Cadette leader question: our girls are all sixth graders, and they just seem to be too cool for everything right now. They soundly reject so many of our ideas – a quilting event with the service unit, an opportunity to do the flag ceremony at a school event, helping out with Mega Drop, etc. In frustration, I flat out asked at yesterday’s meeting if they still want to be Girl Scouts and they said YES! But they don’t seem to want to do the actual GS activities. I’m tired of coming home frustrated from meetings and I’m wondering if this is just what it’s gonna be like from now on, or is it a stage? Are/were your Cadettes committed?

Our Facebook page was very helpful for this topic:

outdoorsAnn’s troop: We have 22 senior/ambassadors….some since 6th grade but some joined brand new to scouts.
For years we volunteer with young troops, run service unit events like putting on a camporee. It gives the girls the chance to work on leadership but also expose younger girls to outdoors. As a troop we go canoe, raft, camp, climb and rappel, archery the outdoor things kids otherwise might not be exposed to. Girls pick badges and events.

Elizabeth’s comment: I have had many leaders tell me that Cadettes is the hardest age. Maybe try turning it onto them – tell them that Girl Scouts is supposed to be girl led, and if they don’t like your ideas they can pick out their own. I gave my girls the badge book at the beginning of the year and told them to pick out their favorites. They’ve also decided on what they want to spend their cookie money on. The sense of ownership has helped a lot to keep them engaged.

Raquel wrote in: I have 11 Cadettes from 6-8th grade and they just want to be on their phones or taking and not doing much of anything. Here are some ways on How to Keep Cadette Girl Scouts Interested….. the Journey in a bag from Makingfriends.com is great because they get to work together, I let them play songs from their phones and a decent octave and I ask them about certain things as we go thru the journey that sparks their own conversations about things that happen in school, etc. They like to help the smaller ones do things, or set up items, tables,etc for snacks or crafts, and if they can lead the small ones in a craft or skit, etc that keeps them involved….

Vivianne’s way: It is a stage/phase. Once they get passed seventh grade, they are yours for life. Try to get them registered for council wide events where they will encounter dyed in the wool , true green girls. They will get excited. They will also be excited about the GS paraphernalia and want to earn them. When my troop (now in there 30’s) were seventh grade, we held our meetings at Starbucks, a book store and other unusual venues. Also, let them decide what they would like to do.They are finding their way and their place. Hang in there. By the way, I am still at it. I have Cadettes and I am doing some of the same things. Human nature does not change; girls are basically the same. They want to belong and be accepted as they are. I love them. My 31 year old daughter has a cadette troop. She started volunteering after graduation from college. She says they are crazy and would not have it any other way.

Jennifer’s help: I have 15 6th graders. I have a wide mix of attitudes towards Girl Scouts. I have some that wants to earn every patch and do every journey to, I’m just in it to go horse back riding to, I’m too cool to do this attitude. Those that don’t see a value in scouting eventually drop out. I do my best to remind them that staying in scouting is all about earning their awards so they can get scholarships for college. Then you may have some that just want to stay in because they’ve been friends forever. my best advice is find events that they like. I do not plan anything for them unless they want to do it.

Kate writes: Ask them what they want to do. GS is supposed to be girl led. My Senior Scouts like high adventure and travel. We camp, kayak, canoe, go caving, ski and go to amusement parks. We’ve been to the White House and to the State Department. We’ve had guest speakers to talk about first aid and emergency preparedness. The police taught us about car safety. We plan Thinking Day for our SU and the Bridging Ceremony.

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