My daughter and I were very excited to attend the first Cadettte Girl Scout meeting of the year. We were going to discuss the upcoming camping trip that the girls had been wanting to go on for years.
However, the was a seismic shift in our numbers.
In my post from June (which you can read here), I shared that while one girl had given notice that she was not continuing, others felt the same. After the leader sent an email out in early September to ask who was continuing, the numbers dropped drastically.
To make a long story short, our troop of 10 is now down to five. There are the three leaders daughters and two other girls who attend a different middle school, one of whom has been with me since Daisy Scouts.
While there may be some of you reading this who may think that this is a bad thing, I choose to look upon my small troop as a very positive occurrence.
Photo from Pixabay
The Benefits of a Smaller Troop
There are many!
For older Girl Scouts, there are many benefits to having a small troop as opposed to a larger one. While it would have been wonderful to see my girls go all the way to high school, there are certain realities that one has to face as the girls get older.
First, the girls friendships change. My troop had come from a very small elementary school where there were only 18 girls in the entire grade out of over fifty students. Almost every girl had been in my troop at one time or another.
With such a small group of girls, drama existed, and some of it rather unpleasant. This spilled into the troop dynamics and to be quite honest, it was the last straw and that put me over the edge, leading to my decision to step down as the main leader. Besides having to do everything, I also had to handle everything. I had reached my limit.
Last year it was clear that certain girls were continuing to test the waters and see how our troop was going to change under new leadership and how they could juggle scouts with middle school and other activities. There was a clear division between the girls, since our middle school divides the students into teams that never, ever cross paths. Best friends become strangers since the girls never see each other, not even at lunch. The two different teams were evident and no matter how we tried, they stuck with each other.
Banning cell phones did not go over well with some of the girls.
Photo from Pixabay
Girls were also AWOL due to dance and sports. When they were in elementary school, we met directly after school, making it easy to stay with the troop. I am sure it is this way in your area as it is in mine, but children don’t just take a dance class, they are in competitive dance. Few kids stay with rec sports, they are on travel teams. There is no way that a once a month Girl Scout meeting can compete with this, and to be honest, the girls who left were no longer interested.
The biggest benefit to having a lean and mean smaller Cadette troop is that now we have a group who is truly dedicated to scouting. Yes, they have other activities, but Girl Scouts is near the top of the list, not at the bottom and seen as something they can miss. These girls want to be Girl Scouts. The biggest bonus-the parents are also devoted as well. Everyone attended the parent meeting we had Thursday night.
Decision making will be easier, as there will be no divide between cliques of girls. Five girls can agree on something much more easily than ten, and this is even more important now that the things we do need to be more girl led. Compromise is easier with a smaller group. This is a very important life skill.
Taking trips will cost less, since there are fewer admissions to pay for. We can use two cars for trips instead of the three or four we used to need for field trips and service projects.
As you can see, I am looking at my smaller troop as a wonderful thing for my daughter and the four other girls.
Our Camping Trip
After talking about our troop numbers, the rest of the meeting was devoted to the upcoming camping trip. The leader is a bona fide camper, as is the other parent who is also camping trained. The girls are fortunate to have them as their guides for their first outdoor adventure.
Photo from Pixabay
Originally, this trip was planned for an entire weekend. Because three of the girls are not seasoned campers, it was cut down to one. Since our numbers are small, they will be able to get a lot of one on one time with the archery instructors.
The leader then discussed what the girls would need to buy and bring, and then the menu was planned. Lunch would be peanut butter and jelly sandwiches, carrots and apples.
The girls wanted the true campfire, so dinner will be hot dogs and S’mores.
The five girls are delighted with the upcoming camping trip and cannot wait for their first outdoor adventure together!
Have you lost any girls this year? How are you handling it?