As if our schedules weren’t already busy enough, Sam came up to me one day and asked if she could be a Girl Scout.
Sam’s interest in Girl Scouts was sparked because the five girls that she plays with in school — in her classroom to be exact — were all in the same Daisy Troop. A Daisy, (I learned a few weeks ago), is what you call the first level of Girl Scouts who are in kinder and first grade. The trivia behind it is that Juliette Gordon Low, the founder of the Girl Scouts, used to pick Daisies when she was a child; hence the name.
Anyway, when we inquired, we found out there was ONE SPOT left in that particular troop. Would we like to take it?
Sam was excited. I have to admit, I was hesitant. Another activity to add to our roster? Yikes. I was told parent volunteering at Girl Scouts was heavy at this age (naturally, the girls are too young to be left alone). I spoke to some other moms and my husband, and a lot of them advised we wait until the fall to start as a Brownie. The Daisies had earned most of their badges / petals by now, and so Sam would be left behind. Plus they were in the midst of cookie season. It may be hard to catch up.
The thing was, our Troop leader couldn’t guarantee that the slot would wait for us until the fall. And if that was the case, what was the point of joining since Sam wouldn’t be with her friends in the same troop anyway?
So despite my apprehensions and worries, and much to Sam’s squealing delight, we confirmed the slot. And before I go on, I’d have to thank the two people in my village, my wise friend Polly (who also happens to be one of Sam’s godmothers), and my cousin-in-law Patty. They helped me realize (and put into practice what I learned from DYC) I was putting my fears on Sam, when she had none. And this wasn’t about me. But as her parent it was my role to go throught whatever natural consequences this would lead us to. So, coming from a “place of freedom”, I said yes to the whole experience, and became a Girl Scout Mom.
It’s been 11 days to be exact since Sam attended her first Girl Scout meeting. She. LOVES. IT.
I was told that Sam could earn the petals and leaves at our own pace, so I bought the Daisy guide book that contains all the steps she needs to do for each petal. She’s been highly motivated (read: gung-ho) about earning the petals and badges, and every day since then she’s been doing as many of the activities as possible to show me that’s she’s earned a petal, and so could we please stick it on her vest already.
Deep down, the daily pestering of earning one petal after another, is tiring. She’s short of obsessed. I suppose she sees it is a visual sense of accomplishment of being a part of something bigger. So I try to keep up and pace ourselves with one petal every two or three days. The more we do it though, the more I see — it’s a great way to teach girls life-long values.
Each petal represents a line in the Girl Scout Law that every girl scout knows and needs to uphold. It’s presented through stories of different flowers, and contains activities for the girls to do to help grasp the concept further. And because she’s so intent about sticking all those petals on her vest as soon as possible, Sam has become more conscious of what she does and why she does it. It’s become a common language between us too, and it helps me better explain things when I put it in the context of the lines of the law.
And then of course — there are the cookies.
Oh my word, the cookies. Sam couldn’t wait to get in on the action and sell. A part of the process was to teach the girls to set goals and work to achieve them. When they do, they earn prizes, which increases as the number of boxes sold increases. The more you sell, the more prizes you get. It’s a typical incentive scheme.
Well, it’s worked for Sam. Since we jumped in late, I was trying to level her expectations and help her set her goal at 75 boxes (at best). “But Mom,” she protested, “The prize I want is for 165 boxes.” faint. Where in the world were we going to sell 165 boxes?
Apparently, all over the world.
The rule is that she has to sell, as it’s her project and her incentive. I can only assist and guide, and occasionally type up the message she dictates (as the typing takes FOREVER!).
Sam devised her selling strategy, and wasted no time in asking me to scour my phonebook for people we could call, text, email, leave voicemails, and messages. Anything to make her sale. She’s even sold to family and friends back home – so my husband has packed 30 boxes of cookies into his suitcase for his trip on Friday.
She’s also already gone door-to-door in our neighborhood.
She maximizes every opportunity. While waiting for Jamie to finish her class, she pounced on parents picking up their kids and sold cookies in the parking lot.
Then she got the opportunity to sell at my friend’s salon. There was no hesitation walking up to the different people (whether their hair was being colored or washed or what not), to ask them if they’d buy cookies.
Of all the girl scouts in her class, her teacher says Sam was the first one to ask her to buy a pack of cookies. And she even approached their school principal too (eeep!)!
We’ve also done a booth sale outside an Albertson’s in our neighborhood. I think she jumped in front of every person that came out that door.
She is the happiest cookie sales person I know. I’m genuinely amazed at her confidence, and I’m so impressed by how quickly she grasps the concept and executes without hesitation. Is that mpressive for a 6-yr old? Many have said they can’t refuse her because she does such a good job (and it helps that she’s cute!). She doesn’t seem to be bothered by rejection either (Is that a good thing?), because after someone declines, she brushes him off and moves on just like that.
Unlike me, she doesn’t seem overwhelmed at all (To be fair, I did have to do all the preps and online training and paperwork to get us accredited!). In fact cookie selling has motivated her to finish homework and Kumon faster.
My husband says we need put a cap on the cookie selling already. “She’s learned what she needed to learn,” he says. “How many cookies should we sell anyway?”
But Sam refuses. She’s having fun, and she’s learning (mastering?) life-long skills. Plus, she’s totally motivated by the rewards she’ll get in the end. How can you not support that? It’s not everyday that you have an eager and highly driven child.
As the mother standing by the sidelines (literally), she is a joy to watch. And by doing so, I continue to learn so much more about my daughter. I’m quite glad I didn’t let my apprehensions stop her in the first place.
So — cookies, anyone?
Thank you to our friends and family around the world who’ve supported and helped Sam by buying cookies! You do realize that this is going to be an annual thing, right? 😉
If you’d still like to buy cookies from Sam, send me an email and I’ll have Sam type up your e-card so you can order and pay online and the cookies get sent directly to your door. We have until March 4!