Is there a better organization out there than the Girl Scouts of America? Answer: No, no there is not. (At least, not until I can find a coven of unicorns who meet in enchanted glades, raise money for pediatric illnesses, and mentor baby sloths. They're out there, people. I can feel it in my heart and bones and soul. We're just not looking hard enough.) For now, at least, growing up in the Girl Scouts is pretty much as good as it gets.
In 1912, Juliette "Daisy" Gordon Low met with Sir Robert Baden-Powell, who had incorporated the Boy Scouts just two years earlier. Daisy thought, "I can do that!" and founded the Girl Scouts that very year. According to GirlScouts.org, Daisy reached "across class, cultural, and ethnic boundaries" to establish her first group of 18 girls. (Considering this was turn-of-the-century Savannah, Georgia, that's particularly impressive.) In a little more than 100 years, the Girl Scouts now tout 1.9 million girls (and 800,000 adults) involved in the organization. Now as then, its mission is to encourage girls to realize their full potential and to become leaders in their communities. And, of course, let us never forget that they are harbingers of delicious, delicious cookies.
My mother, sister, and I were all involved in Girl Scouts. So much of what we took from years in scouting translates very neatly into parenting. Here's how our history as scouts totally altered how we went on to get our mom on:
You Are Accepting And Celebrate Individuality
While the Boy Scouts has a history of exclusionary practices against gay, transgender, and atheist scouts and leaders, the Girl Scouts remains unafflicted by such divisive policies. In recent years, the organization actually turned down a $100,000 donation when the donor stipulated the funds could not be used to support transgender girls. The Girl Scouts were like, "Well, we support all girls, so... bye, Felicia." As a parent, the sooner you learn that your children are individuals and not simply your own personal mini-me, the happier you all will be.
You Know So Many Silly Songs
Cookie Season Never Takes You Buy Surprise
When Girl Scout cookies are sold varies from troop to troop, but once you've been in Scouts long enough you know when you can order them in your area. (Where I come from this means I can expect to hear from my local ladies around the middle of January.)
Perhaps you think I'm saying this is good for parents because kids love cookies and good moms get their kids good cookies. False. Sure, get your kid some Tagalongs or whatever. That's nice. But this is really a good tip because, when you're a parent, you deserve a box of Thin Mints. And I don't mean, like, a single box. I mean one of those big moving box-sized boxes. They're only available for a limited time, dudes. You need to stock up!
If You Were In For Long Enough, You Have A Network Of Babysitters At Your Beck And Call
If you were a Girl Scout in high school (or even in college and beyond; I have some friends who became troop leaders upon entering adulthood), you know a lot of little girls who have now grown into responsible, trustworthy young ladies who would be happy to watch your baby so you can go out on a date.
Your Outdoor/Survival Skills Are Strong
Not only can you take your kids camping and point out the indigenous flora and fauna thanks to your years of scouting, but the resourcefulness you learned is also really going to be a lifesaver in the great outdoors and beyond. Only instead of being able to make your own tent out of twigs and leaves you find in the forest, it's like, "OK, we have to sit in the DMV waiting area for what will surely be the next two hours. My phone is at 2% so that's out of the question. How can I entertain my child with a pen, a wad of napkins leftover from our drive-thru lunch, and a bobby pin? *quickly work Girl Scout magic* Voila! I have made you a paper napkin doll."
You Can Craft Like A Boss
From friendship bracelets to whittling to knowing how to use glitter judiciously, everything you need to know about craft projects with your children you learned in Girl Scouts.
You Know The Importance Of Annual Getaways With Your Squad Because Of Girl Scout Camp
Sometimes, as a parent, you will need to get away with your crew. Because there is nothing that restores the soul like a week away with your besties, laughing, spending time outdoors, braiding each other's hair, and getting in touch with your inner power animal. All adults need their own version of grown-up Girl Scout Camp, but especially parents. Our children benefit when we've recharged our batteries with sunshine and sangria.
Vests, Darling! Vests!
I'll level with you: I initially joined because I liked the uniforms. But for real, we need to bring back the vests in a big way. This isn't just the funky '90s girl in me talking — they're like jackets that realized they were too cool for sleeves! And what better way to pronounce your accomplishments than wearing a vest covered in patches that prove your interest and proficiency in a given area?!
You Know All About The Importance Of Building Kids Up
As my former Troop Mom mother recently said to me "There's room for everyone at Girl Scouts. Sporty girls. "Girly" girls. Crafty girls. Science girls. Artsy girls. Community-service girls. Nature girls. They are open to everything." Indeed they are. Check out everything you can get a badge for! The Girl Scouts, like parents, are all about nurturing a child's confidence, talents, and passion, helping them find their voice in the world.
You Can Always Look To The Girl Scout Law
The Girl Scout Law is as follows:
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.
And for real, replace "Girl Scout" with "other parent" and you basically have the perfect mom mantra, too.