Today, the USA decided to (fucking finally) allow girls to join Cub Scouts, the precursor club before normal Scouts. In Oz, we’ve been far more progressive for yonks – girls could join Cub Scouts since 1971. Fuck YES Australia.
There’s plenty of positives about Cub Scouts and Brownies, the precursor to Girl Guides (although these days they’re just called Guides). For some kids, it was a great way to make new mates. There was a big emphasis on giving back to the community and helping people in need. You got some solid training on how to make fires with sticks. I for one recall baking an orange, hollowed out and filled with chocolate cake mix, in a fire pit. That was a solid 10/10 snack right there.
But let’s all be brutally honest. Cubs, Scouts, Brownies and Guides were also absolutely batshit insane. I truly thought my memories of Brownies were a figment of my imagination, until I did a call-out on Facebook and had multiple people come back to me with their own deranged tales of weird, borderline-cult behaviour.
Here’s a bunch of people recalling all the odd shit they did at Cubs, Brownies and Guides.
“One of the skills we had to learn to earn a patch was cooking. Instead of using a fry pan like normal people, we all had to stick raw bananas and hot dogs in cardboard milk cartons and literally just light them on fire. When the fire subsided and the carton was burnt to ashes the contents inside would apparently be cooked. Not sure about the carcinogenic status on that.” – Amylea, 26, Cub Scouts.
“The thing that really creeped me out was how at the start of each session, we would stand in a circle in a darkened room around the troop leader (I think we called him Baloo, like from The Jungle Book) and would essentially ‘bow down’ to him.” – Ben McLeay, 26, Cub Scouts.
“There was a ceremony to initiate members into Brownies – I can’t remember if it was to initiate us into Brownies or into Girl Guides, like a transitional thing. Anyway, it was fucking bizarre. I remember walking up to a mirror on the floor that had flowers around it, like a wreath. And I feel like all the other girls were lined up holding hands on either side of a walkway. Then you had to say a chant to your reflection in the mirror, and this seemed like such a ridiculous memory that I went and Googled and it’s legitimately a thing – the chant is “Twist me and turn me and show me an elf, I looked in the water and saw….” and you say your name. WHAT. THE. FUCK.” – Melissa, 29, Brownies
“I won the cooking badge and then everyone decided I’d be the troop Head Chef at camp, because I made ‘Toblerone Fondue’, which was literally just me melting a Toblerone in a bowl.” – Sean, 22
“Sometimes we would all link arms around this papier-mache toadstool, like a big red one, and then start skipping around it singing this weird song or maybe it was a chant about an owl. I can’t remember the words but I remember we made the hooting noise. Also, our Guides hall had totem poles out the front with animal faces on them? Why? – Kate, 28, Brownies.
Absolutely. Nuts.Image: Parks & Recreation