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Posts posted by Treflienne

  1. 17 hours ago, 69RoadRunner said:

    The GSUSA has service units that seem to take on the role of the CO. This is one part of GSUSA that I like better than BSA.

    A good service unit, if you have one, is valuable.   The service unit is simply the troop leaders and other registered adult volunteers in a given geographical area (such as a town or school district).   If the older girls' troops have experienced energetic troop leaders they can do a lot to help the younger troops and newer leaders.   But if the leaders of the older troops are fully busy with their own troops,  they might not have time or energy for helping out the younger troops.   

    Occasionally our service unit has organized a service-unit-wide encampment or Thinking Day observance  -- but some years it has done neither.

    The more I learn about BSA it seems to me that the single-grade small girl scout troops are to the service unit a little like dens are to the pack.



  2. On 12/19/2018 at 4:21 PM, carebear3895 said:

    Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe this is how GSUSA operates its units


    On 12/19/2018 at 4:37 PM, ParkMan said:

    I wonder how that would work in practice.  How do you find meeting space, etc?

    The GSUSA troop leader is responsible for finding a meeting space for her troop.   It should be handicapped-accessible.  It should preferably be in some kind of a public building (church, school, business, not a private home).  And it should not cost anything to meet there.   

    If you are lucky a sympathetic school or church will let you meet.    Other troops end up meeting in the leaders homes (though this is discouraged) which of course serves to limit the troop size.

  3. On 10/9/2018 at 4:59 PM, Eagledad said:

    Focus on the first meeting, the first month and the first camp out. Everything will seem clearer after that.


    On 10/9/2018 at 4:59 PM, Eagledad said:

    Spend the next 2 or 3 meetings getting ready for the camp out; packing, food, clothing. Don't worry about advancement skills, they will come in time. Learn how to set up and break camp. Learn how to light a stove and set up washing tubs for KP. 

    I like your plan.  I think it looks like a great plan.  But . . . I'm concerned about the season of the year.  Our new troop will be starting beginning of February.   Late February and early March we still ususally have snow on the ground.   I think that some of the prospective new scouts have little or no camping experience.    I want the first weekend outing to be a positive experience for all.  We will not have a lot of scouts to start with.  I don't want to lose any after the first camping trip if the camping trip is something they are not yet ready for. )   

    Anybody have good suggestions for a good type of first weekend or overnight trip for winter for a new or inexperienced troop not yet ready for camping in the snow?  Cabin with a wood stove,  but cook over a fire outdoors and do day hikes in the snow?  Other ideas?

  4. On 10/9/2018 at 12:20 PM, walk in the woods said:

    Take this for what it's worth, I restarted a troop with 6 boys.  It was winter so I spent the first month or two working with the boys on simple scout skills, setting up tents, setting up tents in the dark, setting up the kitchen (we mostly plop camped at that point), hooking up the stove, cooking, fire starting, woods tools, shopping lists, menu planning, etc.  Plus a lot of team building games and working on patrol identify.  It was adult directed at the beginning but started to work towards the boys working on their own.  It was imperfect but what we had access to use.  Certainly it helped us get ready for that first camping trip and for our first summer camp.

    Winter?  What climate?  Did you take a bunch of new scouts winter camping within the first month or so of the troop restarting?

  5. 1 hour ago, ValleyBoy said:

    She has been told that in our Troop we will salute the flag while saying  the Pledge of Allegiance,  This is one point in the scouting program that we will not change as a unit.  Also as adult leaders of the unit we have informed the unit committee that as leaders of the unit  we will hold this youth to the same requirements for advancement  as the other scouts when it comes to the subject  of the Pledge of Allegiance and any Flag ceremony that the Troop takes part in.

    How do you handle the case of boys that are not U.S. citizens?    Hardly seems appropiate to compel them to pledge allegience to the U.S.  

    (The scout oath in BSA is no problem since the wording is "my country".   I found @Cambridgeskip's link interesting about the alternative Scout Promise in the UK for kids who are not British subjects are don't have a duty to the Queen)

  6. 59 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

    I'd suggest avoiding a shared committee. 

    I'd love to have a thriving all girls troop.  Several patrols.  Scouts ranging from new cross-overs up to experience eagle scouts.   Plenty of experience adults (SM/ASM/committee) able to provide the support the girls need to do what they want to do. 

    But the reality is:  We have no older experienced girls.  (Girl eagle scouts don't even exist yet.)  Of the three parents who have volunteered (without being pressed) to step up:  None has been a SM,  none has been an ASM, and none has been on a troop commitee.   I went and did the online SM training and I went to IOLS.   It's looking like I may be scoutmaster.   If so, I will need all the help I can get. 

    1 hour ago, dkurtenbach said:

    A shared committee with the majority of the committee members from the boys troop is quite naturally going to be trying to fit the girls troop into the boys troop way of doing things. If you're looking more at being a "cousin" troop than a "sister" troop, find a boys troop where the adults will be happy to help you get on your feet, consult, train, share equipment, etc.  At the same time, find a chartered organization that will support you in the way you'd like (it may or may not be the same CO as the friendly boys troop).  But be a separate troop with your own committee.  That will give you the freedom to shape the relationships you want. 

    That sounds great.   Except we are so inexperienced that "trying to fit the girls troop into the boys troop way of doing things" may actually in the near term work better than trying to figure it out on our own.

    The good side is that the several boys troops are encouraging the girls to visit all the troops,  see what they like,  and then collectively pick which troop to link with.   So the girls may get to pick between several different boys-troops-ways-of-doing-things.

  7. On 12/12/2018 at 1:06 PM, T2Eagle said:

    My model for linked would be linked infrastructure: CO, committee, equipment, and fundraising; and separate activities: meetings, PLCs, campouts.


    On 12/12/2018 at 6:28 PM, MattR said:

    Separate PLC,

    So it seems that at first the girls troop will be a single patrol.   So it seems to me the girls troop, on its own, will initially need a PL and APL, but will be too small to need a SPL or PLC.  (I admit to being influenced by this post:  https://www.scouter.com/topic/27493-pl-spl-for-small-troop/?tab=comments#comment-422519 and other posts in that thread.)

    For the sake of communication between the girls and boys troops, and for planning on whether (or not) to do any joint activities or meetings,   I could see the girl PL attending the boys PLC as an observer (rather than a voting member)  to be able to give input to the boys on whether the girls might want to participate (if invited) in trips the boys are planning,  and carry info back to girls troop (the single-patrol troop) about possible opportunities to do things jointly.   The girls as a patrol (a single-patrol troop) would also plan on their own activities that they wanted to do by themselves.   And if they were to plan something to which they wished to invite the boys, that could be communicated at the boys PLC meeting by the girl observer. 

    And some year,  once the girls reach three patrols,  they would be ready to have their own PLC.

    Or is this all nonsense?   I have no experience, and am trying to imagine how things might work.

    What think y'all?



  8. On 12/12/2018 at 6:28 PM, MattR said:

    the current thinking is essentially EDGE for the parents and the scouts. A temp SM/ASM's with an expiration date while the moms get up to speed and take over. We'll teach them our program.

    Sounds like a great idea.   I wonder if having an "expiration date" would make it easier to persuade an experienced former ASM/SM to help out directly with the girls troop,  even without having a daughter in the troop.  (I don't know of any parents of the girls who already have had ASM/SM experience.)

  9. 16 hours ago, qwazse said:

    Do any of the troops have boys who are already acquainted with the girls? Especially siblings? A selling point of this excersize was to reduce the disjointed schedules of post-modern nomadic families.

    If only it were so simple.  For each of the several boys troops, one or two girls have a family connection with that troop.    (And all the troops are in the same school district which has only one jr high school and only one high school,  so there are the oppotunities for friendships to overlap between scouts and school with all the troops.)

  10. 49 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Irony is that the two ladies who names keep popping up as potential female Scouters for the all girls troop all believe that going coed is a mistake on the BSA's part, and that GSUSA should have improved their program to meet the needs of the girls.

    GSUSA seems to believe that it has improved its program (by making camping merely peripheral to the program) to meet the needs of the girls (the large number of girls that don't want to camp).    After all, even in BSA, the outdoor program is only a method, not an aim.   It seems that GSUSA thinks that other methods work better for most girls most of the time.

    It is great that the (probably minority) of girls who don't view GSUSA's improvements as improvement now have a second option of scouting organization.

  11. 42 minutes ago, cocomax said:

    My daughter seems to be the only one interested in doing outdoor scouting stuff.

    My daughter also had that situation in two of the GSUSA troops she was in over the years.

    43 minutes ago, cocomax said:

    Maybe GSUSA is delivering exactly the program that most girls and moms want.

    I think so,  at least for Daisies, Brownies, Juniors.    In our area, very very few girls continue past Juniors (5th grade.)

    43 minutes ago, cocomax said:

    If you took all the girls and moms from our GSUSA troop and put them in a BSA troop, they are all still the same people, they will not magically grow a love of camping and hiking.

    But that is not what is happening.  None of the other girls from daughter's GSUSA troop are planning to join BSA.   I think that at least half of the interested girls in our prospective girls troops were never in GSUSA.  I think that only a few currently are in GSUSA.

    48 minutes ago, cocomax said:

    I think the greatest road block to girl BSA troops going camping or hiking will be the YPT rules, we will just will not be able to field the adults needed to get the job done.

    We have yet to see.   Under BSA rules all but one of the adults can be men.   And it being BSA maybe the dads will feel welcome (unlike sometimes happens in GSUSA).  So a bunch of enthusiastic dads just need to find a couple of moms/much-older-sisters/older-girl-cousins of the girls who want to take turns going along on the outings.

    • Like 1

  12. 46 minutes ago, malraux said:

    I guess the question is if you are a linked troop, exactly how are you linked? Sharing of committee, space, equipment, joint activities, etc are all possible. But that does also mean giving up some of your own self determination as well.

    That is the other important question.   I would much appreciate any advice on what you think would work well and what would not work well.

    I've been talking with scoutmasters/committee-chairs of these troops (several different troops), asking each about what he thought the linkage would look like in practise if our newly forming girls troop were to link with his troop.   I've gotten some ideas from each troop, but they don't yet have a fully formed idea of what they would like, just as I don't yet know what the girls troop would like.

    One consistent idea is that they think that the girls troop and the boys troop should have joint PLC meetings.  Essentially the girls troop will be the size of a single patrol.   Planning would be done together, with the boys and girls deciding which outings/activities would be done together, and which would be done separately.  Their idea would be to aspire to progressive indepedence in future years as the girls troop increased in size and experience.  

    The smallest troop's scoutmaster seems to vision an almost completely integrated troop, at least for the first years.  Joint committee, joint fundraisers,  joint PLC.   Girls would use equipment belonging to the existing troop, at least until they get equipment they like of their own. PLC would determine how many of the meetings/outings are joint and how many separate, but scoutmaster thinks that mostly joint stuff would be good.  You are right, there would be less self-determination.  But that troop is small enough that the girls would be a sizeable enough proportion (1/4 to begin with?) to have a decent amount of say.   This is the troop in which the PLC seemed quite happy with the idea.

    The largest, very well resourced, troop pictures it as the girls having separate meetings (same building, same time, different room).  Some shared outings.  They have lots of equipment and no problem if the girls use it. Committee members are generously offering to help with the new girls troop paperwork, since they are experienced at doing it. With this troop, I don't think that the girls troop would have very much influence on the boys troop at all (due to the size difference).  But there would be a lot of opportunities the girls could choose to participate in (or choose not to participate in.)

    By the way, any of these troops would be willing to lend the girls equipment, even if the girls are a completely independent troop.

    Reactions?   What sounds good?  What sounds bad?  What do you think are best practises for linking trops?   None of this is set in stone yet. 

    50 minutes ago, malraux said:

    But that does also mean giving up some of your own self determination as well.

    I realize that.  But "give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself".   I think that given the inexperience of the girls and the adults, that giving up some self-determination might worthwhile for the advice, mentoring, and support.    But don't want to give up too much self-determination.

    • Like 1

  13. 1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

    Are the boys in these troops truly for it, or is it adults saying OK with being linked?

    One of the troops I think yes --  or at least the PLC is.

    The other troops -- I need to find that out.   Thanks for the helpful reminder that I should verify that the boys (and not just the adults) are for it.

  14. For a new girls troop it seems obviously better to link to a friendly local boys troop than to try to go it alone as an completely independent troop with a separate troop committee.   


    Girls: Probably 6 or 7 girls.  Young and inexperienced. Ages 6th-8th grades.  Most scouting experience among the girls:  one did everything her brothers cub scout pack did, one did some camping with girl scouts as a Brownie/Junior/Cadette.  A good bit of enthusiasm.

    Adults: One (me) with GSUSA experience and absolutely no BSA experience.  One (an eagle scout) with extensive experience in a cub scout pack.  One with no experience but willing to be a committee member.   We have yet to press the other parents to find out what they would be willing to step up to do if nudged to do so.

    Several local boy scout troops all are pleased to see a new girls troop starting.  All have offered to link to the new troop. Their CO's also are okay with the idea.

    Seems obvious to me that the girls should go with one of these offers and not go it alone.   

    Anyone care to give contrary advice?  Would anyone rationally go it alone instead of linking?  Why?

  15. 6 minutes ago, qwazse said:

    That is, it's entirely possible that, with the same words, someone is thinking of something different than you.

    I have thought that this is how graces at scout camp (at least way back when girl scout camp sang grace) functioned.   While singing the rather generic words, the scouts could direct their prayer to God the best way they understood, and that understanding would be different for the different scouts.  In other words,  to sing a grace was to make a time and space for scouts to pray with their own meaning in their own minds.

  16. 9 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

    Not sure how all these new families that are flooding in will react when the kiddos can't be in the same troop,

    Convenience of scheduling both sons and daughters is an issue for some local families.  We are talking about the linked boys and girls troops meeting at the same time in different rooms of a local church.   Easier on families' schedules.  Easier to borrow ASMs back and forth.   As the new girls troop gets started, might want to borrow some of the higher ranked boys as skills teachers on occasion.  Some joint outings as well as separate outings.   We are still trying to figure it all out.     The current boy scouts (youth) opinion matters.

    As far as scouts with younger siblings.   Same as now that just means only one parent is available to camp with the troop as at ASM on any given outing, so that the other parent is available to stay home with the younger kids. 

  17. Years back, one of the graces that Girl Scouts used (back when they sang grace at camp) went

    Neath these tall green trees we stand, asking blessings from thy hand.  Thanks we give to thee above, for thy gifts: health, strength, and love.

    This made an attempt to neatly sidestep the issue of the proper name/title for God. But it did make the assumptions that  God could be addressed with the familiar "thee", that it was proper to ask blessings from God and to give thanks to God, and that God was the source of good gifts to people.

    I went to a camp training once, led by a 70-year-old girl scout trainer, who rather defensively made the case that singing grace was still appropriate -- but it was clear that that was her personal addition to the training session, not sanctioned by the council sponsoring the training.    So I am quite curious about Boy Scout practises in this matter.

    By the way,  in answer to the original poster's question,  I have heard protestant (baptist, nondenominational, independent bible) christians use the word Lord without a lot of specificity to mean either 1) God the Father or 2) God the Son or 3) God the Trinity.   I have not generally heard it use to refer specifically the third person of the Trinity.

  18. Who can create new Forums or subforums?   Besides topics in "Faith and Chaplaincy",  we are also seeing more topics suitable for the also-yet-to-be-created "Starting a new Scouts BSA girls' troop - practical how-to's" forum or subforum.

    I'd also be interested in a "Faith and Chaplaincy" forum.   That aspect of BSA is currently absent from that other scouting organization in which I have spent a lot of years.  I'm curious about best practises and other scouters' experiences.   To what degree and how can you encourage the scouts to take their families' faiths seriously (or at least what can you do not to discourage them from taking their families' faiths seriously), without stepping over a line into promoting a specific religion.

    • Like 1

  19. 10 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

    For a typical troop it all falls on the two parents who have stepped up be leaders. 

    The other really intimidating thing about becoming a girl scout leader was realizing that I was the face of scouting to these kids.   There was no pack,  no pack meeting,  no larger group with which we met regularly.  (Maybe a service unit event a couple of time a year, which many of the girls did not attend because it was not at a convenient time for them.)  There was also no decent handbook.  (Just the Girls Guide to Girl Scouting which was rather empty of information and overpriced, and which very very few families bought.  Also the Journey books, but what they contained was not the scouting I knew.)       A very few girls did go to summer camp,  which was invaluable,  but very few girls actually went.

  20. Hi @Hawkwin

    Selective quoting there.  You missed the part where I said

    12 hours ago, Treflienne said:

    If the troop leaders have been having trouble finding additional volunteers, I could certainly see troop leaders in that situation not wanting a 13th girl unless her mom (or dad) volunteered to come on every single field trip.

    It is a different picture if the new family is willing to always have an adult available to help out.

    11 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

    When my daughter wanted to join cub scouts, the CC asked me if I wanted to lead the den.

    GSUSA troops have nothing like a committee chair or a committee to help recruit additional adult leaders or to handle paperwork.   For a typical troop it all falls on the two parents who have stepped up be leaders.     (And for a year-and-a-half I was the leader of a troop which really didn't have two leaders.   After my co-leader's job situation changed preventing her from continuing,  I relied on a rotating cast of parents who each volunteered to be the second adult at a couple of meetings. (no prep, no planning, just show up.)

  21. 1 hour ago, 69RoadRunner said:

    Yeah, it is limiting from a gear/financial standpoint, too. They seem to operate hand to mouth and the troop really doesn't own any gear.

    Typically troops start with no money,  no equipment, no meeting place, two adults who have never been scout leaders before, and a dozen kindergarten girls.  Moreover the council wants us to end the year having zeroed out the bank balance, unless the money is earmarked for a specific future need.   Leaders are supposed to find a meeting place that they can meet, for no fee, that is preferably in a public location (school, church, business, etc) and that is handicapped accessible.  (Though there is a loophole that allows troops to meet in private homes if certain conditions are met.  Some leaders meet in homes because it is much easier, but that also limits the troop size.)   As far as equipment, what I have often seen happen is that leaders buy, out of their own pocket,  stuff they need for the troop.   This is then the leader's personal equipment which she uses with any group of kids she is  involved with (church,  soccer, etc, etc,); it does not belong to the troop and the troop loses access to it if that leader leaves.

    I have to say that the approach of having a multi-year pack or troop, supported by a CO, looks appealing from the outside looking in.   



  22. 3 hours ago, SSScout said:

    The local GSTroop leader was the PTA president (!) and when we asked, she said (quote) "oh no, we have enough Girl Scouts, we don't want any more."   I thought that was bizarre,  but found out it was not so strange to hear that the GS LIMITED their membership ! 

    There are (sadly) some circumstances when that is a quite rational response, actually.  Let's say you have a Brownie troop with exactly 12 girls.  You only need two adults  for going on a field trip.  (Two adults can supervise up to 12 Brownies on an outing,  and you can fit 12 girls into two minivans.)   Add one more girl, and you will need a third adult any time you leave your regular meeting place.   If the troop leaders have been having trouble finding additional volunteers, I could certainly see troop leaders in that situation not wanting a 13th girl unless her mom (or dad) volunteered to come on every single field trip.


  23. On 12/8/2018 at 10:12 PM, hiker67 said:

    GSUSA seems to have officially distanced itself from outdoorsmanship.

    Quote: “Instead of focusing on past notions of ‘outdoorsmanship,’ ” the organization tries to help girls develop leadership skills in a way that suits them — for example learning to advocate for environmental protection, Girl Scouts Vice President Jennifer Allebach said in an email to The Washington Post. 

    That is a very telling quote.  And from a Girl Scouts Vice President.

    It matches what I have seen in the types of program materials that the GS national office has been putting out during the years my daughter has been in scouts.

    12 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

    Interesting article.  It does sound like the national level leadership has given up on "past notions of 'outdoorsmanship,'" but that the question of outdoorsmanship in Girl Scouts is still a matter of internal hand-wringing at the local level. 

    Girl Scouts is a very broad organization.   It has lots of long-term members, more or less active as volunteers,  who have strong opinions, not all the same.   Some have been tugging hard in an outdoor direction (not necessarily successfully).   Others volunteers are perfectly happy with the more modern approach the GSUSA has been taking.    

    In particular the summer camp programs,  which are run by councils (not by national), and which are completely separate from the troop program,  are a bright light within Girl Scouting for those girls who want to do things outdoors.    And girls can attend these even if they are the only girls in the troops who want to go to camp (or even if they are not a member of a troop at all.)

    Will the outdoor focussed Girl Scouts gain more traction in their attempts to influence the direction of the national organization, now that Boy Scouting is a competitor?  Or will the modernizers be happy if those old-fashioned Girl Scouts leave and join The Other Scouting Organization and stop badgering the modernizers? (It might not even affect GS adult membership numbers too much, because many of the most opinionated are likely lifetime members.)


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