Two of my Cadettes have a plan.
They’ve already decided they’re going for Gold…and then the Eagle.
The Boy Scouts will be opening the doors to girls in 2019, and my Cadettes want the extra opportunities afforded to Eagle Scouts as well. Not that I blame them. There are Eagle-only scholarships out there.
So being mom, I started reaching out.
A former classmate at my daughter’s middle school completed his Eagle project by the fall of his freshman year. Seeing that, it’s technically possible for a motivated 14-year-old girl to complete her Eagle rank by the time she turns 18.
So I turned to them for advice, so my Cadettes really understand the differences in the program and rank requirements.
More than a bridging ceremony
For the uninitiated, Girl Scouts makes it easy to move up a level. For example, if I really wanted to bridge from Junior to Cadette Girl Scouts, all I would have to technically do is:
- Be a GSUSA member.
- Complete the bridging requirements.
- Teach younger Girl Scouts something you learned as a Junior.
- Learn about what Cadettes do.
That earns you the Bridge to Cadettes badge.
But….even if you don’t earn the Bridge to Cadettes badge, you can pay your GSUSA membership fee, become a sixth grader, and you are a Cadette!
Boy Scout advancement is vastly different from Girl Scout advancement. Going up a rank involves skills achieved, badges earned, service given, outdoor involvement and more.
For the very first Boy Scout rank, called “Scout,” the 2017 requirements state:
1a. Repeat from memory the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout
slogan. In your own words, explain their meaning.
1b. Explain what Scout spirit is. Describe some ways you have shown Scout spirit
by practicing the Scout Oath, Scout Law, Scout motto, and Scout slogan.
1c. Demonstrate the Boy Scout sign, salute, and handshake. Explain when
they should be used.
1d. Describe the First Class Scout badge and tell what each part stands for.
Explain the significance of the First Class Scout badge.
1e. Repeat from memory the Outdoor Code. In your own words, explain what
the Outdoor Code means to you.
1f. Repeat from memory the Pledge of Allegiance. In your own words, explain
2. After attending at least one Boy Scout troop meeting, do the following:
2a. Describe how the Scouts in the troop provide its leadership.
2b. Describe the four steps of Boy Scout advancement.
2c. Describe what the Boy Scout ranks are and how they are earned.
2d. Describe what merit badges are and how they are earned.
3a. Explain the patrol method. Describe the types of patrols that are used in
3b. Become familiar with your patrol name, emblem, flag, and yell. Explain
how these items create patrol spirit.
4a. Show how to tie a square knot, two half-hitches, and a taut-line hitch.
Explain how each knot is used.
4b. Show the proper care of a rope by learning how to whip and fuse the
ends of different kinds of rope.
5. Demonstrate your knowledge of pocketknife safety.
6. With your parent or guardian, complete the exercises in the pamphlet
How to Protect Your Children From Child Abuse: A Parent’s Guide and
earn the Cyber Chip Award for your grade.1
7. Since joining the troop and while working on the Scout rank, participate in
a Scoutmaster conference.
A vastly different process than the flexible programming Girl Scouting offers.
What to know. From the words of a parent.
The Scouts have Merit Badge Camps during the summer for those that want to earn more or reach a rank requirement. At last night’s meeting, the boys worked on rank requirements & they choose a badge to work on the next month. Some of the Eagle required take 3 months (personal fitness, family life). Camping requires 20 nights.So some badges are a little longer than others.
Start building scout skills now.
If you haven’t already spent time learning basic outdoor skills, including knots and outdoor cooking, start introducing this into your Girl Scout program to help prepare your girls for dual enrollment in scouting.
Whether girls will have separate rank requirements has yet to be announced, you can look at current (as of 2017) Boy Scout rank requirements to help understand some of the skills and knowledge your girls will need to advance within the Boy Scout framework.
Some of the areas you may want to know about are:
- Camping and outdoor requirements, including basic knots, pocketknife safety, outdoor cooking and first aid. These are far more strenuous than anything I’ve seen up to the Cadette program materials, however, our girls are up to the task!
- Service requirements
- Inclusion of Duty to God at each rank
If the first two aren’t already part of your Girl Scout troop’s culture, look at how you might improve that. I realize that “Duty to God” is a highly personal thing, and many troops are reluctant to even complete the “My Promise, My Faith” pin, but you may want to send them home as a parent-child activity to introduce the concept.
Building outdoor skills
Camping and outdoor requirements for many of the early rank requirements include basic knots, pocketknife safety, outdoor cooking and first aid. These requirements are far more strenuous than anything I’ve seen up to the Cadette program materials, however, our girls are up to the task!
This fall, our Cadette troop , along with our sister troop of Junior Girl Scouts, earned the Girl Guides of Canada “Survivor Girl” badge at our camporee. We learned how to pitch an impromptu tent, talked about wilderness first aid and learned to start fires in multiple ways. It is doable!
We have also learned about leave no trace as part of our Breathe journey, and I’m hoping to work with them on compass skills as well this spring and summer.
We can offer opportunity
This week, the talk of the Cub Scout and Girl Scout volunteer communities is the CBS interview on the Boy Scouts decision to allow girls. But here’s the truth. Whether your daughter decides to go Boy Scouts, dual enroll in both programs or stick with the Girl Scouts, we can offer our girls options, not just in programs, but in opportunities to grow.
Having been a leader in both, Scouts BSA for Girls offers a much better program than Girl Scouts does.