She's a Girl Scout.
Tonight I was coerced into taking Elle to a Girl Scout round-up (yep, that's what they call it these days) to get some information on the new modern Girl Scouts organization. I had been warned by some co-workers that the Scouts are mostly a sales machine, pimping out the kids and their cuteness to sell stuff. Thrilled to be there, I was not.
I asked one particular GS leader/recruiter to explain to me how the Scouts had changed over the last 20 years. This was a big deal to me. While growing up in the deserted woods known as Upper Michigan, I, too, was a Girl Scout. Most of my memories take me back to being in my troop leader's kitchen and making homemade fruit roll-ups, volunteering with the Special Olympics, and camping at the state fairgrounds in Escanaba while fighting off food poisoning and heatstroke (we're talking Upper Michigan hitting 80 degrees,folks. That's hot!). I learned how to build a snow den if I ever got lost in the forest in winter. I learned how to identify edible berries if I ever got lost in the forest during the short season that wasn't winter. I learned how to spot a funnel cloud after puking my guts out all night and opting to hang out with the Red Cross nurses instead of my own troop. Even the Red Cross nurses plopped me in a bed in front of a window and told me to keep an eye out for funnel clouds.***
So I could probably blame the Girl Scouts for my irrational fear of wind. Even on a clear, sunny day. I hate wind.
The GS leader/recruiter insisted that, while the organization has evolved from my own experience from 20 years ago, the basics were still there. The girls would learn to work together, to help each other, and they would experience things with other girls their own age that they might not ever get to experience otherwise. Things like camping, horseback riding, community projects, stuff like that. I know I won't be roughing it in the woods anytime soon. I know I can't afford horseback riding. And I don't involve myself in any community projects. But that doesn't mean I don't want Elle to do those things. And let's face it, Mom can sometimes be the one person to sink the fun boat. Elle's a wonderful kid and she deserves to have fun with other girls who are, in turn, having fun with her. It makes me sad to think that, because she is an only child, she probably has very few of those memories.
So, off she goes...
Oh, and the best part? IRON-ON PATCHES, baby!
(Though I would not be opposed to family-member discounts on Girl Scout cookies. In fact, I truly believe this would boost membership because everyone wants to get some cookies on the cheap.)
*** This particular Girl Scout Jubilee/Jamboree (I don't even remember what they're called anymore!) did end up being struck by a tornado. After my parents drove all the way to Escanaba to pick me up (remember, food poisoning and heatstroke...ugh!), they gave me the unfortunate job of "tornado spotter". As I moaned and groaned in the backseat for what seemed like hours, my troop and the others were surprised by a small tornado that managed to take nearly everyone's tents and inconveniently drop them anywhere else but where they needed to be. Nobody was injured, probably because nobody else was dumb enough to eat Arby's the day before.