There is a misconception that Girl Scouts stops at the end of elementary school. When a troop dissolves after fifth grade, the girls and the volunteers miss out on some of the BEST parts of the Girl Scout experience. Research tells us that middle school girls tend to have a significant dip in self-image during these years. Being involved with Girl Scouts at the Cadette level (grades 6-8) allows teens to maintain positive self-esteem through challenging years.
Middle school is when Girl Scouts begin using much of the independence and leadership skills that volunteers have encouraged through Daisies, Brownies, and Juniors. The Cadette program level is when the girls can work together to decide what badges to work on and how they want to earn them. Explore what Cadette Girl Scouts do:
- Cadettes know the rules for social behavior and don't need as many reminders for how to act at programs. As a troop leader or parent, you join in and get to try things you didn't do as a teen! Teens need to see parents and adult role models face challenges positively. Imagine being scared of heights and jumping off a high rock into a river with your troop encouraging you and applauding when you finally do it! Not only is that impactful for you, but also your troop.
- Cadette programs hosted by the Girl Scout council don't require you to be with your troop or Girl Scout at every moment. Using the buddy system, they can order at a restaurant and go to the bathroom without worrying. You can drop off your Girl Scouts UNLESS you see "troop ratios are in effect" and let them discover independence.
- Cadettes have special leadership conferences to help them identify their talents and develop their skills. Look for Program Aide training, Silver Award training, Learn to Lead, and Raise Your Voice.
- Cadettes want to get out of their meeting space, so we recommend traveling. Whether it is a camping trip, overnight at a zoo, doing comparison shopping at the mall, visiting an animal shelter, or a road trip to the beach – it can be done! They buckle their seat belts, behave (most of the time), and will provide you with fascinating conversations in the car.
- Cadettes love to explore their interests for college and careers. We offer middle schoolers programs to learn about construction, zoo keeping, film making, urban planning, and architecture.
- Cadettes want time to just hang with friends, be goofy, bake yummy recipes, and watch movies together. The Girl Scout Experience is more than badges; it is girls "finding their people" and expanding their confidence in themselves.
Girl Scouts is not an “all or none” program. As your troop or Girl Scout approaches middle school, they have more opportunities for extracurricular activities in school. It is okay not to make every meeting or event and find activities when it “fits” into busy teen schedules.
If you want to learn more about events for teens and how to successfully transition to new program levels, contact Aimee Williams, who specializes in programs for Cadettes, Seniors, and Ambassadors.