to make the candles.

    One of the pools of melted wax caught fire. The counselor who was burned threw water on it, and obviously that was the wrong course of action. My point is, if she had actually done this sort of activity as a kid herself, she might have known to bury it with sand rather than throw water on it. Being sheltered growing up (I did know her well enough to know this was the case) did her no favors here.

    How are kids going to learn about fire safety unless they get some exposure to it?

  10. Margo N November 13, 2012 at 5:09 pm #

    Hi! I was the person who wrote this and was a scout and then a camp counselor from the early 1970s through the late 80’s. Other than one of the leaders cooking and serving rattlesnake, (which caused a bit of an uproar, not least because he killed the snake to begin with), I am not aware that ANY of this was against rules or regulations at the time, and when I was a troop leader in the mid-90’s I was not aware of any particular limitation to my ability to teach fire building and safety, knife skills, etc.

    I don’t blame GSA per se, the new reality is just a reflection of the extremely risk-averse general climate, but it is really a shame. The many fierce friendships and adventurous experiences that I had in Girl Scouts are one of the primary reasons that I am the competent, independent person that I have become – and I would hate for girls now to have anything less!

  11. maggie November 13, 2012 at 5:34 pm #

    AJ and Joanne, I totally agree! Girl Scouts is more about keeping everyone safe, as opposed to learning what you can do! It’s also slowly turning into a mega-corporation, more about money than girls, but that’s a story for another day….I’m a leader, and if we followed every single rule in Safety Wise and filled out every piece of “red tape” paperwork,, we would NEVER do anything. As a consequence, some rules get “forgotten”, or “bent”, which isn’t what I want to be teaching my girls, but what else can we do? Our informal rule is if the parents are OK with it, then we’re game (within reason).
    This makes me very sad, as it is not the Girl Scouts I remember from when I was young. Or maybe it is, and leaders have been fudging the rules for quite some time. If that’s the case, it’s a lot more fun to be a girl than a leader! I’ve often thought about dropping my leader role, but I’ve been with the same girls for 6 years. And, there is no other alternative here. I’d have to start my own club, which is probably against the rules….

  12. Shewolfy November 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Margo, If you were a scout in the 70’s and 80’s, then at least one rule was broken by your leaders – playing in the ocean. When I was a scout in the late 60’s, we went on an official scout camping trip to the beach. Now, all of us lived on the coast, and many of us had literally grown up at the beach. We could all swim. But when we got excited about going swimming in the ocean, we were told that we couldn’t., because the Girl Scout safety rules prohibited it. We were told that it was because some Girl Scouts, somewhere, had drowned in the ocean on a camping trip at some point in the past.
    We were stunned. We protested. But the leaders would not give in, and even the kids whose parents were chaperones were not allowed to swim. It was very disappointing, and we all wished we had gone camping somewhere else.
    When my daughter was old enough for Girl Scouts, I had her join 4-H instead. They aren’t nearly so restrictive.

  13. Helen November 13, 2012 at 5:57 pm #

    Margo N. sounds like she had amazing and wonderful experiences growing up that I wish we would all have too, but the sad fact of the matter is that these organizations have to protect themselves from any potential lawsuits against them. THAT is why they are playing it so safe.

    It took me a short time online just to find these ten headlines having to do with lawsuits brought on by parents, from the silly to the tragic:

    Parents SUE school for kicking their son out of honours English class after he copied classmate’s homework

    A bad slide that injured a young Staten Island player five years ago will cost Little League Baseball Incorporated and the New Springville Little League $125,000.

    Elizabeth Lloyd is seeking more than $150,000 in damages to cover medical costs stemming from the incident at a Manchester Little League game two years ago. She’s also seeking an undefined amount for pain and suffering.

    Parents Sue Education Consultant For $2 Million After Sons Don’t Get Into Harvard

    Parents sue Pa. district over son’s allergy plan

    B’ham parents sue over school supplies

    Parents Sue After Daughter Dies in Hawaii Jet Ski Crash

    Family of teen fatally struck by TTC bus launches lawsuit

    Parents sue hospital for failing to spot son’s fatal chromosomal abnormality – for damages of £300,000

    Parents sue after hospital ‘wrongfully declared their eight-year-old son dead’, seeking $200,000 in damages for ‘severe emotional distress

    When money can fill the void that was caused by misfortune and misery, isn’t there something wrong with us? I would like for people to understand that life isn’t always fair, and accept it, and NOT SUE when life happens! I want people to understand that it is in a human’s nature to make mistakes, and that those mistakes deserve heartfelt apologies, humility, regret, and an effort to do better next time, no matter HOW badly they have failed you. I think people ought to toughen up and accept life’s hurdles without suing. Only when the suing stops will the children’s programs and schools let kids have fun again.

  14. DJ November 13, 2012 at 6:01 pm #

    AJ — Sounds like a lot of what you are being told is local council lore or personal preferences of the instructors. For example, one of the stories handed down around here is that leaders can only administer water and a band-aid. That isn’t written down anywhere in GSUSA policies.

    GSUSA does have Safety Checkpoints (read them online) but they do not prescribe the cautions you mentioned for making s’mores, for example.

    Here is a link to the Safety Activity Checkpoint for Outdoor Cooking. It seems a bit wordy, but it’s intended for all leaders, including those newbies who may not have grown up camping themselves.
    http://www.gs-top.org/sites/default/files/downloadable_forms/outdoor-cooking-safety.pdf

    Now, there are approval processes to go through for more High Adventure Trips. For example, our Council Rep won’t approve Daisies for White Water Rafting, which makes sense. (I might take my own child at that age, but a group of them? Never.)

    This year, my 3rd graders will be doing outdoor cooking on vagabond stoves with buddy burners, learning knife safety, etc. And we are following the council and GSUSA rules. We have trained outdoor leaders, trained first aiders, and will follow proper procedures for campfire and knife safety. (Now, we do have a few additional rules that the boys don’t have — like tying back our hair and taking off necklaces!)

    I would recommend that you read the official GSUSA Safety Activity Checkpoints and go from there. For younger girls, stick to the adult-to-girl ratios required — younger girls do need more supervision around a campfire.

    And go make Girl Scouts fun!!!

  15. DJ November 13, 2012 at 6:03 pm #

    P.S. I knew one Cub Scout leader (female), who kept trying to tell everyone that there were prescribed ages for the boys to handle fire as well, but none of the guys ever listened to her. So it’s not just in Girl Scouts.

  16. Heather E. November 13, 2012 at 6:04 pm #

    Speaking of the above comment on 4H, I was a 10 year 4Her in Indiana and am now starting my kids in Kansas. Yes, they are VERY different from state to state. But what I’d really like to share is what my parents started in their county. They started a 4H Blacksmithing club for 4Hers 9-18, boys and girls. The kids are required to make all their own blacksmithing tools the first year; tongs, poker, etc. They have had a tremendous success! I believe they have 50 kids? and half of those are girls!! The only problem is some of the littler ones don’t have the upper body strength to swing the hammer as long or as hard as needed but very few give up!! It’s amazing what these kids have done BUT it never would have happened without parents and leaders providing leadership, rules, the proper environment and then stepping back to let the kids experiement. Kudos to your troop leaders Margo!! They must be fantastic!!

  17. DJ November 13, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Girl Scouts can swim in the ocean. You just have to have a LIfeguard with Waterfront Certification.

    They can even go diving off diving boards.

    Sometimes leaders just want to give the easy answer, which is “GSUSA won’t let us” rather than the true one, which is “we don’t have the proper training.”

    http://www.gs-top.org/sites/default/files/downloadable_forms/swimming-safety.pdf

    Yes, some of the recommendations in here are a bit overkill, like “As best as can be determined, the water is free of dangerous marine life.” but remember that these checkpoints are also for newbies who may not have the background knowledge to think everything through.

  18. Emily November 13, 2012 at 6:31 pm #

    As I might have mentioned before, I’m currently in the process of becoming a Girl Guide leader, for the second time (I volunteered as a Unit Helper in Australia, but had to leave the country before the next scheduled training, due to visa issues). Anyway, all I had to do to get involved with Guides in Australia was make a phone call, but here’s what it apparently takes here:

    1. A written application
    2. Two references
    3. A criminal record check, through MyBackCheck.Com
    4. A phone screening
    5. An in-person interview
    6. Successful completion of the “Safe Guides Training,” either online, by telephone, or in person (not sure if this costs anything; I’m finding out).
    7. A current First Aid certification from within the same PROVINCE where you’re applying to be a Girl Guide leader. So, my certification from Australia, that’s good for another year, is no good here. Fortunately, I’m eligible for a partial subsidy to take First Aid here.

    Anyway, the reason for all this is apparently “to protect girls.” Maybe this is effective–I don’t know. However, I do know that I’ve done a lot of other volunteer work with kids that didn’t involve all of this, there were no catastrophes.

  19. Kat Robb November 13, 2012 at 7:39 pm #

    No 1 It’s. GSUSA
    No 2 None of what Margo described was prohibited at the time we did it and was fine in Safety Wise. I was one of the staff at one of Margo’s camps and a troop leader at the time and eventually Council staff.

    I taught fire safety to everyone. I do remember a staff member getting burned when a kid got scared of a flaming marshmallow and flung it but that never stopped us from doing it.

  20. TRS November 13, 2012 at 7:58 pm #

    Got an e-mail about an upcoming GS trip to Uganda for 15 yo and above. My girls are only 13. GS is great too many forms though.

  21. TRS November 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    Once a Girl reaches the Cadet level they can do about anything. GS does have its forms that need to be filled out to cover them from law suits. I am a Archery instructor and teach at a 2 week summer day camp. Real bows, arrows, and targets. Rising 5th graders and older can shoot. The only reason why the younger ones can’t is because they don’t have the strength to pull back on the arrow.

    GS has a wonderful Destination program any GS 6th grade and higher can apply. You can visit about any place in the world except for Pakistan, Afgahnastan…..

    Here is a good link to describe the opportunity

    http://www.gscnc.org/destinations.html

  22. AztecQueen2000 November 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm #

    I remember learning how to lash poles to make a table in Girl Scouts. That was before they gutted the program.
    My own daughters are in Frontier Girls. Any organization that has five gun badges (air rifle, muzzle loading rifle, muzzle loading shotgun, rifle, and shotgun), a fire building badge, and an outdoor cooking badge is all right.

  23. TRS November 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    GS can be very exciting. You just have to know what is available.

    http://www.girlscouts.org/forgirls/travel/destinations/event_list.asp?catid=0

  24. Linda Wightman November 13, 2012 at 8:12 pm #

    Being free-range parents isn’t just about letting our kids do things; it’s also about preparing them to do things. In a comment above, Emily said, “Now, I’d still light the fire, because I’m not crazy enough to let a six-year-old do that.” My first reaction was, “Why not?” Our grandkids could light fires safely by that age. They’re also genuinely helpful in the kitchen, having started at the age of two to use sharp knives for cutting up fruit and vegetables.

    But there is a huge difference between what is safe for someone who has been carefully taught over several years, and someone whose first experience with a match or a sharp knife is on a camping trip, with other, equally inexperienced children. If we can get back to the time when most of the Scouts are taught at least the rudiments of these skills by their parents, maybe we have a chance of returning some sanity to the system. Until then — well, let’s just say that I’ll bet half the leaders could also use training in using jackknives and starting fires.

  25. Emily November 13, 2012 at 8:58 pm #

    @Linda Wightman–Okay, fair point. If the (hypothetical) parents were okay with Sparks learning to light fires safely, then I’d let them do it.

  26. Taradlion November 13, 2012 at 10:57 pm #

    Yes. I did things like this in Girl Scouts too. I commented once before that when I went to camp, a jackknife was required, but my daughter’s camp does not allow them! When I asked if she could bring one, I was told the counselor would have to keep it (she was 10 at the time), but they would prefer she not bring it.

    My favorite things on my packing list for camp were my jackknife and mess kit (all the little metal pots and dishes that fit together).

  27. CJB November 14, 2012 at 2:36 am #

    OH Girl Scouts. My daughter turned 18 just a few days ago. She spent many, many years in Girl Scouts. Some of them I was troop leader, others I was not.
    Just some of the things my daughter has done:
    – Built a fire, many times by 13 years old, expert by 16.
    – Roasted Marshmallows over said fire, too many to count.
    – Camping @ 14 – bears visited the trash bins & it snowed that night.
    – Climbed rock faces man made and mother nature made. Made her way up scrambles – not belayed
    – Horse Camp, 2 weeks, every day up at 5 AM to tend & ride horses until noon. A second group got the horses for the afternoon.
    – Tubing & Skiing
    – Cooking, ONE adult teaching 12 girls to cook dinner for their families in a restaurant kitchen!! 6 girls in the kitchen while 6 taking orders, then switch. Every family was fed and money raised for local Vet’s!
    – Amateur Radio License, Technician. Then went back and earned her General Class License @ 16 because she wanted to.
    – Ice Block Sledding. 1×1 foot cube of ice – sit on it and slide down a NON snow covered hill. LOTS of tumbling more than sliding. The adults, were sitting around a camp fire eating S’Mores!
    – Cookie Sales – knocking on the doors of complete strangers and discussing business transactions. Talking to strangers near local business’. Handling large sum’s of money safely, didn’t loose any even though she was one of the top sellers.

  28. Seamus November 14, 2012 at 4:09 am #

    Let’s look at the real issue here: Parents should be involved with their children. Some times it is easy to say that ‘other’ organizations should do this or that. if it is something you think your child should learn, then do it together with them.

    Organizations can be a good place to socialize and organize activities. But they are not an excuse for things not happening. This is your children’s childhood. Be willing to make it as memorable and educational as possible. Even if you don’t know yourself, it will be an experience learning together with your child.

    In fact, it would probably be an even better lesson because it teaches children to learn something new at any age.

  29. Taradlion November 14, 2012 at 12:43 pm #

    I don’t think it is necessarily that kids don’t do these things with parents. In the post on fake s’mores many parents posted that they have fires with their kids. My daughter has tended fired and roasted marshmallows with me, I just wish I wasn’t fighting against other adults telling her things are too dangerous…and wish she still had the opportunity to do things that are “adventurous” in a social setting.

  30. AJ Kuperman November 14, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    @DJ, I think you are right about concil lore and instructor preferences and thank you for the info about checking out GSUSA policies. Part of my problem is that I am actually the co-leader and I have to do ALOT of pushing to get new experiences for the girls (who are now 6th graders). Teaching them knife safety was awesome but you should have seen the other moms hovering! And getting the moms who come on campouts (which I try to discourage) to back off and let the girls do stuff on their own is a constant battle. The last campout we went on, I finally convinced my leader and the parents that the girls could go (gasp) hiking on their own!!! Slowly but surely, I am gaining some control. The girls are finally starting to take over the troop as their own and choosing the direction they want it to go it. My own daughter has been lighting fires since she was 5 and we started basic fire safety with her around 3 years. This past summer she and her brother (11 and 9) went to an amazing camp in Virgina called The Living Earth School. They built fires, carved their own bowls and cups out of bamboo, hiked in the woods, swam in the creek, and slept in debris shelters thru thunderstorms. And had an awesome time doing it!
    I finally had some of my girl scouts on the last campout want to learn how to chop wood and light the fire. So, we’re getting there, it’s just been a slow journey. :)
    Thanks for all your great comments!

  31. DJ November 14, 2012 at 6:18 pm #

    AJ — Kudos on all your hard work! That sounds like a tough road. I know what you mean about the hovering parents. (Believe it or not, they exist in Boy Scouts, too!)

    I’m having to work right now to convince several of my girls that they will be fine on an overnight without their moms. And I think the moms are feeding into the girls’ insecurities. Sigh.

    Last year, I got one to go to resident camp (my daughter) and she convinced a buddy to go with her this year. We’ll see what happens this year.

    We’re working to make it an expectation that only a certain number of adults go on any activity, including campouts. When a girl is new to the troop, we let her parents (okay, mom) hang around a little more until reassured that everything is fine. Then, we ask them to rotate who goes on each activity.

    It has been my experience that bored parents hover more (I know that’s true for me as well). Have you thought about giving those extra parents jobs to do on the trip? They don’t have to be extensive jobs or take the place of the girls’ work, but they do have to occupy the parents minds and hands. Or assign them each to teach a skill (when they’re not teaching, they will need to be busy prepping and hopefully stay out of the way of the other lessons).

    Don’t leave these extra parents to their own devices, but manage them. They’ll either be a great asset or they’ll stop coming on the campouts.

    The Living Earth School sounds really neat, btw!

  32. DJ November 14, 2012 at 6:58 pm #

    AJ — I was thinking that also, some parents tend to hover and worry because they see other parents hovering and worrying and don’t want to be seen as the “bad parent” for “not caring.” You might see if you can figure out who the lead worrywart is that might be influencing the others. If you can cut her off at the pass, the others might not be such an issue.

  33. Tom November 15, 2012 at 10:27 am #

    Are we sure this is a problem with the girl scouts or a problem with the particular groups these girls are in?

    I would complain that the message they’re sending my girls is that they’re naturally unable to do what their brother can do. My 7 year old son has already camped, made s’mores (something we do at home), and run around in the woods at night w/ cub scouts.

    Boy scouts has its own problems but it’s still the best program to show boys how to be independent. Girl scouts is apparently taking the exact opposite approach, for good and bad: accept everyone and coddle them.

  34. NicoleK November 15, 2012 at 2:19 pm #

    Maybe one of the scouts was a vegetarian. Marshmallows are not vegetarian, as they contain gelatin, but fluff is made from eqq whites and sugar.

  35. Emily November 15, 2012 at 5:46 pm #

    @NicoleK–You’re right; marshmallows do contain gelatin, and Marshmallow Fluff does contain eggs, but I think it’s possible to buy vegan versions of both. Anyway, I’m vegan, but I don’t force my beliefs on others, so if I was doing a campfire with kids, I’d simply get the regular versions of whatever for the majority of the kids, and the vegan versions for myself, and whichever of the kids had similar dietary restrictions, and I’d do it quietly so that nobody would feel embarrassed.

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