Yes they can! I thought I would take a minute (or 5) to tell you why we are now a fully invested Girl Scout family. We've known for years that we wanted the boys to be in Boys Scouts and we are charter members of a great troop, but I have always been a bit apathetic about Girl Scouts. I was a girl scout off and on while I was growing up, mostly off and I really didn't get much out of it. But, last year, Olivia wanted to give it a try and my friend needed a co-leader for a Daisy troop, so off we went. Even throughout the year, I was not fully invested and if Olivia didn't want to continue the next year, I was perfectly fine with that (I'm one of those really odd parents that would love it if my kids weren't involved in anything, I guard our family time very jealously).
But then in May, our troop went to Encampment which is an area-wide event that brings girls of all ages together to do fun things and spend time together. The first thing that struck me was that a troop of older girls offered to let us hang out with them for the day; we got to eat lunch with them, they helped the girls navigate the games, and they really made a point of fully engaging those little girls in whatever they were doing. It really impressed me that these adolescent girls would give up the freedom they otherwise would have had, just to help our little Daisies feel comfortable at their first Encampment. Never once did it appear that they would rather not have our girls there.
The next thing that really effected me was at SWAPS time. Because the Daisies are so little, they only swap with cadets so that it's not so overwhelming for them. Now, I didn't realize this before, but the older girls really put some time and effort into their SWAPS and have really extensive collections. They were totally willing to open up their collections to the little girls, who obviously don't have the same skill level when it comes to making SWAPS. Again, not one girl appeared to have negative feelings about this.
After we had our SWAPS, we lined up for a little procession to the big circle where we were about to have the bridging ceremony. The Daisies are first in line and then Brownies, Juniors, etc. all the way up. When the procession started, we marched to a big field area and made a circle. As we were marching in the circle, I looked back and saw this huge line of girls and women and it just hit me that all of these girls had grown up in this awesome environment with the encouragement and support of these wonderful women who were giving their time and talent to the girls. I saw girls laughing and chatting with their leaders, obviously well bonded. We sat next to a troop of high school girls who were talking about needing to leave after dinner. Two of them had Confirmation the next day and one of them had a date. Her leader asked her who her date was with and when the girl gave his name, the leader exclaimed excitedly. It was quite clear that she was privvy to information about this boy because the girl had confided in her. Well, let me tell you, there is more that impressed me that evening, butthat hooked me right there. The fact that that girl had confided this information about this boy to her troop leader made me want to run over and hug that woman and thank her for being such a trusted adult.
Before the bridging ceremony, we were told that it is tradition in our area that the Daisies give the graduating seniors a flower. The graduating seniors had done it as Daisies and now it was coming full circle for them. The bridging ceremony starts with the Daisies that are bridging to Brownies and goes on up from there. So, you can imagine how excited everyone was to see the seniors bridge to adult status. It was truly moving to see how proud the graduating girls were and to see how much their leaders love them. It was particularly striking because my oldest daughter was one of the Daisies handing them their flowers. I could clearly imagine her as a senior, getting her own flower from a Daisy and remembering that she was once that little girl.
So, all of these things led to me to the conclusion that Girl Scouting is something that I really want my girls to do. The idea that they could grow up, surrounded by that much love and support is incredibly appealing to me. I think that the more supportive and caring adults that they can count on in the next few years, the better their chances of becoming really great women. How lucky these girls are.
Yes, Brownies can do anything because they have supportive and trusted adults to help them navigate through the very windy roads as they grow up.