Cadette Girl Scout Resources for Leaders

Are you the leader of a Cadette Girl Scout troop?  Here are some resources for you to use as you guide your middle school girls through this level of scouting.


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Cadette Leaders Need Practical Resources for Their Middle School Troop

How many of you know a girl who was a Girl Scout past the fifth grade? If you are like most people, not many. When girls begin their adventures in Girl Scouting, they are as young as five years old and in kindergarten. Everything is exciting to them, and they are very happy with crafts, field trips and an occasional guest speaker. As the girls become Brownie and Junior Girl Scouts, it becomes more challenging keeping them engaged. They want more outdoor adventures like camping and fun overnights at museums and party places. As their leader, you do your best to comply with what they want while attempting to keep your own sanity.
By the time the girls finish the Junior level at the end of fifth grade, there is a dramatic drop in their ranks. As puberty hits full throttle and what other people think becomes more important, the coolness factor of scouting plummets and many girls no longer want to be associated with the movement. For my troop, this has not been our experience. I was the leader for six years, and this upcoming year I am stepping down from that role and moving to a co-leadership position. A friend of mine will be the leader, and ten of our eleven girls will become Cadette Girl Scouts. We are also very fortunate that the principal of our school is a former Girl Scout who earned her Gold Award years ago. She is a positive role model for our girls.

The Challenges of Being a Cadette Leader

Middle School Girls Are Not the Easiest to Be With!
As a mother who has been through the middle school years once before, I can honestly say that I am not looking forward to replaying the drama of these early teen years. Relational aggression (female bullying), cliques, first heartbreaks, and monitoring social media use was challenging. Cadette leaders have to deal with all of this with girls who are not their daughters.
Many times, a troop will inherit new girls at this stage because the girls' former troops have disbanded and are no longer viable. The girls wish to remain in scouting, but need someone to take them in. Leaders must be very aware of integrating new girls into their established troop and making sure that they are welcomed and accepted by the others. We are all sisters in scouting, and this is a great opportunity for new friends to be made. Cliques and leaving other girls out is not an acceptable behavior and needs to be thwarted.
 

This book, as well as the original version, has been a source of comfort and an invaluable resource for both of my daughters.

The Biggest Challenge Facing Cadette Leaders

There is competition for your time!
Photo from pixabay.com

As girls get older, their lives get busier. Once upon a time,dance and athletics were a fun activity. Many girls, including those in my troop, participate on travel teams for sports or competition teams for dance. This means hours of travel and practice that will interfere with Girl Scout activities.

In middle school, girls are introduced to after school clubs. These may bring new friends and new interests that will also occupy their time and lessen their involvement with Girl Scouting.


Photo from Stoonn via freedigitalphotos.net 

Then there is homework. Modern society dictates that more homework is good, so teachers pile it on. For high achieving students, this extra workload can be a challenge, but for those who struggle in school, this creates more problems. Homework has to come first, even at the expense of a Girl Scout activity or meeting.

Peer pressure is also a challenge. No matter how you slice it, Girl Scouts is not considered a cool activity. Adult leaders need to combat that with activities that the girls vote on and plan. When other middle schoolers find out that the scouts in their grade slept over in a museum, went on a long weekend to a water park resort or saved all their cookie money for a trip to Disney, then the cool factor is upped significantly.

 

Online Resources for Cadette Leaders

Starting at a new level is always a challenge. As the girls get older, meetings are supposed to be more "girl led", but with cliques, absences and forgetfulness, things might not get accomplished as they would with a responsible adult in charge. Of course, this is a life lesson that needs to be learned. As the leader, you are transferring the role of leadership to the girls. Here are some great resources on how to do that, as well as how to run your meetings, select badges and community service projects, plus how to do a Journey.
  • Cadette Uniform
    This shows where badges, patches and pins go on a Cadette vest or sash.
  • 6th Grade Cadettes
    Moving up from Juniors is a big deal. Here is some wonderful and relevant advice from leaders who have already made the transition.
  • Leader to Leader Advice
    A new Cadette leader is given advice on how to keep her girls engaged with Girl Scouts.
  • A Guide for Cadette Leaders
    The Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa and Western Illinois have a guide for those learning the ropes of being a Cadette leader.
  • Camping With Cadette Girl Scouts
    One leader shares her camping trip with readers.
  • Cadette First Aid Badge
    Learn how your troop can fulfill the requirements for this badge.
  • Make Your Own Badge
    Once a year a Cadette Scout can make her own unique badge that is just for her.
  • Silver Award
    These are the directions on how to earn the Silver Award.