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Family Scouting Update

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26 minutes ago, AVTech said:

I absolutely disagree with you on this point. My daughter is a Girl Scout. She is bored to tears and cannot wait to be able to do all the cool things her older brother gets to do. The GSUSA  program is very open-ended, so leaders who don't like to camp run programs without camping. The BSA program is much more rigid, and heavily biased towards being outdoors. We will not be poaching from GSUSA, except for those who are NOT being served by their existing Troop's program. We will be attracting young women who want the adventure that a properly run Troop offers.

Not discounting your anecdotal experience

But to be clear, there is nothing preventing her Girl Scout troop from doing any of the activities similar to a BSA unit.  That is their choice.  Not knowing the breakdown, demographics, or flow of participants within GSUSA; one would presume that if there was demand for mirror type activities similar to the BSA, then that would have been incorporated.

Perhaps GSUSA is as tone deaf as BSA with regards to actual things that happen at the actual unit with actual scouts.  As long as you sell cookies, all is well

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23 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Not discounting your anecdotal experience

But to be clear, there is nothing preventing her Girl Scout troop from doing any of the activities similar to a BSA unit.  That is their choice.  

Nor is there anything preventing a girl-led boy scout troop from making the same choice. Imagine the frustration she would feel if she were to join a boy scout troop because she wants to go camping, and then the other girls voted against it. 

 

Edited by David CO

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back when I worked in supply, we had a few, not many but a few, GSUSA leaders spick up BSA literature to incorporate into their GSUSA program.

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47 minutes ago, David CO said:

Nor is there anything preventing a girl-led boy scout troop from making the same choice. Imagine the frustration she would feel if she were to join a boy scout troop because she wants to go camping, and then the other girls voted against it. 

 

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.

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The girls in GSUSA get to vote on what they want to do, they are girl lead. If they want to go camping, they can vote to go camping.  GSUSA is doing exactly what the women leaders and the girls in the program want. 

If you made BSA an all female program and make GSUSA an all male program. . .    I think the boys would have a blast, it is such a open ended and free spirited program.

That I am saying it is not the BSA program or the GSUSA programs that are lacking in any way and if you place girls in a BSA program with female leaders they are going to behave almost exactly like GSUSA troops, it is the nature of what girls and women want.

I know BSA troops ran by adult females that are nightmares,  the only camping is car camping and the cooking is done by the adults, the boys spend their camping time playing on their phones and being yelled at.   I watched one troop do their thing for 9 hours and I could not tell which boy was the SPL and if they had any patrols.

I know BAD GSUSA troops where the adult females are fighting constantly  and I know really good ones, where the girls are having fun and the adult female leaders get along.

It all depends on the people, my neck of the woods suffers from some really bad leaders driving away the good ones, things just keeping getting worse and worse. 

 

 

 

 

 

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2 hours ago, cocomax said:

The girls in GSUSA get to vote on what they want to do, they are girl lead. If they want to go camping, they can vote to go camping.  GSUSA is doing exactly what the women leaders and the girls in the program want. 

If you made BSA an all female program and make GSUSA an all male program. . .    I think the boys would have a blast, it is such a open ended and free spirited program.

That I am saying it is not the BSA program or the GSUSA programs that are lacking in any way and if you place girls in a BSA program with female leaders they are going to behave almost exactly like GSUSA troops, it is the nature of what girls and women want.

I know BSA troops ran by adult females that are nightmares,  the only camping is car camping and the cooking is done by the adults, the boys spend their camping time playing on their phones and being yelled at.   I watched one troop do their thing for 9 hours and I could not tell which boy was the SPL and if they had any patrols.

I know BAD GSUSA troops where the adult females are fighting constantly  and I know really good ones, where the girls are having fun and the adult female leaders get along.

It all depends on the people, my neck of the woods suffers from some really bad leaders driving away the good ones, things just keeping getting worse and worse. 

 

 

 

 

 

GSUSA may say that they are girl-led (they say it ALL the time), but they are not.  Never in my entire life as a former girl scout did I have control over anything.  They have "leaders" and those are "troop leaders", and the girls follow their leader.  They may also say that they develop the best girl leaders, but I have yet to see a leadership development program for girls, and my daughter is a cadette.  This may happen in the older years, but the development is not for leadership.  It IS to make confident, capable young ladies that can manage work...but a leader is more than that.  Basically, every time they say "girl led" they just meant that adults should listen to the girls to incorporate their ideas into the final decision......that is NOT developing leadership skills.

The program is the fundamental design of the GSUSA program.  Take a cub scout den and the den works on what the den leader wants to work on....and then there is council providing pamphlets and a few training programs and some guidelines.  Thats girl scouts.  There is no institutional knowledge within the troop.  The troop leader is a solo gig.  So, you are going to do what your leader is comfortable doing.  I don't blame the leader....its all within her comfort zone, since she is running solo.

Now, sadly, even in our council's campsite, daisies were not allowed to roast marshmallows at campouts.  Seriously.  Of course, we never abided by that rule in my daughter's troop.

 

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40 minutes ago, JustAScoutMom said:

GSUSA may say that they are girl-led (they say it ALL the time), but they are not.  Never in my entire life as a former girl scout did I have control over anything.  They have "leaders" and those are "troop leaders", and the girls follow their leader.  They may also say that they develop the best girl leaders, but I have yet to see a leadership development program for girls, and my daughter is a cadette.  This may happen in the older years, but the development is not for leadership.  It IS to make confident, capable young ladies that can manage work...but a leader is more than that.  Basically, every time they say "girl led" they just meant that adults should listen to the girls to incorporate their ideas into the final decision......that is NOT developing leadership skills.

The program is the fundamental design of the GSUSA program.  Take a cub scout den and the den works on what the den leader wants to work on....and then there is council providing pamphlets and a few training programs and some guidelines.  Thats girl scouts.  There is no institutional knowledge within the troop.  The troop leader is a solo gig.  So, you are going to do what your leader is comfortable doing.  I don't blame the leader....its all within her comfort zone, since she is running solo.

Now, sadly, even in our council's campsite, daisies were not allowed to roast marshmallows at campouts.  Seriously.  Of course, we never abided by that rule in my daughter's troop.

 

I believe you, it is a solo gig, GSUSA gives the troop leaders so many options, and a great deal of power to run the troop any way they want (within reason), the troop leader has a free hand to run things the way she wants to,  the downside is a feeling of a lack of structure and guidance.

The mystery to me is way don't more GSUSA troop leaders use that gift of freedom of operations to make it into something great. I have read some great books by GSUSA troop leaders on how to run a great program, with the girls leading things, if they want to and have the know how they can do great things. 

Maybe there are too many GSUSA troop leaders who are only being leaders because they feel they have to because no one else will and not because they want to and they are really pushing their comfort zones just to do the bare minimum to keep the troop alive.

 

 

 

Edited by cocomax

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2 hours ago, JustAScoutMom said:

There is no institutional knowledge within the troop.

 

I think this is they key difference - and one that explains many of the critiques of GS troops.

GS troops really can be just as strong and have just as amazing programs.  It's the rigidity of the BSA approach coupled with the institutional knowledge the established troops have the make the Boy Scout program appeal to many.  I'm convinced that if the GSUSA leveraged some of those concepts, they would grow quickly.

 

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

I think this is they key difference - and one that explains many of the critiques of GS troops.

GS troops really can be just as strong and have just as amazing programs.  It's the rigidity of the BSA approach coupled with the institutional knowledge the established troops have the make the Boy Scout program appeal to many.  I'm convinced that if the GSUSA leveraged some of those concepts, they would grow quickly.

 

Also, the structure of the program shares the burden for all of the activities.  The troop has a troop leader and a cookie mom.  Thats it.  And the troops are typically 6-10 girls, so even if half of all parents volunteered, what are they volunteering for?  There is no formal role that they can fill....its just "helping" the troop leader, and not all troop leaders have the time or the patience to involve everyone, since it takes time to do so!  The BSA training shows everyone what they need to do and what their role is, so they can immediately add value.  As our SM always says "many hands make light work".  That concept is counter to the GSUSA way.  To do it right, one leader would probably have to dedicate a significant time commitment every week just to benefit 6-10 girls. No BSA volunteer has to dedicate that much time, even the SM or CC....and even the time they donate they know its benefitting 30-100 boys.  That in and of itself makes it more palatable.

Now, throw that in that the boy scouts have 135 different types of training that are up to themselves to decide.  they take the initiative on what they want to know, over and above what is being shown them.  I remember that there was a book of all of the patches that I could earn....and I earned a TON on my own.  This option is not available to my daughter with how her troop is being run.  They work collectively on everything...there is no independence.  There are certainly not 135 different skills that she can select from to broaden and expose her to things that are interesting to her.  But key, she is learning life long marketing and salesmanship and cash management skills selling cookies.   Even then, the boys gets the money in their scout accounts.....girls get $.05 per box of cookies they sell.  Our troop gets $.60 per box.  Council gets the rest.  If you don't pay the huge fees for summer day camp, you don't get any benefit from council's cashflow.  

Edited by JustAScoutMom

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4 hours ago, JustAScoutMom said:

girl scouts.  There is no institutional knowledge within the troop.  

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.

 

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37 minutes ago, JustAScoutMom said:

 The BSA training shows everyone what they need to do and what their role is, so they can immediately add value. 

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.

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And I do not mean to say that everything about Girl Scouts is bad.   Girl Scouts provides those extracurricular educational opportunities that were once in schoolsZ. A trip to the ballet?  We did that in school.   They don’t do that now!  A trip to see how pottery is made?  Many high schools no longer have that program either.   There is a place for it....and it’s valuable.   But it’s not “Scouting.”

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@gblotter, @RememberSchiff, @Jameson76and @Tampa Turtle

Lead scouts or lead someone else .... my recommendation remains: work for smiles.

  • When my venturers were getting short shrift because, well, girls were seen as some sort of contaminant -- even when no girls were present and I had simply dropped by a troop meeting in a venturing shirt: I made it clear to adults that I was not about to be bothered by the burrs up anyone's butts -- especially theirs. (Yes, I used those words. No, that's not how I usually phrase things.) Instead I made sure that their boys had outstanding, inexpensive, backcountry experiences.
  • The reward: Boys taking an extra weekend to help girls hike. Shouts across a copse in the dark: "Hey Boy Scouts, you wanna play cards?" An introverted 11 year old making tea for a 16 year old venturer. E-mail from young  scout thanking me for a backpacking trip. Girl Scouts canoeing FOR THEIR FIRST TIME. Chili powder+espresso suggested by an Italian scout/venturer. Watching her say "cheap" because "thrifty" wouldn't roll of the tongue! The look on my SM's face when he realized he was transporting his first car-full of girls, and his offer to assist me anytime after that.
  • And what's more, I had plenty of all-boy outings full of smiles there as well.

I reaped a lot of rewards. Nevertheless, I certainly could have done without the well-meaning scouters who tried to "tradition-shame" me.

So, if another scouter manages reap that level of happiness maintaining a unisex environment, why should we "world-shame" him or her? Especially when the WOSM does nothing of the sort?  

While some of us move on to making BSA4G environments, we need to do our level best to honor scouters asking for unisex environments for their youth. Some of you, citing Scouts UK, think it's gotta be one way or the other. Good news, we're not British.

Unisex and coed. We want to have it all. It's the American way.

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23 minutes ago, qwazse said:

@gblotter, @RememberSchiff, @Jameson76and @Tampa Turtle

Lead scouts or lead someone else .... my recommendation remains: work for smiles.

  • When my venturers were getting short shrift because, well, girls were seen as some sort of contaminant -- even when no girls were present and I had simply dropped by a troop meeting in a venturing shirt: I made it clear to adults that I was not about to be bothered by the burrs up anyone's butts -- especially theirs. (Yes, I used those words. No, that's not how I usually phrase things.) Instead I made sure that their boys had outstanding, inexpensive, backcountry experiences.
  • The reward: Boys taking an extra weekend to help girls hike. Shouts across a copse in the dark: "Hey Boy Scouts, you wanna play cards?" An introverted 11 year old making tea for a 16 year old venturer. E-mail from young  scout thanking me for a backpacking trip. Girl Scouts canoeing FOR THEIR FIRST TIME. Chili powder+espresso suggested by an Italian scout/venturer. Watching her say "cheap" because "thrifty" wouldn't roll of the tongue! The look on my SM's face when he realized he was transporting his first car-full of girls, and his offer to assist me anytime after that.
  • And what's more, I had plenty of all-boy outings full of smiles there as well.

I reaped a lot of rewards. Nevertheless, I certainly could have done without the well-meaning scouters who tried to "tradition-shame" me.

So, if another scouter manages reap that level of happiness maintaining a unisex environment, why should we "world-shame" him or her? Especially when the WOSM does nothing of the sort?  

While some of us move on to making BSA4G environments, we need to do our level best to honor scouters asking for unisex environments for their youth. Some of you, citing Scouts UK, think it's gotta be one way or the other. Good news, we're not British.

Unisex and coed. We want to have it all. It's the American way.

World-shaming?

I cannot understand why any scout or scouter would say they will not participate in a scouting activity with other scouts because those scouts are girls, gays, geeks, SPED, blacks, Muslims, LDS, gingers, vegans, jocks, ...

I am old and remember when black Boy Scouts could not attend our summer camp yet we attended the same high schools. My friends attended a separate black scout camp.

We have disagreements, but we are all scouts.

My $0.02

 

 

Edited by RememberSchiff
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54 minutes ago, RememberSchiff said:

World-shaming?

I cannot understand why any scout or scouter would say they will not participate in a scouting activity with other scouts because those scouts are girls, gays, geeks, SPED, blacks, Muslims, LDS, gingers, vegans, jocks, ...

I am old and remember when black Boy Scouts could not attend our summer camp yet we attended the same high schools. My friends attended a separate black scout camp.

We have disagreements, but we are all scouts.

My $0.02

I get that. I really do. I grew up with classmates who invested a lot of time and energy worrying about people who weren't their problem at all.

There are certainly girls and boys who will miss out due to skills unlearned in the absence of each other's company.

But, what will they learn in the absence of any scouting environment? I've not been satisfied with the consequences of such neglect that have made the headline news of late.

If councils won't make unisex camps available for BSA and BSA4G troops, others will. And we might not be pleased with the results.

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