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Hyacinth
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Not a high-stakes nor terribly controversial topic, but I'm with extended family and, well, there's no shortage of opportunities to disagree :)

 

Girl Scout troop has a fundraiser. The goals and the prizes are clearly stated. At a meeting after the fundraiser, the leader announces who met the goals and hands out the prizes. A few of the girls did not earn prizes.

 

Position A: This person is absolutely appalled that the leader would do this in a meeting because of how the girls who didn't earn the prizes would feel. She thinks the prizes should've been given privately.

 

Position B: This person thinks that the girls who earned the prizes should be recognized publicly. The prizes are not handed out arbitrarily so it's not a fairness thing. Everyone knows ahead of time if they are getting a prize or not so no one is blindsided.

 

I am firmly in Position B, but I'm open to hearing a better defense of Position A if someone can offer it.

 

FWIW, the girls in question were 9-10.

 

(And everyone agrees that fundraisers are largely a work of evil, so there's no disagreement there.)

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Well, I'm firmly in the "not everybody gets a trophy" camp, so I see nothing wrong with people being recognized for achievement whether it be for fundraising (though I despise it), academics, sports, theater, music, job performance, whatever. Even if it's hard on those who are not being recognized at that time. Good sportsmanship is required all around.

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It is fine to recognize them publicly.

 

However, I think it still stinks, because we all know who really did the work at that age.  Maybe they should recognize the moms, and the relatives of the moms who were kind enough to buy stuff they probably didn't actually want ....  Unless the girls did all their sales through direct marketing i.e. selling boxes at a storefront or door-to-door, where the girl herself did the walking and the talking.

 

My scout troop recognizes girls for achievements without fussing about the fact that everyone doesn't win.  My kids don't always love it, but that's life!  When they go and apply for a job and someone else gets hired, they won't cry because the employer should have hired everyone to avoid hurting feelings.

Edited by SKL
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B.  At the wrap-up for swim team last summer, all the kids got their medals for the overall team place in their league (since they all contributed points to get that place), but then some kids got extra awards for various reasons.  The kids who did not get an extra award were fine.  Kids are more resilient when they don't get a special award than some people think they are.

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I'll be the dissenter and lean more towards Option A, though "appalled" would be a very strong word. Having been part of a lot of organizations I've seen often how fundraisers such as selling Girl Scout cookies, chocolate bars, etc, tends to favour the rich. If your family has spare money, your family's friends probably have spare money, and you're more likely to get people who are willing to drop a lot of extra money on what really are superfluous items that the buy just because a kid is cute and they want to help them out. Lower-income kids don't have those same connections, and fundraising becomes a lot more difficult. Anything that takes an underpriviliged kid and makes them feeling even MORE badly for not having that privilege kind of raises my eyebrows. Then again, I also have a bad taste in my mouth about treating kids like little profit machines and giving them bonuses for bringing in a certain amount of money. They are kids participating in what is supposed to be a fun activity for everyone, not company employees.

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If it were for something of actual value, especially something the kids really did on their own and that was optional to participate in in the first place, I'd go with B (and kids who didn't participate don't have to go to the prize ceremony, of course).

 

But since it was cookie sales, by 9=10 year olds, and (presumably) everyone had to participate, I don't see why they had prizes at all, much less award them publicly.  

 

For me, as a kid, I had a very similar experience to Arcadia's - fundraiser success was largely determined by who had a rich parent, rich relatives, rich neighbors, rich friends, rich coworkers (with the parents), or lived in a rich neighborhood/commercial area, where people stopping in front of a Walmart are more likely to have $ to waste on cookies.

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B. And I disageee about the parents doing most of the work. Maybe sometimes yes, but it's not always the case.

 

I will take them to the booths, but my kids go door to door and sell. They'll spend hours out there. If they want to sell at coop, or at places we go, they do the asking. In the past, that meant they don't sell much, because they weren't into it. but this year two of mine really worked hard, and sold a lot. They were so proud of their prizes and enjoyed the recognition.

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But if your parents (or single parent) both work full time, do they have the same amount of time to take their kids around to booths or to whatever social activities your kids are selling at?  Do all kids live in neighborhoods where it's safe to go door to door?

 

I don't doubt that kids who sell cookies work hard; I just think that at 9 or 10, their success is largely dependent on parents' ability and willingness to support them (and the relative wealth of their communities).

 

And I am a complete free market, up by your bootstraps, less social safety net, etc. person!  

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Personally I am fine with B.  Even if it favors the hyper involved and the rich.  Sometimes kids do work hard and sell a bunch of cookies.  I know a girl that sold over 400 boxes this year.  She's a very outgoing kid involved in a bunch of stuff and sold every stinking place she went.  And sometimes life is unfair - oh well.

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I would normally be all in favor of public recognition if it were an actual accomplishment of the child that was acknowledged. Having a mom that works in a large office with female coworkers who can be persuaded to buy stuff is not an actual accomplishment.  I do not think there should be prizes at all for fundraisers that involve selling stuff, because it heavily depends on the kids' socioeconomic status and parents' job environment whether they can reach the goal. I would feel differently if it were a fundraiser that involved the kids doing something instead of selling stuff they did not even make.

 

Edited by regentrude
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Shouldn't the end goal (the camp or trip they are saving for) be the reward? Or the pride in having donated money to buy books for underprivileged children or something?

 

 

I don't remember ever getting prizes for fundraising except one time at school where people who had got themselves sponsored such and such an amount for a fun run got invited to a bbq and there was no delight to be found in "free" food because they didn't even buy good quality sausages. :p

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B, maybe.  It would depend on the fundraiser and how truly equitable it could have been.  I totally agree with the poster who said A because of privilege.  It can be a fine line between "life isn't fair" and making a kid feel like she's less than and never will measure up.  I think the leader of the group should be sensitive and take into consideration the backgrounds of the kids.  

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I'm a position B person, but I could go along with position A (especially, as someone mentioned above, there is a parent who has access to a captive audience of customers).

Not a high-stakes nor terribly controversial topic, but I'm with extended family and, well, there's no shortage of opportunities to disagree :)

Girl Scout troop has a fundraiser. The goals and the prizes are clearly stated. At a meeting after the fundraiser, the leader announces who met the goals and hands out the prizes. A few of the girls did not earn prizes.

Position A: This person is absolutely appalled that the leader would do this in a meeting because of how the girls who didn't earn the prizes would feel. She thinks the prizes should've been given privately.

Position B: This person thinks that the girls who earned the prizes should be recognized publicly. The prizes are not handed out arbitrarily so it's not a fairness thing. Everyone knows ahead of time if they are getting a prize or not so no one is blindsided.

I am firmly in Position B, but I'm open to hearing a better defense of Position A if someone can offer it.

FWIW, the girls in question were 9-10.

(And everyone agrees that fundraisers are largely a work of evil, so there's no disagreement there.)

 

Edited by reefgazer
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I'm with B because I don't think there's any reason to hide that some girls earned prizes, but I don't think they *need* or deserve public recognition for fundraising. I think the prizes should be handed out matter of factly and without much hoopla. Mostly because I hate fundraising hoopla for kids, although I have nothing against Girl Scouts and sold them myself as a kid. 

Edited by Paige
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B if it's a normal situation, but if there were circumstances like some girls being "conscientious objectors" so-to-speak, I might view the public awards as a mean spirited way to punish those who believed, for whatever reason, that it was better not to participate.

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B. And I disageee about the parents doing most of the work. Maybe sometimes yes, but it's not always the case.

 

I will take them to the booths, but my kids go door to door and sell. They'll spend hours out there. If they want to sell at coop, or at places we go, they do the asking. In the past, that meant they don't sell much, because they weren't into it. but this year two of mine really worked hard, and sold a lot. They were so proud of their prizes and enjoyed the recognition.

 

Same here.  

 

And our troops tended to be fairly homogenous regarding relative safety of neighborhoods, parents work patterns, etc.

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B

 

Dd made it through juniors. We are not rich. We didn't sell at daddy's office. Dd went door to door though our neighborhood. It took a lot of time. We didn't stacks of boxes ourselves because everything in our house is gluten free ( dd has celiac). Dd worked hard and was able to earn prizes. I thought the prizes were dumb, but I didn't tell her that. Seeing the prize levels helped her set goals for herself.

 

It is true girls from higher income families will have an easier time, but it is not impossible to earn prizes. And if a scout earns a prize she should be recognized.

 

Now, I've heard of troops were prizes are grouped. As long as everyone knows that deal ahead and the goals as a troop are set up clearly that works fine as well.

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Public but only because of how it was set up.

 

I hate the prize thing. I agree with Rosie that the trip or the donating should be the reward.

 

I'd prefer to see the award effort put towards celebrating how the group worked together and accomplished something. "Our troop sold a billion boxes of cookies!! Look what we can accomplish together!"

 

Just my two cents!

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I don't know how you can tell who actually did the selling though.  And if there is a mixture of girls who sold on their own and girls whose parents bought the stuff or hit up their work buddies, then what do you do?  Shame the ones whose moms have brought in lots of $$ for the troop?

 

I think it's a nice idea to do a group reward for good hands-on group sales.  Otherwise I think it's dumb.  But I guess it brings in more $$ for the troop if families have an "incentive"?

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Then again, I kind of sympathize with the view that if you had to work harder for it because of your circumstances, then all the better.  That's how I look at my kid's school challenges.  She has to work harder to accomplish things, but it's good for her to do the hard work.  More important for her than it would be for some others.  She benefits from it in intangible ways, even though her numeric result doesn't win any recognition.  So maybe I should stop being such a scrooge about fundraising.  Good if they have to work extra hard just to get a participation badge.  :P

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Position B, public. I see nothing wrong with recognizing hard work.

 

As for who did the work, it's not necessarily true that the girls who raised the most money had parents who worked hardest at it. For years we bought our Girl Scout cookies from a friend's daughter (2 daughters really, once the younger one started selling). Both parents refused to even take the order sheets to their place of work. Those girls sold a lot of cookies, often winning prizes for the amount they sold, and they did it all on their own. I'm sure there are parents who do all the selling for their kids, but I also know there are many kids who work hard on their own fundraisers. They deserve recognition.

Edited by Lady Florida
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Hard to say., I want to say award the girls who earned prizes publicly - but did they really earn the prizes? Or did their folks do most of the cookie selling (or whatever it was)?

 

Once in cub scouts my son's troop had a contest to see which pack could bring in the most canned goods for a food drive.  John went door to door in our neighborhood handing out flyers he made stating that on Saturday he'd be coming around with our little red wagon collecting any donations.  Then on Saturday he did just that, coming home whenever the wagon was full to unload cans into boxes in our car. 

 

Anyway, come the day of the contest and we help John carry all his donated cans into the church basement where the troop was meeting.  He piled his cans next to others from his pack.. Then as we all watched, a dad from a different pack carried in multiple flats, still plastic-wrapped, of cheap canned veggies etc. he had bulk purchased from a warehouse store.  Of course, his son's pack won the pizza party award.  Kids like my son who had actually worked to collect donations lost to a pack with a dad who just bought his kid a victory. 

 

 

Edited by JFSinIL
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My mom friends collected orders through Facebook for their kids fundraisers. My hubby's colleagues sells at work for their kids fundraisers and he knows a few of his colleagues just pay up over a thousand a year to buy the fundraising goods.

 

The fundraising prizes at my local public schools were donations from businesses who chose to donate in kind instead of cash.

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fundraisers are evil.

 

ignoring the accomplisments of some girls to protect the feelings of girls who didn't "accomplish" the same thing is evil. ;p

 

life is full of those moments when someone gets something you don't, let them learn to deal with them on a small and ultimately unimportant scale.

 

 

I'd agree with position  B. recognize accomplishments.  they've  merited the attention.

 

 

Edited by gardenmom5
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A... until they're about 7 or 8 yo. 

 

Since these girls are a little older, I'll say B. I'm firmly in the "everyone gets a trophy" when they're younger camp. Not later for the most part, though I do still think it's good to recognize effort and participation for older kids, especially if they're new to an activity or for specific contributions. I like they way they do this in Destination Imagination - younger kids have special teams with a special challenge and everyone gets a medal until the end of 2nd grade. After that, it's still a positive environment - everyone gets a certificate of participation, for example, but it's also a clear competition.

 

At that age, I'd want to be sure there was a chance for every girl in the troop to succeed and be publicly recognized at some point. I think that's part of the transition in a group like that. Okay, so you didn't win the fundraising, but we'll be recognizing girls for other skills later on. Scouts should be overall a positive, supportive, everyone can achieve environment - not everyone gets a prize all the time, but everyone's gifts can be honored at some point. Some things aren't like that - competitive sports, for example, I wouldn't expect that - but an elementary scout troop should be, IMHO.

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Neither.  As much money as possible should go to the organization rather than spending it on prizes.  Kids that age are generally not the ones who earn the prizes, but rather their parents.  So what is the reward really for?  That the kid has parents who know a lot of people or who work for a company that allows coworkers to sell crap to each other (a lot of them don't).  Even if the kid stood outside Walmart regularly, they wouldn't have been able to without the parent's help.

 

 

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Thinking about this more... did this fundraising really just award the girls who have families with the wealthiest network of connections? Or did it just award the girls who themselves or whose parents are the most extroverted?

 

I think my hesitation is really about the context... elementary scouting troop. Some activities are clearly competitive and I'm glad those exist. I think scouting should be more supportive than competitive overall. Like I said about, it's fine to me that there be some competitive aspects... I would just question what's the balance in the troop.

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I just wanted to add that I think it's important for parents to help kids set realistic goals for things like fundraising. When my kids were in school, the school held those stupid pep rally-type meetings to kick off some fundraisers. They took valuable class time (which ticked me off) and got the kids all revved up over the thought of what they could win if only they sold the most. My kids came home thinking they were going to sell hundreds of dollars' worth of stuff. Uh, no. Even though they were young, I sat them down and explained that while I understood how exciting it was to win and how much they wanted to do it, it wasn't feasible for this particular activity. Sure they were disappointed. But when I explained how the fundraising actually worked and why prizes were offered, they were much less so. They were able to handle not winning when award time came. So I think parents can play a role in tempering disappointment. (Note: This is how I handled fundraising. I absolutely encourage the kids to participate in skill-based competitions even if they're not the best. That's a whole different ball of wax.)

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Yeah, I just tell my kids "no" regarding the school fundraisers.  :P  I happened to be present when they did the 2014 kickoff presentation - in chapel of all places - and I was surprised and disappointed that they would so overtly pander to the kids' immature, materialistic greed.

 

We do the scout fundraiser because it is part of the commitment to scouting.  The scout leaders do not do any of that pandering, they just tell the parents what needs done.

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When I was a GS Leader, I saved some other patches/badges to give out during that meeting so that every girl got a chance to come forward and receive her awards. Some got more than others but our troop wasn't very economically diverse so everyone knew those girls worked harder or just were more in to cookie sales than the others.

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Our scout troop did do a "Powerpuff Derby" contest last year.  The girls were supposed to design, make, and race their own little cars.  There are all sorts of tricks to make the cars faster, and at least all the younger girls had their parents heavily involved in designing and making the cars.  My dad worked with my kids to choose a design and then he cut the wood for them.  They decorated the cars themselves, and you could definitely tell.  :P  We didn't try to use any fancy tricks because I felt at 8yo, that would be really a matter of the parents competing vs. the kids.  I knew other parents would do it, but I didn't want to engage in that.  I knew my kids were not going to win; in fact, they were probably dead last (hey, someone has to be).  I was honestly worried about how they would take it.  Turns out I need not have worried.  They were not thrilled, but they diverted their energies into something more fun (for them) while the final races and prizes were happening.  They had a good time playing with the cars they made.

 

Everyone got a badge for participating.  Only a few of the girls got prizes for best design / fastest speed.  Nobody died.

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