Menu
Jump to content

What's with the ads?

mo2

Secular alternative to Girl Scouts?

Recommended Posts

:confused: I don't think there is any religious affiliation to the Girl Scouts. It isn't the same as the Boy Scouts.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not sure why you're wanting an alternative, but Girl Scouts itself is pretty secular. As for alternatives - maybe Frontier Girls? Spiral Scouts {they are pagan though}? Boys and Girls Club?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:confused: I don't think there is any religious affiliation to the Girl Scouts. It isn't the same as the Boy Scouts.

 

Girls Scouts are a Christian group?

 

I may be way off base, but I assumed she was looking for an alternative to Girl Scouts for some reason other than religion, but was finding all of the other groups to be religious?

 

If that is the case, I will say I'm not aware of any such groups.

 

There are some co-ed scouting alternatives, including Camp Fire (religious, but non-discriminatory and non-denominational), Spiral Scouts (pagan), Earth Scouts (tiny and not active in many places last time I checked) as well as the Christian groups. But that's all I've found.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I may be way off base, but I assumed she was looking for an alternative to Girl Scouts for some reason other than religion, but was finding all of the other groups to be religious?

 

If that is the case, I will say I'm not aware of any such groups.

 

There are some co-ed scouting alternatives, including Camp Fire (religious, but non-discriminatory and non-denominational), Spiral Scouts (pagan), Earth Scouts (tiny and not active in many places last time I checked) as well as the Christian groups. But that's all I've found.

 

Ah... OK. Sorry, OP, I misunderstood. I have no suggestions.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Earth Scouts. There aren't a ton of troops out there though - everyone I know in a troop (I know of a couple around here) was involved in starting it themselves or joined a new troop someone else was starting. They don't have a big organization that can find a potential troop for you like girl or boy scouts.

 

Though I agree with others that if "religion" is the only reason the op is avoiding Girl Scouts, my understanding is that they have a few vaguely spiritual words in some of their things but there is also specific language in their handbook that allows atheists to substitute for it. Many troops meet in a church, but it's just a meeting place.

 

I only have boys, so no girl scouts for us. Oh well. :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, it depends where you live. The first year my oldest dd was in GS, there were many many prayers and Jesus references. They weren't allowed to eat without this horrid song/prayer. When I became a leader, I used a more inclusive and palatable one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

At the beginning of each meeting, we said the Girl Scout Promise:

 

On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times,

And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

 

I didn't really run my troop in any religious way but I knew of some troops that did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Well, it depends where you live. The first year my oldest dd was in GS, there were many many prayers and Jesus references. They weren't allowed to eat without this horrid song/prayer. When I became a leader, I used a more inclusive and palatable one.

 

This is weird to me. Coming from a Christian point of view myself, I found it odd the last few years I was at camp as a CIT and counselor that we had to take ll references to God out of our prayers before meals. So we couldn't sing

 

Back of the bread is the flour.

Back of the flour is the mill

and back of the mill is the sun and the rain and the Father's will.

 

I can see how that one is blatantly Christian/Jewish. But we couldn't refer to Lord or God either. But oddly enough we could still sing songs with references to Abraham and the ark, I guess because they weren't asking a blessing on the food?

 

And this was back in the 1980's/90's.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was in GS as a child and then was a parent and leader. We never had any secular movements in any areas of my experience (two rural, one urban). I wish there would have been. We had many forced (literally) recitations including Jesus when I grew up Jesus. It was very uncomfortable. I chose a neutral blessing at meal time as a leader because I knew I had many girls of different faiths. I would never have told the girls they couldn't do their own blessing, but mine for the group was neutral as possible.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

4-H. But other than having the word "God" in the Girl Scout promise (which they basically tell you to interpret how you want) and having an annual Christmas party, my daughter's girl scouts group is run very secularly.

Edited by NanceXToo
  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4-H. But other than having the word "God" in the Girl Scout promise (which they basically tell you to interpret how you want) and having an annual Christmas party, my daughter's girl scouts group is run very secularly.

 

:iagree: Wasn't American Heritage Girls started because christian families found GS too secular?

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
4-H. But other than having the word "God" in the Girl Scout promise (which they basically tell you to interpret how you want) and having an annual Christmas party, my daughter's girl scouts group is run very secularly.

 

 

Ours, too. I'm co-leader now and will be starting my own troop next year and I keep it secular. It is not my place to foster the faith of these kids.

In fact, we have an optional activity we sent home with the girls related to their faith because we didn't want to talk about it in scouts because you know how little 6 and 7 year old girls can be (well, any kids, really!) and we didn't want any peer pressure/swaying/judgement going on. If they want to do it, cool - I'd like to learn about different viewpoints so I hope some girls participate... but if they don't no biggie. I read over the activities in this and an athiest could easily tailor the assignment to themselves, just as a Jewish or Christian or Buddhist or whatever kid could.

 

That said, another friend of mine mentioned this:

http://navigatorsusa.ning.com/

 

and this wikipedia article has some ideas:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Scouting_in_the_United_States

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
I may be way off base, but I assumed she was looking for an alternative to Girl Scouts for some reason other than religion, but was finding all of the other groups to be religious?

 

 

 

Yes, this.

 

Thanks for the suggestions everyone. I will see what I can find.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You can see if there are any Camp Fire USA clubs in your area, or you can start a club. It's co-ed though, and I don't know if you're looking for something that has just girls. Although Camp Fire USA uses the name God in it's pledge, there's a notation that says God can mean whatever you want it to mean. My son has been with Camp Fire for 5 years. We discovered it when looking for a Boy Scout alternative.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
At the beginning of each meeting, we said the Girl Scout Promise:

 

On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country,

To help people at all times,

And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

 

I didn't really run my troop in any religious way but I knew of some troops that did.

 

GSUSA's policy is that girls may replace the word "God" in the Promise with whatever fits their own beliefs. Some leaders make a point of letting their troop know that and making space for different religions. Others don't. The GSUSA doesn't send secularism inspectors to make sure that meetings don't have exclusive Christian content.

 

In my daughter's mixed-level homeschool troop, the leader used teaching the Promise as a way to encourage the girls to think about their family's beliefs. She herself said the Promise in a different way each time, to be inclusive of everyone. "to serve God..." "to serve science..." "to serve humanity..." "to serve the Goddess..."

 

I know that would upset a lot of people here, but I liked it. :D

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Other then having the word God. Which your child isn't required to say. Girl Scouts is pretty secular unless otherwise stated so.

Right now we're a pretty secular group. But at some point we may add in the religious award ., but that's because we're a Catholic school.

 

If you find a group that runs out of a public school, you shouldnt have any problems. ACtually Girl Scouts is becoming more and more secular these days anyways.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

Interesting article.

 

For us, the issue is not necessarily that GS is too religious (although we do meet at a church and celebrate Christmas). My daughter is getting bored with Girl Scouts. We have a multi-level troop, and most of the activities seem to be geared more towards the younger girls. And we HATE the Journeys. Boring, boring, boring!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:confused: I don't think there is any religious affiliation to the Girl Scouts. It isn't the same as the Boy Scouts.

 

No. They are not the same group or run by the same people. Totally separate although certain Packs and Troops may choose to work together.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
:confused: I don't think there is any religious affiliation to the Girl Scouts. It isn't the same as the Boy Scouts.

 

The Boy Scouts don't have any particular religious "affiliation". They only require that you believe in a "higher power" of some sort, but you can be Jewish, Buddist, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Wiccan or whatever. Some Packs or Troops are sponsored by churches and they *may* have religious activities, but boys are not required to participate.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Try Frontier Girls, they look very flexible, although you might have to start your own troop. Also, if you scroll to the bottom of the page I linked to, they have a whole list of programs that can serve as an alternative to the Girl Scouts. Actually, I'll just copy and paste here (I know little or nothing about most of these programs, but it gives you options to investigate; some look religious and others secular):

 

Campfire

4H

Missionettes

Little Flowers

Spiral Scouts

Pilgrims of the Holy Family

Earth Scouts

Keepers of the Faith

Pioneer Clubs

 

--Sarah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Bumping this because I'd like to know if anything else has come out since the date of this thread? I am not really crazy about the Journeys either, but it seems like the only alternative around here is American Heritage and is a bit too religious for me. I am debating on becoming a girl scout leader myself so I can cover the extras I want (more outdoor etc.) and do activities within the journey boundaries I like-- or if I should learn more about Frontier Girls and start the first area group.

 

It's hard because I am more of a helper than a leader due to shyness!

 

 

We do 4H as well, but it's more one-meeting-a-month and then on your own for projects.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yes, most 4-H clubs only meet once a month but a specific project group usually meets (or can meet) way more often than that. So, if you're a registered leader in 4-H, you could lead a Heritage Arts group, for example, with quilting, crocheting, etc. or a Fly Fishing group or Range Science or Baking or Gardening whatever. You can even have a hs group that is working on all sorts of projects and rotate it through different houses. If you have a 4-H building at your Extension Office, they'd probably welcome you meeting there during the day. Since 4-H emphasizes public speaking, more regular meetings would give everyone a chance to get their demonstrations out of the way. We used to meet once a week at a lady's house to spin. We'd been given a pile of wheels and those with sheep, bunnies and goats would provide the fiber. We had to quit going because I couldn't handle the Angora, but it was grand fun. If we had enough hsing 4-Hers, I'd love to to it again.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Our HS group is currently starting a 4H group. I guess we can make of it what we want. It remains to be seen how it will all pan out, but I will say for sure it will be secular.

 

I heard of a group some time ago and I cannot for the life of me remember the name of it. I'll have to think about it some more.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Interesting article.

 

For us, the issue is not necessarily that GS is too religious (although we do meet at a church and celebrate Christmas). My daughter is getting bored with Girl Scouts. We have a multi-level troop, and most of the activities seem to be geared more towards the younger girls. And we HATE the Journeys. Boring, boring, boring!

 

Could you look into Council level activities instead of troop level stuff? For example, the San Jacinto Council offers a lot of interesting options for girls 12 and up, but they're usually held at one of the camps or in Houston. You might also look for an active cadette or senior troop at a local school. Those troops tend to be small in my area and welcome anyone who'd like to camp whether they go to the sponsoring organization or not.

 

If you're willing to put up with the BSA's policies, Venturing might be a good option if your dd is old enough. They do high adventure stuff in co-ed crews and women leaders are very welcome.

 

Good luck finding something for your dd!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

GSUSA's policy is that girls may replace the word "God" in the Promise with whatever fits their own beliefs. Some leaders make a point of letting their troop know that and making space for different religions. Others don't. The GSUSA doesn't send secularism inspectors to make sure that meetings don't have exclusive Christian content.

 

In my daughter's mixed-level homeschool troop, the leader used teaching the Promise as a way to encourage the girls to think about their family's beliefs. She herself said the Promise in a different way each time, to be inclusive of everyone. "to serve God..." "to serve science..." "to serve humanity..." "to serve the Goddess..."

 

I know that would upset a lot of people here, but I liked it. :D

 

This is our troop to a tee. :)

 

They have the option of excluding the god altogether, which is what my DD has chosen to do. Although she likes to joke that she wants to name a different moon goddess every time she recites the pledge and freak everyone out a little. The majority of her troop says the god part but no one has ever remarked to my DD for not saying it. I doubt anyone but the leader knows and that only because they have to privately recite it to her once.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Is there a *secular* alternative to Girl Scouts out there?

 

Girl Scouts is in NO WAY Christian.

 

Now, Christian leaders can make their group more CHristian, but if you want secular, it doesn't come more secular than they.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm starting a girl scout troop this fall and feel that t's not my place to affect the faith of my troop members. I want any girl of any religion or non-religion to feel completely comfortable among us. The Girl Scout Promise uses the word God, and I'm looking for an alternative wording. Also, although "my country" is innocuous, I want to encourage my girls to think more globally, and am also considering altering that wording. The Girl Scouts USA organization does allow this, by the way.

 

Does anyone have any suggestions or experiences to share with me on this topic? For reference, here's the GS promise general wording:

 

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

 

So far all I've come up with is:

 

On my honor, I will try:

To serve God and my country, To serve mankind and our world,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

 

Thoughts?

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think the Girl Scouts are pretty non-religious as it is.  They mumble something about a God in their oath, but there is nothing religious embedded in their activities.  I can't think of a widely-available group that is much less religious.

  • Like 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Old, old thread.......... I thought it looked familiar.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I was a Girl Scout in the 80s and 90s (and a leader while in high school) and my atheist self never felt out of place.

My girls are not members because it's rather poorly run in our area and I'm not overly thrilled with the programming changes of the past decade.  (And I had my hands way too full to tackle being a leader when they were Daisy aged.)

 

I've been looking into Quest Club as an alternative that our whole family and possibly our homeschool community can participate in.  I like the fact that it's co-ed and completely adaptable to whatever we want to make of it. http://questclubs.net/

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like it and we were saying it that way in the multi-level hs troop I co-lead, however one of the girls remarked that she thought it was weird we would use gendered language in GS so we changed mankind to humanity. So our usage is "To serve humanity and the Earth..."

 

ETA: We also say, "To help others at all times..." because it allows for helping the animals as well.

 

Thank you, bwdiaz. I was also trying to think of a way to expand the reach beyond humans, and your words work well. I appreciate your help!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I like it and we were saying it that way in the multi-level hs troop I co-lead, however one of the girls remarked that she thought it was weird we would use gendered language in GS so we changed mankind to humanity. So our usage is "To serve humanity and the Earth..."

 

ETA: We also say, "To help others at all times..." because it allows for helping the animals as well.

 

Another question: Do you ever have times when your girls are in a position to say the promise with other girl scouts who use the traditional wording, and how does that go?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×
×
  • Create New...