Monday, March 21, 2011

Rogue Girl Scout

As many of you are aware, last year Sweetpea joined the wonderful Girl Scout organization.  Of course, she didn't make this choice.  In fact, I'm guessing she probably had no idea what the heck a Girl Scout even was prior to joining.  However, the opportunity for her to be in a troop where she already knew a few of the girls presented itself, and so I signed her up thinking this would be helpful for her, giving her learning opportunities and the chance to make new friends.  Ok, so the ulterior motive was ready access to Girl Scout cookies, but we're not telling anyone that....

Side note: Speaking of which, before I go on, all of you will remember I, in the last few years, complained about the Girl Scouts changing the names of their cookies, (or else replacing their usual goodness with impostors making a poor attempt at pretending to be actual GS cookies)!  If you aren't aware, I'm happy to announce that the GS Organization in its infinite wisdom has corrected this travesty and returned to its regularly scheduled programming, (i.e. they changed the names back to what they should be).  Smartest thing they ever could have done, if you ask me.  But nobody asked me.

Anyway, Sweetpea joined Girl Scouts.  And she had such a blast!  She managed to participate in a few activities and sold a whopping 252 boxes of cookies!  With quite a bit  minimal absolutely no help from mom, dad and a couple of aunts.  None.  Ahem.  Anyway, that was enough to get her a ticket to go to the Cookie Party that is held every June.  Unfortunately, due to some unusual and unpleasant circumstances, her troop was disbanded before she was able to receive her information to register for the party.  In fact, we received her cookie credits and information to register letter (dated April) in September.  Oops.  Luckily, I had not mentioned to Sweetpea the fact that she would get to go to such a party.  I did not mention that because cookie sales occurred in January.  The cookie party was in June.  So what does that mean?  That means six months of "Mom, when is the cookie party?" "Mom, do I get to go to the cookie party next week?" "Mom, I can't wait for the cookie party!" "Mom, why can't I go to the cookie party today??" "Mom, what will the cookie party be like?" and so on, for me.  I'm sure you understand why I didn't mention it.  The same reason I told my husband NOT to tell her that we were going to Disneyland until just before we left, though he didn't listen....but I won't go down that path.  :)  Anyway, I didn't tell her, so she had no idea she had missed anything.  That's a good thing.  The bad thing was that I didn't know what we were going to do for her for Girl Scouts going forward, and had no idea how to find out.

Then in late August there was a knock on the front door.  When we answered it, there was a group of girls and a woman who live in our neighborhood.  They asked if Sweetpea would be interested in being involved in Girl Scouts for a short period of time.  The woman did not explain very much to me, other than that she is an employee of the Girl Scouts organization and is therefore limited as to the amount of time she can spend as leader of a troop, but that she does something for the girls for a meeting once a week at her house until just before Christmas, and then the program is over.  The cost was only $5 (as opposed to the normal $12 membership fee), and the best part is her house is only half a block away from ours.  Cha-ching!  While I don't care for this lady very much - I don't like anyone who treats me like I'm stupid - I wanted Sweetpea to have the chance to experience Girl Scouts the way I had as a child.  So far that had not happened.  This time I did check with Sweetpea to make sure she wanted to join again, and she said she did.  So, we signed up.  I wasn't quite sure what was supposed to happen after the end of the program, but figured I would be informed of that later.

So, for four months things went like clockwork and Sweetpea attended a troop meeting once a week.  And she loved it.  They even had a meeting about selling cookies, procedures, etc., and Sweetpea came home so excited, thinking it was time to start selling.  She was very disappointed when I informed her that the sales don't start until January.  But then December rolled around, and I received no word about what happens next.  Nothing.  I checked with the mother of two other troop members, and she said that her girls had been involved last year, but that it didn't continue after December.  The worst part: they did not get to participate in cookie sales.  Wait, what??  No cookie sales for these girls??  Well pardon me, but why the heck did they have a meeting that centered around cookie sales and they don't even get to sell?!?  I was pretty mad.  Not just for the fact that I was going to have to buy cookies from someone else like everyone else, but because I was going to have to break it to Sweetpea that she didn't get to sell either.  She had already been heartbroken when I told her there were no more troop meetings for the year.  Plus, I was also ticked that this woman had built these girls up for that without telling them they weren't going to be able to sell, all the while providing the parents with NO information as to where to go from there.

I started trying to figure out what to do, and there was no way I was calling whats-her-face fake troop leader from down the street.  Which meant starting with the internet.  It didn't take me very long to find the number for the GS headquarters here locally, and I placed a call.  The woman who answered the phone was very polite and very helpful.  After getting Sweetpea's name and looking up her information, she said that in fact, Sweetpea was not affiliated with any troop, but was part of the organization's Outreach program.  She said this is a program that samples Girl Scouts in an area that has no troop, to try to gain the interest of the girls in the area, and encourage adults to form a troop.  She did not say how long the program had been going on in our area, but did say there was no troop close by.  She told me that I had two options to see about getting Sweetpea involved in the cookie sales.  First was to check with the person who oversees our area and see about a troop nearby.  Guess who that person is.  That's right: what's-her-face fake troop leader.  Perfect.  If no troop was in the area, then we could look into registering her as a Juliette. Yep, I did the same thing: "A what?  What's a Juliette?"  She explained to me that Juliettes is a program for girls that don't have the opportunity to be a part of a troop, but still allows them to participate in Girl Scouts and its many activities.  They are supervised by an adult known to them, and get information from someone in the Girl Scout organization that oversees the Juliettes.  Wait.  A loner Girl Scout?  While I thought it was an awesome option for those who didn't have a troop near them, I found it humorous at the same time, given the nature of Girl Scouts as an organization.  I had visions of these loner Girl Scouts rising up to overthrow the GS council and take over the world.  LOL!

So the nice lady transferred me to you-know-who, who greeted me very pleasantly as if she was happy to hear from me, just like she always does.  But as soon as I told her I was calling to find a troop for Sweetpea, she automatically shifted into her typical you're an idiot, why are you bothering to even look my direction and waste my time with your stupidity mode and said with a tone of voice that told me I was a complete drain on her day, "There are no troops in the area."  She didn't explain where "the area" encompassed, and didn't even give me the opportunity to tell her I was willing to drive Sweetpea out of "the area" to deliver her to meetings if I could find a troop for her to be part of.  I tried to get out that I just felt so bad to have to tell Sweetpea that she was not going to be a  part of cookie sales this year, (especially since she had encouraged the girls and made them believe they would actually be selling cookies this year), and was hoping there was some way she could be a part of it so I didn't have to do that.

I got out "I just feel bad - " before she cut me off.  She had not changed tone of voice when she told me I could email the person in charge of the Juliettes, and rattled off the email address before I had asked for it, causing me to scramble to find a pen and paper - nearly knocking over my open bottle of water in the process - to barely get the address started on my notepad before she had finished it.  I could feel the impatience on the line, even though she said nothing, as I read the address back to her to verify it was correct.  She did not volunteer information as to what Juliettes are or how the program works (thank goodness for the nice lady that answered the phone), and fairly grunted when I thanked her for the information before hanging up on me.  And my family wonders why I have trouble with certain people in the neighborhood.  Let's see, a woman who invites me to join the book club - twice - and then never bothers to provide me the information for when meetings are, a backyard neighbor who calls animal control on us 6 - 7 times per day because we have a few chickens in an area where the ordinances neither allowed or disallowed them (remedied now), and a woman who works for the Girl Scouts - and should represent what they are - that treats me like I'm a moron just for speaking to her about my daughter who is in her outreach program.  Gee, I wonder.

Anyway, I emailed the Juliettes lady, and was lucky to find that it was the last week for registration for Juliettes in order for them to be part of cookie sales.  I managed to get the registration in and attend the cookie meeting that was required for sales.  And off we went.  While Sweetpea doesn't enjoy the activities involved with a troop, she still gets cookie credits and can do badge work and organization activities.  And can sell cookies!  And thanks to a very helpful grandma, and mom and dad buying 50 boxes and the Girl Scouts softening their restrictions on internet sales, I  we  Sweetpea was able to sell 264 boxes this year, which is more than enough to get her to the cookie party.  We have some wonderful family and friends!!  I have one friend, a former co-worker, whose husband is the very healthful type person who occasionally goes on a rampage through the house and throws out anything with sugar or artificial anything in it - even if it isn't his.  She used to hide her cookies in her office to prevent that.  This year she said she would buy some, since her stock was out, but she didn't know where she would hide them from him.  I told her to tell him that she was purchasing to help fund the rogue Girl Scouts, code name Juliettes, so they can overthrow the organization and rid it of all sugar-filled treats.  He ought to like that.  She certainly loved it.

And, incidentally, my husband and Sweetpea ran into some people they knew running a cookie booth at the grocery store down the street.  There were several girls there from Sweetpea's school, and a woman my husband knew from hanging out at City Council meetings.  Turns out she is a co-leader of a troop here in our city.  She said she holds most of the meetings at her house.  While we're not 100% sure where her house is, we know it' the area...


Kelly Thompson said...

I kind of think the Rogue girl scout thing would have been more my speed. I don't remember having a great amount of fun in any of the 3 troops I tried.

Anonymous said...

I really liked the article, and the very cool blog