Monday, December 12, 2011

The Most Dreaded Day(s) of the Year

In Gretchen Rubin's book, The Happiness Project, she talks about acting the way you want to feel. If you want to be happy, smile. Laugh and the world laughs with you. Fake it 'til you make it. And so on...

I decided to take this advice to heart for two events that don't make me smile. In fact they're something I dread. At the beginning of every school year I put these two dates in my calendar and then I try not to think about them too much until the moment they are upon me.

Then, unprepared and stressed out, I run around the house like a crazy person trying to get organized for the ordeal.

What are these two dates?

They are the two Girl Scout meetings I lead every year. My daughter's troop is a co-op, which means all the moms take turns leading. This is great, wonderful, phenomonal...until it's my turn. My problem isn't exactly with the meetings. Wait, actually it is!

Here's the thing. I'm not a Girl Scout. I don't know how to tie knots or pitch tents. I'm not outdoorsy, I can't sew and crafting is one of my biggest guilty unpleasures. Umm, yes, I realize I've just admitted to being absolutely useless in the zombie apocolypse but let's ignore that!

In years past I've had the "pleasure" of leading fourteen first grade girls through a yoga class.

Me: Girls, stop talking and clear your mind
Child #1 (shrieking): I can't! I can't! I don't know what you mean!!

I've helped put together an exhibit about Kenya that required me to be up until midnight cutting out pieces of paper for the Kenyan flag and I've been a chaperone on a trip to an indoor water park.

Me (over-and-over): Where is Non-Swimmer Girl? Who's her buddy? Girls! Stick Together!! PLEASE, Remember your buddy system!!

Girls: AIIIIYYYAWER (which is the sound of them running around, ignoring the buddy system and screaming unintelligibly over the sound of BreakNeck Falls).

That's the background. Now here's the issue. Every year it seems like the Girl Scout Council has something new and "fun" up their sleeves. This year it's Junior Tent Camp.

Junior Tent Camp is an overnight outing that takes place somewhere in the wilderness in April. That's right! April! We live in Oregon. An Oregon April is rainy and cold, which is why Junior Tent Camp is affectionately referred to as Junior Drench Camp.
The girls are expected to do everything for themselves at Junior Drench Camp. Which means that this year's meetings are devoted solely to the purpose of turning a group of nine year olds into self-sufficient campers.

Tomorrow, I discuss my fake it 'til you make it strategy and how I'm going to apply it to Junior Drench Camp.


Beylit said...

See that is exactly why I was never a girl scout. The idea of ever having to actually camp still to this day makes me a little queasy. I was far to much of a girly girl to ever even consider camping.

I had one friend drag me to a meeting once because she was convinced I would love it because I was a crafty sort of kid.

After an evening of macaroni art that I considered far beneath my skill and interest level, I decided I had been wise in my non girl scout ways.

Heaven help me if I have daughters who want to be girl scouts. I have them covered in crafting sewing and cooking, but camping I would just be lost on.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Sounds like sheer torture! I was a Boy Scout but I never liked the camping trips.

HKatz said...

Good luck!

I've always found laughter to be one of the best ways of dealing with stress, and your post is humorous, so you're on the right track :) And no matter how drenched the tents are at least it'll give you another interesting experience to write about.

Unknown said...

I have three boys so hubby takes care of all the outdoor requirements for Boyscouts. I've always wished for a girl, but if I had one, I'd feel like you. Camping out is not all it chalked up to be. Best wishes. Keep smiling. This too shall pass.

Johanna Garth said...

Beylit, I don't understand it but my daughter LOVES Girl Scouts.

Alex, torture! Exactly!!

HKatz, thanks. I'll get through it with a smile.

Andrea, camping is so painful for me. Painful and cold!!

Valerie Douglas said...

Johanna, I think your girls would probably love a meeting about how to survive a possible zombie apocalypse (or any other natural disaster, like floods, fire or snow).
So, what will they need to survive zombies? First they'll need to consider supplies - lots of canned goods, dry goods (flour, sugar and coffee) and bottled water in case the power goes out. How much will they need for their family for a week. (You know this, it's just grocery shopping...)
Then, they'll need to nail the doors shut and put duct tape on the windows (to keep them from shattering when the zombies try to break in). You can have them try - carefully, to hammer a nail in a piece of wood (or get husband or other male figure to demonstrate.)
*grins* Play scary music in the background, and they'll love it.

Thomas A. Knight said...

As a dad of two little girls, I'm unlikely to ever go through this. But I'm part of our local parents council, and I hear horror stories from my sister about brownies and scouts.

I feel for you, but I'm sure you'll do just fine. :)

Valerie Douglas said...

By the way... no offense, but I hated Girl Scouts because the leaders didn't know how to camp, and I did. *laughing*
State Parks can be handy for 'camping'. They usually have at least one or two covered picnic or gathering sites (saves on tents) with a fireplace. All they'll need then is a sleeping bag and a ground cover (plastic bag) beneath it. Bring food that can be heated in a big pot - either homemade soup or Dinty Moore Stew - and bread. Oatmeal (throw in handfuls of raisins and nuts) for breakfast. Just a thought.

Alison DeLuca said...

My daughter went to Girl Scout "camp" in a comfy cabin with a handy bathroom. No holes in the woods. No rain. No tent falling down at night. Kids these days!

PS I'm just jealous.

Hart Johnson said...

Oh, man... I feel your pain! I co-led my daughter's troop when she was in 5th and 6th grade. I am actually relatively handy on the knots, tents, outdoorsy and crafts stuff, but I don't like children.


Okay, so I like SOME children, but only in smaller doses. I was convinced to do the job because the main leader asked me as the mom in the group she thought she would have the most fun with (and really, I like HER a lot!) but those meetings... oi!

Ciara said...

I thought cub scouts was rough. OMW, those poor girls. My hubby is den leader, so I know your pain.

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I thought you were going to say one of them was the day before Christmas vacation ... but I guess that's just teachers ...

You need a whip and a chair to get through that day.

I also had to lead some girl scout meetings when my girls were members. I also panicked, because although I teach 5th graders every day, I don't teach how to tie knots, swim, do crafts, and I DO NOT CAMP EVER.

Thank heavens, both girls dropped out.

Caryn Caldwell said...

Wow. I've tried fake it 'til you make it, and it does sometimes work for me, but those experiences sound like they'd test even the most die-hard fan of the philosophy. Good luck!

mshatch said...

oh boy. I'm glad I'm not you - or the campers!

Jenny S. Morris said...

Oh, I am with you on not being a Girl Scout. I have NO idea what I'd lead the kids in.

Camping in Oregon in April is torture. Summer camping can be so awesome and FUN here. We take the kids every year, but I would not want to do it in April. You must share with us how to be happy during that. ;0)

Johanna Garth said...

Valerie, I LOVE the idea of a Zombie meeting. Fortunately some of the other moms who lead with me are expert campers!

Thomas, not the camping but talk to me when your girls do cookie sales.

Allie, they suck you in with bathrooms then hit you with the whole tent camping thing!

Hart, we have a mom who begs to do anything except be with the girls!

Ciara, I think den leader would be really hard too.

Dianne, we keep suggesting other activities but my daughter LOVES her troop. It's the girls more than the activities.

Caryn, I think my solution is cheating a little bit. You can let me know when I post it.

MS, lucky you!!

Jenny, exactly camping in the rain is miserable!!

Christine Murray said...

Sounds like my idea of torture. Organised 'fun' has never quite been my thing. If your fulfilment project could overcome that it could be very powerful indeed...

Sarah Tokeley said...

My girls loved Rainbows and Brownies but lost interest when they got to Girl Guides. I can't say I was sorry.