Looking for a bit of advice or maybe just simply posting this to admit that it isn't all hearts and flowers over here in my junior troop. I have a girl, let's call her Jackie, who has been in our troop for 3 years. Never much of a problem, but her mother is hard to handle and her grandmother more so. But I have handled them as best I could and we're all still here to talk about it. Jackie was never the issue, and so the adults involved took most of my managing time. All my other families, all of them, added together, were never as much work as this one. Jackie joined late in this year because the adults in her life couldn't get the paperwork together. I learned via another scout leader that Grandma probably forged mom's signature on the form--yet mom was the one who dropped it off with payment. That was in November, and Jackie didn't come to a meeting until the January "Get ready to sell cookies and go camping" meeting. Since she'd been a member for some time, I didn't think twice about having us join us on the camping trip. I knew her family situation wasn't her fault.
She was a problem on the camping trip. A big problem. She stole a bunch of fruit from the kitchen and took a bite from each, hiding them in her sleeping bag. She brought candy--against the rules--and hid it in her cubby (we were at a lodge). She kept girls awake into the night and shined her flashlight in their eyes while they slept. She was sullen and didn't participate. And she stole other girls' items and hid them and made one girl cry. The worst part was that she was a ringleader of sorts and drew two new girls in, which made it even more complicated to sort out who was responsible for what. I know I could have sent her home. I knew, however, that it wouldn't have made an impression. I had a growing suspicion that Jackie didn't want to be in girl scouts at all, but was there because her grandmother used to be a leader at another school and was probably forcing her to join. I wanted to make it work, and my sainted co-leader drew her in by Saturday afternoon and we were able to make it through until it was time to go home. By the time I made it to the pick up site, she'd already been picked up. The rest of my life was busy enough, with cookie sales and a vacation and all this sleet and snow. So I didn't get around to contacting her mother or grandmother. I expected I'd see her at our February meeting and could handle it there. She didn't come to the February meeting. Nor to the February gathering. Or the March meeting. I didn't follow up. I have a big troop and so be it. Her partners in crime from the camping trip seemed to drop off as well. Except all three sold cookies...and picked them up...and dropped off money. So girl scouting was still on their minds. Grandma called my cookie manager to ask for my phone number, which of course she should have so far. She told her, "Jackie is so excited about the field trip this month and camping in May." She hasn't called me yet to get the details, and I'm really at a loss. I've never had a girl act like this on a trip and never had a girl who seemed to be using me for free field trips and camping this way. Girls come to the majority of meetings, most gatherings and trips. That's how it's always gone. It's never been an issue. Ever. Really. I don't think I should allow her to go on our field trip and I certainly don't think she should camp in May, unless she starts coming to our meetings again and participates in April Showers. I know her family situation is complicated, but her behavior on the camping trip was completely out of line. Other girls have asked me, privately, if Jackie is still in our troop. They came up with a behavior contract for all girls to sign before our next trip and I know they did it because of Jackie's behavior in January.
We've never done anything like that before. So what do I do? My co-leader likes second chances but Jackie never showed any remorse, never apologized, never seemed to admit that she was in the wrong (and she camped with us twice last year with no problem--I think the combination of her with the two new girls, who are friends of hers from the same school, was the perfect storm kind of set up in January). She knew what was expected and she knew the rules and continued to break them--and I hate to take it personally but I'm a volunteer. I'm not her teacher. I feel like I shouldn't have to put up with behavior like this, especially when we're away for the weekend. I expect Grandma will call today, and I am going to remove myself from the position of being between her and her ex-daughter-in-law. I'm going to tell her I need to talk to Jackie's mom or dad about this. But I'm sure I'll get a phone call from Mom right afterward. And I need to figure out what I'm going to say.