The Case of the Reluctant Scout


March 12th marks the 100th anniversary of the creation of the Girl Scouts. I have done my time as a scout. I have conflicting feelings about that time.

Things I liked about being a Girl Scout:

The cookies. DUH. Learning to build a fire. Learning boondoggling. Nature walks. Learning to canoe. I am sure there are other things, but that sort of covers it.

Things I hated about Girl Scouts:

CAMPING. While I enjoy the great outdoors, I despise to the core of my being sleeping on the ground and don’t even think about asking me to pee in the woods. Girl Scout leaders can also be a bit…what is the word I am looking for…SCAREY. Now, to be fair, my mother was my troop leader for much of the time I was in Scouts. Which was through the first year of Cadet level. That means 2 years Brownie, 2 years Junior, 1 year Cadet. I knew I was not destined to go too far because I did not care one bit about being a First Class Scout. This is the equivalent to Eagle Scout for the boys. My leader, the not my mom one, said I should WANT to be a First Class Scout. I politely inquired as to why. “Looks good on the resume. On the college application!” I was 9. None of these things impressed me.

She was the same leader who suggested that OF COURSE we all know how to set up a tent. I mean, who does NOT know which direction your tent should face. It is OBVIOUS. Again, I was 9. What was obvious to me is the tent smelled and I was going to have to pee in a pit latrine.

Which brings me to the most dreaded part of being a Girl Scout. Being at Girl Scout camp, Camp Timber Trails, and having to pee in the middle of the night. You were NOT NOT NOT supposed to go from your tent to the bathroom area of your campsite by yourself. Bears. Racoons. Whatever. No, you were supposed to get a buddy to go with you. Have you ever tried to wake up a 9 year old girl at 1am to get her to go to the bathroom with you? Out in the cold outside? Can’t be done. So I would go by myself. Because I had to pee dammit. Inevitably there was a counselor lurking about. Where’s my buddy. Sleeping. Did you try to get someone to come with you? Yes. And then the next day at fire camp time there would be the speech about helping out your fellow scouts blahblahblah way to make me a pariah.

I did learn horseback riding and got to take care of the horses. So camp wasn’t all bad.

Honestly, I look back on that time with mixed feelings, but mostly I am happy I did it. I still like the cookies.



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2 responses to “The Case of the Reluctant Scout

  1. Dee

    Girl scout leadership was sometimes a sacrifice – time & energy – yes. But, we were adults that cared enough to be there for the troop. We made some great friendships. I hope the scouts have good memories of that time – aside from the camp outs and pit latrines. We wanted to give them a place to safe and cared about.

  2. I am a major Girl Scout. Six years as a kid and I only quit because I moved at it was not cool. I led both my daughters troops into Cadettes. I bleed green! I don’t think I’m scary 🙂

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