Is there anything worse than mandatory meetings? Somehow I'd been conned into co-leading my daughter's pre-kindergarden Girl Scout troop. Despite the hours of preparation, I adored cooking up fun activities and field trips for my daughter and her friends. What I didn't enjoy were the mandatory training sessions for troop leaders. Two hours of listening to such drivel as, "Count the number of girls on a field trip so you don't leave one behind." DUH! Or how about, "Don't have activities that require reading if your girls can't read yet." The woman next to me rolled her eyes and passed over a note saying, "You think?"
I glanced around to see if the others were as bored as we were. All around the room heads bobbed and eye lids drooped. I envied the woman sleeping in the back row, strategically sprawled behind a large post.
I composed my grocery list and Christmas gift list. I eyed my watch and groaned. Still an hour to go. I doodled. I wrote a letter to my mother. On and on they droned: "Make sure all the activities you plan are age appropriate." Shucks! Did that mean I had to scrap my lecture on fracking shale? No calculus derivatives either? My favorite tidbit of wisdom: "If you're going on a field trip, make sure all the mothers chauffeuring know where you're going."
My conclusion? Any mother clueless enough to need any of the advice they'd taught tonight wasn't fit to lead a troop in the first place! After two hours of mental torture, they released us from Girl Scout prison. I trudged to my car sputtering and tempted to submit a bill for two wasted hours of life.
Not wanting to be branded a troublemaker, however, I attended every training session until I had only one left: First Aid. I snickered. With four years of medical school, three years of residency and five years in private practice, surely they would exempt me from that lecture!
No such luck. After leading the troop several years, I received a call from a Girl Scout "Gestapo" admonishing me to complete this final step in my leadership "training."
"But I'm a Board certified internist and I'm up-to-date in both Basic and Advanced Cardiac Life Support. I know the Heimlich maneuver. Surely that counts as more medically trained than a two-hour First Aid class."
The woman hemmed and hawed. "There's nothing in our guidelines stating doctors are exempt, so you need to take the class."
Are you kidding me??? They require Board-certified internists to take a Girl Scouts first aid class?
I could hardly wait. No doubt this thriller would teach me to apply ice to a sprained ankle. Or Neosporin to a cut. They'd tell me not to give a girl medication without clearing it with her parents first. Or the real eye-opener: don't feed peanuts to a girl who's allergic to them.
Desperate for a "get-out-of-jail-free" card, I asked to speak to the woman's supervisor. I explained to the higher up why I was fully qualified without their Saturday morning lecture.
After my ten minute dissertation, the supervisor agreed. Yes, I knew to look for ticks after hiking. She was even impressed I carried an Epi-Pen and children's Benadryl in my car just in case any of the girls develop an unexpected anaphylactic reaction to a bee-sting.
Nice to know after eleven years of medical training, I was now deemed competent in Band-aids 101.