Girl Scout Youth
There’s slime everywhere. A light dusting of glitter litters the floor and a thin layer of glue inches across the table. I sit opposite a daisy troop who laugh hysterically as one girl tries to comb the green slime out of her ponytail. I seal shut my bag of slime, essentially a ball of Elmer’s glue and borax, and set it aside.
“Let’s go outside and do some chemistry,” the program director announces. She leads us to the edge of the woods where a bottle of diet Coke rests on a bench.
The leader pulls out a roll of Mentos and explains, “When these Mentos react with Coke the beverage will spray out.”
“Woah! That’s so cool,” one girl exclaims.
“I wanna drink it,” another girl says.
“Remind me again, what is the ingredient in soda that affects the height of the geyser?” I ask.
“It’s a chemical reaction. When the two meet, a change occurs and the liquid gets pushed out,” the leader tells me.
She expects me to accept that putting Mentos in diet Coke will always cause an explosion. If the teacher can’t explain why this happens, did I learn anything? I suppose these experiments were designed to release my inner child, full of excitement and wonder, but it was just a mess.
My mom and I push a grocery cart filled with an abundance of cookie boxes through the parking lot at Cub. Entering the grocery store, we spot one girl in a Tagalong costume and four others in brown vests sitting behind a table decked out in posters.
“Has it been a busy shift?” my mom asks.
“We sold eighty,” a Brownie replies.
“They were a bit shaky in the first hour with making change, but in the last two they got better. We received many compliments on the costume,” the leader of the troop informs. My mom and I congratulate them as they begin to take down their advertisements. As the previous troop exits, the girl in the cookie costume runs back to me and lifts it over her head.
I take the costume from her and say, “I don’t think it will fit me, but thanks.”
Some customers would smile and greet me back when I call out to them, but mostly my existence wasn’t acknowledged.
“Is that some kind of deal?” a man asks me.
“Fives boxes for four dollars isn’t really a deal. It’s just stating a fact. The boxes are four dollars each,” I explain to him.
“Thanks anyway,” the man replies and departs.
By the end of my three hours I have sold twenty-five boxes. You’d think someone with more developed interpersonal skills and professionalism would be better at marketing, but apparently not. Customers rather purchase from younger girls so they don’t disappoint them than a lonesome teenager.
“Is this enough food coloring?” I ask the candy-making leader. She sets down a Cadette girl’s measuring cup and walks over. Inspecting the saucepan of corn syrup and water, she takes the food coloring from me, adds three more drops, and stirs.
“I could’ve done that,” I point out.
“I’m just so used to the high enrollment of brownie and junior troops than Cadettes,” The woman tells me. She lifts the saucepan off the counter and sets it on the burner. I start campfires often. I know how to be careful around a stove. I thought.
The bubbles disappear, so the lady pours the molten candy into a cookie tray. Since it is still warm, she tells me to watch as she cuts the malleable candy. I observe her score the slab into rows and separate them into individual pieces.
“Let’s form a line. When you reach the front tell me your name so I can write it on the bag for you,” the lady announces.
I am at the front of the line, yet I didn't participate in the entire process.
Girl Scouts is tailored toward younger girls. Hands-on and age appropriate experiences are motivating reasons to continue being a Girl Scout, but are not provided as one bridges to the next level. When bridging does happen, opportunities such as camping at the Boundary Waters are available, only it can’t be funded due to the low cookie sales generated. There are currently no programs for Girl Scouts in between graduating high school and becoming a leader of their own troop. Girl Scouts has been important in shaping me into who I am, but its importance in my life has shifted.