There were big obstacles in our way to getting my daughter involved in Girl Scouts. My daughter’s health hurdles and life threatening food allergies make it hard to be just another participant so it was best for her that I take a leadership role.
The reality is that expecting others to make the right and fair accommodations for your food allergic child is unrealistic. Sometimes you have to just get shit done yourself and that is how we roll…
In case you didn’t know… Being a Troop Leader is a crapton of work! However, it is very rewarding. Sure, there are a lot of headaches and stressful situations along the way but it balances out. I am able to ensure that there is no exclusion for my daughter within her own Troop and that all activities are safe for her. We, thankfully, have amazing families who totally get how unpredictable things become for us.
The other concern I had was product sales since it seemed cruel to ask her to sell something that could potentially kill her.
There was still the issue of fundraising by selling foods that can harm her. Not participating in sales means the Troop loses out on important funding for all the projects they want to tackle. It is also a wonderful introduction to business and what being an entrepreneur is like.
She always had the option to not participate in Fall Product Sales (Nuts and Magazines) and Cookie sales in the Spring. I explained the dialog to expect when selling and we discussed how it could make her feel. Most people will ask a Girl Scout what their favorite cookies are… but what if you can’t eat it? Is that question going to jab at her young heart?
She decided early on that she wanted to sell with her Troop because it would help. It was a huge hurdle for her and a very hard decision. She hasn’t been without painful moments and awkward times where she can’t relate to the people who love the cookies she sells. Those negatives are far outweighed by her determination and the happiness she gets from meeting her goals.
She works her butt off. She tries her hardest. She feels empowered and she finds her own ways of dealing with the obstacles in a positive way.
Last year her efforts paid off and she was able to get in to the 500 Club. She donated her incentives to the local Children’s Hospital since she saw the 500 Club Party and accomplishments as her reward. It was a fun day for her and I to spend with other Girl Scouts at a huge outdoor party.
She knows that by participating in Girl Scout Cookie sales that she is making a difference. She is driven not only by her goal setting but by the money raised funds our community service projects.
Her favorite thing to say to customers is “Thank you for helping me make a difference.”
I’m very proud of her and had expected some of this determination to lose it’s hype. It’s only intensified. This year her health is more challenging and she is more fatigued than usual with a lot of gastrointestinal issues but she is powering through it. She has her regular supporters that are happy to help her in her cause.
And while her determination creates a ton more work both as a Leader and a Mom I am happy to be right by her side and cheering her on.
Even if my living room looks like this during Cookie Season.
About Leila DontSpeakWhinese
Leila, aka The Ninja, is the advocate for all things not whining. Parenting is fun when everyone stops b*tching! She is the Mom of a big blended family of four awesome kids. They ninja kick through life together. Oh and she is a total jackass.