Juliettes Are a Non-Traditional Way to Be a Girl Scout
On March 12, 1912, Juliette Gordon Low founded the Girl Scouts of the United States of America. Based on the Girl Guides in England, where she had volunteered her time, she wanted to give girls in America the opportunity to get out of their homes and into the great outdoors. Girls needed to be strong, independent women with a skill set that would take them outside the environment in which they were raised.
Her first troop consisted of 18 girls who would benefit from Juliette’s vision of giving them an opportunity to grow in all capacities-physically, spiritually and emotionally. Service to others in the community was also a focal point.
By Randy (originally posted to Flickr as Concentration) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons and modified by Hannah Gold in Picmonkey
From those humble beginnings to today, Girl Scout has been all about sisterhood. But for many girls, they are not able to become part of a troop. Can they still be a Girl Scout?
Yes, they can!
Reasons Girls Cannot Join a Troop
It may sound easy to join a Girl Scout troop, but in reality, it is not. Many Councils have long waiting lists for children wanting to be a part of the movement, and some wait for years.
One of the biggest reasons there is such a long waiting list is because there are simply not enough leaders. Depending on your Council, training and support is minimal, so even those who step up to lead eventually quit due to lack of guidance.
Another reason for the wait is because troops are full. Leaders are in charge of how many children they are willing to take (and while some Service Unit Managers push to give minimum amounts or to add more, in reality, they are out of bounds and cannot do this). There is nothing wrong with having the size troop that you want.
Volunteering to be a leader takes a lot of time and hard work, and in order to maintain your enthusiasm, you need to do what is best for you. If you can handle ten scouts, then that should be your troop size.
Girls also wait because even though there are troops with openings, it does not match her family’s schedule. Leaders need to meet at times that work for them so they can lead!
There are also towns that have no active troops.
Many older tweens and teens who wish to remain in Girl Scouting find themselves becoming Juliettes because the band of children who were once her sister scouts have since dropped out. There needs to be a minimum of five girls to form a troop-a single one cannot be considered a troop.
Last, middle school and high school students who love scouts may not be able to keep up with the pace of a busy troop, even one they have been with their whole lives. Meeting times and outings conflict with dance classes, sports games and practices and other after school activities. The demands of homework increase. One of the biggest pros to being an older Juliette is the flexibility it provides. Teens can do what they want to do on their schedule.
In order to keep interested girls involved, Juliettes were created. Named after the founder, they can do most of the things that children who belong to troops can do.
For Older Girls
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Activities a Juliette Girl Scout Can Do
The first thing a girl needs to do is register as an individual scout. She will also want to have an adult guide (usually a parent, but it can be another adult) who will be her advisor and help her with awards and badges.
While a Juliette does to meet regularly with a troop, she can attend all Council events and activities. Information about events are offered on each Council’s website, and some even have an active Facebook page that lists what is happening in the upcoming weeks and months. There should also be a member of your Service Unit team who is responsible for keeping contact with all of the individually registered scouts. Emails from her should be a part of her responsibilities to keep girls in the loop.
Camp is another opportunity for a solo scout to meet up with others. Many areas have Girl Scout camps that young women attend when school is out. This is a great opportunity for girls to experience the great outdoors and the sisterhood of scouting that cannot be experienced being on your own.
By Peter & Joyce Grace (originally posted to Flickr as Girl Scout Day Camp) [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons
Earning awards and badges can also be done by individual Girl Scouts. The Silver Award earned while being a Cadette and the Gold Award, earned during the Senior and Ambassador years, are all within reach of an individual’s goals. The badges that are won on vests and sashes can also be earned on one’s own as well.
Girls can also participate in community service projects of their choosing. This was one of the founding principles of scouting, so anything the child wants to do to help the community in which she lives works. The project can be a one-shot opportunity, like volunteering her time at a local event, or it can be more time consuming, like having a canned food drive or knitting caps for newborns in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit.
Fundraising is a part of Girl Scouts, and if a Juliette wants to participate in the fall QSP Nut Sale and the Girl Scout cookie sale, she can. Each Council has it’s own rules for this, so check with them to find out how to go about raising funds. Juliettes do not get to keep money. per se, but program credits that can be used in Council shops and for registration fees for activities such as camp and Council events.
The Girl Scouts of the USA have made being a Juliette even easier by creating a special online Guide for Juliettes. Some Council websites have their own version of the guide as well.
Earning Awards Means Doing a Journey
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Being a Girl Scout Juliette helps young women stay in a movement that brings them happiness and joy. There is no reason to drop out of scouting, because Juliettes give girls a reason to stay.