Scouting for the Future: Students, community members explore what drives some students to stay, some to quit Girl Scouts

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Scouting for the Future: Students, community members explore what drives some students to stay, some to quit Girl Scouts

Nakshatri shakes the hand of a guest speaker who came to the CHS Democrats club. Sapna said the club will sometimes host speakers to talk about their specialities or their expertise.

Nakshatri shakes the hand of a guest speaker who came to the CHS Democrats club. Sapna said the club will sometimes host speakers to talk about their specialities or their expertise.

Nakshatri shakes the hand of a guest speaker who came to the CHS Democrats club. Sapna said the club will sometimes host speakers to talk about their specialities or their expertise.

Nakshatri shakes the hand of a guest speaker who came to the CHS Democrats club. Sapna said the club will sometimes host speakers to talk about their specialities or their expertise.

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For Sapna Nakshatri, Girl Scouts and junior, Girl Scouts has always been an integral part of her life. She joined the program in second grade and started out her experience with Troop 1500. Even when the troop’s leader quit after her sophomore year, Nakshatri continued on with the program by joining Troop 88. Now she is working toward the most prestigious and time-consuming award the program offers—the Gold Award. Although Nakshatri has continued to involve herself in Girl Scouts, a recent Christian Science Monitor article reveals that national Girl Scout membership has fallen by nearly half since its peak in 2003.

Sapna Nakshatri, Girl Scout and junior, fills out her cookie order form. Nakshatri said she hopes to sell more cookies so that she can put more money towards her service project.

Despite the perceived disinterest of others around her, Nakshatri said, “What I like most about Girl Scouts is that you get to do interesting activities you wouldn’t really get to do on a regular basis. For example, a couple of weeks ago we went to the CANDLES Holocaust Museum and Education Center, and we heard Eva Kor, who is a Holocaust survivor. I wouldn’t have gone out of my way to do that if I wasn’t in Girl Scouts.”

While many girls quit, it is not uncommon for girls to continue to participate in Girl Scouts. Nakshatri said although her original troop was huge during elementary school, only three of those girls, including Nakshatri, have continued with Girl Scouts into high school. Additionally, according to Troop 88’s leader Ruth Perkins, Nakshatri is one of only two girls completing the Gold Award in her 10-person troop.

Perkins said one of the reasons why girls don’t continue is because they have many other activities that take their time.

“I think sports and other extracurricular activities are the main reasons (why girls quit Girl Scouts). Sports is probably the one thing (that conflicts the most) because of their practices are so demanding,” she said.

Along those lines, Grace Kubek, a former member of  a different Carmel troop and freshman, said, “I just had many outside conflicts. I wasn’t enjoying it enough to give up other commitments such as theater and basketball, which I played at the time. While I really enjoyed Girl Scouts, I loved other activities more than it. For me, the people and activities were really great, but I just didn’t have enough time for it.”

Still, the idea that girls do not have enough time for Girl Scouts is one Nakshatri doesn’t really feel rings true for her.

She said, “For me, the best part about Girl Scouts is that it is very fluid. You don’t have a set date of when you go where, but here and there you just go places. A couple of days before an event, it’s like, ‘Hey, do you want to go here?’ and you go if you are free. I don’t think it is too big of a time commitment.”

Perkins said, as a troop leader, she tries to make the events the troop participates in as flexible as possible because of how busy they are on a day-to-day basis.

She said, “They participate when they can. I know I won’t see most of the girls often when they are really busy, but when there are quiet times I expect to see them more often. By the time they are in high school, they are the ones who are setting the pace. They are determining how often they meet and what they want to do.”

Independence, and the flexibility that comes with it, is one of the main values of any Girl Scout high school troop.  According to girlscouts.org, the program is trying to move away from the traditional image of the “three C’s,” which are cookies, campfires and crafts, to the acronym GIRL, which stands for Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker and Leader.

Nakshatri said, “You just don’t see a lot of service until later in Girl Scouts. I think if people wait a while (they will start to enjoy Girl Scouts more). Middle school is a weird time with Girl Scouts. You don’t know exactly what you are doing, especially if you don’t get your Silver Award. You are kind of in that in-between stage because you are a little too old for crafts, but a little too young for a lot of responsibility.”

Kubek, who quit Girl Scouts in middle school, said part of the reason why she quit was because she couldn’t spend as much time as she would like on activities she really enjoyed.

Sapna Nakshatri, Girl Scouts and junior listens to the guest speaker that the CHS Democrats Club invited to speak about politics. Nakshatri attends most meetings inside this club and along with that, she holds an officer position in the club.

She said, “I really liked the forensics unit and the time when we made toys for dogs, but there were so many other units and things that weren’t really my style. I was just not able to really do the things I liked all the time.”

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