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ParkMan last won the day on February 24

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  1. Be interesting to see if something like a national edict happens here. The basis of our federal system states it should be up to the states. Every person I know in the US right now us home and their kids off school - so I'm not sure how much more there is for the Feds to do here.
  2. I'm sure you're right. Guess I'm just getting tired of all the drama in Scouting these days. More and more I just think of calling it a day.
  3. I respect very much your point here. I am not looking to start a debate on the subject nor nitpick others. Some group at national has generated the document I quoted (the 03.5.18 version of the FAQ) where the BSA began to spell out guidance on the linked troop model. This group is who I'm referring to when I say "intended." In that document the BSA starts to outline a structure for how a linked troop could work - common unit committee, common opening, common closing, some joint activities. The bulk of that meeting - instruction, games, patrol time - is done by individual troop. As @MikeS72 writes - this was done in part to deal with creating unit committees - I think this is true. But, this also reflects a reality that many of the COs starting troops for girls will already have strong troops for boys. At those COs, there will be a lot of opportunity for the troops to interact, collaborate. That troop for boys is running a quality program and it makes sense for the troop for girls to grow and benefit from that. It sounds like this is exactly what happened here to great success. The structure defined in the 03.5.18 FAQ is bound to lead to questions of organization within the Scouts. If your two troops are regularly going on joint activities, have joint openings, etc. how do the Scouts within the troop troops interact? Do we enact a wall between the two groups of Scouts or do we let them Scout alongside each other for that activity? If they are Scouting alongside each other, then how do the Scouts deal with leadership and organization? Which troop organizes the event? Do we jointly organize the event? Who conducts the opening? Do the adults make that decision or the scouts? If the Scouts make that decision then how? The most probable model in this kind of scenario is that there are two SPLs - one for each unit. Those SPLs work as equals to organize all this. But, that model is going to invite frequent questions of who is in charge - what if the boys want a detail one way, but the girls another? It makes sense to denote one of the two SPLs as lead for that event - sure. But what if this is happening monthly or even weekly? Is every event now a negotiation to see who is in charge? To see which SPL has the stronger ability to assume control? Here the troop tried something different - they elected a joint SPL. That is an entirely reasonable idea to try based on the structure and documentation available at the time. If you read the material closely most people would certainly infer that this wasn't intended. But this group arrived at a different decision - and it's been working. Call it a mistake or accident - but it's working and succeeding. Yeah - maybe it's not the perfect Scouting structure for how the BSA views the structure working - but I don't see the need to tell them this needs to stop. Sometimes the need of the unit outweigh the rules and regulations.
  4. I'm not at all convinced that this isn't exactly how the linked troop program was intended to run. In the 03.5.18 FAQ they clearly say that a combined meeting space is OK, a combined opening and closing is OK, and the joint activities are OK. So, someone, somewhere clearly was thinking there would be some overlap. But again, even if I'm wrong - so what? I think we're taking this all too rigidly. I think we need to lighten up on this one. I don't see a grave harm to these kids because the share an SPL across the two linked troops. Much of the rest of the world has co-ed Scouting. I'm all for American exceptionalism, but I'm willing to concede that other countries probably know how to run a Troop too. So again, there is ambiguity on this topic in the source materials and this works in much of the world today. I think we do more harm to the future successes of program by trying to prevent innovation like this.
  5. Thanks. Upon further reading of the doc "UPDATED-Family-Scouting-FAQ-2-11-191.pdf", I do detect a theme of separation between the boy troop and girl troop. I believe the third doc (FAQ 3-5-18) is an earlier version of the second doc (FAQ 2-11-19). None of these first two docs either directly or indirectly even mention how youth in the girl troops and boy troops should interact. I do think it's reasonable to infer that the BSA really does intend for these to be seperate troops. Yet, I find it odd that the earlier version of the FAQ was trying to start addressing how the two troops interact, but the newer version does not. Generally that only happens if an organization wants to remain purposefully vague on the subject. I have no idea here what their motivation was - but do think it's entirely possible that the BSA was trying to leave room for troops make independent decisions like this one. I'd pose one last question. Does all this really matter? At what point does all the rules and debate and structure get in the way of good programming and growing Scouting? For the sake of argument let's stipulate that this is not technically allowed. If this unit is active, successful, and growing, where do we take a step back and say - nice innovation?
  6. Someone needs to show me some documentation that says a linked troop cannot operate in this manner. I sure have not seen any yet. From everything I've seen this troop is acting within the rules. Who says that two troops cannot work together and share a common SPL? This is especially true of liked troops where there are very likely to be a number of joint activities. Linked troops are a new invention of the BSA in light of situations just like this. I find it remarkably telling that the BSA struck all such language restricting how linked troops operate from their latest FAQ. Given that they removed the content limiting linked troop operations, it sends a clear message that linked troops are increasingly free to operate as they best see fit for their particular scenario. If they wanted to continue to restrict how this works, the language would still be there. The language is not - which shows the BSA is not stopping cases like this.
  7. Never in the past have we had linked troops. This is new territory. I understand the arguments - boys mature differently than girls. Girls as SPL will discourage boys from running. We need to have single gender troops to make it fair and to support the development of the scouts. Personally I think this is coddling youth too much. Most Scouts who reach the SPL are impressive young adults. Some challenges like this are healthy. As a male I'm not ready to count my gender out here But, beyond that - what's the harm in a little innovation here. On top of that, this is not prohibited in the rules. We've been declining in youth for 40 years. The BSA is in bankruptcy. I'm open to a little thought out innovation.
  8. Our troop has never been a big fan of them. I proposed them a few times - but the Scouts and adults would shrug and say - no way. Despite initially proposing them to my troop - I've come around to their thinking. Truthfully, I almost never see them around even in other troops. Gotta admit - I deep down I never really got the whole necker thing. I think I thought it was a bit of an American take on Scouting that we focused less on the necker. Interesting to me now to see that we're now being influenced by what happened at the World Jamboree. That said - I'm all for a Scout wearing the necker or not. If they wear it - tie it however they want to.
  9. The only place I've ever seen rules about how linked troops operate was in the various FAQs provided by national. The current version is at: https://www.scouting.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UPDATED-Family-Scouting-FAQ-2-11-191.pdf In an earlier version of this document there were the guidelines: However, the newer version has removed all of that. My take - you are free to define linked troop how you want. If the two troops want to meet alongside each other - great. If the two troops want to share an SPL - great. If the two troops want to never meet each other - great. Your call. Given how this stuff seems to work. You'll put in a request to the national support hotline. National will refer you to the FAQ above. The FAQ above no longer has any rules in this regard that I can see. If you pursue further with national, you'll get referred to your council SE. Who knows what the SE will say... My guess is that they'll pass it to a commissioner or to a DE. My recommendation: Sounds like you've got a winning strategy for you that meets the letter of the rules. Continue to have a single SPL across both troops - regardless of gender. Have fun.
  10. Thanks for the feedback here. Much appreciated. In our case, we do collect reports ahead of time and similarly distribute those ahead of time. We then try to use the meeting to discuss issues of importance to the group. But, I struggle with what those are. Usually they end up being specific problems that the one or two people need to focus on. Those problems also could be handled outside the meeting. It's not uncommon for us to have a 60 minute or less meeting. In terms of making it useful, what kinds of district business do you discuss?
  11. Not gonna nitpick you here. I know it's frustrating when you ask one question, but get advice on something different. You approach here seems like a fair one to me. But just some food for thought... 1. Regardless the reason for circumventing the PLC - by doing so you dis-empower the PLC. What I would encourage in a similar situation is for the SM to sit with the SPL and discuss how best to make a decision in a situation like this. Then, let the SPL go off and work with the PLC to have that decision made. It's is most probably that it would end up with the PLC deciding that a whole troop meeting organized by them is the way to go. As a result you've now empowered the PLC to own this and in the process helped the PLC learn how to navigate a situation like this - an important skill. 2. Constraints are part of life. There's no reason that the PLC cannot function as intended and simply be presented with constraints. PLC - you need to pick a trip - here's the weekends that are available and the adults who can help. You decide what we do. Or, maybe they find it too limiting and decide to recruit some friends. Either way seems like a win-win to me. In this case the decision is done, so I think you move on. I just plant the suggestions for next time something like this comes up.
  12. I've been helping out a bit on our district committee. Our meetings are efficient enough - just not much happens there. We have some status updates, discuss an item or two. We resolve communication issues or discuss chronic problems. I was hoping this group might have some suggestions for making these meetings more impactful.
  13. I agree with most of this. In this instance, it is good to be level headed, calm, but prepared. If you, as a unit leader, have a question - then yes, ask the camp or program staff what the policy is. Understand your ability as a leader to obtain refunds and when you have to do that by. I do think it's very important to not assume anything here. Don't assume council insurance covers this. Never assume.
  14. Today the DE role ends up being catch-all for all kinds of tasks that are performed by a district. A DE is an advisor to the District Committee, a fundraiser, a membership organizer, a new unit organizer, a CO interface, unit service person, unit problem solver, etc... What tends to happen is that a SE or director of field service looks to a DE to "fix" all the issues in the district. In practice, this leads to expectations that a DE will do tasks not being done by or not being done well enough by volunteers. To further complicate things, there is a continuing struggle between volunteers and professionals for "who is in charge." Is the DE or the District Chair in charge of the District? Is the SE or the Council President in charge of the council? This matters for three reasons: it discourages district volunteerism - if at many turns, a professional is ready to take a task over for a volunteer, it reduces the need for volunteers to deliver. If I pro will just do it, then why does it matter if I do it? If a pro is there to constantly tell volunteers what to do, it disempowers the volunteer - why bother? confuses unit volunteers - If you're a unit volunteer with an issue - who do you turn to? A DE or a unit commissioner? If a DE is always ready to swoop in, then why even bother volunteering to be a UC or join the district committee? it's not cost effective - Paid professionals are expensive. In a modern council, you have a professional for about every 500-1000 scouts. That means the council spends $25-$50 a year per scout to fund that role. Do you really want a DE doing volunteer tasks for that? That's the crux of the problem. Having a DE run around and do tasks that should be done by volunteers doesn't let the council show value for the money families pay.
  15. Of all my complaints with the professional organization - I've got to admit that SE salary isn't one. Sure, we want to have people paid fairly. Yes, we are a non-profit. I'd just be happy with more clarity around the roles and responsibilities of professionals so we can end all the confusion about professionals trying to do volunteer roles.
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