Girlscouts rant, 2006...

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 4:55am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

I always swore I would *not* get sucked into joining with dd, but there I went. Her good friends do it and two great moms, allergy sensetive themeselves, are the leaders and I decided that made it cool.
Well, of course, the first larger event(coucil sponsored fundraiser of some sort), is a fun day with trail mix being served to kids by older scouts. They apparently have decided that since they cannot accomodate everyone, this accomodation is not being made. I was told that blunlty, by my friend, who I think was sympathetic and frustrated with a few things that were coming up. It was equated to not celebrating Christmas stuff(Santa).

I just think a life threatening food being handed out is different than deciding on how to deal with winter celebrations/fundraising and multicultural families.

Anyway, it sounds like a fun day. But with nuts being passed out to all the children, we cannot go. We were told we can pack our own food.

I have quite an issue with this, especially since there is a "Be a PAL" patch to do through FAAN! Get real. This is certainly not a be a PAL event, and no group serving up nuts should be allowed to get that patch! becca

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:07am
Sarahfran's picture
Joined: 06/08/2000 - 09:00

In our first year of Girl Scouts, I had to deal with this a lot--troop meetings were *generally* OK (except for one horrible day when the leader "forgot" about DD's allergy and had a cooking activity planned as part of an African culture patch that involved peanut butter) but council level events were always dangerous. PBJ served as the vegetarian option for lunch, unsafe snacks ("may contains") etc. I chaperoned everything, oversaw handwashing for girls who ate PB, made them sit away from the rest of the troop while eating, policed the kitchen picking packages out of the trash to read the labels, called people in charge of cooking at events to check stuff in advance, and marched into the kitchen at camp and told them the "make your own PBJ sandwich" table would have to go (they agreed to make the sandwiches inside on a separate table, wrap them individually, and put them out for kids who would eat all at the ends of tables. And they also discovered that this was A LOT easier and less messy for them.).
The next year, miraculously, there were no peanuts anywhere. No more PBJ at council events, no peanut-laden GS cookies served at meetings, no PB anywhere to be found at camp, and at one point at camp, there was a trail mix activity--the girls got one scoop each of several foods to make their own mix, and when I went behind the table to check the labels not only did they have them easily accessible, but they said that they made sure to get only peanut safe items since this was such a concern now!
This year, the co-leader of DD's Brownie troop has an 11 year old son with a peanut allergy so she is hyper-aware and fabulous about keeping things safe.
So I guess the lesson is to stick with it and be a pain in the butt--it seemed to have worked for us, and it's been really worth the effort because Brownies has been awesome!

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:10am
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

How do they earn a 'Be a PAL' badge? Wouldn't part of being a PAL be to not eat foods containing nuts when you are trying to keep someone allergic safe? To truly follow through with the message of that badge, I would think, would be to understand the importance of inclusiveness and safety for FA people -- and most importantly for the Girlscouts who are FA members!

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 5:47am
Carefulmom's picture
Joined: 01/03/2002 - 09:00

Been there, done that. As you might remember I had to pull dd out of Girl Scouts as there were so many events that were unsafe for her. I had a meeting with some big wig (don`t recall her title) and I printed out information from the Girl Scout website that someone on this board had posted the link to. When it really came down to it, they do not practice inclusion. It is just lip service. You probably remember the field trip to the bakery that used peanuts--even the bakery owner said it was unsafe for dd to go. I wanted it changed to something that dd could safely attend. The Girl Scout big wig condoned the field trip with the famous "It isn`t fair to the other girls to miss out because of one child." That is certainly not inclusion. And like the girls really care whether it is a bakery with peanut products or a bagel bakery without peanut products. When I saw the thread here a few weeks ago about the Be A Pal patch, all I could think was how hypocritical it was. Not at all what they practice during their events.

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 7:11am
krc's picture
Joined: 01/16/2007 - 09:00

We also had to quit Girl Scouts due to all the unsafe field trips and peanutty snacks. It seems no matter how many times I talked to them, they just didn't get it. The leaders did not want to be bothered and I had a newborn and a 1 year old at the time and instead of fighting, we quit the troop. (This was a few years back) The last straw was the field trip to a chocolate factory (that made tons of nut candy) after I had spoken to them about dd's allergy MULTIPLE times!! I remember when they passed out the permission forms, one of the leaders even came up to me and said "This probably won't be a field trip for xxxx, but I hope she can make the next one!" With this smile on her face that made me so angry!! They were absolutely aware she could not go, just didn't care.

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 7:12am
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

The troop level is not the issue. I have been assigned in charge of snacks, and am consulted on all food(when the time comes). This is a council level issue. I do think our leaders inquired about nuts, so we would know, and must have tried to speak out on our behalf, because she soundes snippy when shw mentioned the nobody is being accomodating thing. I do think she was feeling snippy about the way it was said to her, and not feeling snippy about me. I simply called her to ask for a higher up phone number to get more info on the food, and she said it did have nuts. They did caution about i, for those with allergy concerns. I mean, easy enough to make a trail miz without nuts! They are just not even trying. I wouldn't rany about may contains, even, but just the flagrant handing out of nuts knowing it can kill some girls there. Not just mine.
Would they hand out toxic chemicals for them all to touch, or spray the area with pesticices before they all go there to play? I usually do not rant on about stuff, because we have just avoided such food-oriented groups. But, this just bugs me in light of the new patch and then this flagrant disregard.
BTW, the patch info is on the FAAN sight, and was mentioned here a week or two ago. That is how I know of it. becca

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 10:06am
Gail W's picture
Joined: 12/06/2001 - 09:00

Maybe remind them of the latest issue of their leader magazine: [url=""][/url]

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:10pm
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Thanks for that Gail!
Wow. I am so torn at wanting to make this my battle. On principle, especially given this badge they offer and now that in their recent leader publication! Geesh!
I have composed an email to my friend, but am hesitant to send it. It is not her issue. She, as a leader, even wanted to be snack free! Kids parents complained and they have a very long day. I provide all the snacks and have been offered reimbursement. I also take care that it is safe for all the allergies in the group. PN, TN, egg, milk/dairy.
This is a higher up issue, and I fear if I make a huge issue, I will bring it back onto my leaders, who are very sweet and caring about this whole thing.
I was just going to send all this(the leader magazine quote) as a friend to friend vent to my leader friend. But I am afraid she will take it wrong and be hurt or offended. You hate to have something come back around to a leader who *is* keeping with that publication statement.
I just think she would really lose sleep over it if she knew how steamed I was, and not take it how I intend. As just a friend to friend vent. She invited my dd, and has bent over backwards to let me feel safe.
I need to restate this is an event out of her planning and over her head. She is also new to leading.

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:14pm
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Interestingly, at this same meeting, Santa was banned from a fundraiser in the winter, but they will still serve deadly food at a major area event.
If I have to choose not to attend an event that could threaten my child's life, why can't folks who are not into Santa, just not go do the Santa thing?
How fair is that? Santa banned, but not nuts. becca

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:18pm
gvmom's picture
Joined: 08/24/2005 - 09:00

You know, I just had a thought -- yes, scary, but it happens every now and again.
What is the Girlscout policy with respect to accommodating other disabilities? I know this brings up quite a few of the 504 arguments, but would they just say too bad you can't attend to someone in a wheelchair, or that was blind?

Posted on: Fri, 10/06/2006 - 12:24pm
becca's picture
Joined: 05/22/2001 - 09:00

Exactly! Grrrr. becca. Let's just say, we might stop after this year. Dd has plenty to do with soccer and piano, and can add watercolor in her new spare time. She loves that.
I just do not like supporting such establishments that are two-faced. One statement to the public, and weak in actual practice. becca


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