Rose and I attended our 1st “Two of Us” camp at the Girl Scout Camp Menzies last week. It was Rose’s 1st experience at camp and the 1st in a looooong time for me. The only thing I really remember about the bible camp I attended as a kid was the stomach flu that swept though the campers. Ew.
I’m fairly sure that my outgoing, older girl loving, friend gathering, kid would do fine on her own but I selfishly wanted to share in her 1st camp experience. Luckily our local Girl Scout camp has a parent/child week where you can come and have the camp experience with your daughter.
She only deemed to sit once with me at the campfire. Then it was all about the friends.
We did crafts (Rose’s only breakdown was when I told her she couldn’t make her lanyard while walking down a steep rocky trail), canoeing (and canoe water fights), horseback riding (I got the ex packhorse that didn’t want to go unless nose deep in the horse in front of him), slept under the stars (and woke up drenched with dew), sung songs (and more song and even more songs), ate good food (except the one night the cook must have had off and everything was burnt/dry), and made friends (both of us).
Holding my coffee cup to get warm after sleeping under the stars
I learned how to make a friendship bracelets, lanyards, lots of new songs, how easily little girls are distracted when there are tiny frogs hopping about in the grass, and how to accidentally soak your daughter’s back during a canoe water fight.
Soooo many lanyards…
The other moms (and the few dads) there formed a sort of comradery as our daughters reached various stages of exhaustion/over stimulation and broke down. It was a little heartening to see just about all of them reach that point and know it’s not just my daughter that had to cry it out in the shower stall because “mom’s mean”. It must be tough for these little girls to have to be “on” all day for 4 days. So many kids and counselors and adults to impress is exhausting. Luckily for me, Rose reached the breaking point after the 1st full day and was fabulous the rest of the time. I did have to tell her a few times that when she goes back next year without me, the counselors WILL tell her what to do and keep her on track and make her go to bed. I’m still not sure she believes me. lol!
In the end, I think Rose liked me being there about 70% of the time. I call that a win and can’t wait to go back.
I recently had my daughter’s Girl Scout troop build Rube Goldberg devices as a meeting activity. They utilized an assortment of toys I’d brought from home to shove a little ducky off the table. The activity counted towards the Brownie’s Inventor badge and I was able to find a very cute fun patch for everyone that participated. The ingenuity of the the girls when it came to creating something was fabulous.
I had made a very simple device as an example and was very happy to see that they didn’t just copy me. The group I was “coaching” didn’t need any coaching at all. They put things together, tried it, then made modifications to make it better. The engineer in me was so proud! When we do this again (and we will definitely do it again) I’m going to make sure we have the entire meeting to create because the girls were all very bummed when we moved on to a different activity. I also need to come up with lesson verbiage that they can understand which describes the transferring of forces that occurs. A teacher I am not! The most difficult part was keeping the younger siblings from running off with all the toys. They didn’t understand why they couldn’t play with them all. 😉
Rube Goldberg devices are fascinating to watch. The physics behind the transference of forces without additional outside stimulation is so cool to see. I think I’ve watched the one in the video above about 20 times. Magnets are fascinating and to see them implemented like this is awesome. The use of balls of different mass mixed with the magnets is so simple yet so clever. I highly suggest clicking to this guys You Tube site and getting lost in the videos he’s posted.
You would think as a advanced degree holding Mechanical Engineer I would also automatically be a card carrying feminist. Well it may be true now, but it wasn’t a few years ago. Sure I chose a profession that was predominantly male but it was only because I always liked finding out how things worked. Sure my classes in college (*cough* 20 year ago) were on average 15% female but the male students never treated me differently (ok there was flirting but hey it was college). Sure, I still go to conferences or work with larger companies and I’m surrounded by mostly men. BUT, I can’t say I ever felt strongly discriminated against. The men have treated me like what I am, another engineer.
Now, working at a tiny company and not having to deal with hoards of male engineers and managers all day I can say that I’m lucky. I know women who have had to deal with a lot of crap STILL in this industry so I’m not saying that discrimination isn’t out there, just that I haven’t had to deal with it. Plus, I married a man who I feel truly thinks of me as his equal. This meant that I could stay in my little bubble and not have to think about it.
Then I had daughters…
Having daughters changed everything. Suddenly all the sexist things that I had ignored were a big deal. The parade of pink useless toys down every “girl” toy aisle was appalling. The movies marketed to my kids were full of anti-feminist messages. I discovered a shortage in good STEM books that would appeal to and inspire young girls. The older my daughters got, the more of an outspoken feminist I became (and the more my blog posts moved away from the fluffy kid stuff). I knew to ignore the often subtle sexist messages but would my daughters? Or would they grow up feeling just not quite as smart/strong/funny/equal to a man?
So I’m not actually a card carrying member of the ACLU but I am one of SWE (Society of Women Engineers) and I’ve started a Girl Scout troop (with my awesome husband) where we focus on more than crafts and fluffy stuff but throw in a lot of science and girl power lessons.
And most importantly, I tell my girls every day how smart and strong and clever and funny and wonderful they are. They are our next generation of leaders and I want to see them excel.
I wasn’t a feminist before I had daughters, but now I would proudly shout it from the roof tops if it helps them to be successful both in their professional and (almost more importantly) personal lives.
I have fond memories of Girl Scouts from when I was young. From Brownies up to Cadette I did crafts, earned badges, did crafts, ate snack, did crafts…. It was fun but by the time I was a Cadette in junior high I was pretty bored of doing crafts and being on my own if I wanted to do anything else.
With Steve being a die hard Boy Scout there wasn’t really a question on if Rose would start Girl Scouts as soon as she was old enough. With a vision of years of craft projects running through my head (and a small amount of dread), I started to research what it is to be a Girl Scout in the modern era (not that I was a GS back in the dark ages but it was *cough cough* 25 years ago). Imagine my happiness when I found out that the Girl Scouts have made a huge effort the past few years to move away from the weekly crafts and focus on actually preparing our girls to be the leaders of the future.
A girl Discovers her special skills and talents, finds the confidence to set challenging goals for herself and strives to live by her values. This includes being proud of where she came from as well as where she’s going.
A girl Connects with others, which means she learns how to team up, solve conflicts, and have healthy relationships. These skills help her in school right now and prepare her for any career she chooses in the future.
A girl Takes Action and makes the world a better place, learning a lot about her community and the world along the way.
How cool is that? I’m starting to read more and more articles about the Girl Scouts working to do many of the things that have made the Boy Scouts such a successful organization and then some. Not only are they working with top executive women to publicize how the Girl Scouts helped them as children (think the Eagle Scout network) but have put a huge effort in to incorporating more outdoor skill and a STEM curriculum (a field close to my own heart).
Rose has now been a Daisy for almost 7 months now and still looks forward to every meeting. Of course at her age, many of the activities that we do are centered around crafts but all have a purpose towards teaching them about respect, caring, and being better people. Just this last week they learned all about being resourceful to keep the planet healthy. I’m proud of my little Girl Scout and can’t wait to see where the journey takes her.