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About Treflienne

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  1. Family Scouting Update

    Really? No pockets in the skort?! Didn't they realize that girls would want pockets, just like the boys? I hope they don't feminize other aspects of the program to "accommodate" the girls. Just last week I heard a group of 6th-8th girls complaining that it was no good that girls' pants (unlike boys' pants) don't have pockets. And really, at the cub age, the girls can wear exactly the same clothes as the boys, anyway.
  2. Adding Girls to Pack

    If I remember right, that Webelos is your daughter. What are you planning for next year? Any plans for a BSA4G girls' troop in February 2019?
  3. GS camps are owned by the council, and their amentities vary. I can speak to what I have seen in my state. Generally girl scout troops do not camp together as a troop during the summer. The council-owned Girl Scout camps are busy with council-run day-camp and over-night camp programs from the time school gets out in late June until sometime in August. During this time period troops are not permitted to reserve campsites at the girl scout camps, because they are in use by summer camp. And girls attend summer camp as individuals, not as troops. (A troop wouild be allowed to camp as a troop elsewhere during the summer, but I have never actually heard of it happening with troops around here. Generally the girls most likely to go to summer camp are the troop leaders' daughters, (not surprising, since these are the most scouting-enthusiast families). Going to summer camp gives them a chance to camp without their mother nearby.) Ammenties vary by camp. What I would call rather ordinary would be: Sleeping accomodations: Platform tents: wooden floors, canvas wall, canvas roof, no mosquito netting. Saggy metal cots with thin vinyl-covered foam mattresses. Bring your own mosquito netting for your cot. Platform tents are big. Could easily fit eight+ sleeping bags in there, but for summer camp will tend to have 4-6 girls per tent. Each unit also has a fire circle, and some kind of "unit shelter" (roof, no walls) where girls can gather for activities on rainy days without getting soaked. Latrines (dignified with the name "composting toilet") Waterfront: a swimming area and canoes on a lake. Kayaks for the camp staff to use when supervising the girls. Dining hall for most meals. Archery area. Arts-n-crafts cabin. One of the councils in my state has fancied up its camps. One camp has horseback riding. One camp has sailing. One camp has a high-ropes course. Some fancier sleeping accomodations than platform tents. At the same time, they are closing smaller camps used just for day camp or troop camping. At this council's camps, it appears that flush toilets outnumber latrines. As far as shooting activities, one of the councils say in its policies: "The use and/or possession of any firearms and weapons on [council name's] properties are strictly prohibited except by law enforcement officers." I think some other councils may permit riflery. If you want to get to know the local camps better, check and see if the camp hosts an open house sometime in the spring. Also look to see if the council sponsors a Mommy-and-Me or Daddy-and-me camping overnight. (These won't be the actual names, they don't want to exclude girls attending with grandparents, or other relatives, in lieu of parents.) I enjoyed going to these. It was like going back to summer camp for a night. I also got to scope out the camp to size it up for taking a troop there during the school year, and I got aquainted with the camp director. Don't forget to check out the camps of nearby councils. For us the closest Girl Scout camp is out-of-council, but is only 15 minutes drive from our house. The in-council camps are much further away.
  4. Is BSA Sustainable?

    I think GSUSA is dying as a scouting organization -- or rather living on as a completely different kind of program for kids. Instead of girls who are old-enough to do so, growing through the game of scouting, what I am seeing being promoted instead is a light-weight feel-good program for little girls: do crafts once a month, sell cookies, and call yourself a Girl Scout. It makes me sad. I've been a GSUSA member for decades. I am really quite appreciative that BSA will be opening up to girls, offering girls a chance at a more traditional scouting program. Don't know whether it will appeal to many girls, but I think it will benefit the girls who do join.
  5. Is BSA Sustainable?

    GSUSA has this problem. They recruit kindergarteners into Daisies. And these kindergarteners really cannot do much yet. By the time the girls are old enough to use knives and light fires, their families have become accustomed to Girl Scouts as a once-a-month light-and-fluffy not-much-asked-of-kid-or-family activity. When my daugher hit second grade (start of Brownies) I signed up for my GSUSA council's "troop camp training" which is a prerequisite to building fires with your troop or taking kids camping. I also invited the other moms in the troop to take the training along with me, if they were interested. It turns out I scared the parents, who didn't want to see the troop camping, and they gave this feedback to the other leader, not me.
  6. Family Scouting Update

    I heard it as "Jaffle Iron" -- but I haven't heard the term for decades, brings back memories. The friend who introduced me to a jaffle iron was an Australian girl, in Japan, a scout in my troop, which was registered with GSUSA TOFS but had British leaders. The cultural exchange part of scouting is something I highly value.
  7. Family Scouting Update

    I've been gradually working my way through the training videos on my.scouting.org, in particular the SM/ASM series. I must say that I am impressed. They are helping me understand how, in theory, the roles fit together in an idealized troop. I found the GSUSA leader training (which is all council-specific) singularly unhelpful. As a troop leader, mostly I had to rely on memories of my childhood troops, and my collection of old Girl Scout handbooks, supplemented with what I could turn up with the help of google. The one training I did find helpful was my council's "Tent Camp Training" - not becuase of the camping aspect, but because of the opportunity to spend 24 hours interacting with the experienced old leaders who were leading the training.
  8. Family Scouting Update

    This is a huge problem in my service unit for the Daisy/Brownie/Junior (K-5) troops. And it is a change from the era of my childhood. Back the in the 1960s/1970s (when my mother was a leader and my sisters and then I were scouts) many mothers were SAHMs. In my experience, the scouts met weekly in large multi-grade groups immediately after school, when both girls and moms were available. Everyone was home from the meeting in time for dinner to be on the table when dad got home. Girl Scouts was definitely not family-focussed, but (apart from camping weekends and extended field trips) it did not cut into the limited "family time" in the evenings and weekends when all family memebers were home. Multi-grade troops allowed the younger girls to learn from the older girls and the new assistant leaders to learn from the more experienced leaders. Large troops allowed the patrol system to work in some fashion. (At the elementary grades, more like Brownie Sixes than like the BSA boy scout patrols.) Siblings could go to a neighbor's house after school if they were not involved in the scout meeting. Today, if one could find willing available volunteers, there would be nothing forbidding GSUSA troops from still being organized this way. But society has changed, and the Girl Scouts have not coped with that change at all. Moms have joined the workforce, schools are not requiring the same type of best-behaviour in groups as formerly, and the Girl Scouts have not yet adapted to these changes. Now, many women are now employed full time. The leaders have limited time for volunteering after their job and home responsibilities, so troops typically meet only 1x/month, evenings or weekends. Moreover, the Girl Scouts (at least our council) strongly discourage tag-alongs at meetings and especially on outings, so one needs to make arrangments for one's other kids. The K-5 troops are also quite small and isolated. It is a rare troop that has more than a dozen girls. The leaders find large troops difficult to manage. I suspect that it is because school discipline is much laxer than in the past, and the girls have never learned how to be well behaved and considerate in a group setting. The smaller the troop, the fewer "problem" girls disrupting the meetings at the slightest whiff of boredom. But in order to be small, these are therefore single-grade troops. They form up in kindergarten, with two moms recruited to be leaders (who may themselves have had no previous experience of girl scouting.) They continue along till about 4rth or 5th or maybe 6th grade, gradually dwindling in size each year, and then finally disband. (A very few troops survive into middle school or high school.) And since the troops have no institutional knowledge, then what the girls and leaders choose to do is not particularly scout-like. Hello trips to see the local ballet performance. Goodbye pocket knives and campfires and overseas Brownie/Guide penpals. So, how can the Girl Scouts solve these problems? I'm not sure that they ever will, since many don't see that there is a problem at all. Many families seem to be happy with Girl Scouts as a "light and fluffy" feel-good once-a-month social activity that their girls do with other girls they know from school. It seems to me that the Cub Scout "Family Scouting" model is an attempt by BSA to deal with these sorts of societal changes. If there is something for everyone in the family at the same time and the same place, then scouting can become a family activity: Mom & Dad as den leaders and K-5 children as cubs. Or Dad as den leader, older kid as a cub, and younger kid (supervised by mom) as a tag-along. Or a scout-age sibling recruited to be a den chief. If scouting is a family activity it will feel that scouting is part of family time, rather than cutting into limited family time. If the kids don't behave well in large groups, then divide them into small dens, but still have the whole pack do some things together so that the kids feel that they are part of a larger whole. Will it work for the cub scouts? We are still waiting to see. I've certainly seen this "family" model work well in a church setting: everybody goes to church on Friday nights: younger kids in AWANA, older kids in the youth group, parents either helping out with the kids or else in an adults' bible study.
  9. Family Scouting Update

    There is a difference. In BSA camping is required for rank advancement. In GSUSA camping is completely optional - a girl could earn Gold Award never having camped a day in her life. I've been looking at some of the BSA training videos on my.scouting.org. According to these videos, the scoutmaster and troop committee are supposed to ensure that there is an outdoor program. In GSUSA, leaders are not exhorted to make sure that the troop has an outdoor program. I would expect that a girl who did not like camping would, after looking at the BSA rank advancement requirements, decide that she did not belong in BSA4G.
  10. Family Scouting Update

    The WAGGGS symbol is a trefoil, not a fleur-de-lis. Worn by Girl Scouts and Girl Guides all over the world, who are WAGGGS members. https://www.wagggs.org/en/about-us/who-we-are/symbols-movement/
  11. Family Scouting Update

    I don't think that there would be enough interested girls for all the current troops to go coed, even if they wanted to. I know one girl who is gung-ho about joining BSA in 2019: my daughter. Problem is I know only one girl: my daughter. Seems like it will need a minimum of 5-10 girls for a viable patrol or "linked" troop. None of her female schoolmates are interested. The girls in her GSUSA troop (grades 6-12) don't seem very enthusiastic about camping. About a month ago I talked with the scoutmasters of the three boy scout troops in our town -- to see if they were aware of any girls eager to join boy scouts, and to sound them out on their attitudes to girls in BSA. While they were generally positive about girls in BSA, they had not heard of any other interested girls. So it seems to me that if we do find enough interested girls in our town, then they had better all join the same BSA4G troop, which means that at most one of the troops in town will have a linked girls troop, leaving the remaining troops strictly single-sex-boy. That would not be bad. The boys (or families) wanting a boys-only enviroment would have it available, even while girls are able to start benefitting from the BSA program. Meanwhile I am trying to learn about the BSA (never been involved before) so that I will be available to volunteer in some capacity if needed. The training videos on my.scouting.org have been helpful there, as has been reading y'all's discussions on various BSA related subjects.
  12. Linked Troops - What are these?

    Because 11-14 girls and 11-14 boys naturally separate and don't want anything to do with each other. Even at church we have coed elementary school stuff, coed high school stuff, and separate boys and girls groups for the 6th-8th grades. Also, in a coed environment tasks can easily divide along gender roles, depriving the kids of a chance to learn valuable skills more commonly associated with the other gender. The linked-troop option seems very nice in reducing the overhead involved in getting a new troop off the ground, and in providing institutional know-how. But I can see families of girls (like mine) as well as families of boys wanting to keeping kids' experience single-sex.
  13. Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    From my point of view as a parent of a girl, the ideal would be for my daughter to join a well-established, long-running, girls-only troop which has long experience using the BSA program. Unfortunately such troops do not exist now, and will not exist in 2019, though they might possibly exist in ten years' time. For I do see benefits to a single-sex enviroment, for both the boys and the girls, especially for the middle school grades, and especially for kids who attend coed schools. But a well-functioning coed group might be better than a poorly-functioning single-sex group. So that raises the question: how to implement the BSA4G program for girls, so that they have a better experience than they do now, and so that it does not mess things up for the boys? Is it better to start with a small, just-getting-off-the-ground girls-only troop, hoping to eventually build it up? (As a prospective future volunteer, that seems daunting.) Or is it better to start with what is functionally a girls' patrol in an existing troop? And if so, how do to it in such a way so that the current boy scouts and scoutmasters are happy with the situation? I would appreciate any comments you have on what plans are being discussed in your local areas, and whether you think they are good or bad plans, and why.
  14. Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    I was sorry to hear about Tampa Turtle's experience. I would have expected better behaviour. Even though GSUSA dropped "courteous" from the Girl Scout Law when it was revised in 1972.
  15. Buzzfeed - CSE Surbaugh - Girls - Scouter.com

    Local units are the face of Scouting and the boots on the ground to make any program work. But local units can do only so much to rescue National from their own bumbling mistakes (then and now). Same issue in GSUSA. There are some GSUSA folks who think that the GSUSA national organization has long made too many poor decisions about program materials and program direction. Now that another choice (BSA) is becoming available, some of these folk may turn up in BSA as refugees of a sort. I have no idea how many. My pet theory is that part of the problem for GSUSA is that GSUSA national headquarters is located in New York City. (Not a good spot for outdoors-loving people.) At least BSA headquarters is in Texas, not in the middle of New York City.