Confessions of a Former Girl Scout

Like most mothers, mine thought signing me up as a Girl Scout would be a wholesome way for me to make new friends and try new things. After a brief and unhappy stint as a Girl Scout Brownie during which they made me dress as a giant Christmas present for a parade, I swore I’d never go back to Girl Scouts again.

But when my friends started talking about their Girl Scout troop in junior high as the coolest thing since Aerosmith, I knew I had to go back. Mothers beware; I used the Girl Scouts as my own personal stomping ground for a mini-rebellion. Thirty girls and one harried Girl Scout leader make for a real lack of supervision, and I used every opportunity I could to stir up trouble. Here are my confessions as a terrible teenage Girl Scout.

I did not honor the Girl Scout Promise.

Not only did I fail to honor the words of the Girl Scout Promise, I never even learned them. At the end of every meeting we’d form a circle and recite the Girl Scout Promise. I always looked at my friends’ moving lips for cues as to what I was supposed to mumble along with them. Thanks to Wikipedia (and not my junior high memory), here is the official Girl Scout Promise:

Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

If I did absolutely no justcie to the Girl Scout Promise, I certainly didn’t follow the Girl Scout Law. Until I looked up the Girl Scout Promise again as an adult, I didn’t even know there was a so-called Girl Scout Law. Reading it now, it sounds like a great law to live by. (Again, thanks to Wikipedia.)

Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
�honest and fair,
�friendly and helpful,
�considerate and caring,
�courageous and strong, and
�responsible for what I say and do,
and to
�respect myself and others,
�respect authority,
�use resources wisely,
�make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout

In retrospect, I could have and should have just memorized the four silly lines of the Girl Scout Promise. I probably didn’t on purpose, just to prove my rebelliousness.
I didn’t sell any Girl Scout cookies.

It’s true. When you think of the Girl Scouts, you imagine industrious young women in uniform hawking cookies door-to-door and at local business establishments. Not me. I didn’t sell a single box of Girl Scout cookies, ever. When it came to be that time of year, I sulkily gave my mother the order form and forgot all about it. A few weeks later, my mother handed me the cookie order form as she dropped me off at a Girl Scout meeting, filled out by her and her work friends. Good thing my mom was so good at selling Girl Scout cookies, because otherwise I might have been in real trouble!

I never bought the official Girl Scout uniform.

Let’s be absolutely serious for a minute. Goody two-shoes Girl Scouts or not, do they really expect image-conscious adolescents to wear those terrible outfits? Every time my mom brought it up (“Shouldn’t we at least get you the sash?”), I reassured her that I didn’t want to waste her money on a Girl Scout uniform we weren’t required to wear. And when an event occurred that we needed a Girl Scout uniform for, I mysteriously came down with the stomach flu.

To my knowledge, I never earned a Girl Scout merit badge.

I suspect that you’re starting to sense a theme here. Yep, I was probably the most ambitionless Girl Scout to ever pass through Troop 112. If I did accidentally earn a merit badge through some troop activity I participated in by showing up, I never took the trouble to go and get it. It seemed kind of fishy to me that a Girl Scout “earned” a merit badge, but then had to actually buy it at a store or through a catalogue. So, while my friends worked on their all-important gold and silver awards, I never even so much as got a badge for tying knots.

I sniffed the markers.

This is one of those Girl Scout meeting memories that I’m not exactly proud of, but here it goes. I sniffed the permanent markers my Girl Scout troop was supposed to use to make drug prevention posters. I even encouraged my friends to sniff the markers with me. The fumes made us goofy and unruly, and we did not complete our assigned drug prevention poster assignment. Oh, the irony.

I used our Girl Scout Camp to throw a party.

This is the worst of them all, but it’s time to come clean. Our Girl Scout troop leader took us to a local Girl Scout camp for a weekend. On our first night there, I decided to host a party in the lodge after everyone had gone to sleep. Armed with nothing but a boom box and a handful of Aerosmith and Metallica tapes, three other rebellious Girl Scouts and I stayed out all night long. We successfully snuck back into the bunkhouse as the others were waking up, pretending like we’d just gone for an early morning walk to the latrine. When given a group of Brownies to supervise later that day, my errant friends and I were terribly neglectful to our young charges. They probably learned nothing from us but bad manners.

While my Girl Scout confessions might seem tame in comparison to what you’d see on Jerry Springer, I was admittedly the most terrible Girl Scout I’ve ever known. Maybe the Girl Scouts has become an anachronism in our turbulent times. Or maybe I was just an ungrateful brat who didn’t appreciate a good thing when she saw it. Either way, I encourage anyone with a child in Girl Scouts to sit in on an actual meeting. While I may have been a troublemaker and a reluctant Girl Scout, it’s important to find out how well your child is being supervised at meetings and on outings. If not, she may come to look at Girl Scouts like I did: as an opportunity to get away with mischief away from the prying eyes of my parents.

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