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Posts posted by Treflienne


    2 hours ago, mrkstvns said:

    So, if a group is "good" for helping youth develop their own leadership dynamics via "the patrol method", why are groups of friends viewed as a "bad thing" in other contexts?

    There was a story today on NPR about a school that is battling "cliques".  That made me wonder how those "groups of friends" differed from the "groups of friends" we promote in scouting...

    I think that one big difference is the attitude towards newcomers or outsiders.   The term "clique" is often used of groups that exclude or heap scorn on outsiders or on those who do not measure up to their standards.  (For girls it might be:  not stylish enough,  not thin enough, not rich enough, haven't lived in town long enough . . .)

    A group of close friends who is friendly and welcoming to newcomers would not merit the derrogatory term "clique".    For a patrols,  the practical question is how well do they treat new patrol members.  Are the scouts truly being "A friend to all, and a brother to every other scout"?   (Or "sibling", if the girls prefer that terminology.)


  2. 1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

    cutting raw chicken

    Yup.  It's that raw chicken that I am concerned about.   Even if you keep the raw chicken well isolated during food prep, you still have raw chicken on the cutting board and the knife.   That meal, when you wash dishes, you make sure you wash the chicken-contaminated stuff last,  so that no one's personal dishes are contaminated with raw chicken.   But by the end of the dishwashing, all the dishpans are contaminated with salmonella (if you ignore the sanitizing rinse.)  So after meal #2, when you wash dishes, all the scouts personal dishes become contaminated with salmonella.  So at meal #3, everyone has salmonella to eat.

    As much as I believe in letting the scouts figure things out, the point at which the raw chicken seemed to be on the verge of spreading was the point at which I stepped in to give some specific directions.

    1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

    No matter how well the cooking implements were cleaned, failure to follow safe serve food prep makes any cleaning regimen futile. 

    I agree.   But still, failure to properly wash dishes (and properly sanitize your dishpans) is also a source of trouble.

  3. 1 hour ago, TAHAWK said:

    I am reminded of the debate at a National Jamboree between the "professional" "supporting" health and safety about safe dish-washing, the head volunteer Gold Hat having run off.  The "professional" had a BA and, doubtless, Camp School training.  On the other side was a fellow with a  Phd in Microbiology.  In later years, he was a top executive at the  World Health Organization, specializing in E. coli.  While in Switzerland, he was selected as a lecturer in biotechnology at the Haute Ecole Specialier.  The Camp hospital was filling with E. coli dysentery cases.  The Virginia Department of Health would come to threaten pulling the permit for the Jamboree over illegal dish-washing practices.  But what did Doctor  Horsfall know compared to a "professional."?  We WOULD put the chlorine in the second, and final, hot rinse!

    In the end, B.S.A. capitulated to the Health Department's ultimatum and distributed third washtubs to all Jambo troops for the legally required final, tepid sanitizing rinse - although it took over fourteen years to change official B.S.A. practices.  (Our two troops already had and were using the third tub and had no dysentery cases, mere volunteers us.  Horsfall had presented at our Roundtables years before, being from our area, so we knew the proper practice and ignored the Handbook practice.)  (Some printings of the 12th Ed. relapsed into error a few years ago, but it was corrected - all with no announcement.  The 13th Ed. is incorrect.  Like the incorrect illustration of the tripod lashing that has come and gone in BSA publications for almost sixty years, error has a high survival quotient [13th Ed. illustration is correct. 12th Ed. illustration is incorrect.].)

    How I learned to wash dishes as a kid was camping with the Girl Scouts: the three dishpan method, third pot containing a bit of bleach.  GS reinforced this when I took their leader training earlier this decade.

    Then I joined BSA, and bought the latest fieldbook being sold at the scout shop, and saw that it had (5th edition, p92) the bleach (or other sanitizer) in the second pot, not the third pot.

    It seemed a little odd, but I thought that I had better do things the BSA way now . . .  So my troop did this on their first outing.

    Then I saw that the BSA handbook (14th edition p308) puts the sanitizer in the third pot.  Makes much more sense, and I'd much rather the scouts do this.  Trouble is, my scouts aren't convinced and having conflicting literature does not help.  See, for example, Bryan on Scouting in 2017 https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2017/03/30/how-to-wash-dishes-at-campsite/

    Do you a good reference to a public health department that mandates the sanitizer in the third and final pot?  Or to you have any BSA literature repudiating the former sanitzer-in-second-not-third-pot practise?  I'd like it to seem to my scouts more than just my arbitrary say-so in directing the scouts to follow one piece of scout literature versus another and put the sanitizer in the final rinse.

    • Upvote 1

  4. Imaginary conversation between two girl scout parents:

    Mom A:   My daughter is doing a week of scout camp this summer.

    Mom B:  Is she doing day camp or overnight camp?

    Mom A:  She'll be doing overnight camp.   It will be the first time she's been away from family for a whole week.

    • Haha 1

  5. 1 hour ago, qwazse said:

    “The highest I could get in Girl Scouts was in first class because that’s all I had and as soon as I left high school nobody cared. ...” Judi Polson of Now New York City said.

    That's because BSA was an innovator back around 1911, and added extra badges (Life Scout, Star Scout, Eagle Scout) that were innovations not in Baden-Powell's Scouting for Boys.    The GSUSA did not add these extras.     Not sure when "First Class" when from being a "rank" to being an "award" in GSUSA.  But  by the time I was the appropriate age, it was the highest award in GSUSA.    It was definitely annoying how little those boy scouts at the time were aware of the girl scout program -- I definitely got reaction from boy scouts  "You've ONLY reached first class?".    Of course,  changing the name of the highest award to "Gold Award" didn't actually help when it came to recognition value.


    11 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

    Scouting is really about the youth experience.  When I was a kid, I knew councils & national existed - but they were irrelevant to me.  


    11 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

    council & national.  Don't let your frustration with them get in the way of what's important. 

    Let's say you really have a kid who wants to do scouting,  and you think scouting is valuable, "Scouting" as in the whole broad Scout Movement.   Choice comes down to do we quit scouting entirely?  (I hope not)  or do we see which scouting organization will best help us provide a good scouting experience for the youth?   Depending on where you are,  and who, locally, is involved with what scouting organization, it might be:  the Hungarian scouts  (there are some around here),  BPSA,  AHG,  GSUSA, BSA, Trail Life, Campfire, . . .


    • Like 2

  7. "Where would you go?"

    I actually thought about this a good bit,  pre-2017, in relation to where would I go if I left GSUSA.    And I read about BPSA and AHG.   These organizations had, in my mind, two or three very very big drawbacks. 

    (1)  lack of good camps in the vicinity of where I live -- this area is rather built up and the scouts (both BSA and GSUSA) have owned properties for years which have remained relatively undeveloped and available for nearby camping, while suburbia has swallowed up a lot of land. 

    (2) lack of existing units in the area.    While the program material and/or the fees might be appealing,  the lack of infrastructure  (not just camps, but also nearby units for mentoring purposes, for interaction,  for a summer camp program) seemed like a problem.  

    (3)  AHG also lacked the international scouting connection.   

    I decided that the best option was to stay put with GSUSA.   Then in 2017 BSA announced it would be admitting girls, and my daughter starting reading a BSA handbook . . . .

    • Upvote 2

  8. 5 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

    many steps blend into each other.

    Absolutely.   We did what we could, when we could.   Some things we had to wait on that were beyond our control  - for example, one potential CO was not be able to consider the idea of taking on a new troop until after they had completed a change of institutional head.     So we did what we could, when we could,  while hoping that the other things would eventually work out.   For much of 2018  we did not know whether we would really get a troop up and running.

    • Upvote 1

  9. 1 minute ago, Calion said:

    a linked troop, but the chartered organization insisted that the girl troop have its own committee.

    We, and the troop we were linking with,  assumed that the boys troop and the girls troop would have the same committee.  When it came time to turn in the paperwork we learned from the council that the committee members of the boys troop would only be committee members of the girls troop if they turned in an additional paper form.  The COR, CC, and a few boys troop committee members did so.  So now we have some people on both committees, some offficially only on the boys committee, and some officially only on the girls committee.  (It is a bit of a mess.)   The whole committtee meets all together.  I suppose if there were ever a contentious vote, it would matter who was registered on which committee.    As it is,  some people are more focussed on the boys,  some more on the girls, and some foccussed on both.

  10. 2 minutes ago, Calion said:

    Do you think that that worked well for you?

    Well,  . . . we got a troop started February 1st, and the girls could start being scouts. (Highly important to the girls who were eager to start.)   From that point of view it was successful.

    3 minutes ago, Calion said:

    As it is, I feel that I'm always one step behind.

    I felt like that all spring and summer.   I'm just about feeling like we have caught up.  

    I'm not really sure how we could have done it in a different order.   To recruit adults to work with the troop,  we first needed to recruit their daughters to want to be scouts.

    A non-linked troop might have been a very different situation.   But we were hoping to link with one of several boy scout troops in our school district.   So while we (and by "we" I mean the interested girls families) were busy recruiting more girls (and their families), we were also talking with existing boy scout troops about the possibility of helping us get started.


  11. 4 hours ago, Calion said:

    It’s finally time to recruit some youth members! The best way is to have a sign-up event.


    The best way is for the already enthusiatic scouts (or scouts-to-be) to invite their friends and sisters.   We started with 2 interested girls.  Six more joined because they were invited by friends (the orginal two or scouts recuited by the original two).  Three found us via the web (beascout or our own website).  Two girls found us because the local boys' troop advertised among their families.

    We took part in two scouts/cubs recruiting sign-up events.  ZERO SCOUTS found us through sign-up events.

    • Upvote 1

  12. @Calion,   we did it in a completely different order.     Your points, ordered roughly as we did them, were:

    1 Decide what kind of unit you want to start.  This was easy. My daughter wanted a Scouts BSA troop she could join

    9 Train the adult leaders. I, at least, did IOLS nearly a year before launch date

    13 Recruit Scouts. The really essential item for getting a new troop started was a critical mass of scouts. Recruiting started around a year before launch date, with a couple of highly interested families and ramped up about 3-4 months before launch date.

    15 Have your first troop meeting. Well, not really a troop meeting, a gathering of interested girls and parents

    Finally at a organizational meeting only a few weeks before launch date the decision was made which Boy Scout troop to link with, this gave us: 2 Find a chartering organization.   3 Appoint a Chartered Organization Representative.   4 Appoint a Committee Chair. (and also gave us help from the boys' troop committee members)

    At the same organizational meeting a few weeks before launch date, various parents volunteered to work with the troop, as SM, ASMs and a committee member, which gave us  8 Select and recruit adult leaders.

    These newly recruited adults then did   10 Complete Youth Protection Training.   9 Train the adult leaders. (the ones not previously trained)

    Then we did 14 File the paperwork   15 Have your first troop meeting. (The official one)

    Within the first couple of months after chartering:  21 Have fun! -- That is, start camping   18 Get the Scouts trained. -- did IOLS  19 Set the Scouts loose.

    About seven months after chartering: 12 Establish an online presence.  18 Get the Scouts trained. -- sent scouts to NYLT

    Starting about nine months after chartering:  17 Raise money.

    Still are working on  7 Train the Troop Committee.   6 Recruit a Troop Committee. -- we are a linked troop, and are getting help from the boys troop, but we are working on adding parents of girls to the committee

  13. 10 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

    a combination of moving away from home for college, . . . . keeps Scouting in the US from tapping into a knowledgeable and needed group of volunteers.

    There are older brothers of our scouts, with great skills that they learned in scouting, that I would like to tap to help with our Scouts BSA girls -- were they not away from home attending college.   There are also older cousins, male and female, in their twenties,  with Eagle Scout and Venturing backgrounds,  that I would love to tap to help out -- except that they live out of state. 

    We live in a town which people leave at age 18.   And to which people move at around age thirtyish,  already married,  and either with preschool children, or thinking about soon having children. 

  14. The www.ScoutsBsaDcGirls.org website is great!

    Our troop ended up going with using the services provided by bsahosting.org    Our committee member who was looking into this liked that the website came with email lists for the troop with a reasonable privacy policy that did not involve selling our data.    They have a template troop website that a troop can customize.

  15. 47 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

    cooking, dishwashing

    What kind of cooking and dishwashing?  

    Chopping vegetables,  getting lots of prep dishes dirty,  setting up a full three-dishpan wash station -- which might need to be refilled if kids are sloppy about getting food into the dishwater?  

    Or rehydrating dehydrated meals,  eating out of a single cup/bowl per person (or eating out of the meal pouch), then  licking your cup and spork clean and calling than good enough?

    • Upvote 1

  16. On 9/30/2019 at 8:23 AM, Cburkhardt said:

    We also determined that our meeting could be longer (we go 2 hours), given the longer attention spans of girls at the critical 11-13 year-old ages. 

    I agree that  11-13+ girls certainly have the attention spans for 2 hour meetings.   Our Scouts BSA girls' troop has 1.5 hr evening meetings.  The meetings always feel too short, especially given the over-long opening ceremony and announcements done jointly with the boys troop -- but given the schoolnight evening,  there is not time to go longer.      (A few years ago the 4th grade girl scout troop I was associated with, on the afternoons they got out of school early, had 2 hour meetings, and the longer meeting format let us do more during the meeting time.)    

    I could see that with scouts travelling by public transit,  longer  meetings on alternate weekend mornings,  is best.   We have scouts from four towns, who attend six different schools,  and so see each other only at scouts -- for us having a meeting every week is helpful for developing friendships within the group.  (As are the frequent weekend outings.)

    On 9/30/2019 at 8:23 AM, Cburkhardt said:

    This was in reaction to the survey of parents saying they did not want their girls or themselves engaging in product sales. 

    Sounds good to me.   I'd be very happy with that,  but we have inherited a product sales from the troop we linked to.      In my girl scout past,  girl scout troop parents (we polled them) preferred to fund activities through yearly dues and skip the cookie sale -- but we were a much lower budget operation that your Scouts BSA troop.

    On 9/30/2019 at 8:23 AM, Cburkhardt said:

    You can visit our site at http://www.ScoutsBsaDcGirls.org  if you want to see our take on this. 

    Very impressive.  We didn't get a website up till end of the summer, and immediately were found by two more families.   In retrospect, having a website earlier would have been better  -- but we were too busy trying to get out-of-doors to get to that quickly.

    @Cburkhardt you seem very organized, and off to a great start.  Almost intimidatingly so.  It is great that you are sharing what has worked well,  but I want to encourage those who are starting with less experience:  We are just muddling through, but we are improving, and growing in numbers and experience.  Fortunately none of our girls or parents seemed to get too discouraged in the initial months -- we focussed on getting out-of-doors camping, which I think made up for various other deficiencies.

    This is off topic, but  I do have one comment about your website @Cburkhardt ,  the recommended packing list seemed a little odd.  For a weekend camping list you included shampoo (I've never known any girl, no matter how long the hair, to wash her hair on a two-night camping trip) but you forgot the feminine hygiene products. 

  17. 6 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

    You are assuming the male leaders identify as male...one cannot assume in the this brave new world.  I do actually wonder how that would play out.  All female troop, one male leader identifying as male and one currently biological male that identifies as female; is this in compliance with YPT?

    If we reach this point, this is when I am looking for some sane and sensible support from the chartered organization.

    If I remember right, the issue of transgender leaders has come up in Girl Guides (UK).

  18. I will point out that requiring a woman leader present when girls are involved is not unique to BSA. GSUSA also requires there to be at least one woman leader present (i.e. for GSUSA the require minimum two unrelated adults can be two women, or one-woman-and-one-man,  but not two men.)

    There are several ways BSA can get rid of the double standard, if people push hard to get the double standard removed.

    1) Allow adult leadership to be men-only.   Some parents, including me, will balk at this and not permit our daughers to go, depending on the event.  (Would I really want to send a small group of teenage girls on a camping trip to be supervised by young men in their early twenties?  Sorry.  Not a good idea in my mind.  )

    2) Make the exception the new rule -- I.e. if each female scout attending is accompanied by a parent or guardian, then you can get by without an adult female.   Say hello to "Family Scouting" if we, at the Scouts BSA level, have every girl accompanied by her dad.  Where would be the opportunity for scouts to learn how to be independent and self-sufficient if their parents are constantly hovering?

    3) Make it reciprocal.  Require there to be at least one male adult in attendence at any scouting event at which there is a male youth in attendance.  This would probably have no impact on any current Boy Scout troops.   It might require some cub scout packs to step up the recruiting of dads to work with the younger boy dens.   While nobody considers it inappropriate for a couple of moms to be in charge of a group of 8-year-old boys, it could be argued that it is beneficial for the younger boys to have the opporuninty to interact with male role models.   

    Which of these do you prefer?    As a parent of a female scout, I'd rather live with the double standard.   Anyway,  I don't see BSA going with option 1, especially with all the current concern about YPT and related issues that have been in the news recently. 

  19. 28 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

    religious reasons for not having certain food items

    These, too, come in all degrees of strictness of avoidance,  and I am certainly sympathetic to those scouts who have religious/cultural reasons for avoiding certain foods.  We certainly don't want to be causing friction between a scout and his/her parents, and we want to be welcoming to scouts in all cultural groups.


    30 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

    taste preferences

    I am much less sympathetic here.   My general attitude towards the scout is that if you don't like what someone else planned and cooked, then next time you can volunteer to be the meal planner and cook. 

    In practise,  scouts will sometimes eat at camp things that they didn't think that they liked -- and will sometimes expand their likes in that way.


  20. 16 minutes ago, Liz said:

    But using breadsticks as table decorations was a whole level of "we don't give a ____" beyond what I could really comprehend for a company that somehow thought they were making gluten free food available.

    "Never attribute to malice what can be adequately explained by incompetence and ignorance".   I don't know about that specific instance.  But I have encountered huge quantities of incompetence and ignorance when it come to dealing with food allergies.    Well intentioned people, who think that they are being helpful, and have absolutely no clue how ignorant they are, and how pointless their efforts to be allergy-friendly are.


  21. 38 minutes ago, Momleader said:

    with fabric markers. 

    Acrylic paint works well, too,  if you happen to already have that in your craft supplies.

    Turned the scouts loose with the scrap fabric box, the paints, the beads, the yarn, the entire set of craft supplies.   Those scouts who were interested came up with a really nice flag as a collaborative project after an afternoon's work on a school holiday afternoon.   (Probably helped that it was an older crowd . . .11-13-year-old girls.)   Since then they've taken the flag on most camping trips,  to summer camp,  and (as a one-patrol troop) used it as a stand-in for the troop flag we don't yet have.

    The worst patrol flag I saw was one made at NYLT.  Admitted it only needed to last a week.  But they used washable markers!  My daughter said it was a blurry mess after the first rain.  When I saw it end of the week it was completely unrecognizable.


  22. 23 minutes ago, Calion said:

    Do you think that at least some Campfire skits and songs should focus on teaching Scouting mores and values


    24 minutes ago, Calion said:

    And are you aware of any such things?

    Scout vespers. ("Softly fall the light of day . . .")

    And I know a bunch of Girl Scout songs of that ilk that my daughter tells me we cannot sing in Scouts BSA.  ("On my honor",  "Girl Scouts Together", "Green Beret" . . .)

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