Advice about Scouting
What about (all-gender) scouts? My son is in the Berkeley group and we like it, and I know there's a group in Albany and probably some in Oakland too. Focus is on nature, hiking, taking care of nature/community/etc., not really any of the god-and-country stuff you would have found in boy scouts a generation ago. And scouts is much more inclusive now, they welcome all genders and sexual preferences. There are also some art-based after-school programs that I have heard good things about, like sticky art lab or kala art institute. Probably full for this year but look into it for the fall.
I've known teens who have done & are doing the Piedmont Police Explorers program, which is part of the Boy Scouts program although you do not need to be a Boy Scout to participate. (https://piedmontpoa.org/about/piedmont-police-department-explorers-program) It seems like a good one that attracts many students, including one or two girls. I also know some of the staff at Piedmont Police Station who are great with teenagers. Piedmont Police believe in building positive relationships with the residents and community, and the town is small enough that I think they have been successful. The Explorers even attended a training/competition in Arizona that made it into the news. (https://www.eastbaytimes.com/2017/04/19/teens-get-taste-of-law-enforceme...)
Even though the sight of guns makes me so nervous, I'm glad to see teens pursuing what interests them and taking the initiative to learn what it's all about. It's good to do that when they're young and have the time to explore. I volunteer with Boy Scouts, and one of the best guest speakers came from the FBI. The boys were captivated by his presentation. One boy asked what kind of grades he needed to be able to join the FBI. It was motivating.
Police explorers is a coed branch of Boy Scouts. In my town (not Oakland) it is very well run and the police officer mentors do a very good job. Explorers is the program for high school students. For college students there is a cadet program that is paid.
Archived Q&A and Reviews
I am looking for an outdoor kids group where my 7 year old son (co-ed is fine) could learn camping and survival skills, but that isn't the Boy Scouts. I live near Tilden Park, so that would be an ideal place, but I can't find anything about a junior ranger group or scouting group there. Thank you!
An odd but locally available alternative to the Boy Scouts of America is http://www.spiralscouts.org/ If it's the gay thing that keeps you out of scouting note that as of Jan 2013 the BSA is considering again changing the policy regarding homosexuality: http://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=136693109828603=113441755297 The present practice among troops in the Bay Area is ''don't ask don't tell'', a policy that itself seems to violate the Scout oath. BN
There are a few options beyond Boy Scouts in the East Bay Area. Tilden itself runs a Jr Ranger program on the weekends. Trackers (trackersbay.com) runs after school programs and camps. My children take a weekly homeschool class with Sequoia (naturaldiscoveries-bayarea.com) who has openings right now to start another class. I can not speak highly enough of her knowledge, experience, and compassion with the kids. There is also Spiral Scouts and Earth Scouts. Finally, for the more technically minded Maker kids, I run an inclusive co-ed program called Hacker Scouts (hacker-scouts.org) which has a Guild program that includes skill building, community, and badges. Hope that helps! Sam
Hi There! My eight year old son is interested in becoming a boy scout. We're new to the area, super progressive and very inclusive. I know very little about scouting and would love to know more. Tell me all about your experiences scouting in the east bay, favorite troops etc. I'd like to hear both positive and negative experiences. Thanks! Scouting Momma Maybe
We sound similar to your family and I'll tell you about my last 3 years pondering the Boy Scouts. Here's the problem with the local troops that disavow the discriminatory policies of their national organization -- they don't *tell* the national organization about the disavowal. It's really more a matter of don't-ask-don't-tell. If anything causes the national organization to become publicly aware of a troop that's not following the national policies, the troop can be kicked out or required to get into compliance. Things some local troops are doing which are in non- compliance: permitting gay and lesbian parents to serve as troop leaders, permitting gay boys to be boy scouts, and permitting boys who do not believe in God to be boy scouts.
My 11 year old has been begging for several years to join the Boy Scouts. I have explained that although boys who come to realize that they are gay and gay families may be welcomed into a local troop, they cannot participate in any national activities. I have also explained that I do not wish to send money to an organization which excludes people (and will use our money to fight to uphold those policies). I have also explained that joining the Boy Scouts increases their membership, which is viewed as a measure of support for the organization. Although the national organization has scrubbed their website and tries to sidestep or hide their current positions and activities in support of their policies, the positions remain firmly in place.
My position is that my son can join under the same test that judges must meet if they are members of an exclusionary group -- that they either quit or be actively working to change the exclusionary rules. So, for example, he would have to write letters to the editor, speak to a reporter writing an article on the issue, or maybe start a website. I've also said that he would have to explain his intention to publicly disavow the policies of the national organization to the troop before joining. I've explained to him that publicly fighting the exclusionary policies of the national organization could create a situation where his troop faces scrutiny and a difficult choice of kicking him out for coming to the attention of the national organization or having the entire troop kicked out. He would hate that and chooses not to join under those conditions. To be clear, he would be joining because he'd like to participate in the Boy Scouts, not to pursue an anti-discriminatory agenda.
I have found this to be a highly divisive subject when this discussion has come up (and it does). People get very defensive. Nonetheless, I just feel like it's one more chance to have a tough discussion with my son and show him that there are times that you have to take a position about something that's not right. I'm signing my name because, well, that's what I told my son he would have to do. Anne
Please don't sign your son up for Boy Scouts. It is a strongly conservative religious organization that won't allow gay people or atheists to become members. They are very proud of their discrimination and have gone all the way to the Supreme Court to protect their ability to exclude gay people from being scouts or leaders. There has to be another organization that will teach your son the same things that he would learn as a scout without the hate. Disappointed by BSA
I can't comment on scouts in the bay area today. But as a former scout, I think it is a good organization and I plan to see if my son is interested when he is old enough. I think they teach a lot of good skills and offer opportunities for community service, goal setting, and planning and completing projects.
I imagine, though, that a quality troop is due in large part to the enthusiasm of the leaders. There are probably enough troops around here that you could ''shop around'', although you would probably find out what troops his classmates are in.
If it isn't too late and you are in the Piedmont/Glenview area, Troop 6 is having an open house on March 21 at 7:30. They meet at Corpus Christi school, Estates Dr. @ Park Blvd
Incidentally, I didn't get much out of cub scouts when I was a kid, but again, probably a function of the leaders. Bryan in Oakland
My son was in the Boy scouts here in the east bay and it was just a wonderful experience for him. FYI, the Boy Scouts are not ''weird'' or ''nerdy''. Reality is that there is a range of boys just like any club - some hip and cool, some smart, some nerdy, some counterculture. There is a huge range of personalities and that is quite accepted here. These days with video games, phones, etc, technology being what it is, groups like the Boy Scouts are needed more than ever. Kids need to get out and do outdoorsy stuff and the scouts surely do that still. My son had the privilege of going on not one, but TWO 12 days backpacking trips to the camp in New Mexico. The first trip he took at age 16 and it literally changed his life. He wrote about this experience on his UC Essays and UC Berkeley must have liked it since they accepted him! The summer camp, Wolfeboro, is also a blast. Tents, camp food, nature, no video games. I would never get my kid to go camping until he started it with the scouts. Recently, in his twenties, he & old friends went backpacking to Yosemite - even had his Scouting equipment still - these are all things he would have never done without the encouragement and support of the Troop. Former scout mom
I'm just wondering if any same-sex parent couples could share their experiences with their son(s) in Boy Scouts? I have always sworn that, due to the Boy Scouts of America homophobia, my son would never do the Boy Scouts. However, now I am thinking that maybe I am being short-sighted. Any personal experiences or insights would be greatly appreciated. thank you!
Many years ago, we looked into Boy Scouts for our son. His friends were forming a troop in Berkeley and held an informational meeting. At that meeting, we brought up the topic of anti-gay policies of the BSA. We were surprised that the families said that since their troop didn't discriminate, it didn't matter. I disagree.
The Boy Scouts fought a case all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court to defend their right to prohibit gays from being scout leaders (they won). Gay teens cannot reveal their identity or else they will be kicked out. This is insupportable. The Boy Scouts are sending a message that being gay is incompatible with its all-American values. A kid with a gay dad can't have him as a leader. A teen who has earned Eagle Scout has to hide his sexual orientation as if it is something to be ashamed of.
Even if a local troop does not discriminate, I still have a problem with being part of the Boy Scouts. Local troops usually attend national events with other troops, most of which presumably adhere to the official BSA position. Using the name and all the other practices of the Boy Scouts gives credence to the organization.
What if there were a national organization that taught boys valuable outdoor and leadership skills, but it was for whites only? It wouldn't matter to me if Berkeley chapter didn't discriminate on the basis of race, if they maintained the name of the whites-only organization and the kids attended national gatherings of this group.
We didn't let our son join, even though I regret that he didn't have many of the valuable experiences that boys scouts can offer. We're a mom/dad/2 kids family, but we have too many gay friends and feel too strongly about this issue to support BSA. If I had had more time and energy back then, I would have started an alternative group that builds on the good stuff of the boys scouts, but doesn't support the national organization in any way. Anon
Boy Scouts was one of the best experiences for our sons (now Eagle scouts). I have never encountered a more warm and committed group of parents than the troop leaders, which includes mothers. The reputed homophobia was mis- represented in a case where a single 20-something gay man was kept from being an adult leader. BSA has policies intended to protect boys from abuse by adults, such as not allowing 1-boy/1-adult interactions. Gay scouts are, however, treated like straight ones. Scouting will expose your son to experiences and opportunities that he will not get in school. By the way, most troops allow mothers to be as involved as fathers. If you like camping, don't deprive yourself. Michael
Hello - you don't say where you live, but my son's Boy Scout troop (203 in Oakland) has an explicit non- discrimination policy on their website: http://www.troop203.com/. The Piedmont council of Boy Scouts has also informed the BSA that it does not adhere to their policy. Scouting for All (http://www.scoutingforall.org/) also maintains a database for troops that don't discriminate. Scouting has been a wonderful experience for my son, so I hope you will find a troop where you as a family will be comfortable. Jan
I'm trying to put this gently, but the Boy Scouts of America is an institution with its own rules and ways of doing things that are in conflict with your family's philosophy.
Why not just respect that and find a different organization more inline with your values?
I don't understand why people want to live differently, then they want to get involved with organizations that are not inline with there espoused difference. You will join and then just complain about how you don't like their opposition to your ''two mommy'' family. If you want to be different, why then join organizations that are based on values that you have rejected?
Why not just go off and form your own thing, based on your different values? tired of it.
I can't answer your question exactly, as I am not part of a two mom family, but I would like to tell you that I am totally confident that such a family would be more than welcome in our troop in Lafayette. I hope you take the time to check out any troop you are interested in joining; they have different personalities, and it's the families that make up the troop and will determine if you feel welcome and supported. Good luck! Boy Scout mom
OK, I don't usually post, but you asked for an opinion. My husband and I raised two sons -- not same sex parents. I don't think it matters. The boy scouts are just WEIRD! I'm sorry, but neither of my sons had very good experiences. They are bi-racial (now in their 30's) -- but in Berkeley that shouldn't have been a big deal -- even back then. Their dad was in the boyscouts as a kid too. And he told me some pretty sick stuff that went on. My advice is a no vote -- especially if he's young. The older Eagle Scouts are REALLY strange, and liked to do fraternity type stuff with the younger boys. OK, I guess I've said enough. I suppose if you know the scout leader and the kids pretty well, it could be a good experience, but if not, I wouldn't take the chance. -Just my opinion. Marilyn
PS: Again JUST my opinion based on limited and old experience.
When my parents divorced and my brother was nine years old, my mom signed him up for boy scouts. He is now 42 years old and still has friends from that troop and still remembers fondly, the camping trips and hikes, as well as the cookouts and silliness that he and the other boys had together. They are good memories. It might be good to check out the local Berkeley chapter of Boy Scouts before making a decision. I know the older troops do path restoration and the like. Introducing kids to public service is a good thing and so the if nothing else, scouts may lead your kid to another interest you haven't thought of yet. Good luck. Worth a try
My son is in a Boy Scout troop in the East Bay in which one of the boys has two moms. I'm not one of them so I can't reply about their experience, but I have been told that Bay Area scout groups have specifically disavowed agreement with national Boy Scout policy on homosexuality. In any event, it's not an issue in my son's troop. Scout Mom
I cannot speak as a same sex parent but I can only speak for our local boy scouts. My son was in the Kensington Troop 100 (no we did not live in Kensington). It was just a fabulous experience. He's in his 20's now after having gone to college and having had many experiences. The experiences with the Troop are priceless and he still talks about them. He also lists it on his resume and used his experiences for college & scholarship applications. Everyone in Troop 100 was very welcoming and believe me - all boys are treasured. All families are treasured. I do not know how it is in other states or other areas, but I do know that here in the east bay (Berkeley, Kensington etc) not only is everyone welcome but diversity is desired. former scout mom
Excellent question! When my son was 3 years old my partner and I met a gay scoutmaster at a dinner party. We had a great debate about the trade- offs of membership in a discriminatory organization, and I pushed pretty hard. It's a classic queer dilemma: How do you judge an organization - by the character of the local branch in which you participate or by the big picture national platform? One by one, my family members left the Presbyterian Church over this. But is being a scout the same? By the end of the dinner party, the scoutmaster had changed our minds and we began the count down to age 11 - when our son could become a Boy Scout. That day came last year, and it's been fantastic for everyone.
Our troop (T-24) welcomed us warmly, and my son loves all the activities. What's not to love about camping/fishing/orienteering /hiking/snowboarding, (not to mention earning that First Aid Merit Badge and doing frequent community service projects)? It's a curriculum for life.
At the same time, it is sobering for my son to realize that this beloved organization's official rules would exclude his favorite adult from being a scout or adult leader because he is gay. This is a much closer view of discrimination than he has ever had before. This conflict has launched great conversations about exclusion and bigotry - always ending up with the realization that what counts isn't what you profess your values to be - it's how you demonstrate those values. By that analysis, we have no second thoughts about being a scouting family. Good luck with the decision. margaret
I am dying to hear the responses you get because even though ours is not a 2 mom or 2 dad family, we are supportive of all families and we wonder too about the Boy Scout organization homophobia. Is there another organization out there for our kids if the Boy Scouts are not all-inclusive? There are a lot of great things about the boy scouts, and each troop, especially in our diverse Bay Area, kind of defines it's level of tolerance I would guess (but I don't know.)I still wonder, ultimately, would I regret supporting an organization by having my son join if they don't see eye to eye with me on my beliefs? Trying to be open minded too
I so wish that I could let my 12 year old twin sons be a part of scouting (girl scouts was a very big part of my growing up and a very positive experience), but I just can't do it. As a lesbian mother, there is no way I can justify participating in an organization that actively discriminates against my family. Just can't do it. Even though I've heard that local packs/troops(?) have their own flavor and are all good with gay people here in the Bay Area, it's just not something I'm comfortable with being a part of or exposing my kids to, and we've explained that to them (just as we've explained Prop. 8, etc.). But of course everyone needs to make their own decisions. anon
One point I haven't seen anyone mention yet, the BSA requires you to believe in God. It's in the pledge. Regular participation in religious activities is a requirement. Just another way that the BSA is not inclusive. I personally think it is wrong that a group, that at a national level excludes gay people and non- Christians, gets free use of public buildings (schools) and free access to advertise to school children. not a fan of BSA
I had the same concerns before my son started scouting. I even began talking with my neighbors in two mom families about starting a group of our own (makes me laugh now). Ultimately we did join cub scouts (pack 30) in Berkeley and have never regretted it. Yes, we have met people who are more conservative than us but its still Berkeley and all the great things about Berkeley are amplified in scouting, whether we are hearing about global warming from UC scientists or a career in graphic art from David Lance Goines. We met several two mom families in the pack (one of them is taking over as leader next year) and they would be a great source of info. for you. Having said all that, I don't believe it is enough to just say we don't discriminate or that endorsing Scouting for All makes all the bad stuff go away and until we deal with this we shouldn't expect to use public resources et...As for scouting being ''weird'' or uncool, so is any group that enthusiastically embraces the well being of children and isn't afraid of looking dorky while doing so (look at Mr. Rogers). Some people may find the uniforms, flags and badges ''weird'' (or even reminiscent of fascism) I know I did, but for many kids it's one of the best parts, like wearing a sports uniform and earning trophies. In fact, scouting has the benefits of sports (teamwork fitness, competition et...) without the mind numbing repetitiveness of taking part in the same purely physical activity day after day. It's certainly worth looking into. Happy scout mom
My son was a rather reluctant boy scout at age 11. He was reluctant about just about everything at that age! However, he first joined just for the summer camp. Wolfeboro it is called. It is heaven and they love it. As time went on, he finally had an offer to go to ''Philmont Ranch'' in New Mexico, an incredible trip of taking the train and then backpacking for 10 days. He had to be 15 and had to achieve a certain advancement to do it. He quickly made the requirements for this trip. HE is now 23, FAR from nerdy by the way, and still has fabulous posters of Philmont Ranch and still refers to the trip. It literally changed his young life. His confidence soared as he took leadership on that trip and led the group on the trail. He used the experience for both his UC essays and scholarships. He loved the comradery, yes, similar to sports but WITHOUT the competition. In these days of video games and passivity, I can't recommend it enough. And no, you do NOT have to believe in God. Diversity is welcome, all families are respected and supported. former scout mom
Check out Troop 100 in Kensington. We had our reservations re BSA but decided to give the group a try. Our son was a member there for a couple of yrs and we found the group welcoming. There are a couple of other gay parents, too. Focus is on what scouting is all about- very positive place and great leadership.Our son has learned a lot of outdoor skills he wouldn't have gotten from us and appreciation for nature (and service to community for that matter. By the way, most families are from outside of Kensington- diverse group. Monica
I have a 7 year-old boy and I am considering having him become a cub scout. My objective is that he makes more friends and does more activities. But I am a little concerned about the religious part, which I don't like. I also wonder if the concept is not a little too conservative (non-liberal). Any ideas? Experiences? Recommendations for a cub scout group in the Lamorinda area? Thannks
My son was a cub scout and then continued on to Boy Scouts in Moraga. It was the best thing we ever did. It teaches the children so many positive qualities to life. Social skills, preparation, self responsibilities, survival skills, etc. and they go on a lot of excursions which are experiences they'll always remember (parents are always encouraged to participate). I was a very involved father and so many of the other parents were involved also. I experienced no religious overtones except for the belief in God. He's grown up now and I couldn't be prouder. He was surrounded by a lot of positive parents and parental involvement which he will pass on to his children. It's a terrific program, not perfect, but nothing is. LL
My son did not do Scouts at the Cub level, but he joined a Lafayette troop at the end of 5th grade. I was never very gung-ho about the whole thing (even though my dad and brother were Eagles), but now I cannot say enough good things about the troop and the organization. I know we are supposed to be all outraged that they don't allow gay Scout masters, and if that ever was an issue with a real person I knew in my real community, I would stand up for them. But for the actual organization that I deal with, I think it is a wonderful thing for my son, and for our family as a whole. The dads (and moms) who work with the boys are wonderful, he gets to do activities that he would never have done with our non-camping family, they are teaching him useful skills and leadership and he is making new friends and contacts. We are an atheist/Jewish family and to date, I have not felt any pressure on the religious side. It has not come up in any explicit way, and if it did, my son will say that he is respectful of others beliefs and does his ''duty to God'' in the way he sees fit and leave it at that. I think the organization as a whole has so much to offer that we accept the parts that are not perfect (and by the way, it is a voluntary organization to join). Many of their activities focus on helping others, so I don't see how that can be construed as ''non-liberal'' and I can assure you, the boys are not discussing politics at the meetings. Please take some time to go to some of the meetings of a troop/pack that you are interested in and make an informed decision! Boy Scout mom
Hello, I am interested in Boy Scout alternatives for my son. I love the idea of the boy scouts but I can't support an organization that excludes people who are gay or atheists. Does anyone know of a similar organization that is welcoming of all people? Thank you. Wishing boy scouts accepted everyone
Yes, there are non-discriminatory alternatives to the Boy Scouts! I grew up with Camp Fire, which is a fabulous organization that welcomes all. (Originally it was for girls only, but they've had boy members for 40 years or so.) As a large organization with a long history, it's the best known ''Scouting alternative.'' (In fact, some Boy Scout troops ''converted'' to Camp Fire groups after the BSA's right to be anti-gay was upheld in court.) Unfortunately, there seems to be a dearth of Camp Fire groups in my neighborhood, but if you have the time and energy to lead (or co-lead) one, you can start one. If you happen to be in the North Berkeley, Albany or El Cerrito area, I'd love to help you! There is a council office in Oakland, and I think one in Walnut Creek or Concord, so you may get lucky if you are in a different neighborhood.
There's also 4-H, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Adventure Guides (YWCA-sponsored but coed), Spiral Scouts (primarily for Wiccans and Pagans but nondiscriminatory), and assorted other youth groups associated with religious communities or adult service organizations. I hope you can find something that works for your family. Holly
While the Boy Scouts nationally do have those rules, the local troops are specifically much more open. I know the Piedmont troop is all-inclusive and was led by the dad of a gay scout. Check it out! anon
Hi, My husband grew up in Berkeley and loved the Sea Scouts. He still has kept in contact with many of the people and feels that he learned a bunch from it. Hope this helps!
I don't know of any other organizations that do what Boy Scouts does, but there are troops with explicit anti- discrimination policies. Scouting For All, an organization devoted to bringing diversity to Boy Scouts, has a list on their website: http://www.scoutingforall.org/data/layer02/linksFrame.html#SCOUTS%20TAKE%20A%20STAND. My son's troop (203 in Oakland) also has an anti-discrimination policy.
I am writing to encourage you to give Boy Scouts of America a chance. My 17-year-old son -- a recent Eagle Scout -- is an atheist and an active member of his high school's Gay Straight Aliance and his county's organization for marriage equality. He has been part of BSA for the past ten years, and had a very rewarding experience. If more progressive families join BSA, the discrimination will end sooner. Proud of my Eagle Scout
I am sure you have already heard this, but the local scout troops here in the east bay do not adhere to the national rules of heterosexuals only being admitted. Obviously you are dead against the scouts at this point, but one thing you might consider is that our children also learn that an organization is not perfect. I for instance am a Democrat but the Democrats often do things I object to. But I still will be a Democrat and hope there are changes, I don't throw out the whole Party. Religion, politics, there are many similar examples where we choose to participate in organizations that we do not agree with 100%. This is just another way of looking at it, that the organization is fabulous in many other ways - but is not perfect. Kensington Troop 100 Scout parent Sandra
Are there any cub scouts packs or dens in El Cerrito? I have checked on line and found groups in Pleasant Hill, Oakland, and points beyond, but I love the idea of finding a neighborhood group...any help? And if there aren't any meetings in El Cerrito, anyone have experience with a neighboring city's cub scouts? mamma bear with wannabe cub
There are cubs in El Cerrito. I think they meet through Camp Hermes up near the Arlington Park... but I can't swear to it.
My boys belong to Pack 30 in North Berkeley which is chartered through Epworth Church. This is a very diverse group with children from Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany and Berkeley. There are a fair number of boys who are students at School of the Madeleine, but there are many who are not so your son wouldn't be the only one. We've had a great experience with the pack. There are monthly den and pack meetings and one activity a month. Just the right amount of activity so the kids feel they belong but are still able to have other interests. If you are interested please contact me and I will pass your information on to the parent in charge of new members.
I am interested in enrolling my 11-year old boy in a local Boy Scout club. We live in Albany. Would you recommend a local Boy Scout club (in Albany, El Cerrito or Berkeley)? Thank you. susan
Come visit Troop 19 in Berkeley! It is the longest established troop in Berkeley (going strong for 90 years) and the scouts have so much fun. See the Troop 19 website at http://www.troop19berkeley.org Our son joined the troop over six years ago, has made life-long friends, and has had so many wonderful experiences and opportunities which we (his parents) could not otherwise have provided -- yearly summer camp, regular troop outings to near and far (Death Valley, Mt Shasta, Point Reyes Seashore, Pigeon Point, Pinnacles, etc.) for camping and hiking, a three-week trip to Japan as part of a scout exchange, a week in Florida sailing down the Florida Keys, two weeks back-packing in New Mexico at the High Adventure Camp at Philmont, and many local outdoor activities such as bike rides, hikes, and camping trips. The scouts in Troop 19 are involved in community work as well, such as park clean-ups, preparing food baskets for seniors and needy, Berkeley Path restorations, and other volunteer activities. The weekly meetings are busy and fun-filled with the scouts involved in many activities.
The troop meets weekly on Wednesday nights from 7:30 to 9:00 PM in Berkeley and everyone is most welcome to attend. Come visit us! The door is always open. www.troop19berkeley.org Long-time Troop 19 Parent
We had a wonderful time with Troop 24. It is a ''Berkeley'' troop, but plenty close enough to Albany, Kensington, El Cerrito to draw from those areas. They meet at St. Mary Magdalene in North Berkeley. Although it is not a ''Catholic'' troop, the church was kind enough to let us use their space. It is a very progressive, open and friendly group, with a full program of terrific activities. They have a website: www.troop24berkeley.org anonymous
I cannot say enough good things about the Boy Scouts. We were a part of Troop 100 in Kensington for many years. It is truly a family. We do not live in Kensington, but we live within several miles. They don't care where you live! They meet at the Youth Hut on the Arlington. They took my son in and took such an interest in him. He just graduated from a UC campus, has excelled in many ways, but Troop 100 and the Scouts will always be a very special thing in his life.
happy with the Kensington Boy Scouts
Re: Affordable Summer Fun for 15-year-old daughter
Sea Scouts is a great, affordable outdoors activity for Teens in the Bay Area. Is only costs $30 to join, is based in SF, and the teens learn how to sail, row, and care for their boats. We have kids from all over the Bay in our group, and with the America's Cup taking place in SF next, sailing will be on everyone's radar. Check out the website at www.corsair-viking.org, or email me at tamara.sokolov [at] gmail.com for more info. We'll be having an open house/free sail day on March 19th at 11 for any teens interested, just let me know if you plan on attending. Tamara
Attention Parents! Want your teen to learn confidence, responsibility, leadership skills and self discipline all while having fun? Tell them about the best teen program around. Sea Scouts! The S.S.S. (Sea Scout Ship) Sea Witch currently has openings for additional crew members. We have overnight weekend boat trips and an incredible 10 day summer fun cruise in August. No experience required. Teens learn how to operate & maintain our 46 ft. ship as well as sailboats, kayaks, canoes and rafts. We have computer navigation, Sonar, a kitchen, a water slide and even a DVD player on our ship! Our crew competes with other teen crews from all over California in events like navigation, rope climb, sailing skills, first aid, radio communications and knot tying. Come visit and meet the friendly co-ed crew. We meet year round Tuesdays 6:00pm - 8pm (dinner served) at 225 N. Court St. Martinez and Saturdays 9-4pm (lunch served) at the ship at the dock in Martinez. Only $15 to join. Questions? visit www.seascout.org Nancy
Re: 16 yr old son does not socialize out of school
I, too, have a grandson that doesn't socialize in school. Although his ADD/Asperger's Syndrome disability does take this into matter, WHAT REALLY CHANGED HIM was enrolling him into the Sea Scout program. He's on a 10-day cruise right now up through the Delta with other boys on the Scouts 102ft boat. What a difference this group has made in my grandson. I try to do anything I can to help this group because they have made such a difference in my grandson. Their website is www.northlandnautical.org. He's learning to be part of a ''team'' which is one of the hurdles he's experiencing as well as learning valuable nautical and life skills including: rowing, sailing, navigation, small boat handling and ship operation, knot tying and rescue techniques, engine mechanics and repair, carpentry, painting, fishing , waterskiing and watersports. Where else could you find a wonderful outlet for these boys! Their website is www.northlandnautical.org. If you need more info, just give me a buzz. macy
I am a long time girl scout and scout leader who is now the mother of two boys...so am a bit unclear on how Boy Scouts (Cub Scouts, Weeblos, etc.) works and when one needs to look in to joining what.
I am hopeful that my boys will be interested and active and, ideally, motivated to pursue their Eagles...so here are some of my questions:
1. At what age/grade do boys start down the scouting path?
2. How do you find their initial troop/pack/den? Do you join one at your school or go looking for one?
3. Is there a path one follows or do you go looking for a ''Boy Scout'' troop at a later date? What Scout troops are local? Do they have different philosophies? What does one consider when choosing a troop?
4. Have your kids gotten a lot out of scouts? What advice do you have for me? I know that I have to be careful to allow them to develop the interest and not push this on them because of my background and interests...but beyond that?!?!?
Boy Scouts is a fabulous organization and it is well worth the parents' time and effort. Some boys start as Cubs and move up; some begin as Scouts (like my son)when they are older. My son began in the 7th grade. Frankly he was quite lazy the first three years and didn't advance at all, just had fun, then in high school he got a chance to go backpacking for 15 days at Philmont Ranch in New Mexico. This was the ultimate scout trip. After that he was motivated and became an Eagle Scout. He is now 22, graduated from college & feels it has helped his whole life.And yes, he does put it on his resumes. I think the local troops are easier to partipate in as families are in your community. In these days of video games & sedentary leisure, Scouts gets them OUT and learning hands on. It is also great for single parents, they are embraced & supported. I think that the local scout troops here in the bay area are more relaxed & less regimented than other areas in the US, they are happy to have everyone participate. Former Scout Mom
Hi Nikki - My son is a member of troop 203 in Oakland and I would be happy to talk to you about it. I really like the troop because it is non-discriminatory (check out their website at www.troop203.com ). I think the answer to most of your questions may just be: it depends. Boys start at different ages depending on their interests and schedules. If there is not a troop at your school or place of worship, the local office in San Leandro may be able to provide referrals. You can attend meetings of different troops and just find one that feels right - they may have more or fewer meetings, be more or less formal, be focused on different activities, etc. My son has gotten a tremendous amount out of Scouting and especially loves the outdoor adventures and summer camps. I've also seen huge progress in his leadership and project management skills. I hope this helps
My son's public school class was visited by the cub scouts and as a result he wants to join. I've spoken to the people running the local pack and they say, and I believe them, that they don't follow the national organization's discriminatory policies towards gays, lesbians, atheists and agnostics. But they have taken no public stand on it and the Bay Area council, of which they are a part, also has not opposed the national policy. (They say that anyone is welcome as long as they don't engage in ''advocacy'' while in a leadership position, i.e. don't try to change the policy). I'm really uncomfortable with this position and totally appalled by the national policy. But I do think my son would enjoy scouting and probably get a lot out of it. I'm curious as to how others have dealt with this issue and also whether there are any non-discriminatory alternatives to scouting, particularly in the Montclair/Piedmont Pines area of Oakland. Thinking about Scouting
Scouting sounds like an awesome experience that everyone should get to have, but schools need to take a vigilant stand against institutionalized discrimination. I do not administer anything from the Boy Scouts in my classroom, but I tell my students that the forms are in the office. If your son wants to join, you should let him, but no school should allow solicitation from any organization that discriminates based on religious or sexual preferences. Yes to Scouts, No to Soliciting in Schools
You might want to take a look at the Scouting Program in Piedmont for your son. The Piedmont Council is separate from the Bay Area Scouting Council. The Piedmont Council has very publicly and vehemently denounced the anti-gay polices of the national council. There are several cub scout packs in the Piedmont Council and boys from Oakland & other cities are more than welcome. It's an extremely well-run organization. Like you I initially had some reservations about the whole scouting thing, but my son really wanted to do it. It has turned out to be one of his very favorite activities and he's continued with it into high school. The phone number for the Piedmont Council Office is 547-4493 - they'll be glad to give you more info. -Scout mom
You are not alone! I understand how you feel about Cub Scouts because I went through the same soul-searching before allowing my son to sign up (as did most parents I've met). I am so glad I let him join. He loves being a Cub Scout and I think he gets out of it what I want him to. His values come from his parents, which of course is as it should be.
The local packs seem to ''get it'' in terms of the idiocy of the national organization and focus on the boys, not the politics. No one I know agrees with the BSA policies, yet everyone I've met through it thinks scouting is a positive activity for their sons.
We pretty much ignore the larger organization and focus on the boys. They love the hiking and camping, and the educational and character development activities are actually useful and interesting. We've found scoutning to be a great activity for a boy who is not necessarily into sports but likes to earn recognition for individual achievement. My son loves the patches, beads, badges and all that stuff that he's earned, and he's motivated.
While I would have loved to find other organizations that had the same activities, there weren't many to choose from that provided the activities and achievements that now make him so happy. I love what my son gets out of scouting and if the BSA weren't so stupid in their policies, I otherwise would find it an ideal activity and enjoy it as much as my son. He thinks it's great! Sad to Have Compromised; Glad I Did
I too am appalled by their views. I can see why it would be tempting to let him in, but how can you guarantee the current local leaders will stay? The future is unknown. And how could you really pull him out at that point, after he's even more attached to the idea and has made friends? And perhaps there's a moral issue with pretending things are okay, because they don't directly touch you (end justifies means). I guess you have to decide if you're the kind of family who refrains from things that you find offensive and wrong, or if you're the kind of family who takes on the headaches of forcing change from within. Or third option, the kind who goes along with things and tries not to think about it. I don't judge you either way- it's a tough decision anon
My seven year old has also recently joined cub scouts and I am confused by the response you received in questioning the national policy. Berkeley has a statement on their website with strong wording against the national policy (basically a big kiss my grits). Albany and Kensington have gentler statements as well on their sites.
Leaders I have talked to think the national policy is ridiculous, and would like to carry banners to that effect, but do not want to lose their charter (I think 3 groups nationally have lost theirs). Scouting is traditionally a Christian organization but all are welcome and the religious aspect is basically nonexistant here in the Bay Area. (Okay some troops sell Christmas wreaths). I have been really impressed by the leaders I have met and understand your feelings but would encourage you go to the local websites for a better scope Cub Scout Mom
This is a tough decision--one our family went also went through. I was girl scout and a Explorer scout (the coed branch in high school!) and I loved scouting and what it taught me. My son also wanted to join the cub scouts because he loves the outdoors. My spouse and I were very hesitant because of the national leadership stance on gays (of which I had NO idea when I was a scout!). We also knew personally that no one in the local group would discrimate or even sanction discrimination but we still weren't comfotable. Finally, we realized what we could say to our son--his ''Uncle'' Joe, my gay best friend, would not be allowed to be a leader. We were very careful to discuss how his friends and their parents wouldn't care that Uncle Joe was gay and that we thought the cub scouts at his school were great kids but given that Uncle Joe wouldn't be allowed to be be involved because of what the ''bosses'' thought, we didn't think our son should be involved either. When we explained it to him that way, he didn't want to be part of the group either--I think he used that words ''That's stupid!''
I have not heard of another group in the Montclair Piedmont Pines area--if there were one we would join! wish it were different
I am looking for a Boy Scout Troop that my 7 year old can join. Any ideas? Thank you.
My son joined a very nice very small pack (342) in Oakland that meets in Redwood Heights at the Presbyterian Church near the Safeway. All parts of the pack meet at 7:30 on Monday. I didn't know much about the scouts before, but Ben wanted to join and we decided that despite our political issues with the Scouts we would try it. What I've learned about the experience is that Boy Scouts really seem to know what boys like and need in a group situation and have it set up well for them to have fun and succeed. This troop is quite small, and you could really help define what the troop is by being involved. If you'd like more information, I am happy to provide it, or you can get in touch with my husband Rick Davis at rld at well.com. Myriam
Regarding the Boy Scouts, Troop 271 Park Blvd, Oakland is a great troop. All boys are welcomed to join. If interested you can contact Sue Grandt, 530-7039. The Boy Scouts meet on Tuesday evenings at the Park Blvd Church (sorry I can;t remember the name of the church) the weblos and tigers I think meet on Saturdays. They also have a large girl scout troop that also meets at this church. This church has been supporting the scouts for over 75 years... Cindy
A 7 year old would join the Cub Scouts. Pack 30 is sponsored by the Epworth United Methodist Church on Hopkins Street in Berkeley. You don't say where you live, so you should contact the Mt. Diablo-Silverado Boy Scout Council in Pleasant Hill (925-674-6100) to find the location of the nearest Cub Scout Pack. Don
My son has expressed an interest in joining the boy scouts. I'm a little ambivalent, mostly because of the official anti-gay discrimination policy, but I'd like some more information about people's experiences, and perhaps some recommendations for specific groups in the Berkeley/Oakland area. Thanks! Raissa
There is a Scout troop that is open and affirming, which means that they accept gays in the organization. It meets at the First Congregational Church of Berkeley, and you can get more information about them by calling the church, 848-3696. Louise
I have 3 sons who all joined Cub Scout Pack 296 while in elementary school at Joaquin Miller in the Oakland Hills - in fact I was a den leader for several years. The older two have now gone onto Boy Scout Troop 203 (6th grade and up) which meets at Montera Middle School most Monday nights and has outdoor activities such as camping and biking at least once per month. I cannot speak highly enough of the experience my kids have had. The older one has learning disabilities and Boy Scouts has given him a lot of practical skills, built his physical strength and given him wholesome activities to participate in. My middle son is enjoying the experience in a different way. He's meeting kids from public and private schools in Berkeley and Oakland. Boy Scouts has increased their self-reliance,leadership skills and ability to work with others. They also enjoy being part of a supportive community with many great kids and parents. Troop 203 has a website with lots of information about the troop, how to join, what's on the calendar www.troop203.com . I am the Outreach Chair for Troop 203 and welcome questions directly - Mary
Troop 203 is always happy to welcome a new boy scout whether he has previous experience with scouting or not.A final comment - I realize that there is some negative sentiment against the Boy Scouts because of their (National) policy toward gays. Andy Young, the Scout Master for 203 and I recently were interviewed by the Montclarion to state our disagreement with that policy. (Published 3/15 I believe). Our website also has a statement of our disagreement with the national policy and our commitment to diversity of all kinds. I personally feel as a parent that the good of boyscouts outweighs any negatives associated with the national view. Mary
Boy Scout Troop 206 in Oakland is a great troop, very active and very concerned about the recent discrimantory policies of the National Organization. We have drafted and adopted our own Policy of Inclusiveness which deals directly with issues of sexual orientation of our Scouts and Adult Leaders. Please feel free to contact me if you would like to find our more about our troop. We welcome all those interested in Scouting for its focus on the environment and the development of leadership skills in boys. Lesley
As many of you may suspect, Boy Scouts in Berkeley do not agree with the National Policy banning gays from membership in Scouting. Pack 30 has even had its position paper stating that it will not discriminate against homosexuals on its website and the Scouting For All website for a year. We have passed out our statement at the Solano Stroll, the 4th of July festival at the Marina and sent it to the Berkeley City Council members and the Schoolboard. We have talked to the media to get our message across as well.
As parents and Scouts we believe that we can make a positive change in Scouting from within, and with the help of others who feel like minded, we can work with those who would like to change National BSA Policy. Please send your voice of protest to the Boy Scouts of America National Headquarters, 1325 W. Walnut Hill Lane, P.O. Box 152079, Irving, Tx 75015-2079. Scouts in Berkeley are not the problem. We are fighting a difficult and lonely battle within Scouting, because we believe that we can change the world for the better. We do not discriminate and will not.
Scouting is a wonderful program for all children, my three children have benefitted greatly and have given countless hours back to the community in service hours. We will continue to offer a quality program for all youth interested. We only ask that you put a local face on Berkeley Boy Scouts and understand that we are fighting National Policy. Many of our Scouts are members of their Gay/Straight Alliance and seek to end discrimination in all areas of our community. Pack 30 is sponsored by Epworth United Methodist Church, which is a Reconciling Congregation, meaning that we actively welcome all. As Berkeley citizens, I know you want to seek out the truth, before you cast your judgement.
Sincerely, Ellen, Ass't Cubmaster Pack 30, Advisor Crew 24
Does anyone know of a tiger scouts groups for a first grader which is not affiliated with a particular school? There isn't one at my son's school and I think he'd really enjoy it, but I worry if there are already long-established relationships, he'd have trouble feeling part of it. We're in Oakland, and would prefer that. Thanks.
Tiger Cubs is a branch of the Cub Scouts intended exclusively for first graders. They will graduate into Cub Scouts in June. That leaves about four months if your son is in first grade. Most certainly the groups that are out there are fairly well established, but they would certainly welcome newcomers. The sooner he starts participating, the sooner he'll get to know the kids. For the location of the Cub Scout Packs located nearest to your home call the scout office at 577-9000 9:00am to 5:00 pm or see their web pages at http://www.sfbac.org (San Francisco Bay Area Council).( Idon't see any Packs in Oakland that are supporting web pages - but it's the usual digital divide) If you are in/near Piedmont, they have their own council, ditto Alameda. I should explain that the Tiger Cubs are affiliated with the Pack in which they be a Cub Scout. Tigers usually attend their monthly Pack meeting and have one monthly meeting with just the Tiger Cubs and their Tiger Cub Partners. (each boy has a partner who is an adult guardian/relative/neighboor ).
Hi, I am looking for a girl scouts troop in berkeley/Albany area, please advice.
You can contact the Girl Scout offices directly and they can help put you in touch with relevant troops. www.girlscoutsnorcal.org/pages/about/interest_card.html Stacey
I'm looking for a girl scout troop for my 10-year-old daughter who will go to 5th grade. It's her first time. It could be in Albany/El Cerrito area. I've contacted Northern California Girl Scouts; it seems the troops are not active in summer and they'll probably get back to me in September. While waiting, I'd like to see if you know any openning. Really appreciate it. Lucy
Hi there. My 10-year old daughter is part of a small Girl Scout troop in El Cerrito. There are currently about 8 girls in the troop, ranging in age from 8-12. Typically we meet every other Tuesday from 4:30 - 6:00 at Christ Lutheran church in El Cerrito at Stockton and Ashbury. We do our own projects but also meet up with other GS troops for such group activities as Camporee, group Sing-a-Longs, etc.
We are in a bit of a state of flux right now as it is summer and we may do things a bit differently in the coming year.
However, we'll probably have our first meeting of the new year after Labor Day.
My 2nd Grader at Rosa Parks would like to join a Girl Scout Troop (Daisy?) in Berkeley/Albany. Does anyone have a recommendation? Cathryn
You should contact the San Francisco Bay Area Girl Scout Council. They can let you know where all the local troops are and whether they have space. I think they are in San Leandro. (510) 562-8470 Nikki
Go here: http://www.girlscoutsnorcal.org/pages/gba/index.html To the right there is a drop down menu on how to find a troop in your county and city. The appropriate contact info is then displayed. That person will help you narrow it down by school or neighborhood and find a troop that works. There is always the option of becoming a ''Juliette'' - a sort of ''free agent'' Girl Scout who doesn't belong to a troop but can participate in any Girl Scout activity. The council can give you more information on that. Welcome to Girl Scouts! Stacey
I'm considering signing up my 5 year old daughter for Girl Scouts. At her age she'd be a Daisy. I wasn't a girl scout myself so I don't really know what it's all about. Looking at their website it appears to be a fun, positive program, with activities my daughter would really enjoy. I'm interested to hear from others who have participated how they liked or disliked it. And how does it compare to YMCA Adventure Guides or other similar programs? I didn't see anything in the archives about the program itself, only tips on how to find a troop. Thanks.
The Girl Scouting program is wonderful for lots of girls, and even those who do it for just a few years consider it a positive experience. However, the specifics of the program often depend on the leader(s), as well as the interests and personalities of the girls in the troop. While all troops do a variety of activities, some do more camping, outdoor activities, etc., some do more handicrafts and similar, and others are very service-focused. If a particular kind of experience is important to your daughter (or to you), be sure to ask detailed enough questions. R.K.
My daughter is in 5th grade, attending a very small private school. She will be moving to King Middle School in the fall and is longing to make new connections with girls in Berkeley who are around her age. She has convinced herself that girl scouts will be the answer. I am wondering if many girls enter girl scouts at age 11 (seems like they might be phasing out around then), and what other people's experiences might be with the girl scouts. Also, are there other types of groups that might fit the bill for her? She is already active with soccer and theater. anon please
You might want to check out Campfire USA. They used to be Campfire Girls, but are now more co-ed. The cool thing about them is they very much stand for inclusiveness (they welcome people of all backgrounds, ethnicities and sexual orientations, and are completely nonsectarian). The have programs for youth and teens. I would imagine that Girls Scouts does too, though, but I have never been involved with them, so I'm not sure. Alesia
I think your daughter's idea is great one! Yes, the younger years (elementary) years are the most popular for girl scouts. However, they have an incredible ''older girl'' program for middle schoolers and high schoolers that focuses on in-depth exploration of interest areas, learning about careers, developing a positive body image, leadership, fantastic international travel opportunities and so on... And they've been doing this successfully for many years because when I was a teenager my girl scout experience was the single most important positive influence on my life. You can find out more on the girl scout website as well as from the San Francisco Bay Area office. Also, because the troops are smaller and the girls more mature they can create a wonderful community that would be great for a girl in transition such as your daughter. Roxanne
Best way to see if Girl Scouts is a good fit for your daughter is to visit a troop meeting. It's true some girls phase out of scouting at 11, 12, or 13, but it's also true that many girls stay in. For those that stay in, the activity opportunities really expands. For example, in Berkeley there's a group that visits Japan. Call GS staffer Carol Stewart, 510-562-8470, to get a list of appropriate Berkeley troops. Or, you and your daughter can start a troop! Carol can help you with that as well.
In answer to one of your questions - yes, girls often start to drop out at the middle school transition, but yes, some girls do join then, too. The opportunities available tot these older girl scouts are great. former leader
Your daughter is an excellent problem-solver! There is a group of sixth graders I know of at King who are Girl Scouts, contact Carol Stewart, Community Development Director, carol [at] girlscoutsbayarea.org (510) 562-8470 x113 to find the troop contract. Girls come and go from Girl Scout troops at all ages. Even older Scouts will join new troops as old troops disband and new ones form. While it is true that some girls drift away as they get older, I personally think GS programs for older girls are even better now than when I was a GS during high school! Girl Scouts gave me a powerful sense of belonging and a place to sing (and no one cared about my voice). Give it a try. Girl Scout fan
I live in El Cerrito and I've been having great difficulty finding a Brownie Troop for my 7 year old daughter. We tried to get into three different troops in El Cerrito because she has freinds in those troops, but they have all been full for a while now. I contacted the community development director for the West Contra Costa County Girls Scout Association and they siad they would get back to me with info on troops in my area with openings. A week later I got a one call from a troop leader who has openings. However her troop is way too expansive geographically. Her troop consists of girls from all over West Contra Costa County as far north as Hercules and Pinole. They meet at the Rod and Gun club in Richmond which is not my cup of tea and it's really out of the way for us, on the coastal area north of Point Richmond. My duaghter doesn't know anyone in that troop and it would feel like we are out of our element and community all together. We are hoping to find a troop more lo! cal and intimate. There must be more troops in El Cerrito. How about Kensington or Albany? Any ideas of how I can get more info on local troops? Why is it so difficult to find a troop that has openings? I thought Girl Scouts were everywhere. Are there other people to contact that may have better information?
Everyone keeps suggesting that I start my own troop, but I'm not that kind of mom who is super organized and has all the free time to commit to that much responsibility. And non of my friends do either. Perhaps the real problem is a shortage of parents who have the time and ability to start and lead a troop, resulting in a shortage of available troops. Or maybe it is the shortage of large meeting spaces for larger groups, thus limiting the number of girls who can join. LF
Your daughter can always register with the Girl Scouts as a Juliette, which is a non-Troop affiliated Girl Scout. She wouldn't get the benefit of attending Troop meetings but she would be able to participate in Association events.
Girl Scouts has requirements around adult-child ratios and that is probably what is limiting the size of the troops. Have you asked the leaders of the closed troops if you can volunteer or be a co-leader? Then they might be able to expand. It is a commitment but you don't need to be ''super organized'' or have ''all the time'' -- I work full time, travel frequently for business, and still manage a troop of 18 girls. You and your friends could also form a co-op troop, where each parent takes one meeting and the responsibilty rotates.
Finally, one of the points of Girl Scouts is to make new friends. While it is understandable that your daughter would want to be in a troop with girls she knows, meeting and becoming friends with girls from different backgrounds could be a valuable growth experience for her. Mom of a Happy Brownie
You *can* get into a troop, or start a new troop, but it will take prodding the Girl Scouts office in Oakland a lot. It's not that they don't want to help, but in my experience they need reminders. Some parents at my daughter's school (Tehiyah, in El Cerrito) have expressed interest in joining a Brownie troop.
Also, you might consider starting a co-op troop. It's a great way to share the work. My daughter's troop in Alameda is a co-op troop. All of the parents are co-leaders, which means we share responsibilities. One parents attends council meetings, another handles cookie sales, some go on field trips, and we all take turns leading a meeting. We keep it very low-key; our troop's uniform is only a Brownie vest. Other troops may go sash-only, or choose more. Betsy
Greetings - We're looking for a great Brownie Troop for our 9 1/2 year old third grader (who attends Tehiyah Day School) and a great Cub Scout Troop for our 7 1/2 year old first grader (who also attends TDS). We'd really appreciate recommendations for troops near our North Oakland neighborhood (which would include Rockridge, Elmwood, or Piedmont). Recommendations in the archives are for Boy Scouts and therefore too old for my Cub. Any information as to how to connect with the specific troop would be great, as the Boy Scouts website is under construction and therefore not much help at all with specifics in our area. Many thanks! Deborah
You don't mention it, but have you tried the Girl Scouts webpage at www.girlscoutsbayarea.org. If you visit there, or better yet, call the local Council Office at (800) 447-4475, they can match you with a troop in your area. Former Girl Scout
This is probably not the best time to be looking for scout troops. Both scout troops my children are in are winding down for the year. Your best bet is to call both council offices in the late summer and try and get hooked up then. Scouting Mom
I am looking for a Brownie troop for my 1st grade daughter and her 2nd grade friend in Oakland (North, Montclair, Redwood Heights - we're flexible). I called the council a month ago and they said they'd put us on a waiting list and someone would call. I still haven't heard from anyone so I'd appreciate any leads you can give. Michael
I just went through this process of finding a troop for my daughter. Here are the steps I took:
1. I emailed Sandra Munoz at the GS Council office in oakland: Sandra at girlscoutsbayarea.org. She sent a form to me at my home that I filled out and returned. It was a form to request placement in a troop (troop leaders call the office when they are looking for more girls for their troops). Shortly thereafter I received a confirmation postcard that my form had been received. I did not hear anything else for a month.
2. So, I decided to contact a few mom's of friends of my daughter's who I knew had been in or were in a troop. One of the moms offered to ask her daughter's troop leader if there was space, but there was not.
3. I called Sandra Munoz (about a month after I initially contacted her) and let her know that I was still interested. Within a week she called back to say a new troop was forming. We went to the meeting and it turned out to be a very nice group.
4. The same week that we went to the meeting above, the leader from the first troop called to say a spot had opened up and would my daughter be interested. Since my daughter's good friend was in the first troop, she wanted to switch.
I am looking for a girl scout troop for my 10 year old (5th grade) daughter near the Montclair, Piedmont, or Rockridge areas. I have contacted a number of schools and the girl scout office without luck. My husband and I are happy to help out with troop activities. Any help locating a troop is much appreciated. Marjori
If the SF Bay Council (http//www.sfbgirlscouts.org/ can't give you information on a troop with an opening, your best bet is to start your own with your daughter and some of her friends. It's easy and the Council will help you. The troops are usually made of girls around the same age, with parent volunteers running things, and it's hard to find a troop willing to add more girls. I've been involved with my daughter's troop since the girls were in kindergarten and they're now in 6th grade. It's fun and the Scout office has lots of resources. Good luck! Cathy
Here's some advice re finding/starting a girl scout troop.
I've been a co-leader for three years. Another mom at our elem school and I started a brownie troop when our daughters were in first grade. I recruited a graduate student co-leader last year, which worked almost as well. I've learned that if you really want your child to have an experience like this, you're better off commiting yourself to being very involved, and admittedly, it's a lot of work!
I just spoke with the SF Bay Area girl scout council, and they ask that you either call or e-mail Dolores Reveles -- 510-562-8470 ext 107 or dolores at sanfranciscobayarea.org.
It's recruitment time -- they're getting lots of calls like yours -- and they are interested in seeing as many troops form as possible, so you may have a chance. Good luck!
You should call the East Bay Regional Girl Scout Council on Edgewater Avenue in Oakland. They can connect you with other troops in your area. Good luck; scouting is a fun activity ofr girls and parents. Your daughter would belong in a group called Daises. Sharon
We have openings for 10 year old girls in our troop, but we are located in El Cerrito. We would love to have you if you are willing to make the trek. We meet twice a month on Wednesdays at 545-710. Scouting has many fun activities with the larger association, such as the upcoming Camporee weekend and the spring songfest and dance festivals. Otherwise, you can contact the SF Bay Girl Scouts at 510-562-8470 or e-mail at info at sfbgirlscouts.org for something closer to home. Wendy