Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Competition Is A Good Thing

I took my Girl Scout troop to a Skills Camporee this past weekend. (Yes, on Mother's Day.) On Saturday, the girls competed against other troops at their age level (Cadette) in different events. Most of the events were timed and judged for speed and accuracy. One event asked them all sorts of questions about Girl Scouting.

This is the first year we've ever gone, so it was a new experience for them. For me, it was reminiscent of events I had participated in with my Senior troop when I was in high school.

I told them that we were going to check it out. Their first priority was to have fun. I would be happy if they got some points and didn't come in last. Sure enough, on Sunday they got Fourth Place in the Girl Scout Facts. You would have thought they came in First!

Walking back to the campsite to pack up, I asked them if they wanted to do this again next year.

"Yes!" was the resounding answer. And they've already started talking about what kind of troop t-shirt they should wear and when they should start practicing the events, now that they have a feel for them. (Four months was kind of the consensus opinion.)

After more years than I can count of having to deal with "New Games," where nobody loses, and hearing about the importance of always having consensus and how everything should nurture the girls' self-esteem, I was rather pleased to see that the egos of these girls are not quite so fragile as some would make them.

They even had a suggestion for improving the Camporee: they should encourage SWAPS, so the girls could meet each other.

Sounds reasonable to me!