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How Girl Scouts Can Be a Positive Choice!

Cristina is a business professional who has a degree in art and a degree in psychology. A mother of two, community volunteer and writer.

girl-scouts-can-be-a-positive-choice

My Daughters Story

Addison has always had a unique personality. What else should I have expected from my own daughter? She is like me in so many ways. She is adventurous, creative, stubborn, but also extremely shy. In fact, doctors suspect she has a condition called "Selective Mutism" which hinders her social as well as her educational development. She end up having to repeat Kindergarten due to her inability to communicate with her teacher.

For years, I could not understand why my sweet and fun loving daughter who talked endlessly to me, could no bring herself to speak to anybody else outside our circle. The schools tried their best to work with her however, nothing worked. I tried to get her involved in sports and playgroups, but although she enjoyed these things, nothing gave her confidence and comfort to start speaking to others.

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The Decision to Join Girl Scouts and Become a Leader

Growing up, I was involved in Girl Scouts from semi-early childhood well into my teenage years. I remembered that even though I was a shy child, I always felt more comfortable when my scout friends were near me. I thought perhaps that Girl Scouts might be a great choice for my daughter. In the beginning of her second year of Kindergarten, I approached a Girl Scout leader at my daughters school orientation. I asked about signing her up and was abruptly told that they are not accepting any more girls. This upset me because I really wanted her involved. Looking back, I think that particular leader just meant her own troop was full and she was too stressed at that moment to point me in the right direction. That is no excuse, but I do try to understand why people do what they do before I hold a grudge!

I gave up on my dreams of Girls Scouts until the following year. When my daughter started first grade I decided that I would dedicate myself to being a troop leader if that is what it took for my daughter to be able to join Girl Scouts. The Girls Scouts were happy to welcome a new leader and luckily I had a great friend who agreed to help me in starting a new troop. So we began our troop of Girl Scout Daisies (Kindergarten and First Graders), having no idea what we were getting ourselves into!

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Opening Up

Although Addison enjoyed going to the meetings and learning all of the things we taught the girls, she still had not opened up by the time half the year was over. The other girls were nice to her however, she quickly became known as the girl who never spoke. I believe that once other kids get to know her that way, she has an even more difficult time overcoming it. She was not the only girl in our troop with an issue though. I soon realized that all the parents had gotten their girls involved with Girls Scouts for one reason or another and most of them seemed to hope it would help their child with an issue she was having. For most of the girls, it seemed to be working! We have shy girls coming out of their shells, we had bullies becoming sweet and caring, we just couldn't get Addison to open up yet.

And then the cookie booths started. We were at our first cookie booth ever and I excused myself to go to the bathroom. Upon my return, I found that one of my girls scouts mothers had taken Addison to the edge of the sidewalk and had her holding a sign and screaming "Girl Scout Cookies for sale!" at the top of her little lungs! I could not believe it, but there it was happening!

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Proof: The Right Choice!

So now at least the other girl scouts knew she really could talk! This helped her at the meetings and events and little by little she began to feel more comfortable in school and other situations. Her teachers and tutors began to approach me and send me notes saying that she whispered in class.

We still had a long way to go but I knew I had made the right choice and being a Girl Scout was definitely helping my daughter overcome her disability.

girl-scouts-can-be-a-positive-choice

Not All About The Cookies!

In her first year as a Girl Scout, Addison sold over 1000 boxes of cookies. This was mostly because she went to nearly every single cookie booth! She was so proud of her accomplishment and her confidence soared. Was it a lot of work for me? Oh yes! Was it well worth it? Definitely!

Girl Scouts is not only about cookies though! We got to do all sorts of activities at the campground, museums, parks and other places.

girl-scouts-can-be-a-positive-choice

Lessons, Events and Outings, Oh My!

Girl Scouts is not only about cookies though! We got to do all sorts of activities at the campground, museums, parks and other places.

Not only did the girls learn the lessons we taught during the meetings, they were learning how to run a business by selling cookies, (and yes even the little ones have to learn things like money management and how to engage your customer before cookie season even starts!) They had gone to events such as Thinking Day (where each troop researches and represents a different country and gives a presentation involving food from that country.)

Other activities included, Girls Scout Sunday, The Christmas Parade, Daddy Daughter Dance, Mother Daughter Tea Party and the Wreaths Across America wreath laying ceremony at a national cemetery to honor American Heroes. The girls were learning, interacting and having fun. It was everything I had hoped it would be for her and all the girls in my troop.

Camp Life is the Best Life!

We kicked off the beginning of her second year as a Girl Scout (First year as a Brownie) with a day trip to the campground. There, the girls got to experience archery, canoeing, and learned how to use a compass. These day trips also familiarize the girls with the campground so they will be more comfortable going by themselves.

This year, we have several of our girls attending camp all by themselves for the first time! Our local Girl Scout Council offered financial aide to partially pay for the girls to go to camp and our troop covered the balance with some of the funds from selling over 6000 boxes of cookies this year!

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We Help Multiple Organizations

Over the past three years, our troop has had so many incredible experiences. We have spent the night at the science museum, the mall and even the zoo! We have done countless community service projects. Last year, we focused on helping the animal shelter. The Brownies even put on a play about it and we had a visit from a service dog and employee from our local animal shelter. This year, among other things, we are helping out a local charity by building picnic tables for their events.

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Girl Scouts are Girl Led and each Girl is Different!

I can't say that no girl has ever left our troop. Sadly, not every girl wants to be involved in what we offer. That being said however, we have had girls request specifically to be in our troop. Each troop is different and it is important to find the right fit for your daughter and you. Some troops focus more on crafts and girly things while others focus on strictly outdoors and camping. We try to mix things up as much as possible. Our troop as a lot of science, building, and helping others. We definitely try to do as much outdoors as possible when the weather permits and we are always filling in with some sort of craft. We are even currently trying to raise money for archery equipment as one of our leaders just became a registered archery instructor!

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Look Into Girl Scouts!

So before you dismiss Girl Scouts, think about what your daughter needs and how being involved in Girl Scouts could possibly help her. Get in touch with your local Girl Scout Council and ask the employees there if they know of a troop that will cater to your child's specific needs. Most of the troops who are willing to do this are well known by the council and workers will be happy to recommend.

Please take the time to look up the Girl Scout Council in your area to see what opportunities are available for your daughter. Based on my experience, I strongly recommend Girl Scouts! And if you do choose to sign your daughter up, here is a helpful hint: Leaders LOVE IT when a parent wants to help! Leaders are just volunteers, trying to help your children become strong, independent women... appreciate them!!!

Girl Scout Promise and Law

Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times,

And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

© 2019 Cristina Cakes