At least once a month, there is a thread at one of the Girl Scout forums I visit that asks about serving snacks at meetings. Typically, these are from brand new leaders who are asking for information.
Until now, I have never written about this topic on my blog, but since it is a popular one, I decided to share my thoughts.
Photo from Pixabay
The biggest factor when considering whether or not to have snacks at meetings depends on the time you meet. My troop meets right after school-snacks are necessary. Fifth graders in our building have lunch at 11:40 and our meetings start at 3:15. These girls are hungry! I would never accomplish anything if they did not have time to decompress and eat.
If you meet in the evening, then in my opinion, snacks are not necessary. The girls just had dinner. Let parents take them home and feed them a bedtime snack. Your meeting time is precious and kids can live without this interruption. We have “snackified” kids into thinking they always have to be grazing on something. Did your parents always have a bag of Cheerios and a juice box in their bag just in case you got hungry? Mine didn’t. I grew up in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s, when parents didn’t mollify children the way they do today.
If you have decided to have a snack as part of your meeting, then you have to decide who brings it. Do you provide the snack? Will the girls each be responsible for a turn? Will they bring it in individually?
There are issues to consider with each scenario.
If you decide to buy the snack, then you have now given yourself an extra responsibility as part of your meeting prep. Do you really want or need that? Who is going to pay for it, the troop or you?
Whether or not you or another family brings in the snack, you have to consider allergies and individual tastes. Do you want whining over “I don’t like that!” and now the child has nothing to eat?
Some families eat organically or naturally. Will their child eat what was brought or have to go hungry?
Are you even allowed to eat in the facility where you are meeting? Are there rules? Many schools have peanut free zones, so no peanut products should ever be brought into any classroom where you are meeting.
Assigning a girl the responsibility of bringing the snack can also be a problem. Here is what happened when my older daughter was a Girl Scout.
One girl in the troop never brought in snack when it was her turn (it was the mother’s fault, not hers, of course). I carpooled with this girl and the leader’s children. Invariably, the leader would call me at home and ask if the girl had the snack with her (both parents worked full time so it would have to be brought to school).
I told her it was not and the leader, who also worked outside the home, had to run to the store or grab something from her house in order to feed the girls, as they met right after school. Eventually, she stopped this practice, as it was too stressful if someone forgot her turn. Then every girl had to bring in her own snack.
Then there is the healthy snack versus unhealthy snack debate. Every parent has her own opinion of what should be fed to her child at what time. Do you really want mama drama over this issue?
The best solution, in my opinion, is to let girls bring in their own snacks. This way they eat what they want and what they like, and it is parent approved.
What happens if a girl does not have a snack?
I always have a baggie with pretzels in it or a granola bar, as this does happen on occasion.
Do you have snacks at meetings? Have you ever had a problem with it? How did you resolve it?