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Treflienne

Linked or not linked?

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For a new girls troop it seems obviously better to link to a friendly local boys troop than to try to go it alone as an completely independent troop with a separate troop committee.   

Situation:

Girls: Probably 6 or 7 girls.  Young and inexperienced. Ages 6th-8th grades.  Most scouting experience among the girls:  one did everything her brothers cub scout pack did, one did some camping with girl scouts as a Brownie/Junior/Cadette.  A good bit of enthusiasm.

Adults: One (me) with GSUSA experience and absolutely no BSA experience.  One (an eagle scout) with extensive experience in a cub scout pack.  One with no experience but willing to be a committee member.   We have yet to press the other parents to find out what they would be willing to step up to do if nudged to do so.

Several local boy scout troops all are pleased to see a new girls troop starting.  All have offered to link to the new troop. Their CO's also are okay with the idea.

Seems obvious to me that the girls should go with one of these offers and not go it alone.   

Anyone care to give contrary advice?  Would anyone rationally go it alone instead of linking?  Why?

Edited by Treflienne
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Are the boys in these troops truly for it, or is it adults saying OK with being linked?

 

I ask because in my neck of the woods, the majority of the boys are against being linked troops. But the majority of  adults seem to have no problems. In the troop I just left, the majority of adults were fine with being a "linked troop." The adults stated it would be coed in all but name. However when they asked the boys, they were overwhelmingly against becoming a linked troop. Enough stated they would leave over being "linked" that the CO and adults backed off on it.

I would go it alone if it would hurt existing Scouts.

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40 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Are the boys in these troops truly for it, or is it adults saying OK with being linked?

 

I ask because in my neck of the woods, the majority of the boys are against being linked troops. But the majority of  adults seem to have no problems. In the troop I just left, the majority of adults were fine with being a "linked troop." The adults stated it would be coed in all but name. However when they asked the boys, they were overwhelmingly against becoming a linked troop. Enough stated they would leave over being "linked" that the CO and adults backed off on it.

I would go it alone if it would hurt existing Scouts.

Our unit had the same feedback from the Boy Scouts and actually our leaders feel the same about linked troops.  If some group wants to start a troop for girls (as it is Wednesday not 100% sure what the correct term currently is) at the church we wish them well.  We would be glad to speak with them and offer advice, but we are not looking at a linked model.  The CO has 2 packs and our troop.  Roughly 300 Cubs and Boy Scouts, but no groundswell for a troop for girls.

If a unit and the current BOY SCOUTS (to be called Scouts 2/19) in the unit are supportive of a linked troop model, that would be an easier road to travel.  If not supported by the youth, could get rocky

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1 hour ago, Treflienne said:

For a new girls troop it seems obviously better to link to a friendly local boys troop than to try to go it alone as an completely independent troop with a separate troop committee.   

Situation:

Girls: Probably 6 or 7 girls.  Young and inexperienced. Ages 6th-8th grades.  Most scouting experience among the girls:  one did everything her brothers cub scout pack did, one did some camping with girl scouts as a Brownie/Junior/Cadette.  A good bit of enthusiasm.

Adults: One (me) with GSUSA experience and absolutely no BSA experience.  One (an eagle scout) with extensive experience in a cub scout pack.  One with no experience but willing to be a committee member.   We have yet to press the other parents to find out what they would be willing to step up to do if nudged to do so.

Several local boy scout troops all are pleased to see a new girls troop starting.  All have offered to link to the new troop. Their CO's also are okay with the idea.

Seems obvious to me that the girls should go with one of these offers and not go it alone.   

Anyone care to give contrary advice?  Would anyone rationally go it alone instead of linking?  Why?

I guess the question is if you are a linked troop, exactly how are you linked? Sharing of committee, space, equipment, joint activities, etc are all possible. But that does also mean giving up some of your own self determination as well. I'd also take the warning about being sure that you have youth and adult buy in as well, at least for whatever it is you will be sharing.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Are the boys in these troops truly for it, or is it adults saying OK with being linked?

One of the troops I think yes --  or at least the PLC is.

The other troops -- I need to find that out.   Thanks for the helpful reminder that I should verify that the boys (and not just the adults) are for it.

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46 minutes ago, malraux said:

I guess the question is if you are a linked troop, exactly how are you linked? Sharing of committee, space, equipment, joint activities, etc are all possible. But that does also mean giving up some of your own self determination as well.

That is the other important question.   I would much appreciate any advice on what you think would work well and what would not work well.

I've been talking with scoutmasters/committee-chairs of these troops (several different troops), asking each about what he thought the linkage would look like in practise if our newly forming girls troop were to link with his troop.   I've gotten some ideas from each troop, but they don't yet have a fully formed idea of what they would like, just as I don't yet know what the girls troop would like.

One consistent idea is that they think that the girls troop and the boys troop should have joint PLC meetings.  Essentially the girls troop will be the size of a single patrol.   Planning would be done together, with the boys and girls deciding which outings/activities would be done together, and which would be done separately.  Their idea would be to aspire to progressive indepedence in future years as the girls troop increased in size and experience.  

The smallest troop's scoutmaster seems to vision an almost completely integrated troop, at least for the first years.  Joint committee, joint fundraisers,  joint PLC.   Girls would use equipment belonging to the existing troop, at least until they get equipment they like of their own. PLC would determine how many of the meetings/outings are joint and how many separate, but scoutmaster thinks that mostly joint stuff would be good.  You are right, there would be less self-determination.  But that troop is small enough that the girls would be a sizeable enough proportion (1/4 to begin with?) to have a decent amount of say.   This is the troop in which the PLC seemed quite happy with the idea.

The largest, very well resourced, troop pictures it as the girls having separate meetings (same building, same time, different room).  Some shared outings.  They have lots of equipment and no problem if the girls use it. Committee members are generously offering to help with the new girls troop paperwork, since they are experienced at doing it. With this troop, I don't think that the girls troop would have very much influence on the boys troop at all (due to the size difference).  But there would be a lot of opportunities the girls could choose to participate in (or choose not to participate in.)

By the way, any of these troops would be willing to lend the girls equipment, even if the girls are a completely independent troop.

Reactions?   What sounds good?  What sounds bad?  What do you think are best practises for linking trops?   None of this is set in stone yet. 

50 minutes ago, malraux said:

But that does also mean giving up some of your own self determination as well.

I realize that.  But "give a man enough rope and he'll hang himself".   I think that given the inexperience of the girls and the adults, that giving up some self-determination might worthwhile for the advice, mentoring, and support.    But don't want to give up too much self-determination.

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21 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

The largest, very well resourced, troop pictures it as the girls having separate meetings (same building, same time, different room).  Some shared outings.  They have lots of equipment and no problem if the girls use it. Committee members are generously offering to help with the new girls troop paperwork, since they are experienced at doing it. With this troop, I don't think that the girls troop would have very much influence on the boys troop at all (due to the size difference).  But there would be a lot of opportunities the girls could choose to participate in (or choose not to participate in.)

This is very much what I think the 'linked' model is supposed to look like.  Share a C.O., committee, resources, but operate as two separate and autonomous units.  Having the boys and girls troops meeting together, with the girls operating like another patrol is, I am sure, going to happen in some cases, but it is not what is intended.  

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My model for linked would be linked infrastructure: CO, committee, equipment, and fundraising; and separate activities: meetings, PLCs, campouts.

Our troop's greatest strength is probably the support we receive from our CO, a Catholic parish.  They are generous in direct support like funds and space, and the parishioners are generous in supporting the troop when we do things like fundraising and frankly in having their kids join.  I think leveraging that support would be critical to a new troop's success, but I don't see any reason why the new troop would need to hold meetings or campouts with the existing troop.  The essence of scouting is a group of friends who get together and become better citizens and better individuals by planning and carrying out their own program.  Let the girls do that.  Tell them how it should work with them making decisions and carrying them out, and then let them do just that.  

I personally wold not be very enthusiastic about an essentially co-ed situation, and I don't think the kids are either, especially at the ages you will primarily have: 6th, 7th, and 8th graders.  The most successful Venture crews I have seen are primarily juniors, seniors, and beyond; at that age they have figured out a lot more about who they themselves are and so are better equipped to understand who the other other gender is and how to interact with them. 

Let the new troop be its own troop, let the old troop be its own troop, share the external resources they each have: the adults and CO, and let them keep their internal resources, which is themselves.

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4 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

I think leveraging that support would be critical to a new troop's success, but I don't see any reason why the new troop would need to hold meetings or campouts with the existing troop.  The essence of scouting is a group of friends who get together and become better citizens and better individuals by planning and carrying out their own program.  Let the girls do that.  Tell them how it should work with them making decisions and carrying them out, and then let them do just that.  

This is perhaps closest to my feelings as long as we are really making separate troops a thing. The girls should drop in to an existing troop meeting and a plc meeting once just to see what they are like, but the best way to learn how to do all the elements of scouting are direct experience.

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1 hour ago, Treflienne said:

One consistent idea is that they think that the girls troop and the boys troop should have joint PLC meetings.  Essentially the girls troop will be the size of a single patrol.   Planning would be done together, with the boys and girls deciding which outings/activities would be done together, and which would be done separately.  Their idea would be to aspire to progressive indepedence in future years as the girls troop increased in size and experience.  

 

You will need to be careful doing this. We had a new troop, the size of a patrol, do joint activities for about 8-9 months. Then they merged with us. Grant you, Officially it is two separate troops, but many adults I've talked to siad the reality will be a single, coed troop in gender segregated patrols.

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Our story: We have some girls and parents that will bridge to scouts in a year. Some of the moms really do a lot of outdoor activities. We were worried about a split troop until we heard that last part. We have time but the current thinking is essentially EDGE for the parents and the scouts. A temp SM/ASM's with an expiration date while the moms get up to speed and take over. We'll teach them our program. Shared gear and committee. Separate PLC, separate calendar, with the hope that weekends mostly line up. If we go to the same area there's no reason the two troops have to do the same thing. If the girls want to canoe and the boys want to backpack, so be it.

I'm hoping this encourages the boys to understand that their patrols can do different things on a campout.

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17 hours ago, Treflienne said:

... One consistent idea is that they think that the girls troop and the boys troop should have joint PLC meetings.  ....  Their idea would be to aspire to progressive indepedence in future years as the girls troop increased in size and experience.  

The smallest troop's scoutmaster seems to vision an almost completely integrated troop, at least for the first years.  Joint committee, joint fundraisers,  joint PLC.   Girls would use equipment belonging to the existing troop, at least until they get equipment they like of their own. PLC would determine how many of the meetings/outings are joint and how many separate, but scoutmaster thinks that mostly joint stuff would be good.  You are right, there would be less self-determination.  But that troop is small enough that the girls would be a sizeable enough proportion (1/4 to begin with?) to have a decent amount of say.   This is the troop in which the PLC seemed quite happy with the idea.

...

Unlike others so far, I've been favorably impressed by scouts who've come up in a fully co-Ed association -- including those with co-Ed patrols, and one that made no bones about shared sleeping quarters. So a closely linked troop doesn't worry me. I do think, however, that in such a closely linked small troop, the girls and boys might realize  that their patrols would run more smoothly if they weren't determined by sex. (E.g., a couple of girls might have personalities that suit one of the the boys' patrol and vice-versa.) That could lead to a little resentment.

Do any of the troops have boys who are already acquainted with the girls? Especially siblings? A selling point of this excersize was to reduce the disjointed schedules of post-modern nomadic families.

 

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16 hours ago, qwazse said:

Do any of the troops have boys who are already acquainted with the girls? Especially siblings? A selling point of this excersize was to reduce the disjointed schedules of post-modern nomadic families.

If only it were so simple.  For each of the several boys troops, one or two girls have a family connection with that troop.    (And all the troops are in the same school district which has only one jr high school and only one high school,  so there are the oppotunities for friendships to overlap between scouts and school with all the troops.)

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On 12/12/2018 at 6:28 PM, MattR said:

the current thinking is essentially EDGE for the parents and the scouts. A temp SM/ASM's with an expiration date while the moms get up to speed and take over. We'll teach them our program.

Sounds like a great idea.   I wonder if having an "expiration date" would make it easier to persuade an experienced former ASM/SM to help out directly with the girls troop,  even without having a daughter in the troop.  (I don't know of any parents of the girls who already have had ASM/SM experience.)

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On 12/12/2018 at 1:06 PM, T2Eagle said:

My model for linked would be linked infrastructure: CO, committee, equipment, and fundraising; and separate activities: meetings, PLCs, campouts.

 

On 12/12/2018 at 6:28 PM, MattR said:

Separate PLC,

So it seems that at first the girls troop will be a single patrol.   So it seems to me the girls troop, on its own, will initially need a PL and APL, but will be too small to need a SPL or PLC.  (I admit to being influenced by this post:  https://www.scouter.com/topic/27493-pl-spl-for-small-troop/?tab=comments#comment-422519 and other posts in that thread.)

For the sake of communication between the girls and boys troops, and for planning on whether (or not) to do any joint activities or meetings,   I could see the girl PL attending the boys PLC as an observer (rather than a voting member)  to be able to give input to the boys on whether the girls might want to participate (if invited) in trips the boys are planning,  and carry info back to girls troop (the single-patrol troop) about possible opportunities to do things jointly.   The girls as a patrol (a single-patrol troop) would also plan on their own activities that they wanted to do by themselves.   And if they were to plan something to which they wished to invite the boys, that could be communicated at the boys PLC meeting by the girl observer. 

And some year,  once the girls reach three patrols,  they would be ready to have their own PLC.

Or is this all nonsense?   I have no experience, and am trying to imagine how things might work.

What think y'all?

 

 

Edited by Treflienne
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