Mumsnet Logo
My feed

to access all these features


to be disappointed with Brown Owl

122 replies

parakeet · 16/06/2013 19:45

My 7-year-old daughter has just returned from her first Brownie camp sleep over. She enjoyed it during the day but when she came home the next day she tearfully told us that she had got upset at night and Brown Owl (the leader) wasn't very nice to her.

They were all staying in a kind of lodge with a dormitory for about 15 girls and a separate bedroom for the leaders. Apparently she went into the kitchen crying to Brown Owl several times and she said to her crossly "I don't want to hear it." There were apparently a couple of "section leaders" - older teenage girls - there too, who were nice to her, but she still seems to have been quite upset and now says she doesn't want to go on the next sleepover.

I realise these Brownie leaders do all this voluntarily, and I am very grateful to them for all their sterling work. Yet I would have expected Brown Owl to have comforted a crying and homesick 7-year-old, not been dismissive. AIBU?

OP posts:

iamadoozermum · 16/06/2013 19:58

Poor thing. When I last went on Brownie Pack Holiday (as a Leader), all the Leaders were really good at comforting Brownies who got upset and we specifically looked out for those younger ones. Would you feel OK at mentioning something at the next Brownie night?


TidyDancer · 16/06/2013 19:58

One of my sisters is a brownie leader. She would comfort a crying child as would her other leaders.

But I must emphasise that knowing some of the stories that come out of camp, you have to take the word of a seven-year-old with a very large pinch of salt.


redskyatnight · 16/06/2013 20:03

Am also a brownie leader and I think you need to get the other side of the story.
We would always comfort a child who was genuinely upset or homesick, but we often used to get a child who was constantly getting out of bed and saying that their bed was lumpy, so and so was talking, she couldn't find her teddy, she needed the toilet etc. Whilst we would be sympathetic to these things at first you do get to the point where you just tell the child to go back to bed and you are not interested in hearing any more! So after reading your account I am very much wondering if this is what has happened ...


LindyHemming · 16/06/2013 20:03

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TidyDancer · 16/06/2013 20:06

I wonder if this is the camp my sister did this weekend actually. DP and DS went to pick her up this afternoon as we have a big car for equipment.

Where was the camp? The one I'm talking about was enormous.


jamdonut · 16/06/2013 20:07

I wonder if several girls had gone in ? Some children do seem to copy each other.Had there been some teasing about ghosts or such like. That happened when my daughter went to Brownie sleepover. They may have already been told off for winding each other up.

At school the girls tell each other there are ghosts in the girls toilets and then you get a stream of girls getting themselves wound up. In the end it is frustrating,and annoying. You do your best to be understanding but after several, patience wears a little thin.


AuntieStella · 16/06/2013 20:08

I cannot imagine a Brown Owl doing anything other than comfort a some sick, tearful child.

As DD has said there were several incidents, cumulating in "I don't want to hear it" I do suspect that there is more to this then DD has told you.

And perhaps she might be better off with sleepovers only with family/close friends, rather than with groups for a while.


parakeet · 16/06/2013 20:19

I will try to discuss it with Brown Owl at the next Brownies night. I realise you should always hear two sides to a story so I'm not going to go in all guns blazing (that's not my style anyway). I'm going to approach Brown Owl from the perspective of "Can you give me some more information on what happened so we can work out whether she should skip the next camp".

I guess all parents say this, but I know my daughter, and she is not naughty - the exact opposite in fact, she is a real goodie-goodie. Perhaps she is more timid than average, which is possibly the problem here. Perhaps she is not ready for sleepovers yet.

Tidy I'd rather not name the camp I'm afraid, in case it got back to Brown Owl. Euphemia it was one night, thank goodness.

OP posts:

Ragwort · 16/06/2013 20:20

Having just survived a three hour night's sleep becuase of a similar camp I suggest you either take your child's comments with a huge lump of salt or volunteer yourself.

I had a child in tears, he said he wanted to go home, I asked him if he really was sure, reminded him of the fun he was having and how proud he would be of staying for the whole camp. In the end he did settle down and greeted me with a huge smile in the morning.

And yes, actually I have said 'I don't want to hear it' to children who seem to be entirely happy most of the time, enjoy every activity going, eat loads at meal times and stuff themselves with sweets and then suddenly dissolve into tears because of a fairly minor problem. And whilst this OP might be entirely reasonable, we have had instances when we have had to call parents to come and collect their children only to be greeted with either 'can you bring him home, we've had a few to drink/just tell him to go to bed immediately' - or the worse one, waitied three hours in A & E because the parents wouldn't answer any of the phone numbers they had given us Shock.


parakeet · 16/06/2013 20:39

To be fair, Ragwort, I have to admit I would never volunteer for any of these sorts of activities myself because I don't have time. Or rather, it's not how I choose to spend my leisure time. So yes, I am hugely appreciative of the time and effort that the leaders put in.

But would you characterise a first-timer crying for mum at night time as a "minor problem"? I wouldn't. From what she says, she did enjoy every aspect of it during the day (and probably ate loads of sweets too, although I don't quite see the connection, as she wasn't complaining of stomach ache).

I appreciate that the teenage section leaders comforted her (and I intend to thank them personally) but I do think Brown Owl would have been more of a mother figure and a cuddle from her might have helped more.

OP posts:

TidyDancer · 16/06/2013 20:41

Oh I didn't ask you to name the camp, I just said where it was. Never mind though. If you're that worried about brown owl reading this, it won't be the camp I'm thinking of anyway.

It kind of sounds like you need to do some work with your DD to prepare for the next camp if she goes. Re-reading your OP, I do suspect that brown owl had maybe reached the end of her tether with the in out in out visits. Sometimes children in these camps need to be handled rather than mollycoddled.

And even the most angelic child can turn into a devil beast when at camp. Trust me. I don't think it's even really necessary to bring this up with brown owl tbh. Just try to help your DD with coping strategies for being away from home.


TidyDancer · 16/06/2013 20:43

A few tears at night is a minor problem really, isn't it? It's not an emergency or a disaster, it's fairly normal and nothing that should be made into a bigger deal than necessary.

Please try not to dwell on this or let your DD do so. It's better to play it down.


Ragwort · 16/06/2013 20:47

Well, without knowing the specifics it is hard to know how much of a problem the crying was; I had two first time campers 'crying' this weekend ........... my first response is obviously to have a chat about what seems to be bothering them and then strongly encourage them to stay and try and get them involved in some other activity. The teenage leaders are always incredibly soft and cuddly so I am sure they seem much more sympathetic than us older, hardened leaders Grin. Do you know we are actually not really allowed to cuddle children in our care anyway?

I did have a chat with the mother of one of the 'cryers' when he was collected and she was very proud that her child had stayed for the camp, actually saying that all the family had been taking bets on whether he would stay or not. Hmm

I think there is a huge difference between a few tears at bedtime and prolonged sobbing and as you say, it's probably best to have a chat with the Leader direct.


Floggingmolly · 16/06/2013 20:49

It was a one night sleepover, and your dd went to Brown Owl crying several times? Hmm. I'd imagine if anything close to the reported words were spoken, it was in exasperation after "several" visits.
Maybe sleepovers aren't for your daughter?


ninja · 16/06/2013 20:53

Since you admit that your child is a 'goodie goodie' I wonder if the crying was along the lins of .... is talking, .... won't let me sleep, etc - things that are upsetting for a young child but are probably all part and parcel of a big group like that. Your daughter will soon let you know if she wants to go again.


parakeet · 16/06/2013 20:59

Yes, I absolutely will be playing this down with my daughter. But I do want to hear what happened from Brown Owl.

OP posts:

TidyDancer · 16/06/2013 21:07

I would still advise against it, but if you are intent on speaking to her, please don't be in any way confrontational or hostile. The leaders do not get paid or have to take the children to camp and if they get too much trouble from parents, they may decide against doing it again.

I'm not saying this is what you intend, but just be careful.


curlew · 16/06/2013 21:08

"Do you know we are actually not really allowed to cuddle children in our care anyway?"

Really?! Well, dp, dd and I and every leader my children have had in the last 12 years in the Scout movement have been breaking the law on a regular basis..........s


tomorowisanotherday · 16/06/2013 21:18

I just did a two night camp with six leaders a day 20 brownies. It was totally exhausting as a leader ensuring the safety of all the girls.

We told one room of 5 brownies to go to sleep every hour on the hour and they promptly ignored us. This culminated with a camp guard knocking on the windows at 1.30 and be,losing at the girls to go to sleep.

I was cross that the chap wasn't more tactful with 7 and 8 year older who where too terrified to make a squeak for the rest of the night...... But moreover I'm disappointed in the girls for not settling down.

I would be happy to discuss this with any parent, but I'd be cross that they didn't put ANY blame with the littleones.


tomorowisanotherday · 16/06/2013 21:20


not be,losing


Hulababy · 16/06/2013 21:24

Even if you arent sure I would still speak to Brown Owl about it to find out what happened and how upset your DD was. It will help you decide if she should go on the next trip. It isn't too much ti want to know how she was, especially when you have heard your DD's version.


DinoSnores · 16/06/2013 21:58

You need to speak to Brown Owl and find out her side of the story. I agree with the suggested other sides above. Perhaps your DD is a bit too young for sleepovers at the moment or would benefit with a bit of practice at other people's house.


BabylonReturns · 16/06/2013 22:07

Was this the Brownie PGL thing? Dd1 is off on her first PGL with Brownies in September, and I am a bit worried for her as she hasn't really done anything like this before.


defineme · 16/06/2013 22:13

I would consider carefully if she is ready for this.
She's only 7 and Brownies is a once a week activity so they'll not be as well bonded/known by the leaders as if it was a school overnight.
Some children love it and others wold be much better waiting until they're 10 or even older.


IWipeArses · 16/06/2013 22:29

When I was in guides we stayed over in dorm bunks which helpfully had feather pillows. I spent the entire second day having an asthma attack being made to join in the activities including running scouts pace.
Granted this was twenty years ago, but I was certainly a nuisance.
I'm sure most volunteers are very caring, but that doesn't mean they all are.

Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Sign up to continue reading

Mumsnet's better when you're logged in. You can customise your experience and access way more features like messaging, watch and hide threads, voting and much more.

Already signed up?