After school today, my youngest will head north for her final Girl Scout camping trip. With just five more days left in her Elementary School “career”, she’s already made the decision to leave Girl Scouts behind as she makes the step up to Middle School. She gave it a lot of careful consideration, but, in the end, decided move on from the experience when she opens this new chapter in her life.
In the six years since she started Brownies, even when friends dropped out when their other extra-curricular schedules got too full, CJ has stuck with it and made it a priority. She’s earned dozen and dozens of badges, sold close to a thousand boxes of cookies, and went on countless adventures thanks in large part to an amazing Troop of girls and leaders who have been together since the beginning. As she systematically went through the packing list last night for this final three-day adventure, she did something that you don’t often get from an 11-year-old – she waxed nostalgic.
As we piled items next to the suitcase, she talked about all of the fun times she’s had. All the cool things that she’s made. All of the things that she got to experience with Girl Scouts. She talked about what’s she learned and the younger Troops that she got to teach. Like something out of a movie, she got lost in the thought before snapping back into focus by saying, “I’m really, really excited for this trip!”
For all of the amazing things that Girl Scouts has given her, she made the decision to make this her last year. It’s not so much that she’s outgrown Girl Scouts, she just feels like this is the right time. That she’s gotten everything from Girl Scouts that she needed in Elementary School. That she’s ready to take on Middle School thanks in no small part to the time she spent with her Troop.
Now, whether I’m ready for my baby to be a Middle Schooler… well… that’s a different story.
As she stacked the final piece on the giant Jenga-esque pile of clothes, art supplies, toiletries and various camping gear, I laughed and asked, “Wow! Do you think you have everything you’ll need?”
“Well, Dad, the Girl Scout motto IS ‘Be Prepared’.”
Yes, she is. Yes, she is.