I would be the Queen of merit badges

I have a friend who works for a news station and does all kinds of cool video and video-editing stuff. The other day he said he'd been asked to go teach a local Boy Scouts troop a bit about what he does. It's for their Cinematography merit badge.

My friend couldn't believe they had a Cinematography merit badge, since he never heard anything about that when he was a Boy Scout. In his words:

"I didn't know they had cool merit badges. All we ever did was crap like the Run for 100 Miles merit badge or the Let's Go Out in the Freezing Cold and Shoot Stuff with Arrows badge. If I'd known I could have been doing Cinematography it would have been way different."

I told him not to forget the "Just play basketball in the gym every week and call it Scouting and then go steal refreshments from the girls who actually planned a real activity" badge. Not that I'm bitter. But seriously. You don't steal my treats. I'm sure my reactions to such thievery had something to do with why I didn't get asked out much in high school. Like I wanted to date lazy, self-entitled brownie stealers, though.


Not to rub it in, but I just looked it up and there are even more cool things my friend could have been learning but probably didn't:

Citizenship in the World
Environmental Science
Public Speaking
Crime Prevention

Cool, huh? And here's my friend who didn't know about these, which is probably the reason why he never got his Eagle Scout (which, according to Scout propaganda people and LDS mothers, means that you will never be employable and that Eagle Scouts will always beat you out for anything you may ever want in life, because they're just better). Despite this, he still seems to be a semi-functioning individual. I think you can tell that the hurt is still there, though.

The LDS Church is really involved with the Boy Scouts of America and encourages its boys to participate. And I guess I see how that would have been started: Here's this organization which, back in the day, was already doing and promoting the kinds of things Church leaders wanted their boys to be learning. So by hitching their wagon to the Boy Scouts, they avoided a duplication of effort.

Only it's trickier for the girls, because we have absolutely nothing to do with the Girl Scouts of America. For the girls, the Church created its own goal-setting/personal advancement-type program. And I wonder why that is. Are the Girls Scouts too hard-core? Not hard-core enough? Too many cookies? Not enough lessons about drinking 3-5 servings of milk per day to prepare our bodies for childbearing?

Would love to hear your thoughts.


Sherry said... [reply]

Call me an apostate, but I just don't dig the whole scouting program. Perhaps because the guys in my ward were just like the guys in your ward. If they didn't play basketball on Wednesday nights, most guys wouldn't come. If I have to choose between activity in the Church or scouts, I'd rather my boys be active in the Church, thank you.

Also because the guys whose parents were crazy-gung-ho about scouting made them get their Eagle scouts. And you know what, those boys got girls pregnant before graduating from high school.

I've made it very clear to my husband that if he wants our boys to get their Eagles, I'm not going to push them and prod them to get it done. I'll be focusing on more useful things like not drinking straight from the milk carton, unwadding dirty socks before putting them in the washer and cooking meals that aren't composed of ramen.

My husband got his Eagle, but I still had to teach him all those things. Of course, he can light a fire with almost one match. Perhaps that counts for something.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Sherry, you're an apostate. And you're rude for moving to New Zealand rather than staying in UT where it's more likely that we could meet up for milkshakes sometime. Rude, I say.

Bridget said... [reply]

There's a real, official answer to your question but the details are too fuzzy in my mind to post here.

My husband is not an Eagle Scout but neither is Thomas S. Monson!!!!

Janssen said... [reply]

I am so with you on the issue of boys not bringing their own plans and refreshments. Because the extra cookies? Are for me to take home.

Do Eagle Scouts grow up to be scout leaders who only plan activites involving basketball?

Holly said... [reply]

I normally lurk, but here I am, coming out of the woodwork. I'm the Wolf Den Leader in my ward, I have two boys and I still don't dig the whole scout thing. Does it have merit? Sure it does. Is it the end-all, be-all for boys in life? No.

My son loves scouts, but he's also taking karate and has set a goal to get his black belt. This is completely fine with us. If karate and scouts conflict, we choose karate. If he wants to get his Eagle, I'm fine with that. But, when he gets his black belt, he will have gotten it ON HIS OWN. In my experience, the boys who get their Eagles, get them because they have MOMS who PUSH them. There's a reason the mom gets a pin when the boy gets the badge.

My husband is from England, didn't grow up in the church, and isn't an Eagle Scout. (For shame...) He is, however, a fabulous husband and father and a successful chiropractor, in spite of the scouting deficiency.

Love your blog. I wanted to be a librarian when I was younger.

Nerd Goddess said... [reply]

Part of the reason the Church doesn't do girls scouts is because the church wouldn't be allowed to choose their own scout leaders. I think there were other issues, but I don't recall at the moment.

There's a guy in my ward that is now a Senior in High School, but by the age of 14 he had completed all, yes, all his merit badges, and has now gotten every single award and honor that the scouting program offers.

Every. Last. One.

Sometimes I wonder about that boy...

Miss Hass said... [reply]

Yeah, I am not so crazy about the scouting program either. My brothers are Eagle Scouts and they turned out fine. But my cousins, who all were forced to get their Eagles before they got their drivers licenses, have all led...more interesting lives.

I just don't think it's the be all, end all...

Barefoot Cassandra said... [reply]

Totally agree with Holly. Moms are the ones who do the Eagle Projects.

Example: After my Mother had completed my brothers Eagle Project, she completed his best friends Eagle Project also. Because the best friends Mother could not be bothered.

amyjane said... [reply]

Well. I'll go ahead and put my two bits in before Sean gets here and reads this. It's been interesting being married to Professional Scouter man. I've learned a lot. First off, the church has possible some of the worst scout troops there are, mostly because it's compulsory and the leaders are called rather than volunteering. At the same time, I've learned that there is a place in scouting for all boys, even the ones who don't like to camp, as long as thier leaders do a good job. I've also decided that there is not rule that boys have to earn an Eagle to be good church going men--if they earn their Duty to God award, that is the equivalent of the Young Women's medallion. So, moms really should stop earning Eagle awards for thier sons. That said, if parents aren't supportive and involved, the Scout troop dies, just like any activity your kids are in. Those are a few of my scattered thoughts. I'm sure Sean will be on here before long to add his words of wisdom.

Oh, also, I think part of the "no girl scouts" thing has to do with liberal attitudes toward homosexuality and pushing careers over motherhood/homemaking. I think. Also the Salt Lake head scouting people told Sean that the church actually has it's own program written for the young men, and ready to implement if the relationship between the scouts and the church ever goes south.

Desmama said... [reply]

I didn't grow up around lots of scouting activities, mostly because I have three sisters and my youngest sibling is the only boy. When he was entering scouting, I was nearly moving out. So I don't know a lot about it. But I do support it and I think it teaches good things. And while it's certainly true that lots of moms push their sons, I don't believe that to be the case for all. Don't throw the baby out with the bath water. My husband was big into scouting and really enjoyed it--he did camp staff for a year when he was a teen and it was a sacrifice for his family to outfit him for it but he enjoyed it and he enjoys working in scouting now. This may be naive of me, but if the Church sees some merit in having a close relationship with scouting, there's probably a reason.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Amyjane's comment about the Duty to God and having another arrangement in place for boys in case scouting falls through brings me to something I forgot to mention:

Over half the church membership lives in countries that might not have Boy Scouts as an option for their boys. What do those boys do instead?

I know in the UK, at least in the area I was in, the Duke of Edinburgh award was a much bigger thing than Scouting and that's what the leaders encourage the kids to participate in--it was for both girls and boys.

Squirrel Boy said... [reply]

How did he never hear about the cinematography badge? I don't know how many times I heard the story about how Steven Spielberg is an eagle scout and how it was the cinematography badge that got him interested in film making and so obviously getting your eagle is the key to success in this life.

By the way, I earned exactly one merit badge (rifle shooting) and advanced to the rank of tenderfoot. And then my parents stopped pushing me to go to Scouts because even when it wasn't basketball, it was still a waste of time.

Nectar said... [reply]

It is my understanding that the Boy Scouts of America allows the Church to run the program in a way that fits in with the objectives of the Church. The Girl Scout program, on the other hand, insists on a great deal of control, and some of the Girl Scout program goes contrary to Church teachings. So the Church is not in partnership with the Girl Scouts.

I believe that it is true that if the time came when the Boy Scouts enforced standards contrary to the Church then the Church would not sponsor Boy Scout troops. The Church would have its own program.

Scouting is a good thing, and to be an Eagle Scout is a good thing.

Scully said... [reply]

I have to say this in a whisper because my dad is the Scout Master (a good one, though. And if it isn't the boy's priority, he doesn't push it) AND my brother got his Eagle at the age of 13 (also because he wanted to and he loved Scouts. Not because my parents pushed). But when my brother was 13 and getting his Eagle and the whole evening dedicated to laud and praise on his getting it, I was 17 and getting my YW medallion. Which they handed to me over the pulpit on Sacrament meeting when they handed it out to every girl in the ward that got some YW award. When both my parents were at other wards fulfilling Stake callings. Am I bitter. Slightly. Do I think anything has changed now that I'm in YW as a leader, no. Which is why the bitterness hasn't died.

Rynell said... [reply]

All those cool scouting merit badges sound like lots more fun that another one of those...write a letter of gratitude to a woman/older person who influenced your life for good type of goals and/or the like consisting of modesty fashion shows, cooking classes, ironing instructions and determining the kind of man you want to marry sort of activities. Not that these are bad, but for those of us who wanted to learn something new...the lesser known merit badges that you shared would have felt like we were really learning something.

And by the way, I married an Eagle Scout. And his mother didn't earn it for him. (Maybe his dad, Scoutmaster of the Century, had something to do with it though.) His Eagle project had something to do with cleaning up a cave. Which I don't really understand, because aren't caves supposed to be dirty?

jeri said... [reply]

I started having serious issues with the scouting program when my ward made me a den leader when I was the really pregnant mother of a 1.5 year old girl. What on EARTH could I have to relate to a pack of 9 year old boys? Oh and I had two psychotic moms who didn't allow treats to contain sugar, so the boys all pretty much hated me. And don't even get me started on the stupid Pinewood Derby.

Being a den leader, even for the cubs, was hard because so many of the parents just do everything for their kids. Their moms arrange everything and their dads build the stupid Pinewood derby cars and then yell at the leaders when their boys don't win. So... what are the kids getting out of this? Oh right, carrot sticks.

My husband stopped just short of his Eagle and, surprisingly, is a productive member of society. He must have slipped through the cracks...

FoxyJ said... [reply]

When I was the primary president I think the worst part of my job was trying to deal with cub scouts. It's all so complicated! It was even worse because we had a small primary and so trying to run a big program for so few people is difficult. Scouting is hard because it has so many regulations and things and it requires a lot of personnel to run it right. I felt like Amy's husband--it's a good organization and can do a lot of good if run well. However, the fact is that most people in the church are not very gung-ho about scouting and so it becomes cumpulsory and involves a bunch of apathetic people with high turnover. I really think it would work better if scouting were just a community thing run by parents who want to do it for their children who want to do it. The Church has the Faith in God program for boys which is just like the Activity Days and Personal Progress (is it still called that?) programs. That's what they use pretty much everywhere else except the US. These programs involve a lot less work and less leadership.

Oh, and the whole diparity between awards/activities for girls and boys? Don't even get me started on that... I had way too many sad parents who realized that their 12 year old girls only got a signature in their book and a pat on the back for completing Activity Days. I know the church wants to simplify things and not hand out jewelery and stuff, but these are little kids. I was told that they want kids to own their achievements and that they encourage families to come up with their own reward systems, but that doesn't work when girls compare what they get to their brothers and friends.

Mary said... [reply]

And what if your son isn't into sports? No place for him in the youth group so, sadly, he opted out.

kristen said... [reply]

I'm a little late to the party.

Some have already expressed what I was going to say: That the Girl Scouts program is probably not in line with Church teachings/doctrine. And when the Boy Scouts decide to adopt some progressive attitudes, you can bet the Church will pull away and start it's own program.

I believe in the scouting program. Both my parents were heavily involved in it when my brothers went through it. My dad was Scout Master forever--we had all the gear and he knew the program inside and out. He was very dedicated. Scouts teaches boys so many valuable lessons and skills; yet if not followed up in the home, almost become null and void. (It's all about the parents, dangit!) While my parents heavily encouraged my brothers to get their Eagles, they both wanted it as well. And no, my parents did NOT do their projects for them; probably because the projects on the west coast were actual projects and not some lame 'gathering donation' crap you see so much of around here. We're talking physical labor that took more than 24 hours and the whole troop contributing (which is what they're supposed to be).

I think the reason some boys don't value their Eagle or merit badge achievements is because they didn't have to work very hard to get them. Some areas are lax when it comes to requirements and such.

I will encourage my boys to be Eagle Scouts; that is if my womb ever has the chance to reproduce.

Science Teacher Mommy said... [reply]

Plantboy is not an Eagle Scout. He has however been a Scoutmaster twice. He feels like he's being punished for liking to camp but not wanting to do all the book work.

On the YW thing--I was a Personal Progress Leader for a while (they've mostly done away with this calling because too many leaders were earning the awards for the girls) and we stopped doing the big court-of-honor type night where all the girls were honored. For one thing; it was a lot of work. For another, all it really did was praise and single out the girls with very encouraging parents from the girls who struggled a little more and got less support at home. I also think that kind of stuff takes away from the whole point of it. PERSONAL progress right? I like Foxy J's idea to scale back what the boys are doing and just make it about the Duty to God award and put it more in line with Personal Progress. Then it can be adapted to the interests/talents/logistics of the kids and the wards.

Right now I'm thinking Thin Mints and Samoas.

CRoW said... [reply]

Let me start with saying I have nothing against the scouting program. I'm sure it's helped somebody somewhere find themselves or something like that. But I kind of had a problem when I would be asked about my scouting progress during Bishop interviews. Correct me if I'm wrong but I don't remember "Were you an Eagle Scout?" on the temple recommend interview. In my humble opinion, there is no correlation between being a good scout and being a worthy church member. Nor, while I'm at it, do I see any correlation between playing on the ward basketball team and being spiritual. In fact considering some of the games I've seen there is no relation at all. Having said all that I don't think there is anything wrong with these programs, I just think that it's too bad that some leaders think that the only way to reach young men is through scouting and sports.

Your video friend sounds so insightful and wise. You really should have him comment on your blog sometime.

amyjane said... [reply]

Okay, so Amy was correct. I will have to chime in with my two cents. Now, let me preface my comment with telling all that I did not scout in the church. Not because the program sucked, but because there was no program in my ward. With that, let me tell you that I have been to Salt Lake and spoken with President Dalquist, the YM general president, and other people in the Church who make big decisions. Let me tell you right here and now: The church will not be pulling out of scouting anytime soon. That all said, let's talk about scouting and the church.

The church adopted scouting as its official activity arm for its young men in 1913. Little known fact, it was Pres. Hinckley's father that acctually researched and suggested that the church adopt scouting. Now, I want to make my opinion here known up front: SCOUTING TEACHES LEADERSHIP. That is the point. Scouting is used in the church to teach the young me how to be leaders. Now, it is supposed to do that in a fun and exciting sort of way, but it is nothing more and nothing less. Do I agree that we push the Eagle rank a little to much, yes. I feel that we should treat it like the new standards of serving a mission. If the young man wants to achieve that rank then it is our duty as leaders to aid him in that venture. If he chooses not to work on the ranks, than fine. But because the church that we all profess testimonies of has said it is the program then we should all support it. Now, if the young man does not earn his eagle is he still a good person, HECK YES!!! I know plenty of people who are not eagles who do amazing things; just like I know bishops, EQPs, Stake Presidents, and other leaders who did not serve missions and they still do great things. The eagle rank should be a goal achieved by few, not a standard you have to achieve to enter the celestial kingdom. For all those leaders who committed who question the program I would say two things. One, GO GETTING TRAINING FROM YOUR DISTRICT and if not there then somewhere. How can you know what to do if you don't get trained in how to do it. Two, If you don't have a testimony of scouting, please get one!!! Scouting is here to stay, so we all have to learn to love it. If you still have questions go to www.ldsbsa.org or ask amy for my email address.

I know that this is a hot button issue, and I appologize for the long lecture type post, but I know the potential scouting has on the church, and I feel that I understand the Church's reasons for keeping the program. There are many hurdles to overcome to make our programs better, but we know and understand what they are so we are half way home to solving them.

Finally, just so I am not accused of being onesided. I do believe that we do a great dis-service to the young women of the church in how we recognize them for their hard work and efforts. I wish I had the answer for that one, but it is not my call. I would do things differently if I ran the world, but it is a good thing I don't.

-The Husband-

Jenny said... [reply]

Dude, Sean, great comments.

I personally like the BS program, and but like anything, there are freaks who screw it up for some people. The scouting program was what saved my husband growing up, but he had great leaders, not something everyone has.

If my husband or I are ever called into the scouting program for church we will so be calling the Neal family for tips.

My ward is having some kind of a YW in excellence progress night with food and things and the girls are showing any significant progress they've made and they have a program or something. I guess I should go to it so I can tell you how it goes. I definitely think that's a step in the right direction.

Jenny said... [reply]

Also, Nem, I have a hard time imagining your teenage self baking treats and bringing them to church.

Nemesis said... [reply]

Jen, I didn't bake them--the leaders provided treats. But they were for me, see, because I was the one who sat through the "how to iron your husband's shirt" lesson.

Maggie said... [reply]

Perhaps this issue has been talked to death already, but I thought I'd put in a few ideas.

Starting with the YW program. I loved it! Perhaps that's because I had a mom and dad that knew what I liked and steared me in that direction. I remember a whole lot of camping, gardening, and general outdoors stuff mixed in with the sewing and cooking. To this day those are the things that I love to do. Mostly though that was on my own with my family. And yes, my mom did push me to achieve in the projects. I think all moms who see something that they think will be good for their children will push them. Sometimes kids need a little pushing. Also, I feel I got plenty of recognition. I don't need a whole night in my honor! My parents were proud of me, and I was proud of my accomplishments too.

As far as BSA, my husband is an Eagle Scout. I don't really think that made him any more active in church or anything, but I do think it taught him leadership skills. Also, he got a scholarship award from BSA for being an Eagle Scout. The awesome part is that they're still paying him every year even though he's now in medical school! Every program has it's challenges. Since BSA is the official program for boys in the church I think it's important to support it. (Even when your husband is called again to be the assistant scout master which means that every Wednesday night he'll be gone.)

kristen said... [reply]

I'd like to add my amen to Sean's comments. Well said, and so very true.

miranda said... [reply]

My hubby grew up in NY, where the Catholic church nearby was in charge. He's not an Eagle Scout. He's been annoyed by everyone asking him that here, as if it validates him as a person. But, thanks to Bridget, now I can give him a proper retort to use!

On another note...I was an active 4-H'er. They have cool things, too Some of the stuff I did: citizenship, government, rocketry, forestry, money management and you can even come up with your own self-directed project. 4-H sent me to Space Camp and to Austria as an exchange student. It's not just cows and cookies, folks!

daltongirl said... [reply]

Am currently at a conference for youth at which many of the attendees are GS. All I can tell is that it looks like they have a merit badge in body piercing. That might play into it.

Am waiting for the day when someone stands up in Gen. Conf. and says that they've finally realized BS is a bunch of BS and that they're going to dump it and go with the Duty to God focus so the boys can do something valuable for a change. Not that BS isn't valuable when done right--I just haven't witnessed it being done right. At all.

Our bishop is still getting up whenever a girl gets her YW recognition and saying that it's the equivalent of an Eagle Scout. It takes all my self-restraint not to jump up and grab the mike from him. Incidentally, we don't have boys getting their Eagles OR DtG awards. Whatever.

End rant.

Anonymous said... [reply]

Okay, I'm a lurker but I want to pipe up on the whole Girl Scout speculation that has been going on. Here's your history lesson for the day, boys and girls. It says in "Wohelo: The Camp Fire History" that the church actually approached Camp Fire Girls (formed in 1910 and the original sister organization to Boy Scouts) to use their program for girls. The Gulicks, who founded Camp Fire, said, gosh, that's nice that you want to use our program but why don't we just help you plan your own program that meets your members' needs. Thus the Young Woman program was established in some form (I think it started out as the Beehive program). The Girl Scouts which formed in 1913 were never approached to my knowledge. I think that way back in the day both organizations for girls were rather forward thinking as far as empowering girls, however, I don't know that they were necessarily liberal in the same way they are today. Both are pretty liberal now. They don't have Camp Fire in Utah at this point, but where I live you can check that history out from the library...

I interned for the Boy Scouts for the summer once in the Northwest, and I have to tell you I got the same impression someone earlier expressed that LDS troops were often disfunctional compared to other troops. When used properly, it's an awesome program. It builds leadership, confidence, friendships, and so much more. Can you tell I work for a youth org?

Incidently, this may vary by council, but both Girl Scouts and Camp Fire in my area partner with organizations, including churches, to provide them with the program. Generally leadership for those groups come from the organization buying the program. So they could have "their own people" as the leaders of groups. There's just a difference in the way they contract, I think.... Been a while since I learned about that.

Suzanne Bubnash said... [reply]

Scouting is an inspired program whose virtues have been pointed out in other comments. I am sorry to hear that the quality of the individual programs is sometimes lacking, but Scouting itself is not the problem.

As for pushy parents of prospective Eagle Scouts, it is certainly possible to go overboard as parents, but where is the line between pushing our boys and giving in to their natural intertia? Isn't it our job to help them, encourage them, and yes, expect them to participate in worthy activities? If a boy doesn't want to participate in a Church program is that a reason to let it slide? If that were a valid way of thinking then my boys would have been sitting home on Wednesday night & weekends wasting time on useless video games. Instead, two are Eagle Scouts (and looking back now they are glad); the third is progressing slowly.

The teenage years are a time of development and discovery. Besides leadership and learning to set and achieve goals, one benefit of Scouting is that through merit badges, young men can experience a variety of activities that help them discover personal interests. My above-mentioned youngest son did the Astronomy & Archery merit badges,discovering hobbies he now enjoys; at the same time he found activities he doesn't care for. And that's ok.

East of Eden said... [reply]

rhNormally I lurk here, but I wanted to chime in....

Scouts is different in a non-LDS settting. Basically, the BSA lets the LDS troops do what they want because they would fall apart w/o the Church. Most troops in the US are chartered thur LDS units.

My Dad has been a life long scouter, which is a point of contention in our home. He loved it, still loves it, but my brothers did not love it as much as him and this caused a great rift. Consequently, they barely finished everything before their time ran out in scouts. It also consumes most of his spare time, which is unfortunate, and it's like this for many of the men in our stake, they live to scout to the neglect of their families.

My one wish with the Church and scouts is that they would find a happy medium for boys who don't like only sports, or camping and that they would really teach those leadership skills. That of course will only happen when the adults are better leaders themselves. IMO that will happen when the Church program lines up with how the BSA outlines it.

As for the Church and Girl Scouts, the Church is not alligned with GS because their program does not line up with LDS standards and practices.

I know the Church uses BSA as its program for boys and that it teaches leadership, but they need to do a better job of it, period. My other thing is that if this is the program for boys, they also need to do a better job of getting the boys to live the souct law etc. I don't see that happeneing in our ward, and that's a sad thing.

Allison said... [reply]

Hi there! You don't know me, and I don't know you, and I realize that this post was written like five years ago, but I followed a BlogHer link to your post about sex ed in Utah (shudder - I'm so glad my children will never go to school there!), clicked around a bit, and somehow landed here.

And despite the fact that I'm fairly certain no one will ever even read this comment, I have to leave it anyway, because I need to correct some inaccuracies about Girl Scouts. I am active LDS, have 3 daughters and am so not impressed with the activity programs available to them through the Church. The boys get to do all kinds of cool stuff, and my girls learn about hair and how to dress modestly. Ugh.

But I'm a firm believer in being part of the solution, so I'm a Girl Scout leader, and have been for 6 years now. All three of my girls are involved. Several commenters here have speculated that the reason the Church is not involved with Girl Scouts is because the Girl Scout program does not line up with LDS beliefs and practices, and this is entirely untrue. However, Girl Scouts, unlike Boy Scouts, have made provisions for people of other faiths. You do not have to profess a belief in God in order to be a member of the organization. Hello, 11th Article of Faith? But I think this may have something to do with some people's issues with Girl Scouts. I'm not even sure that the argument that Girl Scouts would not allow the Church to choose its own leaders is true. When I decided to become a leader, I notified my local council, and they sent me the forms to fill out and then basically handed me a troop number, told me when the monthly leader meetings were held, and said have fun. I think it would more be a problem of turnover than anything else, and having to fill out paperwork and background checks for each new leader, but apparently that works okay for the Boy Scouts, so I'm sure if they wanted to make it work they could.

Honestly, I think the real reason that the Church has nothing to do with Girl Scouts is that they're perfectly happy with the programs they have in place, even if a lot of the girls aren't. The whole "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" line of thinking and all that. Girl Scouting was new and pretty localized to Georgia in 1913 when the Church adopted Boy Scouting, and I don't know that they've really ever looked into it since then.

Ultimately, the Girl Scout program is as good (or as bad) as its leaders. There is nothing that is mandated. Honestly, I could buy the badges for my troop without them ever doing a single thing to earn them and no one but me would be the wiser. I can tweak the requirements to fit my group of girls, and if there's something I don't feel is right for them, then we don't do it.

And this is ridiculously long for a comment on a five-year-old post. But I feel better now :)

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