Specifically, Daisies. I had been determined that Rachael wouldn’t hear about Girl Scouts from me. In my mind, Girl Scouts was a stupid waste of time, and I wasn’t going to put her through it. For me, it was just another form of social interaction in which to be rejected or thought of as weird. I remember going on a camping trip and sitting down to a plate of spaghetti. By myself. In the dim light of the picnic shelter, I sat alone with a plate of spaghetti that I had accidentally over garlic salted because the lid fell off while I was pouring. On the way home, the girls I rode with played Love Shack. It was one of the coolest songs I had ever heard because I wasn’t allowed to listen to music made after 1978. Later that year at the Girl Scout Christmas party, I asked the girl who owned the song why she hadn’t brought it to play with the other music she had brought. She looked at me like I was an idiot and said it wasn’t a Christmas song. It was a lonely Christmas party.
It wasn’t just the social aspect. I don’t really remember doing much of anything during our meetings. On a camping trip, all the troops that attended sat on sit upons in a sunny field. We had to remain quiet until we touched “the talking post”. Then our individual troops would put on skits or read poetry to everyone. I remember thinking, at 10, that I was a little old for this. Our “hikes” were really more like boring nature walks. I don’t remember the badges being anything I was interested in either. In high school I had friends who were Explorer scouts, which are basically co-ed scouts, and I remember being completely jealous at the kinds of things they did. I determined Girl Scouts were just lame and way too girly.
But then, a couple weeks ago, I got to talking with a scout leader at Rachael’s bus stop. I asked her about her experience as a Daisy troop leader. She told me about the sort of things she used to do and it actually sounded…cool. She said that the troop is what the leader and parents make it. It made me think, maybe it wouldn’t be so bad after all and that I should at least go to the informational meeting.
Yeah, so that happened. The other moms there said they, for various reasons, would prefer not to be designated the leader. Since we needed a formal leader in order for a troop to form, I volunteered. It really seems like the four other ladies there last night are great ladies who will be great support, and will essentially co-lead with me. And, after all, I’m sure plenty of things have changed in over 20 years. The troop will be what we make it, and I think it will be a lot of fun for the girls. And Rachael is not me. She is way more girly that I ever was, so she may enjoy the more girly aspects of scouts. The bottom line is that my experience does not necessarily have to be her experience. I will do my best to make sure that this experience is a positive one for her and the other girls.
And, if I’m honest, not every single experience in Girl Scouts was a bad one. It facilitated my first camping trip. I ate my first meal cooked by camp fire, beef Mac and cheese, and it was delicious. It was where I discovered the yumminess of rhubarb. It was where I played games of Miss Mary Mack and Miss Susie with the other girls.
And for anyone keeping score, I have yet to drop a “fuck” at a PTA meeting, but I ended up mouthing it at the scout meeting last night. I also said “balls”. So there’s that.