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nateisen

New Cubmaster with a co-ed pack

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This is my first year as a Cubmaster, and my first post here.  This looked like a great way to get some advice from some veteran scouts!  I am excited to have girls joining our pack this year, but we have hit a small snag.  We only have one girl Bear scout, and eleven Boy Bear scouts.  This makes it awkward to tell the one scout she has to meet separately with... herself.  In these situations, what are you guys doing?  We thought of having the boy dens (6 and 5) and girl den all meet together in the same room for most of the meetings.  The girl would formally be her own den I guess, but would still be able to get the experience.  We all meet at a church anyways and each Den usually took a classroom.  Doubling this setup is looking to be impractical.  Is there a rule about this?  I don't want to mess up my first year, but looking around online, i haven't seen any guidance.  Thanks in advance ya'll!

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Welcome! And thanks in advance for all you do for the youth.

Sounds like you have two options: A) let the girl Bear with her boy buddies, or B) let her bear with her wolf or Webelos girl buddies. Your decision should depend on who she works with the best.

You're not gonna mess up if you work for smiles all around.

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Welcome!  This is a great group with a diversity of opinions and a ton of experience.   

I know it’s a few years out for her, but if you know the Troop she would likely feed into (if it exists) I would recommend checking to see how they plan to run.   If they plan on keeping the Troop meetings completely single gender then I would go with @qwazse‘s option B above.  If they will have coed meetings and outings (as linked Troops) I would consider option A a bit more.

I’m CC of an early adopter Pack with 10 girls.  We had 1 girls den and while it was functional it didn’t work as well for us as the Boy’s dens as having Lions hang out with Bears was simply too much of an age gap.  However, I know many packs that make the single school room den meetings work well.

Given volunteer constraints and feedback from leaders (along with aligning with the future Troop plans) we have told our Den leaders they can use option A if they like.  (Separate girl/boy dens for each grade that meet together.) 

If you are looking for more guidance there is a Facebook page (BSA Family Packs/Girl Troops) that provides guidance.

Good luck!

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We were an early adopter as well, and my daughter was originally a mixed den.  This year we are opening recruiting (last was just siblings and word of mouth).

 

This year, we are separating the girls to proper dens (mainly because I will not run a Webelos program with Bears,wolves, etc.)

 

So my Wife is the den leader of the Girl Webelos Den, and I am the Boy Webelos Den leader.  We are going to start promoting Patrols and do a Boy "Patrol" and a Girl "Patrol".  Most of the activities/learning with be Co-ed or Round Robin style.  Ideally, once we get some more Webelos Girls (currently 1), it will become round robin style with the same itinerary.

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12 hours ago, nateisen said:

This is my first year as a Cubmaster, and my first post here.  This looked like a great way to get some advice from some veteran scouts!  I am excited to have girls joining our pack this year, but we have hit a small snag.  We only have one girl Bear scout, and eleven Boy Bear scouts.  This makes it awkward to tell the one scout she has to meet separately with... herself.  In these situations, what are you guys doing?  We thought of having the boy dens (6 and 5) and girl den all meet together in the same room for most of the meetings.  The girl would formally be her own den I guess, but would still be able to get the experience.  We all meet at a church anyways and each Den usually took a classroom.  Doubling this setup is looking to be impractical.  Is there a rule about this?  I don't want to mess up my first year, but looking around online, i haven't seen any guidance.  Thanks in advance ya'll!

I'd just have her meet with the boys and call it a day.  I would just make her a member of the boys den - no need for the technicality of being in her own den.  Packs don't report den assignments to anyone.  So putting her in her own den, but having her meet with the boys is a distinction without a difference.

Going forward push for greater numbers in recruiting and work towards the goal of a separate girl and boy dens.

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These are awesome solutions, and I really appreciate the guidance.  I will check with our Scoutmaster on the troop requirements, but i think they will be going co-ed.  

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We were told by our SE, if you didn't have enough girls for a den you could mix ages up to three years difference to maintain the single-gender den model.  So combine her with your other girl wolves, etc.

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Have you asked the parents of the boys if they will want mixed dens? National has said that dens will be separate. I think you at least owe it to the boys' families to let them know that you are not following the guidelines they were told about. 

As a troop parent and Webelos leader myself, I understand that none of the decision makers wanted my input, but I would at least appreciate a heads up when changes are put into place.

Please don't be one of those leaders that refuses to communicate with parents.

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Of course i asked the parents!  They think it is ridiculous to keep this one girl in a den by herself.  The only other girls that joined were Tigers, so it makes even less sense to put her in a mixed-rank den.  I am actually over the top with communication to my parents.  I am just here looking for guidance outside my own pack and council, whom I also asked about all this.  This whole discussion is about how I can meet National guidelines and still allow this girl to have a full scouting experience.

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42 minutes ago, nateisen said:

 They think it is ridiculous to keep this one girl in a den by herself.  The only other girls that joined were Tigers, so it makes even less sense to put her in a mixed-rank den. 

And in your case actual field reality comes up against National direction.  That direction is Girls and Boys in the same pack but single gender dens.  If you do not have enough girls to make a den, then mixed ages in a den.

This case you have 1 girl and then only other girls in the pack are 1st graders.  Not a good situation if you are seeking to follow the program

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Posted (edited)

Life's tough as a pioneer! What you need is an optimal initial strategy based on the numbers of 2nd-4th graders, broken down by sex, in your pack.

National doesn't have that. More importantly, National has no clue about factors that determine the success of your dens. All they would know is that each adult leader cleared a background check and they (or someone using their myscouting account) took some online training ... just enough to improve BSA's odds of a determination of due diligence in the event of litigation. National has no clue if this girl and three other boys are the best of friends, if one DL is intimidated by the prospect of a girl in his/her den, if another DL is excited about it, if some female venturer in your neighborhood wants to volunteer as den chief, If there are two twins who just rub a DL the wrong way, etc ...

Who does know that stuff? Letssee ... who actually paid (in $, popcorn sales, sweat equity, time) to have their kids registered in your pack? Who sees these kids when they aren't in uniform? Who is giving you feedback on what they think is ridiculous?

That's why this June's FAQ (https://www.scouting.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/06/FAQ-Family-Program-061218-FINAL.pdf) has deferential language.

Quote

Q: Should dens for girls and dens for boys meet at the same time and place?

It is up to the chartered organization and the pack or the den to decide meeting times and places.

Q: Can separate boy and girl dens work on the same activity at the same time together?

There is no set rule or guideline on this. If appropriate, this can be treated the same as two dens of the same gender working together. It will be up to the good judgement of leaders to decide whatis best for their units.

In other words, your den-of-1 and your den-of-5 could be assigned the same DL, meet in the same room, at the same time, and do combined activities. You could tell everyone that's exactly what your doing, give the girl a distinct den # patch, and keep up appearances at Pack meetings, etc ...

Or, you can keep the BS out of the BSA and only try a segregated den once four other she-bears sign up.

Edited by qwazse
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Carefully consider and soul search your long term plan... truly separate boy & girl Dens or mixed Dens. 

If you have her meet with the boys, it becomes harder to switch later and will start a precedent for the program your Pack offers, ie as designed by Scouts BSA or your own version.

It's late August and I suggest making a placement decision for this girl Bear after the results of September recruitment and enrollment.  If others her age join and you get "critical mass"... easy decision!

If she is still the only older girl Cub and the plan is to offer separate boy & girl Dens, I would ponder the prospects for girl Webelos enrollment next year and for this girl Bear this year:  (1) regretfully advise the family that the Pack cannot accommodate her this year.  OR (2) She meets in the "one room school house" girl Cub Den with the Tigers, with extra attention and duties. 

 

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4 hours ago, Wëlënakwsu said:

Carefully consider and soul search your long term plan... 

Who's soul? :rolleyes:

4 hours ago, Wëlënakwsu said:

... If you have her meet with the boys, it becomes harder to switch later ...

Heaven help us that six kids and their families actually like each other's company to the point that they don't want to split!

4 hours ago, Wëlënakwsu said:

... and will start a precedent for the program your Pack offers, ie as designed by Scouts BSA or your own version. 

That's right, @nateisen. You don't want word to get out that you'll set any willing kid on a trajectory toward the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping with her mates.

Being that charitable might actually get you a few she-bears via word-of-mouth by the time B&G rolls around. And, if they're nice ones, your singleton might ask to spin off a third den with them next year. Problems like these often do resolve themselves over time, but only as quickly as your DLs and parents are masterful and making their den a welcoming place.

4 hours ago, Wëlënakwsu said:

... If she is still the only older girl ... Bear this year:  (1) regretfully advise the family that the Pack cannot accommodate her this year.  OR (2) She meets in the "one room school house" girl Cub Den with the Tigers, with extra attention and duties. ...

Again, all this boils down to who you need to placate to have a truly great movement in your community: strangers on the internet who make up rules because you ask, or parents who have a half dozen other local activities to chose from.

With all due respect to @Wëlënakwsu, BSA has not published specific guidelines on how to handle this situation. Maybe they will after they integrate the experience of hundreds of other packs. But, it's equally likely that they find a number of different options work equally well.

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