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Differences between BSA and GSUSA

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  • #16
    Nope, according to BSA Rules and Regulations, money raised for Scouting MUST be used for Scouting.

    Money and equipment raised/purchased for the purpose of Scouting can not go into the CO's pocket to be used for non-Scouting purposes.

    If a unit folds, the CO has a choice -

    If they plan on starting up a new unit, they can keep the folded unit,s money and equipment in trust for their new Scouting unit.

    If they do not plan on starting a new unit, then once all of the current unit's outstanding bills have been paid, the balance of the money and equipment reverts to the council to be used for Scouting purposes.

    The same is true of GSUSA, but without a CO, there is no middle-man, so to speak.


    • #17
      You stated that GSUSA encourages girls to earn the Religious Emblem of their faith, and to wear it on their uniform vest/sash.
      Can you elaborate on that? Encouraged at what level? Where does it go on the vest/sash?
      I don't think they're encouraged at anything above the unit level.


      • #18
        While GSUSA seems to have pared down the awards they show on their current "where to" uniform pdf's, the National organization lists religious recognitions under "Special Opportunity Awards" in their Insignia List. The National organization also mentions in various areas that religious recognitions are allowed to be worn on the GSUSA uniform.

        This is from a section for adult volunteers - "The national organizations listed below have created religious recognitions to encourage girls to grow stronger in their faith. Each faith organization develops and administers its own program. Girls can wear recognitions earned through their faith organization on their Girl Scouts uniform."

        Some councils go into more detail about exactly where religious recognitions can be worn.

        For instance, from Girls Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania - "If the religious organization of the individual member provides an award, it may be worn on the right side of the Girl Scout uniform with the membership pin on the left."

        For more specific detail, this is from the National site before their Insignia site was redone -

        "Religious and Other Awards - Wear these awards in a single horizontal row on the right side of the uniform blouse, level with the Girl Scout Membership Pin, or on the vest in the area below the membership stars or troop/group numerals, and above the next official insignia already on the vest. On the sash, these pins go in a horizontal line below the membership stars."

        "Note: Wear only three such awards at a time to avoid a cluttered shirt or uniform. Choose to wear those that are most meaningful to you."


        • #19
          Comparing girl scouts to cub scouts is different than comparing girl scouts to boy scouts. The structure of a girl scout troop stays together rather than switching in 6th grade. It would be like a tiger den staying together until graduation.

          Organizationally girl scouts focuses heavily on the younger girls, not just in recruiting but in programming. I don't have figures but my gut feeling is there is a more significant drop off of girls as they age in the program compared to boys. Also, girl scouts seems to go through more program changes and fiddling with its core beliefs and mission whereas the BSA knows what it is, comparatively speaking. There also seems to be more paid staff and investment in physical office facilities and comparatively minimal investment in camp or other facilities for the girls. But again that's just a gut feeling.

          A properly functioning girl scout troop of older girls, however, can be very much like a patrol, or perhaps a venturing crew. A poorly functioning, top-down troop will not last long, just like any dis functional unit in any other organization.


          • Pack18Alex
            Pack18Alex commented
            Editing a comment
            Plenty of Drop Off from Cubs to Troop as well. BSA leadership doesn't care and still focuses on the Troop. The only division growing is Venturing, and they still are focused entirely on the troop. That's a BSA cultural issue.

            GSUSA is focusing Younger and Younger, Daisy starts in Kindergarten (and you can start in Pre-K once you hit 5), and they are working on a Pre-K/4 year old program. At Juniors+ (about the same age as the BSA Troop) you can use the Patrol method for organizing, or something called a Town Hall Method. Prior to that, they use the Girls Decide Troop method, which looks kind of like a Den only with more consensus building.

            Also here, the Service Unit does events every month (the equivalent of our district), so instead of individual Troops planning stuff, most of them just piggy back on the district.

            But you are correct, BSA Councils (at least mine) are very understaffed with professionals, but the professionals we have are front line. The GSUSA Council seems to have a lot of employees, but the employees aren't front line with Scouts, not sure what they are doing.

          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            Pack18, venturing #s are down from last year as well. ( page 25)..

        • #20
          I don't care for the venture focus of this jambo I watched the opening ceremony and just didn't care for it......Just get the sneaking suspicion that this is a prelude to complete gender integration in the program.


          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            There are scouters who see us going to the British model. I'm not one of them. If our numbers of scouts had been increasing since 2005, I'd buy the argument. But BSA's number of venturing (presumably co-ed) units has been shrinking faster than any other program.

            IMHO the show of venturers at Jambo is to justify the "ruggedness" of the new venue. They may not deserve it, but that is what the green shirt has come to represent.

          • Basementdweller
            Basementdweller commented
            Editing a comment
            A shame that what once was once a rugged Boy Scout Program has become something less.

          • Pack18Alex
            Pack18Alex commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm sure that there are lots of focus groups and research projects on what integration would do. Hashed out elsewhere, most think cubs would be easy to integrate, troop level would be a disaster. Gender integration, in my opinion could be done right, with single-sex Dens integrated Packs for cubs since it's such a long (especially with Lions added) program and families would likely have overlap, which would help on the leadership front. Separate Troops by gender or at least single sex patrols, migrating into venturing.

            BSA's programming as such a high adult:youth ratio for this sort of program, integration would help.

            I think Venturing as an intro to Scouting is a failed model because it starts to late, but who knows, people around Scouting much longer than me would have a better idea. We'll see what happens, either way, I'm running programs that I think will be excellent for my son, my wife is running programs for my daughters, and I look forward to being able to run a program for both as my daughters age into Venturing.

        • #21
          BSA doesn't promote Venturing enough. Simply a wonderful program.

          Venturing solves most of the adult problems that everyone complains about in these forums. No helicopter parents or "high speed, low-drag" adults looking to move their child to the next's a pure program of youth-directed activity. Our council had a Venturing provisional camp at the same camp, same week, as "regular" boy scout camp. The boys were working on basketry and fingerprinting merit badges and sitting in class while my daughter was out rock-climbing and whitewater kayaking...just for fun...


          • Brewmeister
            Brewmeister commented
            Editing a comment
            Obviously you haven't met our girls.

          • Pack18Alex
            Pack18Alex commented
            Editing a comment
            I think people just like to complain. If you're not having fun, get out. Too much focus on adult issues, but this forum is a place for Scouters to vent. OTOH, I've gotten great ideas here I bring to my unit.

          • qwazse
            qwazse commented
            Editing a comment
            P18A, you will find that crew advisors love to grouse about getting short shrift from National. But then again, why should National bother about the most rapidly shrinking program of the BSA? It's not enough to have one or two flash-bang crews in a district. To be of national importance, dozens of crews need to be in every district, touching base with one another and encouraging one another. We're simply not there yet.

            Think about it this way. Until parents in our packs start worrying if the troops they visit are partnered with crews, venturing will be of marginal relevance to the program. We have to be that good, and there's practically nothing that National can do to make that happen. (Aside from perhaps admitting they have precious little to offer us advisors.)

        • #22
          True, Venturing is a great program, it should be taking off much more than it has.


          • #23
            GSUSA is council/leader oriented. No leader, no program. Leader wants cookies and fashion, GSTroop has cookies and fashion. Leader wants hikes and camping, GSTroop has hiking and camping. Leaders want male leaders, male leaders are welcomed. My good friend Ted formed a Daisy Troop for his daughter, they got dirty, looked for crawfish. Folks flocked to his Daisies....
            While a CM, I approached the GS leaders at our elementary school to offer a joint "Join Scouting " night, their response was, "no thank you, we have enough girl scouts, don't want any more (Scout's honor, what they said)". Ever hear a BSA leader say they have enough boys, don't want any more?? Not even to form another Troop??
            GSTroop traditionally dissapears when the girls age out. BScout Troop/Pack continues while there is a CO and leaders to make it happen. Ever see a GSTroop 50 years old? Yes, there are GSTroops "experimenting" with multi-age units, but that is not the "official" way things are supposed to operate.

            The GS program (such as it is) depends on the Leader, not the defined program. There is no program, but what the leader wants to do. There is nothing to MEET, except the leader wants to. In BSA, there is a standard to live up to, and it is encouraged (?enforced?) by a cadre of pros. Never seen or heard of a GSUSA pro doing the same. GSUSA camps are few and far between, yes, with many a tradition, but not the same as a BSA camp (never mind the mass selling off of camps. Another issue.).

            Venture program is good, but like anything else, it depends on promotion and the leaders attitude, but the BSA at least has a program that the adult leader can use and be trained for.


            • ScoutNut
              ScoutNut commented
              Editing a comment
              GSUSA does not charter community groups to run their program. There are no organizations that can have "owned" a single unit for 50 years. All GSUSA groups/troops are individual, and "owned" by their local council. That said, there have been GSUSA troops in our Catholic parish school for 50+ years. There is also a troop of "older" girls (grades 6-12) in our area that has been around for about 15 years now. The leaders love working with the girls, and have formed a "permanent" group.

              As with BSA, a lot of what GSUSA groups/troops do for activities depends on the comfort level of the leaders. However there IS a GSUSA program, and GSUSA leaders are required to report to their council at the end of each year exactly how they have met that program. They are also required to turn in a yearly financial report stating how much money has come in, and where it was spent, and if it was not spent, why it was not. No BSA unit has ever been required to report anything to anyone.

              GSUSA camps are NOT "few and far between". With the current restructuring, and the consolidating of councils, some underused camps have been sold (BSA has done the same). However there is generally more than one camp property in each council.

              No, GSUSA camps are NOT the same as BSA camps. GSUSA camps are not focused on week long badge earning marathons. Most are theme based. There are camps that feature acting, art, horses, music, outdoor adventure, travel, and more. Camps are not generally attended by entire troops. Individual girls sign up for the specific camp program that interests them. One of my daughters GSUSA summer camps was spent hiking at surrounding state parks. Another at a horse ranch learning to care for, and riding, horses. Another year she did archery, and canoeing.

              GSUSA is NOT the same as BSA. Comparing the two is like comparing a tomato to an apple. They are both red, they are both fruit, but comparing them is down right silly!

          • #24
            I emailed the council 3 or 4 times to get my stepdaughter in (and me in as a volunteer) NOTHING


            • AKdenldr
              AKdenldr commented
              Editing a comment
              Visit in person or call. Email less effective these days.

          • #25
            Too timely that this thread pops back up today.
            ~~Many of the comments above in this thread are spot on!

            My oldest daughter is in a new Daisy troop this year.
            Lots of drama already.

            My wife hit me up just yesterday with a frustration, and question from the leader. My daughter wants to invite her friend from school as a guest to a "have-fun" meeting that they are holding at my house. It seems that the leader was under the impression that since they meet at, and are therefore part of the church, that members would have to be both Catholic, and members of the parish. She was under the impression that we boys were operating under the same restrictions.
            She was also concerned about not being covered by the GS insurance (heard that one a few times before, eh?)
            & wants the visitor to come only to a "real" meeting when it's held back at the church.

            I contacted her, letting her know that it's quite the opposite...... in fact, I said, I look at scouting as a ministry arm of the church first and foremost. That we want to invite new people in. It gets them in the door.... and their parents too!
            Also pointed out that it is not at all uncommon for BSA and GSA units to meet in homes, and therefore nothing unusual about bringing visitors in as prospective members.
            So now, she seems more open to letting newcomers and non-Catholics in (the friend is catholic though), but says that the friend is still not welcome at the "have-fun" meeting at our house.

            So my questions to you -
            We have a troop at our church of older girls. That leader seems to be acting as a CO rep for the Daisy troop. I think they are using the same troop number, but I'm not sure....
            Anyway, how is the structure or hierarchy set up with the GSA? Is there and equivalent to the Chartered Org.?
            Is there a Chartered Org Rep?
            Not that she wants to by any stretch of the imagination.... but theoretically, could my wife or someone else start a parallel daisy troop at the church, assuming of course the church gave permission to use facilities?
            I'm just trying to understand the structure..... I know earlier posts say there is none, but there must be some sort of structure or process leading back to the GSA council, right???


            • #26
              As I understand it (from reading this forum) GSA units are not "chartered" they are started by adults who have located a meeting space. If your wife wants to meet the requirements of the GSA for adult leaders, and can find a meeting space (even at the same location) she can start her "own" troop. She should call the service unit and start the process of training. If nothing else it can be background knowledge.


              • #27
                GSUSA (please - no such org as GSA) does not have Charter Organizations.

                All GSUSA Troops/Groups are "owned" by the local GSUSA Council. The Council's name is on everyone's checking account.

                GSUSA Troops/Groups are usually (but not always) created along school lines, with one volunteer working as a coordinator for the school/area. The volunteer would help to set up new Troops/Groups, vet/train leaders, and be a type of liaison to the local Council Service Unit (think BSA District). The leader of the older girl's Troop might be that local coordinator.

                If you, or your wife, wants to start a new Daisy Troop, I would suggest attending a meeting of the local Service Unit (think District Roundtable sort of). Talk to the Service Unit Manager (volunteer), and the Council Rep (paid professional think DE). You could also call your Council and talk to your Council Rep (they are as hard to nail down as a BSA DE!), and/or get contact info for your local Service Unit Manager.


                • #28
                  Thanks all!
                  Scoutnut, we are not at all interested in starting another troop.... but your answer does help to explain the hierarchy or "structure". thank you.

                  In our case.... I spent a few minutes looking to confirm if my daughter's daisy unit is the same troop # or different form that of the older girls. The older girl's troop has ZERO online presence as far as I can tell.
                  My gut is telling me though, that this Daisy troop is formed under the same troop number as the older girls, and that would explain why it seems that the other leader is being considered "senior" or "in-charge"

                  Anyway, thanks.


                  • #29
                    It is possible that the girls in your church were registered as a multi-level Group (instead of single level Troops). That is the only way they could all have the same Troop number.

                    However, typically, Groups are smaller, and usually spend at least some time in a joint meeting.

                    The usual way is to give each Troop it's own, unique, Troop number.


                    • #30
                      The standard GSUSA Troop is basically a single level patrol, similar to a Cub Scout Den at the younger level, a Boy Scout Patrol at the older level. GSUSA is "girl's decide" at all levels, basically a sort of girl-led approach.

                      GSUSA has a multi-level "group" where they could all be "Troops" within the same numbered group. They are often smaller, but occasionally they run more like a Pack/Troop, with age level Patrols doing age-specific activities. That's how my wife's Troop plans to operate. They registered as multi-level, but started with Daisy's because she required two leaders/level to operate. Next year they'll have Brownies/Daisy's, and recruit from there. Goal is to fill all levels adding one every year or two, leaders permitting.

                      The Service Unit is NOT analogous to a District, it's a mess.

                      Basically, since the Troops are small (3-12 girls), they do things at the service level that we'd do at the Pack/Troop level. Outings, activities, etc., are often planned by Service Unit Volunteers so they can get critical mass. The leaders develop a bit of a Service Unit identity, the Girls not so much.

                      Their analogy to a District is an Area, a Council is divided into Areas, and the Area has two professional positions (at least in our Council), essentially a Membership Professional (the recruiting side of the DE job), and the Volunteer Professional (the liaison side of the DE job).

                      As a result, the Service Unit Meetings may, or may not, have a Council professional at them. My wife's is attended by a Council Pro (her Area's Volunteer professional), but only because the troop she volunteers in is in the Service Unit.

                      This has the advantage of small service units aiming for monthly events (our District does 3 per year, tops). It has the drawback that if you need something handled by a Pro, you need to drive to Council, not just attend the SUM.

                      You could absolutely start up a new troop, and if your Church will house you, join it. Alternatively, if you aren't worried about the finances, just join their group and form a Patrol. Technically, the Patrol method is used in GSUSA starting at Juniors, but I don't see any reason that anyone would care if you had two Daisy Patrols, the standard GSUSA response is "do whatever you want."

                      The reason for GSUSA's setup is cookie sales. The bulk of the "revenues" received in a Unit are the cookies. To avoid Sales Tax issues and payment issues, all GS Troops operate under Council's EIN. They have a Charter Partner, but it doesn't own it like a CO, and it's more informal.

                      Because you operating under Council's 501(c)3, they check up on the finances. BSA leaves that to the CO, since it's the CO's status on the line. Since most CO's are Churches, and don't file with the IRS, nobody really cares.

                      The bulk of the money running through my Pack Account is NOT product sales, even with our bumping up fundraising. Dues, Activity Fees, etc., form the majority, with fundraising running smaller.

                      Keep in mind, for our fundraisers, we get 30%-50% of the revenue. Cookie Sales and other GSUSA Council Fundraisers (ours did nuts/candy), only provide about 15% for the Troop. As a result, sales tax and Unrelated Business Income Taxes would be a MAJOR concern if Girl Scout Troops operated under their own EIN.