Cadette Weekend: Why Older Girls Should Stick with Girl Scouts
There comes a point when we start to lose our girls to other activities and interests. Usually there’s a wave as they enter sixth grade and a trickle after that until only the most dedicated survive to graduation. I’ve always found this to be sad. When the girls drop out before they experience being a Cadette, they miss out on some of the best parts of being a Girl Scout.
Cadette Weekend 2018
In our council, one of those amazing bits of fun is Cadette Weekend, an event so huge they only hold it once every two years. I have sat up until midnight on the day of enrollment to register my Cadettes as soon as the sign up goes live. You think getting tickets to San Diego Comic Con is hard? Try getting a spot in a platform tent for Cadette Weekend. (Don’t worry. They have room for pitching tents as well. But still.)
Girl Planned Activities
This camping weekend is planned and orchestrated by Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors. They choose the theme, the activities, the menu, the patches, and the swag. And let me tell you, these girls do NOT plan activities that most adults would even think of. I didn’t get to walk around as much as I would have liked, but I do have some examples:
There is no schedule beyond meal time, allowing the girls to explore camp and make a mess and go on unplanned hikes and run around in the sun and hang out and just talk. Freedom.
It’s break time for the leaders as well, because their scouts are old enough to survive without constant supervision. If you ever want to see a bunch of teenager girls eternally happy as they play games and frolic in the out of doors, take them off the leash and let them go. It’s a true thing of beauty.
Though the event is planned by the older girls, they’re still children and need a bunch of adults to help make their plans a reality. This is where I come in. This is my fourth time in a row working the kitchen for Cadette Weekend. I LOVE this job. It’s one weekend of exhaustion and aching feet to ensure a well-fed camp.
Our fearless leader, Pam Lippert, had everything ready when we got to camp. All I had to do is work. For a volunteer who is in charge of many events, it’s a blast to act on someone else’s orders and just get things done. I unwrapped baked potatoes, stirred BBQ sauce, refilled milk and silverware, stocked and maintained an ice cream bar, washed dishes, cleaned coolers, stacked boxed cereal, emptied garbage cans. All the things you imagine happens in a kitchen.
Two volunteers who helped serve lunch on Saturday. (Hi, Jen and Carrie!)
I know many people who say they just don’t have time to volunteer. I don’t accept that excuse. You might not have time to be a troop leader or you might not have the experience to lead an event. But EVERY single level of volunteer opportunities exist. I can do this one weekend every two years and STILL do my part for the girls in our community. So can you!
Huge Benefit to Keeping Girls in Scouting
Daisies (K-1st) stick close to the leader’s side and look at everything with wide eyes and trepidation. Brownies (2nd-3rd) explore a bit more eagerly and get their first taste of choosing their own activities, but they need to stay within sight of the leader. Juniors (4th-5th) learn conflict resolution as their personalities begin to clash and experience higher levels of leadership while bravely going to the latrines without their leader. By the time the scout reaches Cadettes (6th), she has gained a level of independence and confidence that allows her leader to step back and watch the journey.
THIS is the level we’ve been building toward. THIS is the real opportunity for the scouts to explore their interests in a deeper, more meaningful manner. THIS is where they take the lead and the adults become mentors.
The Girl Scout mission statement reads “Building girls of courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place.” Even one year in Girl Scouts can set a girl in the right direction to achieve that mission. Every additional year, especially those middle and high school ones, help her build the skills and experience to truly change the world.
Encourage your girls to continue, show them all the fun and opportunity they’re missing out on. And, you, yes you, step up and help make their visions a reality until they can do it on their own. It won’t be long. A blink of an eye. Don’t miss it.