More Than Cookies: Older Girl Scouts Share Their Girl Scout Experience
We recently met up with a group of high school girls from Beavercreek, Ohio who are coming together to have some fun, relax, and build their Girl Scout sisterhood. The group started after two fellow Girl Scouts were in class together and talked every day, but didn’t even realize they were both Girl Scouts. Once that correlation was made they realized that they are probably face to face with their fellow Girl Scout sisters every day without even knowing, and that needed to change! After all, how can you expect to be visible in the community if you aren’t even visible to your fellow Girl Scouts?
With the support of three dedicated Girl Scout volunteers, including one of the teachers at the school, they formed More Than Cookies. This is the first year for the group, but it’s clear they value their time together and recognize Girl Scouts as a safe place for every girl to just be themselves and hang out with one another without the pressures of teenage life.
We caught up with More Than Cookies at their end-of-year potluck to ask them about their Girl Scout experience. Here’s what they want the community, their peers, and the Girl Scout community to know.
- A girl-only space is vital. Some girls said they don’t usually feel pressure to act differently around the opposite gender, but recognized that it definitely does happen and it’s nice to have a space where no one feels that pressure. They then continued to say that they are constantly in an environment where men and women are compared or in competition with one another, and they value that Girl Scouts doesn’t have that constantly looming overhead. Every girl comes as they are, equally valued, equally respected, and equally accepted. They learn that you don’t have to be best friends to with someone to feel supported or to work with them, and that’s something that will help girls as they enter the workforce
- It’s not Girl Scouts if it’s not Girl-Led. The girls all shared their ideas on what girl-led means, showcasing that it’s not a one-size-fits-all concept, but ultimately agreed that without girl-led decisions, Girl Scouts wouldn’t be much different than the other clubs, athletics, and other learning experiences they have. Some girls are in troops where the girls take turns planning the troop meetings, and they work as a group to plan troop trips and various other activities / events. Some girls, on the other hand, prefer to throw out their ideas and have their troop leader work out the logistics. Listening to one another’s individual ideas and experiences of girl-led, they realized that’s what’s so great about it: it’s girl-centric, whatever that means to the group, and there is no other space where that’s true for them.
- Put the G.I.R.L. in Girl Scouts. These girls say they are looking for opportunities to explore their inner Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-Taker and Leader by diving further into current interests, trying new things, and gaining skills to help them through life, from car care to career exploration to tree climbing or earning their Gold Award. They want to know what’s going on and have the power to decide what they want to do, whether that’s as an individual or with their troop.
- Take a Trip. There was lots of talk about troop trips. Some of them mentioned saving for a senior trip to Europe, while some were excited about heading to King’s Island, a local amusement park, with their fellow sisters. Some girls were intrigued and wanted to learn more about the Girl Scout Destinations pathway. This was a topic that made the room buzz with excitement and made it clear that this is a Girl Scout must. They recognized that exploring their own community is great, but exploring others can be even more fun!
To finish our conversation, we asked the More Than Cookies crew about the image of older girls in Girl Scouts. This is something they all seemed fairly passionate about.
“The public imagines a cute little girl in her uniform holding cookies and we don’t fit that.”
The girls seemed almost annoyed to have to explain themselves every time they mention being a Girl Scout. The comparisons to other organizations come up, the misconceptions of Girl Scouts and what the movement is about comes at them and though our older girls are proud to be Girl Scouts, these girls just seemed tired of the community not getting it.
“We camp, we go on trips, we hang out, we learn cool things, we do art… we do whatever we want to do, why is that so hard to understand?”
Girl Scouts is an experience unique to every girl. Some are just looking to hang out and have fun, some are looking to make a lasting impact in their community by earning their Gold Award, some are looking for adventure, and some are looking for skills to help them thrive as adults. But all girls are looking for a space to be themselves and to feel supported by their Girl Scout sisters and the adults that work to give them the experience they are looking for.
Are you a Senior or Ambassador Girl Scout and want to share your Girl Story or find out how to connect with your fellow Girl Scout sisters like the More Than Cookies group has done? Let us know, we want to hear from you!