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dbautista5

New Scout Troop

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Hello Scouters!

I am positioned to be the new Scoutmaster for our girls youth Troop starting next year and am honored to have been approached by our Committee to fill this role! 

I'm trying to wrap my head around getting program started for these new youth. As much as I want the Troop to be youth lead, I also realize that the youth will be starting with little to no scouting experience. I believe a couple of the girls have been with GSA, most have not, and have only experienced Scouting through their brothers. 

We will be sharing a Charter, Committee and ASMs. I should be able to leverage most of our existing ASMs to help teach Scout skills to the new youth (EDGE method) but ultimately I want to get to the point where the girls are doing this for themselves, similar to the boy's Troop.

My questions are related to experiences with starting brand new Troops. 

How did you initially plan program? Did you just arbitrarily plan out the first few months and then let the youth start planning thereafter? 

What youth leadership positions do you consider absolutely necessary? Obviously SPL and PL. Troop Guide / Instructor ?? Do we have to have an ASPL?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as we get closer to launching. We're having our first recruiting event in a couple of weeks so I'm sure these questions and more will come up.

Thank you all for any insight you can provide!

Yours in Scouting,

Denise Bautista

 

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Working on a similar thing here.

 

Our location 2 packs show need for a Girls Troop, and I will probably be the ASM for it.

 

Don't have any first hand experience on starting a new unit.  Do you know if you have an Venturing units nearby that their females could come and give a "crash course" on camping to the new recruits?

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First of all, congratulations and good luck!

One idea I heard over the weekend was to rotate PLs on a monthly basis until all the Scouts have done the job. They all get a campout to lead, plan for, etc. Some of them may want nothing more to do with the job; others will have their appetite whetted.

Depending on the size of your troop, you may not need an SPL, especially at first. Consider just having the PLC run the show for a while. The leaders will naturally emerge. Scale up and add ASPL, etc., only as needed. If you only have one patrol, you just need a PL - no SPL necessary.

Consider an interest survey like Venturing uses to find out what they want to do or start with in the first year. I developed one with basic skills topics so they can rank (with language designed to attract their attention and hook ‘em):

______ Build, light, and control fires in the wilderness, and cook over an open flame.

______ Use rope to tie knots and lash poles together for emergency rescues, to build bridges and towers, rig tents and tarps, and create survival shelters.

______ Sharpen and use a knife, axe, hatchet and saw to make a woodcarving, cut down a tree, chop firewood, or clear a backpacking trail.

______ Stop an injured friend from bleeding, fight a heart attack, save someone from choking, and protect other Scouts from sickness caused by heat or cold.

______ Cook hearty meals - including desserts - in the middle of the woods over a campfire, on a tiny backpacking stove, or in a giant cast-iron oven over coals.

______ Find your way out of the forests or marshes with nothing more than the sun or stars; read a map to plan out a multi-day adventure carrying everything you need on your back.

______ Find out which plants and animals can hurt you, and which can help you - and how to tell the difference.

______ Become your family’s disaster expert, making sure they are ready and know how to react if there is a fire, a long power outage, massive flooding, or other emergency.

______ Build your swimming skills so you can rescue someone from drowning with just a rope.

______ Explore new areas by adventuring on the water in a kayak, canoe, rowboat or sailboat, up and down hidden rivers and creeks.

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@dbautista5, welcome to the forums.

As a former Crew Advisor, I can tell you that venturing is not the lead to follow. I only say that because they come in all over the map with a vague vision of where to go. So the interest survey that we give those late teens is more of a Chinese menu of take it or leave it.

Here's how I lay this all out from comparing my scouting experience with that of friends and strangers (including present company):

  • A troop forms with a built-in vision: the pinnacle experience of hiking and camping independently with your mates.
  • Achieving that vision needs someone to qualify to take their mates hiking and camping: the first class scout.
  • That person needs mates : a patrol. And those mates need to see that person as their leader.
  • The patrol needs to master skills that will make them first class scouts.
  • The skills need to be laid out in an organize fashion with benchmarks for mastery ... that's the advancement method.
  • The skills need to be applied: the outdoors method.

So, the most important leadership position -- especially in a new troop of just one or two patrols -- is the patrol leader. As the troop accumulates gear that patrols will share, it will need a quartermaster, as it accumulates patrols, it will need patrol leaders. As they have a bunch of first class scouts who want to continue rank advancement but thriftily share literature, the troop will need a librarian ... but for now focus on building a vision for the scouts coming through your door. Do they know who they want to be their mates? Do they have an idea of who's closest to qualifying to take their troop hiking and camping?

Your advantage is that well-trained girl scouts understand getting organized and making plans. They also know a lot of songs, how to have fun. So chances are, these kids can pull themselves together.

What you need, IMHO, are places for them to go. Locations to hike to. Community leaders to visit. People to serve. Nice camping spots. And, adult leaders to fall in line with the options your giving these scouts.

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17 hours ago, dbautista5 said:

Hello Scouters!

I am positioned to be the new Scoutmaster for our girls youth Troop starting next year and am honored to have been approached by our Committee to fill this role! 

I'm trying to wrap my head around getting program started for these new youth. As much as I want the Troop to be youth lead, I also realize that the youth will be starting with little to no scouting experience. I believe a couple of the girls have been with GSA, most have not, and have only experienced Scouting through their brothers. 

We will be sharing a Charter, Committee and ASMs. I should be able to leverage most of our existing ASMs to help teach Scout skills to the new youth (EDGE method) but ultimately I want to get to the point where the girls are doing this for themselves, similar to the boy's Troop.

My questions are related to experiences with starting brand new Troops. 

How did you initially plan program? Did you just arbitrarily plan out the first few months and then let the youth start planning thereafter? 

What youth leadership positions do you consider absolutely necessary? Obviously SPL and PL. Troop Guide / Instructor ?? Do we have to have an ASPL?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as we get closer to launching. We're having our first recruiting event in a couple of weeks so I'm sure these questions and more will come up.

Thank you all for any insight you can provide!

Yours in Scouting,

Denise Bautista

 

So lots of questions.  How many girls?  Will you have your own equipment or share with the boys unit?  Will you be meeting at the same time/place or separately?

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.

Assuming you have good relationships with the boys unit, I would suggest not using the boys troop ASMs to teach scout skills, rather get the boys unit Instructors and/or older scouts to do so.  That will help set the youth leadership direction.  Maybe ask if your PL(s) can observe the boy unit's PLC meetings.

Unless you have 15 - 20 girls joining your new unit, skip the SPLs and ASPLs.  Maybe even if you have that many skip those positions.  A patrol needs a Patrol Leader, but not an SPL.  I'd argue two or three patrols probably don't need an SPL.  As they get familiar with the equipment and structuring outings some of that will shake out.  Introduce other leadership positions as the unit needs them.  

Dig out the Troop Program Resources for your first few months.  It will build a framework around meetings for your new PL(s).

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You guys are the BEST!! Thank you for all the helpful suggestions, I now have a much clearer idea of where the new Troop needs to go and a better path forward :)

I'm so looking forward to the girls joining and seeing how the values of Scouting shapes these young women. 

-Denise

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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?

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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?

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On 10/8/2018 at 5:54 PM, dbautista5 said:

Hello Scouters!

I am positioned to be the new Scoutmaster for our girls youth Troop starting next year and am honored to have been approached by our Committee to fill this role! 

I'm trying to wrap my head around getting program started for these new youth. As much as I want the Troop to be youth lead, I also realize that the youth will be starting with little to no scouting experience. I believe a couple of the girls have been with GSA, most have not, and have only experienced Scouting through their brothers. 

We will be sharing a Charter, Committee and ASMs. I should be able to leverage most of our existing ASMs to help teach Scout skills to the new youth (EDGE method) but ultimately I want to get to the point where the girls are doing this for themselves, similar to the boy's Troop.

My questions are related to experiences with starting brand new Troops. 

How did you initially plan program? Did you just arbitrarily plan out the first few months and then let the youth start planning thereafter? 

What youth leadership positions do you consider absolutely necessary? Obviously SPL and PL. Troop Guide / Instructor ?? Do we have to have an ASPL?

I'm sure I'll have more questions as we get closer to launching. We're having our first recruiting event in a couple of weeks so I'm sure these questions and more will come up.

Thank you all for any insight you can provide!

Yours in Scouting,

Denise Bautista

 

Welcome and ask questions, we try to help each other here.  Sometimes you will agree with what people say and other times you won't.  There are a lot of great Scouters here.

I started a Troop 2 years ago and was the Scoutmaster so I can help with that perspective.  My first piece of advice is to do what is right for the girls and know that you will make mistakes.  That is OK as long as you are trying to do it in the interest of them.  It will get easier, and harder at the same time.  Go to your district round table and network with other troop leaders.

When we first formed, we met with the SPL and ASPL and helped them with planning the first 6 months.  Ask them what they want to do.  Get the scout program books from the scout shop.  There are three of them and they cover a huge amount of activities that the scouts can do.  It also tells you know what to do at meetings and outings for that activity.  It is a great place to start.  Look at the resources here: https://www.scouting.org/programs/boy-scouts/planning/ get and read the first Troop Leader book, it is really good.  https://www.scouting.org/programs/boy-scouts/adults/publications/.  You will find that your youth will want to do something, once they choose help them do that and own it.  If it is something like climbing or shooting that requires trained leader you don't have, ask other troops for help.

Necessary positions(assuming you are a small troop):  SPL, PL, Quartermaster.  Scribe is next in my mind.  ASPL is only necessary when you grow, but it is great to have when the SPL can't make it.

Realize, you are doing your best.  And let the kids do and own their program but at the beginning you may need to be there to help coach them .  Provide them the forms for planning to fill out and it helps keep them a bit more on track.  Scouting is not only about advancement and merit badges.  Resist the parents that will constantly push to get signoffs and merit badges.  Make sure the kids know what is available, but let them want to do it.  It is their experience, not the parents.

Good Luck!

 

 

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1 hour ago, Treflienne said:

 

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?

I am from Texas so I know nothing about snow.  You can camp in cabins but that might be a bad habit to start off with.  But then again, I don't know anything about camping in the snow.  I would start with just a basic campout with team building and basic camping training (cooking, cleaning, talking about what they want to do)

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5 hours ago, Treflienne said:

... 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?

Cabins are the best. Some wood stoves are also designed for cooking as well. You need to talk to your ranger about which set-up is preferred for a given cabin. The down side: clean-up is tougher.

Barns are fun too, if anybody has a farmer in the family.

We have converted a picnic shelter into four walls using tarps. Lots of knots and rope work. Hay bales were brought in to buffer the concrete floor. I'm not a personal fan. Always went out and set up a tent or tossed my bag and tarp on a picnic table when they did that.

Growing up, my troop had a 24 man tent (we called it a circus tent) donated to them from the local armory. But that comes with its own set of problems.

The most comfortable, honestly, was wilderness shelters in a pine forest. They take all morning to build, but are well worth the effort.

Regardless, the cold is rough on small bodies, so training in cold weather preparedness and first aid is essential.

 

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5 hours ago, Treflienne said:

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

Northern Illinois and no I didn't take them winter camping (we did some winter hikes though).  We practiced the camp stuff in the fire department bays.

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Lots of ideas I agree with . The organization, the Scout Led, the opportunities...

Make good contact with your local Scout Commissioner Corps (see the District webpage). And the most local Scout Camp. Hereabouts in Maryland, we have several Scout Camps in driving distance with cabins available for winter camping and activities. Get your scouts OUTSIDE and hiking and observing. Make contact with local naturalists, park people, bird watcheyour Scouts reading the handbook and working toward First Class.  It is do-able in the winter.

As your adult ideas sink in, let the Scouts take over in planning and doing. Provide maps, booklets, let'm talk to the Park Rangers and docents.  

Hang on, you will be dragged along, but you'll be glad you did. 

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