I am quite possibly the least enthusiastic Girl Scout Mother ever. Don’t get me wrong – Scouting is a great and worthwhile activity. Any organization that teaches my kid how to be a better person AND supplies the world with delicious cookies is OK in my book. However, if the Girl Scouts truly want to get me on board, they need to make some changes ASAP.
1. Do Away With Patches
Iron-on, my ass. The iron, from whom I have been estranged since the Great Shirt-Melting Incident of 2002, is usually wielded only by my husband. However, his stupid job often gets in the way of his accomplishing unpleasant household tasks (how convenient!). So, it fell to me to prepare the Daisies vest last year, and things got UGLY. My attempt to iron on the patches was unsuccessful, probably because the iron hates me. My next (unsuccessful) attempt – and I am not proud of this – involved a glue stick. This led to my brilliant idea to use Gorilla Glue. I was just congratulating myself for my cleverness (Ironing is for SUCKAS!) when my daughter and I realized that the glue soaked through the fabric of the vest, making a sticky mess. And, if she hadn’t noticed glue bleeding through, it’s possible that Anna might have had a Daisy sash permanently adhered to her midsection – which would be an interesting conversation starter on the first day of 2nd grade. Or med school… On the up side, 6 of the12 patches stayed firmly attached.
Unfortunately, the six that fell off left gobs of crusty white glue behind, making the vest look like someone sponge-painted it with mucus:
My daughter was not happy with this situation. My impassioned speech about being a ‘“vest half-full” and not a “vest half-sponge-painted-with-glue-gobs” kind of person’ fell on deaf ears. It took several rolls of scotch tape, but we managed to get through the year. Luckily, I am a person who learns from her mistakes (and constant haranguing from her daughter). I am proud proud to say that this year, I paid the 20 dollars to have the new Brownie patches sewn on her new sash at the dry cleaners:
All of this unnecessary angst, glue, and expenditure could be avoided by simply doing away with the patches, not to mention the uniforms. Ugly brown or green polyester vests and sashes are so 1985. In this era of Katy Perry, I propose a tastefully sequined crop top or bedazzled camisole, preferably in a shade of pink, purple, or sky blue (perhaps all three?). Instead of a drab rainbow patch, lets have the garment BE THE RAINBOW. Girls love glitter.
2. No More Camping Trips
I don’t camp. Those of you have heard the story of the Great Oregon Fiasco of 2000 know why. If you haven’t heard the story, it involves 3 pounds of cherries, a bottle of chardonnay, a suspected serial killer, and an intensely distressed colon… In the woods.
Like many parents these days, I am a child of the 80s, when my only exposure to nature was via TV in the form of horror movies set by a lake, a deserted cabin, or pretty much anywhere nobody would hear you scream. From this, I learned to associate camping trips with dismemberment, giant snakes, intelligent and power-hungry frogs, and/or crazy serial killers. In short, I am not a fan.
Besides, I like my mod-cons. My giant, soft mattress with 5-6 fluffy pillows,white noise machine, electronic reader, seven different soaps, creams, lotions, and solutions I use in my bedding ritual…it all seems like it would make for a very bulky camping trip.
I mean, nature is great and all. I like to bird watch, for example. From inside the house. Or, I might sit on the back deck, listen to the trees rustle in the breeze as I enjoy a glass of wine. Which brings me to the real issue with the whole Encampment thing..it is my understanding that one of the few things that makes camping bearable is alcohol. After a beer or two, everybody is more relaxed and less worried about serial killers (except when they have to go to the bathroom at 2 AM with the aforementioned intensely distressed colon…but that’s another story). The Scout Guide contains baseless regulations like “the Girl Scouts prohibit alcohol use” and the even more ominous “Adults should be on their best behavior.” Really? Shouldn’t we save our best behavior for civilization? Isn’t the wild where we should get all, well, wild?
I propose a two-part alternative to the traditional camping trip, which I feel offers a more contemporary take on the Girl Scout Mission. A great way to “build girls of courage, confidence and character,” would be a Hunger Games/Divergent style Competition. Instead of the bland and boring weekend of “Encampment,” I suggest the far more compelling “Ass-Kickers Academy.” This week-long event would feature lessons in self-defense, combat, archery, sword-fighting, knife throwing and other useful (and totally awesome) skills. The AKA would empower girls to “develop their full potential” by preparing them for the coming zombie apocalypse, encounters with possible serial killers, or SEAL training. If movies, teen lit and TV shows are any indication, it’s a bleak future and our girls need to be ready for it.
The second part of my alternative plan is a spa day. After a week of hard training in the field, our little ass kickers will “discover the fun, friendship, and power of girls together” by getting Chocolate Oxygen Facials and Fire Opal Balancing Stone Massages. Obviously, mothers will be included in this activity.
3. No More Cookie Sales
Girl Scouts, I have a bone to pick with you. Why on earth in this age of childhood obesity are you still pushing addictive-as-crack, fat-filled calorie bombs on our chubby, sedentary population? They are delicious, true. However, as someone who once inhaled an entire sleeve of thin mints while hiding in a bathroom stall, I can tell you with confidence that the road to hell and self-loathing is paved with delectable, wafer-thin chocolate cookies.
Here’s a healthy and economically smart alternative: why not sell those protein shakes famous people are always drinking on TV? Or even better, why not sell the Vitamix Professional Series 300 blenders so people can make their own protein shakes? My husband and his brother first saw this amazing machine at a Costco in Columbus, Ohio. Apparently, the salesman made a delicious orange sorbet out of some kale, chia seeds, cranberry juice, a beet, and an entire unpeeled banana. That is one badass blender. Plus, at $528.95, your girl scout only has to sell one or two to make some serious coin, instead of hawking 200 boxes of Samoas and Tagalongs at $4 each on local lacrosse fields and grocery store parking lots.
Some naysayers will opine that the Vitamix is too expensive to anchor a successful fundraising effort. These people obviously don’t live in Arlington, where people won’t think twice about throwing down mad cash for a contraption that will make them healthier and does not involve playing catch with bricks at the local CrossFit Gym. Consider this comment from a customer who turned to the Vitamix 300 after being unhappy with his previous blender: “My smoothies came out with lots and lots of bits, and I end up having to do a lot of chewing.” I bet this man who is too busy to do something as pedestrian as chew his food is from Arlington, and would probably be interested in buying a second Vitamix for his home office from a local girl scout troop! At the very least, let’s make the switch from selling cookies to something wholesome and trendy like giant sacks of kale, beets, or plankton.
Call me a visionary, or call me a kale-loving, dystopian-obsessed ironing-hating weirdo. Either way, when Juliette “Daisy” Gordon Low first founded the Girl Scout organization in 1912, I’m sure she intended for it to evolve with the times and the role of women in society. If we truly want our daughters to become part of the GSA’s “long history of strong, independent heroines,” let’s stop giving them cookies and start teaching them how to disembowel deranged zombies with a katana. Or a Vitamix.