Here it is, National Sewing Month, and I've dragged the sewing machine back upstairs to the dining room table. And the first thing I've been sewing is various patches and insignia on the Girl Scout vests.
While I do this I think about scouts quite a bit. I think about the woman who murmured to me during a meeting, "They're getting rid of the badges, you know." Well, if they get rid of the badges, Annabeth is out of the program. It's as simple as that. She's in it for the badges, folks. And I don't know if they're actually getting rid of the badges or not, although I've heard that line before. I've also heard that they're NOT getting rid of the badges. And I've heard that they don't know if they're getting rid of the badges or not, they'll be figuring that out later ... presumably after they decide whether people are using that insipid Journeys program or not, or if Journeys goes the way of the Studio 2B.
I wonder if they'd give us an exit interview. Ask us why we left the program. Heaven knows they spend oodles of dollars trying to figure out what would attract new people; do they ever spend time trying to figure out why they loose current members? Eh, most people would probably either lie or only tell part of the reason, so maybe it's just as well they don't bother.
I also think about a family who has left our troop, has left Girl Scouts altogether. The mom was troop leader for a couple of years, and the daughter had good friends in the troop. Rick and I were discussing it, and said, "Oh, I guess they got too busy with other things," but really, it was more than that. Last year during cookie sales the mom had commented to me that she didn't want to support the national organization at all, and wished she could ditch the cookie sales because of it. I vaguely recall that her opinion of GSUSA went down hill as she looked through the Journeys material. And there were other factors, too.
I started pondering what an exit interview should look like. "Why did you decide to leave our organization? Choose one:" Here are some choices I'd like to see: The way the camp catalogs are laid out makes no sense. Ticked off about the Journeys programs. Realized the Back to Nature cookies taste better than the Girl Scout cookies of the same flavor, plus they're available year round. Sometimes calls to Council seem to enter an alternate reality. Decided this year's Thinking Day patch was ugly, and fell into despair about ugly patches. Couldn't figure out why we have both wings for flying up to Juniors as well as a rainbow for bridging to Juniors, and really ticked off that we have to sew both onto the vest because they're such odd shapes to sew around. Also, the iron-on stuff never really works right, so you have to sew everything on or else glue it, so let's just stop pretending these are "Iron-On".
(Brownie Try-Its are the worst for that last one -- they seem like they're ironed on nicely, but then the little corners of the triangles stick out and catch on something, and before you know it they're all popping off and people are looking at them and thinking, "that's it, I've had enough of this -- it's been one frustrating experience after another, and I've reached my limit and we're dropping out NOW.")
In the meantime, the badge program still exists, I've learned to sew everything down, and we're still planning to spend this year in Scouts. And we got a new camera, so Annabeth was running around experimenting with it while I was sewing the oddly shaped patches (Thalia will do the IPs herself since they're rectangles and relatively easy).
And I did the wings on Annabeth's new Junior vest myself. And the rainbow. I don't begrudge the wings even though they're toughest thing to sew on, because I've always thought they were wicked cool. But the rainbow? And this new flag shape? Give me a break.