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Posts posted by Treflienne

  1. 11 hours ago, Snowball said:

    I know friends are best, but any ideas on reaching girls who are not connected to scouts in any way.

    All of our girls were either friends of girls already in the group, or else were "connected to scouts" in some way.  That "some way" might be that a relative in a different state was in scouting.  Or perhaps a mother had been a Girl Guide in a different country, or been in GSUSA.  Or perhaps the father had been a Boy Scout in a different country.   Or the grandfather had been a scout.  That is,  many of these families already had a positive impression of the scout movement.    Don't assume that families need a current connection to BSA, or even that the father needs to have been in BSA, for the family to think that scouting is generally a positive activity for children.

    What such families to need is to realize that your troop (or proto-troop) exists.   Once we got a web presence we ending up collecting several girls from an adjacent school district (not in our council's borders) because they were able to find us on the web.

  2. 5 hours ago, David CO said:

    That's my point.  You looked for the kids.  It appears to me like most of the girl units are being formed because, for one reason or another, adults want to have girl units.  They then go looking for the kids. 

    I should have been clearer.   The initial drivers of the process were two girls (from different families) who wanted to be scouts.  These two girls then recruited their parents.  Then these two families (the "we") looked for more interested girls/families.  

    We had a group of almost ten girls/families before we had a C.O. picked out. 

    • Thanks 1

  3. 1 hour ago, David CO said:

    When I started my troop 40 years ago, we already had the kids

    To get our troop for girls started,  first we looked for the kids.   If there weren't enough interested girls, then there would really not have been much point in pressing on.

    Actually,  first,  my family talked to the several Boy Scout troops in our town,  inquiring about whether a girls troop was forming up - and there was not at that point.  Another family talked to a Boy Scout troop in a neighboring town.  The Boy Scout troops put the two famiilies in contact, and both families started recruiting girls.   The want-to-be-scouts talked to their friends.  The parents talked to their friends who had girls in the 4th-8th grade age range. . . .  The boy scout troops helped (at our request) by letting all their families know that a few folk wanted to get a girls' troop started - in case any scouts' sisters wanted to joing scouting.

    Only once it looked like there was going to be critical mass of girls, did things really start moving forward . . .

    But @5thGenTexan,  we are in a school district about three times the size of your town, so that helped.

  4. 3 hours ago, MattR said:

    But that.doesn't answer the question of how to get them in the door.


    2 hours ago, Snowball said:

    why should a girl or boy for that matter join Scouts BSA.


    1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

    #1 recruitment tool is the existing scouts.


    1 hour ago, fred8033 said:

    Best way to market is through your existing scouts. 


    1 hour ago, Snowball said:

    I agree 100% that Scouts are the best recruiters

    A few statistics from our female troop:

    56% of the scouts came because a friend or a sister was already in the troop (or proto-troop) and the scout invited them (or the scout's parents invited the prospective scout's parents)

    11% came because a brother or cousin in a boy's troop was enthusiastic about scouting.

    18% found us through the web (beascout or the troop's own website)

    The remaining scouts were part of the initial organizing group that started talking up the idea of a girls troop in town.

    It wasn't specific recruting materials that brought in each new scout.  It was the enthusiasm of a current scout.

    • Upvote 1

  5. Thanks @SteveMM I appreciate hearing your experience with a leadership project related to a POR.

    And @Eagledad,  thank you for overview of the development of leadership skills through using the patrol heirarchy.

    And thanks @DuctTapefor your examples of good use of leadership projects.

    I really appreciate being able to ask questions here  and learn from y'all's experience.

    It's better to ask a crazy question here, first, and get reactions from experienced people,  than to bring up the question first in the troop.


  6. As you all know,  Assistant Patrol Leader is not one of the listed positions of responsibility for the Star or Life rank requirement.   Yet an assistant patrol leader done well is a valuable position of service in the troop -- especially for a troop striving to well-utilize the patrol method and develop strong patrols.  Do any of you have experience with a scout who desired to serve as an Assistant Patrol leader doing a "scoutmaster-approved leadership project" relevant to his role as APL?  (The motivation, as I see it,  would be so that prospective APL's feel that they can serve in that position.)   Was that a positive or a negative experience for the scout and troop?

  7. 1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

    Not all units and/or councils use Scoutbook. A person could be a fully registered and valid MBC and not in Scoutbook because a) they chose not to be or b) the unit they are associated with doesn't use Scoutbook or c) their Council does not use Scoutbook as its MBC list

    That's right.  But the flip is that a person could be listed in scoutbook and not actually be a fully registered and valid MBC.   How? 

    Some council upload the council's list of merit badge counselors.  These counselor then show up in scoutbook with a blue checkmark as "Approved by NNNNNNN Council".  If the MBC has opted to be visible as a "Counselor for any Scout in the BSA" then troops from other councils can see him in scoutbook.com.

    But some councils like mine that don't upload the council's list of merit badge counselors into scoutbook.com.   To be able to connect one of our troop's scouts to one of the local MBC's using scoutbook.com,   someone needs to list that scouter as a MBC in scoutbook and upload that MBC's list of badges into scoutbook.   The key3 of a troop can do this for scouters associated with that troop;  then the MBC shows up with a green check-mark in scoutbook,  and lacking the wording "Approved by NNNNNN Council". 

    The issue is that the Key 3 of a troop could list someone as a merit badge counselor who is not actually a merit badge counselor,  and give him that green checkmark!  (How do I know this?  Someone from my troop tried it out.)   

    For us,  we rely on the pdf list supplied by the council registrar of council-approved merit badge counselors.   But we haven't dealt the issue of checking up on  out-of-council merit badge counselors yet.

    • Like 1

  8. There is a new activity log system as of,  I think, today.

    We had been using the ability in the old system to make notes about trips.  (Who slept in the cabin versus who pitched tents outside in below-freezing whether?  Who arrived late and thus did not pitch her own tent but slept in a tent her friends pitched?  etc, etc, etc)    I cannot find these notes in the new system.  Are they gone?  Are am I simply not looking in the right place.

    Paper records are looking better and better.

  9. When my scouts were picking out neckerchief colors I told them they should not pick solid red (looks like communist young pioneers)  nor solid black (Hitler Youth).   I was not really concerned about people seeing black and making a Hilter Youth connection.  (I have a troop of girls, and there does not seem to be a lot of German influence in the area in which we live.)  I was genuniely concerned about how people locally would react to girls wearing red neckerchiefs.  We have many adults in our community (including the parents of some of our scouts) who grew up in the People's Republic of China.


  10. Thank you all for helping me think this through.

    @Eagledad, you articulated one of my underlying concerns that I had not actually identified yet – I don't want this enthusiastic scout to become discouraged by being “stuck” and to lose momentum. (Thanks for clearly articulating this issue.) And I realize, that even if I were to combine these two outings and call it close-enough, I would not solve the “stuck” problem – she would very quickly bump up against the need for another troop-or-patrol tent-camping trip for first class.

    Another layer under my concern, I realized, was whether this scout was starting to count up the months left till she turns eighteen. It is not too tight a time-table, but it could be worrying to blow all one's “buffer” of time near the beginning of the process.

    So I am attempting to redirect the scout's advancement enthusiasm towards the merit badge program. There are a bunch of merit badges (including eagle-required ones) that can be done very well at home, or for which large portions can be done at home (Family Life? Personal Fitness?) For an active scout who is active in a leadership position in the troop, completing Star in four months and Life in six months should be quite doable - if the scout has already worked hard at earning merit badges while waiting to being able to do those camping trips required to complete 2nd and 1st class.

    @DuctTape,  no the scout had not asked yet, nor was she being demanding, but it was obvious the topic would come up, and I wanted to have thought through my answer in advance. Y'all's advice was helpful in the thinking process.

    @TMSM I agree with you that sleeping in a tent is really a very small part of the scout camping experience. (There is a great description by Baden-Powell in the 1929 “Scouting for Girls” that articulates the character-building (and character-testing) aspects of camping with ones fellow scouts/guides ) A “virtual” backyard camping experience, though it can be a fun light-weight activity, is simply not patrol (or troop) camping, since it does not allow for growth in “citizenship” in the same way. I attempted to explain this to the scout so that she would understand that it was reasonable not to count “virtual” backyard camping as equivalent to in-person patrol or troop camping.

    So, in short, I decided that “fudging” this requirement would be a bad idea.

    By the way, I am interpreting BSA's covid-19 FAQ as allowing “virtual” backyard camping (if well done) to count for Tenderfoot but not for 2nd Class or 1st Class. The “virtual” camping for tenderfoot does not trouble me too much – since the scout will still need two in-person camping trips for 2nd class. In other words this allowance delays but does not, ultimately, lessen the required amount of camping along the way to 1st class. So far I have no scouts in the position of asking to do count a “virtual” camping trip for Tenderfoot – they are all either far from Tenderfoot, or else have done tent camping with the troop.

    Thanks again for the advice.

  11. 14 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    no more parents as a second adult

    You can still do a parent as the second adult -- you just need to prepare in advance by proactively registering them as "reserve scouter" (which entails having them do YPT and background check).   Once they've done this,  next step is to get them to sign up as a merit badge counselor for some area in which they have skills and interest -- promising them that you will never require them to teach a merit badge class, you are merely hoping that they will be available when an eager and enthusiatic scout comes along wanting to learn about their field.

    • Upvote 1

  12. On 4/14/2020 at 4:50 PM, TMSM said:

    In my opinion campouts are not reallly about sleeping a tent,

    Hello Strangers-On-The-Internet, I'd like your opinion.

    The covid-FAQ is permitting some temporary changes to allow Scouts to complete rank requirements, despite the need for social distancing. It discuss certain specific rank requirements. Specifically concerning camping it says “Tenderfoot rank requirements: 1b - Virtual patrol or troop campouts via video conferencing will be permitted.” and “Second Class rank requirements: 1a & 1c – Virtual patrol or troop activities via video conferencing will be permitted.”

    Note that virtual camping is not listed as permitted for Second Class, which make a lot of sense, since a “virtual” back-yard campout is very very different that troop or patrol camping.

    Here is my situation:

    Scout joined in the fall. Went on one tent-camping trip. Has been on various day activities, two cabin overnights and an adirondack overnight, but the troop did not do tent-camping mid-winter. In March/April three tent-camping opportunities have been canceled due to covid, and I suspect our May and June trips will be canceled also.

    This scout has been camping out in her back yard and decided that the other scouts should do so to, so she convinced the other scouts that our troop needed a “virtual” camping trip. She took the lead in the organization and got the other scouts excited about it. Some scouts (including this one) slept in tents in their back yards. (A few scouts, such as ones in apartments, slept in tents pitched indoors). While the scouts had fun, this was very very different from a real in-person camping trip.

    This energetic scout has been enthusiastically ploughing her way through the rank requirements and has very very little left for 2nd class, mostly just one more “troop/patrol activity” “including overnight camping” “spend[ing] the night in a tent that you pitch or other structure that you help erect”

    Here is the question. Can I combine the aspects of two overnights into one and call it close enough? On the troop trip in which she slept in an adirondack the temperature was in the upper teens (Fahrenheit), all the cooking was done by patrols over campfires, and the facilities were boy-scout-camp pit privies, and (very cold) water could be fetched from a hand pump a short ways from the campsite. One scout slept in her hammock, a couple under the stars, and the rest in the open-air very cold adirondacks – simply because it was logistically simpler than borrowing enough tents for the troop. (The scouters brought personal tents.) After that trip I regretted not encouraging this scout to find a tent to use, because of the 2nd class requirement. Because apart from not pitching a tent, this trip had the other aspects of a basic troop camping trip.

    Now, on the virtual campout she has had more tent-pitching practice, and further experience of sleeping in a tent on a troop “virtual” activity. I feel that between the two overnights, she has gained the experience and shown the skills of a typical troop camping trip. Would it be reasonable to call it “good enough”? Or would that be bending the rules too much?


  13. By the way,  I found it odd that BSA (differing from Scouting for Boys) raises the hand well above shoulder high, rather than shoulder high, for the half salute.

    Also,  I found it odd that the BSA does not accompany the scout handshake with the half salute.  Scouting for Boys, page 42 says


    If a stranger makes the scout's sign to you, you should ackowledge it at once by making the sign back to him, and then shake hands with the LEFT HAND.

    These are two areas in which GSUSA is closer to Baden-Powell than is BSA.

  14. 42 minutes ago, HelpfulTracks said:

    What method of greeting and respect, that would be unique to Scouting, could we adopt to take its place?

    No need to reinvent the wheel, here.

    Quoting Scouting for Boys, by Baden-Powell (page 41)


    When a scout meets another for the first time in the day, whether he is a comrade or a stranger, he salutes with the secret sign in the half salute.

    And what is this secret sign and half salute?  From page 40


    . . . the scout will stand, holding his right hand raised level with his shoulder, palm to the front, thumb resting on the nail of the little finger, and the other three fingers upright, pointing upwards: -- This is the scout's salute and secret sign.  When the hand is raised shoulder high is is called the "Half Salute."  When raised to the forehead it is the "Full Salute."


    • Upvote 4

  15. 1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    I was thinking about that for my orienteering club. Instead of punching in. Take a selfie of yourself with the control.

    The New England Orienteering Club is doing something like this.  "Stay tuned . . . as we work with land managers and club volunteers to implement a number of bring-your-own-map events. Participants will be able to navigate around a course on their own time to minimize interactions."    https://newenglandorienteering.org/news/1082-orienteering-during-the-covid-19-outbreak

  16. 54 minutes ago, swilliams said:

    son also started an online merit badge class with Central Florida Council...


    54 minutes ago, swilliams said:

    I don't see this being any kind of long-term solution.  Or even more than a one week novelty.  Online classes and meetings, imho, are not going to be enough to keep scouts scouting

    Thanks for your description of how the online class format worked.

    My council is also pushing online merit badge classes, and I am a little skeptical.

    On the other hand,  my daughter started a new merit badge.  Spent an hour conversing one-on-one by phone with the merit badge counselor who is an older adult who lives in our neighborhood.   It looks like it is going to be a really good experience. (Because of YPT she put the phone of speaker phone,  so I could listen in.)   Of course there are a couple of steps that she won't be able to finish until the quarantine is over,  but a great deal of the work on this badge can be done at home.  

    Rather that push for online mert badge classes,  I am trying (with not a lot of success) to have self-motivated scouts take initiative and work rather independently on merit badges.

    • Upvote 2

  17. 6 hours ago, 69RoadRunner said:

    I have no thoughts of having meetings anytime soon.  I was hoping to not YET give up on this scout year.

    Looking on the bright side of things,  I am trying to encourage my scouts to take initiative on merit badge work,  and find things they are interested in doing rather independently while at home.   Maybe we can get away from a "merit badge class" mindset - which is unfortunately the mindset of the boys' troop to which we are linked.   Even if a scout cannot complete all the steps of a particular merit badge class, there are a lot of steps of a lot of badges that can be done quite well at home, and there is a lot of "discuss" interaction with a merit badge counselor that can be done by  telephone (or by whatever one's preferred electronic communication system is).

    • Upvote 3

  18. 12 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

    During the PLC, they do a good job of discussing joint events together, but if it only involves the girls troop, the boys will give input, but will not be able to vote.  If it only involves the boys troop, the girls can give input, but cannot vote (same goes with OA elections as the girls cannot vote in the boys OA elections as they are not members of that troop and vice versa).    

    That sounds like our joint committee meetings for our linked troops  (some committee members are on just one committee,  some are on the other committee, and some are on both).  There has been good and bad:  good the girl's troop committee members can learn from the boys troop, and the boys troop commiteee members can hear what the girls troop is doing.  Bad:  the committee meetings are taking way way too long, and I feel like some of the girls troop issues are getting squeezed out.    

    Fortuntaley for us the girls troop PLC and the boys troop PLC meet separately, and can plan their own things,  and the smaller troop's concerns do not get squeezed out in that setting.

    16 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

    If we had more girls, we wouldn't do the linked troops model and, eventually, that is what we are hoping for.

    You can go ahead and start with separate PLC meetings now  (or at the time of the next election.)    You can do this,  even if the girls troop is a single patrol.  PLC meeting is PL, APL,  any of the other POR deemed necessary, and any scout in that tiny troop who wants to get involved in the planning.

    • Upvote 1

  19. 18 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

    We never had an issue for the past year when there was a boy SPL running the troop

    My understanding is that the big concern is that boy troop and the girl troop are each to have its own leadership structure.   Because girls and boys don't mature in the same ways at the same rate.

    With one girl patrol, the girl troop (which was a single patrol)  did not need an SPL.  With three boy patrols, the boy troop needed an SPL.   But now you have it backwards.  

    4 hours ago, atrox79 said:

    we had a girl run for SPL and she won.  Actually, none of the boys wanted to run against her because she is that respected in the Troop

    That is precisely the problem.   The boys are missing out on an opportunity here.

    • Upvote 1

  20. 8 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

    If Venturing -- fully co-ed, uniforms optional, no patrols, no ranks, awards optional -- is a program that has real value and is a great alternative to ScoutsBSA, why not make it available to younger boys and girls, as an alternative to ScoutsBSA starting right after Cub Scouts?  Have an age-appropriate Junior Venturing program that takes the youth through 8th grade, then they graduate into the high school-and-beyond Venturing program. By stripping away many of the complicated features of ScoutsBSA, Venturing gets down to the essence of Scouting:  planning and doing things that require learning skills, and growing through failure and success. As @desertrat77 stated, "Simple and complex at the same time.   When it works, it is scouting at its very best." 

    Sometimes the additional structure can be helpful to those who are inexperienced.   That is why I prefer the ScoutsBSA program to a hypothetical "Junior Venturing" program.


  21. 3 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

    Any need for Venturing?  Is there anything in the Venturing program not already available in ScoutsBSA?

    I am more familiar with Scouts than Venturing, but I think these are some differences:

    Scouts BSA:  single gender troops.     Venturing:  Coed

    Scouts BSA:  wears uniforms.                Venturing:  uniform is optional

    Scouts BSA:   patrol method including patrol names,  flags,  yells         Venturing:   doesn't have this

    Scouts BSA:  very structure rank advancment program                Venturing:   advancment seems not to be a big deal

    If you have a scout who (a) wants to be in a fully coed group (b) despises the unifrom  (c) cannot stand rah rah of patrol spirit items  and (d) would rather be able to ignore the old-fashioned stuff in the rank advancment program  ---  then maybe that scout would be a happier fit as a Venturer.     Especially if said scout loves backpacking, canoeing, etc, etc.

  22. Thank you very much.   Your replies have been helpful.

    My troop botched the card for one of our Tenderfeet, and it was not noticed until very shortly before time to hand the scout the card and patch.   I think I will ask the scout whether she wants a correct card to save, or whether she does not care.

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