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Setonfan

New girls in Scouting

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Hi @Treflienne,

Here are some of the nuggets that I've learned and come back to often:

1) Never do for a Scout what a Scout can do for himself or herself - In whatever the task is, ask yourself if a Scout could do it instead.  If so, then try to make that happen

2) EDGE (Explain Demonstrate Guide Enable) - EDGE is the method we use for teaching new skills.  First you Explain  the task, next you demonstrate how to do the task, then you guide the scout as they do the task, last you step back and enable the Scout to do it on their own.  EDGE is useful for all kinds of things from tying a knot, to planning a troop's annual calendar.  

3) There are eight methods of Scouting - character, citizenship, fitness, patrols, ideals, outdoor programs, advancement, and association with adults.  All are important.  Take some time to learn them and how they impact what you do in Scouting.

4) Scouting is a Game with a Purpose - Don't forget that Scouting is a fun activity.  Yet, for all the fun, there is a purpose behind it.  It's important to remember both.

5) Red, Yellow, Green - In Scouting, we're always striving to learn from our experiences.  We constantly do "after action" debriefs where we find out what worked well, what didn't work well, and what we'd do differently next time.  Always remember to learn a little from your experiences and strive to do a little better next time.

6) Invest in taking training - Embrace the opportunities available for training.

Have fun!

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4 hours ago, Treflienne said:

Actually,  I'd appreciate input from all y'all, not just Barry.

Sometimes it goes wrong. Sometimes whatever's planned doesn't work.

Try to have a plan B up your sleeve.

Ian

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10 hours ago, Treflienne said:

I have read a lot of really thoughtful, helpful, insightful posts that you have written on various topics.   You obviously have a lot of valuable experience.   

And since "A Scout is cheerful" and "A Scout is helpful",  I'm hoping you can put aside the gloom long enough to consider a question: What do you think is most important for the new-to-BSA volunteers to learn?   How would you recommend they learn it?  I'm asking because I will in all likelihood be one of those new-to-BSA volunteers with a new Scouts BSA troop for girls (but only if we get enough girls and enough volunteers to get a troop going).

Actually,  I'd appreciate input from all y'all, not just Barry.

Have fun.  If the scouts are not having fun, they will vote with their feet.  Keep the helicopter parents in the back and out of the way.

Let the youth (with guidance and mentoring) select and be involved with activities that are engaging to them.  If the program becomes more school and classwork to get to the vaunted Eagle rank, you will lose many of them

Have fun, go outdoors and DO STUFF.  Not for advancement sake, not to get this merit badge or that merit badge, because it is fun, challenging, and engaging.  The advancement can be a byproduct of what is done, not the main purpose.  Go hiking, go climbing, go canoeing, go boating, go through a gorge, go biking, play a wide game, do a lock-in with overnight video games and gym games.

Did I mention facilitate HAVING FUN?

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15 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

Barry

I hope you don't mind, but a question for you. I've seen you make this point numerous times and something I'm not sure of is, how is BSA ever meant to expand if fresh blood, who by their nature are likely to be inexperienced in terms of scouting, doesn't come into the organisation? While we disagree on coed scouting I have broadly been able to follow and indeed respect many of your arguments, it's just this one pont that leaves me a bit confused!

Good question. Let me explain by starting with a my life lesson based from our experience of expanding the troop program. Over the years of crossing new scouts into the program, we learned that two new scouts was the maximum number a patrol of 8 scouts could handle without negatively effecting the patrol culture. The goal is to assimilate the new scouts into the patrol culture, not change the culture as a result of the new scouts. So, we learned that 25% was the maximum number of new scouts we could add to the patrol without effecting it too much. In truth, I preferred 20% or less.

I have no idea statistically how much new blood an organization can bring in without directly effecting the whole organization. But, our district once calculated that the percentage of new scouters without a scouting background joining the BSA before 1990 (Women could become troop leaders) was less than 25% in our area. After 1990, that number shot up considerably to over 40% and grew.

Now these numbers have a great deal of guess because anyone who has worked with BSA membership numbers learns that they change constantly. Districts set their own annual renewal schedules and inflate the numbers with membership drives like Webelos IIs in the winter. Drove me crazy because the number of crossover scouts can't be calculate accurately for at least a year when Webelos who signed up with a troop are resigned at the troop's next signup. A huge number of Webelos who sign up with troops never show up, but are officially registered active with the troop.

Anyway, I was listening to very experienced volunteers around 1995 complaining that the new training staffs didn't really understand the program they were teaching. One Council Trainer said that he was watching Wood Badge course change from a leadership skills course to a scout skills for adults before his eyes and there was nothing he could do about it. His trainers needed training because they were hung up on scout skills basics. He was feeling a lot of pressure from Council to shut up about his observation because our Council volunteers weren't the only ones speaking up. He was gone a year later. A whole new training program from bottom to top came out 5 years later.

So, your question is how does and organization expand without bringing in new blood? You are right, simple math shows growth requires some new blood. So the bigger question is how much new blood can an organization handle without changing the dynamics of the organization? Based from my limited experience in my very small world, less than 20%.

The program has been changing for the last 25 years to adjust with the large influx of inexperienced adults. Now that number is about to jump again. As, NJ points out, how the organization adjust depends on the training. But a lot also depends on how much of the program the organization management wants to maintain. I was shocked and deeply hurt to learn of the new derogatory term "Conditional Scouters" coming from the top end of the organization. I think that says a lot because the Conditional Scouters are today's experienced teachers.

Barry

 

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11 hours ago, Treflienne said:

And since "A Scout is cheerful" and "A Scout is helpful",  I'm hoping you can put aside the gloom long enough to consider a question: What do you think is most important for the new-to-BSA volunteers to learn?   How would you recommend they learn it?  I'm asking because I will in all likelihood be one of those new-to-BSA volunteers with a new Scouts BSA troop for girls (but only if we get enough girls and enough volunteers to get a troop going).

 

Wow, I like your style. A little pointed, but I understand. 

I actually created a couple of classes that were intended to answer your question. We can get into as much details as you want, but I will keep it short as I can.

First, learn the BSA Mission and Vision. Preparing  young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling  in them the value of the scout oath and law are the adult leaders primary task

Aims and Methods is how the troop leaders get work toward that goal. The adults measure each scout's growth of making ethical and moral choices within the categories of character, fitness and citizenship

The adults build growth in character, fitness and citizenship by giving the scouts the independence of making moral and ethical choices in the environment of patrols, ideals, outdoors activities, advancement, adult association, personal growth, leadership development and uniform. The adults are to measure and encourage continued practice of making decisions within these program applications so that the scout continues growth toward ethical and moral choices. The more choices a scout makes during his scouting experiences (bad choices are good, the more the better), the more the scout grows and matures toward their preparation of lifelong decisions instilled by the oath and law.

If the adults would consider their every decision and action with the scouts to progressing toward preparing ethical and moral decision makers, the program would simplify itself around the very basic requirements of Aims and Methods. Adult Training would be learning mentoring skills to push scout growth instead of scout skills to be a better adult age boy scout. 

That is a quick list of what I feel new adults need to learn. It seems too simplistic to some and too idealistic to others. Scouting is a values program that uses the outdoors as the tool for practice. Adult led troops are led by adults who want the outdoor experience without focusing on the values. .

If adults could learn to build the program toward the mission and vision, they would find many of their questions answered and a much simpler program to maintain. They would be giving the scouts a real world experience scaled down to a boys size. Their scouts would be more prepared for the challenges of the future than almost all of their nonscout friends.

I hope that isn't too much. I wish my writing skills had the elegance of my passion.

Barry

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So. . .  our pack and troop are having a round up tonight.  Our district rep demanded to oversee and approve our ad, flyers and news stories write ups.  She also went out to all the schools in the area to promote the round up. 

We have a small troop of boys and a small pack of boys. 

Last night the rep contacts us and says, "I recruited a whole bunch of girls for you! They will be coming to your round up tomorrow night. Be ready to sign them up!"

So, in our area the district is trying to force girls into boy only packs,  I never read anywhere that was part of the plan.  The lady scouters that lead our pack are very upset, and might throw in the towel just fold the pack. 

 

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8 minutes ago, cocomax said:

Last night the rep contacts us and says, "I recruited a whole bunch of girls for you! They will be coming to your round up tomorrow night. Be ready to sign them up!"

So, in our area the district is trying to force girls into boy only packs,  I never read anywhere that was part of the plan.  The lady scouters that lead our pack are very upset, and might throw in the towel just fold the pack. 

 

So, without discussion or agreement they've assumed you are a pack that will accept boy and girl dens?

And I'm assuming you're a pack of boy's dens and it's been agreed that you want to stay a boy's only den pack?

Does your CO have any desire to open a mixed or girls only pack?

I guess the rep will learn pretty fast that making ultimatums to volunteers can backfire somewhat. Or that maybe they shouldn't assume stuff.

That's going to be a pretty unpleasant job, telling the girls that there is no girls pack or mixed pack with you, and they'd need to go find one somewhere else. Pretty unfair of the rep to do that to you.

 

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12 hours ago, Treflienne said:

 

 

I have read a lot of really thoughtful, helpful, insightful posts that you have written on various topics.   You obviously have a lot of valuable experience.   

And since "A Scout is cheerful" and "A Scout is helpful",  I'm hoping you can put aside the gloom long enough to consider a question: What do you think is most important for the new-to-BSA volunteers to learn?   How would you recommend they learn it?  I'm asking because I will in all likelihood be one of those new-to-BSA volunteers with a new Scouts BSA troop for girls (but only if we get enough girls and enough volunteers to get a troop going).

Actually,  I'd appreciate input from all y'all, not just Barry.

Training is important and valuable.  The problem with training is it produces trained (i.e. by-the-book) scouters.  I'd argue that statement is applicable well beyond scouting and has been in my experience.  We've had something approaching an infinite number of threads on the site bemoaning Wood Badge scouters.  Why, because too many of them are by-the-book scouters.  One doesn't truly learn the program until one has the chance to experience the intangibles, the opportunity to see the quirks of their particular unit, and the experience to know when to use the book for kindling.  My experience outside scouting with people who are book trained is they tend to crash into a program like stampeding elephants, waving the book, and explaining how everybody is wrong.  Sometimes they are correct, but they are nearly always wrong. 

To @Eagledad's concern, we're about to stand up some large number of units with trained but inexperienced by-the-book ASM's and SM's.  That may work for their specific new units, but, ultimately they are going to interact with other established units.  How that interaction plays out will go a long way to determining the BSA's future. 

How would I recommend new leaders learn it?  Join an existing troop, get fully trained, spend a year or two on the committee observing, then if needed join the direct contact leader ranks.  But, we didn't get that option.

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5 minutes ago, ianwilkins said:

 

That's going to be a pretty unpleasant job, telling the girls that there is no girls pack or mixed pack with you, and they'd need to go find one somewhere else. Pretty unfair of the rep to do that to you.

 

Perhaps a better solution would be to determine in advance what packs, if any, in the area will accept girls then work with that pack to accept them. I would even invite them to show up and be present at the round up. Explain to the parents and apologize for any confusion caused by the District Rep and enthusiastically welcome those girls into scouting in the other pack.

 

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30 minutes ago, cocomax said:

So. . .  our pack and troop are having a round up tonight.  Our district rep demanded to oversee and approve our ad, flyers and news stories write ups.  She also went out to all the schools in the area to promote the round up. 

We have a small troop of boys and a small pack of boys. 

Last night the rep contacts us and says, "I recruited a whole bunch of girls for you! They will be coming to your round up tomorrow night. Be ready to sign them up!"

So, in our area the district is trying to force girls into boy only packs,  I never read anywhere that was part of the plan.  The lady scouters that lead our pack are very upset, and might throw in the towel just fold the pack. 

 

This was the default in my council this year.  All packs were assumed to be co-ed, unless they specifically opted out, which required a flogging from the DE before being allowed.  We were also directed to sign up all girls, even if we weren't accepting (which we were), take their money, and then refer them to the district for assignment to a different pack.  We declined to do that, not that any girls showed up anyway, because it felt like bait-and-switch.  But, it is the new world order.

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We had a vote at a committee meeting to stay all boy out of respect to the Girl scout troop in our area that we were good friends with.

If a female leader wishes to rise up start a girl pack or mixed pack I am sure our CO would be fine with it.

The rep will be at the roundup tonight. 

The nearest co-ed girl pack is 50 miles away.

 

Edited by cocomax

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1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

First, learn the BSA Mission and Vision. Preparing  young people to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetime by instilling  in them the value of the scout oath and law are the adult leaders primary task

 

1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

That is a quick list of what I feel new adults need to learn. It seems too simplistic to some and too idealistic to others. Scouting is a values program that uses the outdoors as the tool for practice.

Hi Barry,

I really appreciate your thoughtful answer.   And that is where I'd like to go with a new girls' troop.   To quote Baden-Powell "There is hardly one of the Guide Laws that is not better carried out  after you have been living and practising it in camp."  (from the 1929 Scouting for Girls handbook)

I also really appreciate your willingness to give advice, despite your concern that introducing girls into BSA will mess things up for the boys.   I certainly don't want to detract from the boys's program.   I just want a more traditional scouting experience for girls than the vastly-modernized program that is the current GSUSA.  

2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

So the bigger question is how much new blood can an organization handle without changing the dynamics of the organization? Based from my limited experience in my very small world, less than 20%.

That sounds about right.   The challenge will be to try to be an exception to that 20% rule --- the girls' troops will have more new blood than that,   can they still have a good patrol and troop experience?

 

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55 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Training is important and valuable.  The problem with training is it produces trained (i.e. by-the-book) scouters.

 

55 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

My experience outside scouting with people who are book trained is they tend to crash into a program like stampeding elephants, waving the book, and explaining how everybody is wrong.  Sometimes they are correct, but they are nearly always wrong. 

Yup.  That is a danger for new volunteers.   Thanks for the warning in advance.

 

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2 hours ago, Eagledad said:

One Council Trainer said that he was watching Wood Badge course change from a leadership skills course to a scout skills for adults before his eyes and there was nothing he could do about it. His trainers needed training because they were hung up on scout skills basics.

And from the YPT2 thread:

1 hour ago, Eagledad said:

But, finding leaders willing to take over at Webelos is challenging enough without finding one with outdoors experienced.

So,  where is the right place to fill in the missing scout skills?    I went to IOLS and it seemed more like a very-fast-overview of what you should know, than a way to actually learn it. Some stuff I am fine on:  knots,  lashing, pocket knives, camp saws, cooking over a campfire, etc.  Other stuff I don't know yet:  axes, water purification,  bear canisters, etc.

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