I'm Lindsay Ferrier, a Nashville writer with a passion for family travel, exploring Tennessee, and raising kids without losing my mind in the process. This is where I share my discoveries, along with occasional deep thoughts, pop culture tangents and a sprinkling of snark. Want to get in touch? Use the CONTACT form at the top of the page.
February 24, 2011
“Mommy, I want to be a girl scout!”
It began with all the golden light and birdsong you’d expect from the opening scene of a Lifetime docudrama. My six-year-old daughter skipped up to me after school, clutching a flier that advertised the formation of a new troop of Daisy Scouts.
Only 12 dollars to join! the flier stated in bold words. I eyed it skeptically.
“Honey, are you sure this is something you want to do?” I asked my daughter.
“Oh yes,” she said. “A lady came to our school and told us all about it. You get to go to camp and ride horses and do arts and crafts and sit around a campfire and roast marshmallows!”
“Okay, well, I guess we can at least go to the informational meeting next week and find out about it,” I said.
A week later, we found ourselves in a middle school cafeteria along with a bunch of other parents and their potential Girl Scouts. Once all of the interested parents and children from Punky’s grade were seated at a table, a Girl Scout official sternly informed us that unless one of us volunteered to be the leader, we could forget about having a Daisy Scout trooop.
With our daughters seated among us, it was a classic set-up. How could we say no to these wide-eyed, hopeful girls? After we all endured a minute or two of awkward silence and avoidance of eye contact, one brave woman finally raised her hand. “I guess I’ll do it,” she said. “If some of you will help me.”
We all quickly agreed. After all, it didn’t seem like being a Daisy Scout would be that big of a deal. From what I could gather, it only involved monthly meetings where the girls would talk about character and work on craft projects that would be donated to the poor. And it was only 12 dollars!
Except that it wasn’t.
After we’d signed up, we were informed in an e-mail that once registration costs and uniform costs and patch costs and adult costs and other costs I didn’t really understand were added in, we actually owed the Girl Scouts a check for ninety dollars.
“Are you sure you want to do this?” I asked Punky again. “I mean, are you really surely sure?”
“Oh yes I’m sure,” she told me. “I want to be a Daisy more than anything in the world. I’ll cry if I can’t be a Daisy. It will be the worstest day of my whole life ever.”
I wrote the check.
A few days later, we attended our first meeting. The troop leader and a few other moms did a bang up job preparing for the big event. Posters had been made with the Girl Scout pledge! Craft supplies were in place! An elaborate spread of snacks was on the table! Punky dutifully sat in a circle with the other girls and read the pledge and talked about integrity and manners, and then she sat at a table and obediently completed her craft. We went home at the end of the hour and all was well…
…at least until it was time for the next meeting a month later.
“It’s Daisy Scout day!” I said merrily as I woke her up that morning. “I’m taking you to your scout meeting as soon as school is out!”
“Do I get to ride a pony?” Punky asked excitedly.
“No honey,” I said. “You get to learn more about being a Girl Scout and do a craft project with your friends!”
“Another meeting?” Punky groaned. “When are we going camping?”
“Uh. You’re not,” I said.
“But the lady who came to our school showed us pictures of horse riding and being in the woods and roasting marshmallows!” she protested. “And so far, all we’ve done are meetings. I don’t think I want to be a Daisy Scout anymore, Mommy!”
“Well, ninety bucks says you do,” I said. She looked at me in confusion. “Stick with it, Punky,” I said, helping her out of bed. “I’m sure it’ll get better.”
But honestly? It didn’t.
Because suddenly, there were all these events we were supposed to attend in order to get petals for Punky’s Daisy Scout vest. And if we didn’t attend them, her Daisy would be petal-less, and that would be embarrassing! But the events were all on Saturdays and Sundays! And I had been trying hard to reserve Saturdays and Sundays while the kids were small for family activities! And so we didn’t attend any of these special Girl Scout events! And there was concern! Because OUR DAISY HAD, LIKE, NO PETALS!!!!!11!!
Clearly, I was in over my head. But I tried to stay calm.
We are doing Girl Scouts Lite, I told myself. We will attend the monthly meetings. We will get through the year. And that will be that.
But as any mom who’s familiar with Girl Scouts knows, THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS GIRL SCOUTS LITE. There’s only Girl Scouts Sucks the Life Out of You.
Because suddenly, it was Cookie Time.
And at the November meeting, the appointed Cookie Mom formally announced that each of our 6-year-olds was expected to sell 150 boxes of cookies.
Mother of God.
150 boxes of cookies?!
Ladies, I truly respect those of you who get into the cookie selling thing. You are awesome. And honestly, if Punky were a little older and really wanted to sell cookies, I’d do everything I had to do to help her.
But these girls were six years old. Cookie Mom didn’t really expect our daughters to sell 150 boxes of cookies. She expected us to do it. The moms. This wasn’t Girl Scouts. This was Mom Scouts.
And I’m sorry, but there was no way in hell that I was selling 150 boxes of cookies. Especially right after Christmas, when I was practically a vegetable from my efforts in carrying out Operation Ferrier Family Holiday.
Therefore, instead of selling Samoas, I laid low.
But the e-mails. OH THE E-MAILS. They caught up with me.
At first, they were chipper. There would be a meeting for parents so that we’d all know the specifics of our cookie-selling responsibilities! DELETE. The deadline for selling cookies was coming up fast! DELETE. Okay! The deadline was tomorrow! DELETE.
Then, the tone changed a bit. All parents really needed to sign up for booth sales. It was required. Feeling guilty, I tried to imagine myself selling cookies in a parking lot. Uhhhhhh… DELETE. All parents really needed to come and help take the cases of cookies off a forklift on Saturday morning. I searched my soul and tried to imagine the prospect of spending a Saturday without my family, taking boxes of cookies that I didn’t sell off a forklift. Oh, this sounds horrible, but… DELETE.
After that, a few e-mails were sent out implying that it wasn’t fair for certain ones of us to participate in activities when we hadn’t helped sell the cookies to pay for those activities. Another e-mail informed us that next year there would be a point system, and we’d have to have enough points from selling cookies to participate in future events.
Daisy Scouts had turned from a fun, once-a-month fling into a needy, nagging girlfriend… and it was time for me to break up. I sat Punky down and tried to explain the situation to her as gently as possible.
“You know how you thought that Girl Scouts was all archery and horseback riding and it turned out to be all meetings?” I asked her.
“Well, I thought Girl Scouts was a once-a-month after school meeting and that was it. But it was more. SO MUCH MORE.” I was starting to get worked up and Punky was intrigued.
“Like what?” she asked.
“Well for starters, they wanted you to sell 150 boxes of cookies! 150!” I said. “Can you even imagine? We would have had to go out in the cold, door to door, asking strangers to buy your cookies,” I said dramatically. Punky shuddered. “And we also would have had to stand in a parking lot and sell cookies to strangers who were just trying to do their shopping!”
“I don’t want to do that!” Punky said stoutly.
“Me neither!” I said. “But it’s a big part of Girl Scouts, and I didn’t understand that until now. So I think we should gracefully bow out.”
And that’s exactly what we did.
Now. I’m sure some
Girl Scout officials cookie moms former Girl Scouts troop leaders people will read this and get their noses all out of joint. Please don’t. I have absolutely no gripe with the moms who were trying to keep our troop operating smoothly- They were just doing what was required and they all tried to make the best of it. I also agree with their e-mails. Since Punky and I weren’t doing the cookie work, it really wasn’t fair of us to benefit from the proceeds that paid for future events.
So why am I writing this? Because this is my sad, sorry life people and you deserve to know the truth about me. I am a Daisy Scout Dropout. A traitor to Thin Mints everywhere. Brownies see me coming now and cross the street.
Scouting is one of those Mom Tests that most of us face at some point in our children’s lives.
I’m pretty sure I got an F-minus.
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This made me laugh out loud. I loved it. I am currently a Daisy Scout Leader wondering what in the world I have gotten into. lolol
Oh my! I was a Daisy leader for a year. Did meetings once a month right after school and it was great.. The girls had fun and the parents seemed to love not be overwhelmed with me not planning weekend activities. I stepped down this year as leader and we now have a leader who is very into the whole brownie thing. A meeting or two a month plus one weekend event. I really don’t like weekend events! My daughter’s (mine and my husbands weekdays) are very full, and I feel that the weekend is time is for family and friends that we don’t get to see at other times. And there are times where my daughters school has events on Friday or Monday nights. So it feels like things are never ending. I feel guilty about not doing the weekend events. Although I am at her school for every event that is going on! Weekends are for families? I’m I wrong?