Sunday, November 11, 2012

Reason #234 Why I am Not a Girl Scout Troop Leader

…overnights. Then what, you may ask, would have persuaded me to volunteer to chaperone such an event? Quite simply, my daughter asked me.

You would think that having two girls would have turned me numb to giggle fits, high pitch screeching, and a blatant disregard for the voice of authority figures. You would be tragically wrong.
I have a surprising low threshold for all things pre-pre-teen, so I appreciate those moms that can handle twelve 7-8-year-olds without going absolutely bat shit crazy. (It’s also quite possible they have already lost it.)

The Lake Erie Nature and Science Center (located in my very own hometown) hosts a fall and spring overnight for Girl Scouts. This fall’s theme is Teddy Bears. Cute.

We lug our two sleeping bags (incidentally my sleeping bag is the same sleeping bag I would have used when I was a Brownie if I hadn’t quit after the introductory meeting where we were informed that at some point we would need to stand up and say the Girl Scout Pledge – I like to call it “retro” Raggedy Ann and Andy), two pillows, two flashlights, a duffel with pjs, Pooh Bear and Beluga (duh!), and a stuffed koala that Morgan picked out for me. Notice no snacks/alcohol are packed. I must have been on drugs.

I’m thinking of making one of those youtube videos of Shit Brownies Say.

SCENE 1: I honestly don’t care who you pick for your buddy, but please make a decision and try not to hurt the other girl’s feelings who so obviously wanted to be your buddy despite the fact that you are clinging to another girl and completely ignoring her.

Whoever thought “buddies” was a good idea anyway. Way to go, Girl Scouts. If I were troop leader, I would not have let them pick. I would have assigned them a buddy. You get what you get and you don’t have a fit. Or perhaps you would rather be Mrs. Norcross’s buddy? Is that it? Nobody wants that, kids. (I honestly want to be the “fun” mom, but it is so much easier to be the mean one.)

SCENE 2: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 3: And how about all the non sequitur comments and questions?

During the laying down of the rules, Morgan raises her hand. “Mrs. Florez, one time when I was here I saw the boa constructor (not constrictor) eat a rat.”


SCENE 4: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 5: Somewhat related to the non sequitur is their ability to latch on to off the cuff comments and beat them like a dead horse.

LENSC Leader: When the lights go out, we will be on lock down – no one in or out. Because a couple years ago we woke up and couldn’t find a little girl.
Brownie 1: Did you find her?
LENSC: Yes (I don’t think we would be having another overnight here if they hadn’t)
Brownie 2: Where was she?
LENSC: In the nature garden.
Brownie 3: Were there animals out there?
Brownie 4: Was she in their cages?
LENSC: No, she couldn’t get in their cages and they couldn’t get out.
And so on, and so forth for fifteen minutes.

Now here is where it would have been appropriate to scare the bejeezus out of them so none of them got the same idea. “We found her with the turkey vultures and they were attempting to peck her eyes out!”

SCENE 6: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 7: Anytime a person of authority opens their mouth, at least one Brownie will also be speaking. I have to applaud the women at the nature center (most notably the planetarium presenter) and their ability to completely ignore the questions and comments that would no doubt turn a twenty minute presentation into a 2-day retreat.

SCENE 8: High Pitch Screaming

SCENE 9: Potty talk.

Since it was just us girls, we were told that we could use both the boys and girls restrooms for toilets and sinks. This was followed by an explanation of urinals for the less worldly girls. Five minutes later when we break up for activities, we notice the girl’s room is empty but there is a line for the boy’s. Oi.

SCENE 10: Anything that remotely resembles what my grandmother would call “sass mouth”. Morgan might have an obsessive compulsive disorder bordering on the need for medicinal marijuana. And she may have periods of whine that can only be dealt with by an accompanying charcuterie and cheese. But other than the occasional sarcasm (which I can secretly admire), she does not sass mouth. Unfortunately, about a third of our troop are professionals in this field.

FINAL SCENE: High Pitch Screaming. And me, being carried out in a straight jacket because I have exactly a 30 second tolerance.

You may have guessed that I have extremely high standards for how kids behave in public. I did attempt to lower these standards for the evening, knowing how exciting and overwhelming it could be for them – especially if they had never slept over with friends before. And I think I bit my tongue surprisingly well, directing the bulk of my commentary to facebook.

But I hit the wall at eleven o’clock when the center called lights out. The logical part of my brain knew that there was no way these girls would calm down in anything less than forty-five minutes. The other part of my brain was screaming, FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, GO THE FUCK TO SLEEP, BITCHES!

I compromised by not allowing Susan to get up and brush her teeth twenty seconds after getting the last of the troop in their sleeping bag. In my head I pictured John Bender. “Why does Andrew get to get up? If he get’s up, we’ll all get up! It will be anarchy!”

In the morning, our troop leader and one of the other mom’s commented on how well-behaved all the girls were. Oh boy. Yes, VERY different standards.  (Note to all my PTA friends:  Please don't stop letting your kids come over to play at my house.  I promise to behave myself.)

Two additional cups of tea…

Cup 1

Now, when I think overnight, I think slumber party. And when I think slumber party, I think food. This gives rise to a wild assumption that something beginning at 7pm and ending at 9am would include a tasty treat - perhaps before the planetarium visit. So I didn’t worry too much that I didn’t have time to eat dinner before going.

At about 9pm we got a snack of “bear food” (a very tasty trail mix of all things I love and nothing that is good for me) presented in a Dixie cup, a small tortilla (somewhat stale) to spread with cream cheese and honey, two pieces of strawberry, and two pieces of grapes. So that would be one strawberry and one grape. I may have stolen an extra Dixie cup of bear food. (Hey, I quit Girl Scouts, remember?)

To be fair, the morning breakfast was somewhat more robust, but I did receive a dirty look from Sassmouth #1 when she asked me why I was drinking a juice box instead of coffee like the other moms. Morgan had my back though.

Cup 2

Since our group chose to sleep by the turtle habitat we were also situated right next to the door to the nature garden (remember the escapee mentioned earlier).

Despite the lock down, our troop leader decided to sleep at the threshold of these double doors. Sassmouth #2 mentioned that maybe she would just step over her while she was sleeping, to which the leader replied that she would wake up because she was a very light sleeper.

I’m sorry, Ashley, but two minutes after lights out you were snoring (this is literal, not figurative) on the concrete floor and continued to do so until two thirds of the troop had woken up in the morning and each had visited the bathroom.

The spring overnight theme is Butterflies. It’s all you, Jacquie!


  1. Oh my good gracious God. Your account makes teaching junior high seem like a vacation at a Sandals resort. I would rather spend day after endless day with a bunch of thirteen-year-olds than endure one overnight of the kind you have described. I cannot believe that you weren't a complete blithering idiot at lunch today....I would have been rocking in a corner.

  2. When I was a Girl Scout we had an overnight trip at the Museum of Science in Boston. Pretty sure I was about 10-ish at the time. Our troop along with a couple others got to sleep in the electricity room. Those tall towers shot bolts of lightning back and forth all day long with exceedingly loud popping and crackling sounds, plus crazy unexpected bolts landing who knows where (basic Tesla stuff). Plus, right outside the door of our room was the life sized replica of a T-Rex.

    For about fifty 10 year olds you can imagine the level of fear involved. They might well have set off their own electricity. Some of those girls were total wussies. I was not one of those girls. Best trip I went on as a pre-teen.

    Could possibly explain so many things about my personality today now that I think of it...