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Girls in Scouts BSA in the News (and in recruiting numbers)...

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5 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I am skeptical because not only do I not believe a typical NEW unit can get to speed in one month under normal circumstance, I don't believe the scouts would set that as a goal. It's not like my emotions are in conflict and I have to lash out yelling cheating cheating to feel better. I have worked with dozens of units to help them start and come up to speed. It's all they can do to just function as a troop on their first campout. 

I think there are lots of models out there.  For someone who's program is very Scout and patrol driven, I can see why this would be hard to believe.  Yet, I think there are lots of high functioning programs where adults serve as "Coach" every one and again.  I think of it as inflecting some adult guidance from time to time to broaden the Scout's horizons.

I see that in our troop.  Scouts in our troop know a big, high adventure summer trip is an option.  They know that because the Scoutmaster shares his enthusiasm for big trips.  "Boys, I think it would be fun to plan a week long trip this summer."  That adds some inspiration to the program and gets the Scouts thinking.  Then, as the year progresses, the Scouts start coming up with ideas.  A trip to a national park, a trip to the beach, a trip to the mountains, etc...  But, if the Scoutmaster hadn't planted the seed, then it might have taken 3-4 years for the Scouts to think grand enough to get there.

So, a new troop for girls gets going and some adults say "hey, camporee is coming up.  They'll have competitions there.  Goodness, it would be pretty awesome to try to win those competitions."  In a strictly patrol method based program, the Scoutmaster probably shouldn't have said anything.  But, because these new Scouts focused on a goal, worked as a team, and accomplished something they had a victory.  They can now build off that.

Do we want Scoutmasters to do that every month?  No, I'd think not.  But, in strategic places - like a first camporee - that doesn't seem so bad.  In fact, I'd argue that we want Scoutmasters to do just that.  Inspire Scouts at points where challenge and success can lead to growth and an increase in confidence.

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Posted (edited)

I just don't see the issue.  New patrols can very easily win a camporee competition ... if they prepare and are motivated.

23 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Inspire Scouts at points where challenge and success can lead to growth and an increase in confidence.

The SM should always be inspiring and encouraging the scouts to grow.  But that's different than always setting the direction and the specifics.  The skill is knowing how much, how far and which direction.  Inspiring a four year patrol to win a camporee can often alienate scouts.  Camporee competitions are good for scouts in their first few years.  After that, it's a been-there-done-that situation.  So then we look for the next growth opportunity.  

Adult leaders need to constantly adjust.  Adjust to the scouts.  Adjust to the situations.  Adjust to find new ways to inspire and help the scout stretch and grow and have a good experience.

Edited by fred8033
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8 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I am skeptical because not only do I not believe a typical NEW unit can get to speed in one month under normal circumstance, I don't believe the scouts would set that as a goal.

 

Has it occurred to anybody that many of these girls have been unofficially but actively involved in BSA alongside their brothers potentially for years? Some of them may have been heavily coached by older brothers to help them succeed, too.

Am I the only one whose kids were involved in a troop where younger sisters were an ever-present fixture at all the non-council events they could get to? If allowed to go to Campboree, these girls would have been learning alongside their brothers, coached by their brothers, and eager to finally get recognition for all the stuff they'd learned. Just two or three girls with this kind of experience would be enough to motivate and provide the expertise for the whole troop to do extremely well at Campboree. 

It's also entirely possible many of the other troops in this area really just need to step up their game. I haven't been to Campboree in my area yet, but from what I hear of the other adults talking, it sounds like there only a couple of truely competitive units and the rest of the troops just use it as a camping trip. Not at all like the Campborees my older kids competed in. 

And nobody said they swept the Campboree and won every prize. They said the girls made it into the "top three" for each competition, which means to me that other units took home a fair number of first place awards too. I'd wager there were probably only 3 or 4 units total who took all but a few of those competitions. 

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6 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I just don't see the issue.  New patrols can very easily win a camporee competition ... if they prepare and are motivated.

The SM should always be inspiring and encouraging the scouts to grow.  But that's different than always setting the direction and the specifics.  The skill is knowing how much, how far and which direction.  Inspiring a four year patrol to win a camporee can often alienate scouts.  Camporee competitions are good for scouts in their first few years.  After that, it's a been-there-done-that situation.  So then we look for the next growth opportunity.  

Adult leaders need to constantly adjust.  Adjust to the scouts.  Adjust to the situations.  Adjust to find new ways to inspire and help the scout stretch and grow and have a good experience.

 

Fred, it is true that a brand new patrol of new scouts (all Scout or Tenderfoot presumably) could potentially win a camporee over vastly more experienced scouts (1C, Star, Life, Eagle) who have competed previously in multiple camporees and klondikes, but the odds and probability of them actually doing that without some outside assistance is relatively slim. 

I myself have personally witnessed biased judging at camporees, so I know first hand that it exists and I could easily foresee pro-girl judges, being more lenient and generous in their scoring of the girl patrols. The fact that the planner of this camporee has also expressed great glee in the girl's victory, raises questions as to whether or not the judging was truly objective and unbiased.  

I would wager that there was a pre-conceived plan to ensure that all of the girl patrols had a very positive experience at this camporee. The BSA could not really afford to have brand new girl units go to a competition, get beaten, get discouraged and decide that they wanted to quit...that would not fit the narrative that the BSA is trying to sell about girls in the boy scouts.

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3 hours ago, Liz said:

Has it occurred to anybody that many of these girls have been unofficially but actively involved in BSA alongside their brothers potentially for years? Some of them may have been heavily coached by older brothers to help them succeed, too.

Am I the only one whose kids were involved in a troop where younger sisters were an ever-present fixture at all the non-council events they could get to? If allowed to go to Campboree, these girls would have been learning alongside their brothers, coached by their brothers, and eager to finally get recognition for all the stuff they'd learned. Just two or three girls with this kind of experience would be enough to motivate and provide the expertise for the whole troop to do extremely well at Campboree. 

It's also entirely possible many of the other troops in this area really just need to step up their game. I haven't been to Campboree in my area yet, but from what I hear of the other adults talking, it sounds like there only a couple of truely competitive units and the rest of the troops just use it as a camping trip. Not at all like the Campborees my older kids competed in. 

And nobody said they swept the Campboree and won every prize. They said the girls made it into the "top three" for each competition, which means to me that other units took home a fair number of first place awards too. I'd wager there were probably only 3 or 4 units total who took all but a few of those competitions. 

The OP and planner of the camporee said the girls took home the top troop in the district award, which to me sounds like they won the camporee. 

It's a bit far fetched to say that the scout skills of girls who may have learned a few scout skills here or there, on the occasional sporadic basis from their brothers, is equivalent to the same focused and immersive instruction that the scouts themselves had been receiving. 

Again, the probability of inexperienced brand new scouts beating far more experienced scouts, with previous competition experience under their belts, is unlikely...possible yes, but probable...no.

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Posted (edited)
11 hours ago, SSF said:

The OP and planner of the camporee said the girls took home the top troop in the district award, which to me sounds like they won the camporee. 

It's a bit far fetched to say that the scout skills of girls who may have learned a few scout skills here or there, on the occasional sporadic basis from their brothers, is equivalent to the same focused and immersive instruction that the scouts themselves had been receiving. 

Again, the probability of inexperienced brand new scouts beating far more experienced scouts, with previous competition experience under their belts, is unlikely...possible yes, but probable...no.

This is what I was going to say. It sounds a little fishy that girls that effectively audited the program are outperforming boys that were actually enrolled in the program.

And I've never seen non-scout siblings of either gender at a camporee/summer camp/event larger than a troop campout.

Edited by Saltface

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As a 30-year scouter who is now SM of a new 25-member all-girl Troop, this discussion puts me on notice of some reactions I can expect when I take them to our April camporee.  In a year or two this will all seem normal.

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Posted (edited)
39 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

As a 30-year scouter who is now SM of a new 25-member all-girl Troop, this discussion puts me on notice of some reactions I can expect when I take them to our April camporee.  In a year or two this will all seem normal.

Really? Why? Your post doesn't make sense because I've seen nothing in this discussion to support your thought. If anything, you can expect praise and pats on the back.

The discussion isn't about camporees, or the reactions (well mostly) to the girls performance, or even fairness. It's about adult leaders with social agenda's to prove a point. Let me give you a hint: I have found that in most cases, true boy run patrol method troops are not typically the best uniformed troops because the adults aren't intruding on the scouts independence to make right or wrong decisions. Maybe brand new youth run troops are an exception, but see my point.

Now, I'm not saying to encourage your scouts dress slobs, I'm saying that the scouts actions well tell who makes the decisions of the program where character is developed by the scouts decisioins.

I have a question that I really don't know the answer: Most new troops are challenged just to get the first couple camping trips under their feet. What is so attractive about camporee's where the leaders are giving up value time to get the unit up to speed? And in front of everyone. It had to be pre-planned on somebodies schedule weeks or months ago. What is the thinking?

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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Barry:  I am just looking forward to a time when those of us who are on the front lines of actually forming and operating these units are going to experience less questioning of our motives and operating decisions. But this will all normalize, and that is the point of my brief note.

It took us a year to get where we are, with formation of a Webelos den to get a core of girls going.  With a preponderance of 11-13 year olds, the SM staffs are of course needing to do more than normal.  After all, the girls and their parents need to have an essentially quality experience over the first six months or so.  You can’t expect an inexperienced 12 year old SPL who is not even Scout rank to figure it all out.  So is it likely there was over-coaching in this instance?  Perhaps.

A note on uniforms.  Our girls take unusual pride in proper uniforming.  They just naturally love the whole concept.  I think that will be common in girl troops.

For those of you looking for a read on how this is all coming along, I suggest that this is going to be an over-the-top success nationally.  Our group is just doing the normal program, and it is just taking off.  And, we are in the center of a big city and have under-resourced kids.  Let’s cheer-lead these (mostly new) leaders who are stepping forward to do this.  This is, finally, the good membership news we have been wanting.  Craig

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Our Weblos girl den wipes the floor with the boys den, granted its a small number of kids, but its not like BSA was the only place to learn scouting skills. (We do not have any type of den competitions this is purely from observing them at Pack meetings and Camp outs). 

These girls have a choice the boys do not. They could do the non-uniformed social club with traveling, amusement parks, crafts and cookie booths but they are choosing patrols, uniforms, and camping. 

So a patrol winning at a camporee isn't surprising.

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The camporee was set up so that the adults running the events could give the ribbons to anyone they wanted to for any reason they wanted. The scoring system was things other than best time or best score.

I know this because our troop went head to head with the girls in the Alligator Pit Crossing (lashing contest) our boys got a better time then the girls and were told we had the 8th best time of the day so far. So the girls had a time that was 9th best or worse.  When the awards were given out we got a second place ribbon in the event that our boys feel THEY DO NOT DESERVE. The troop that did the even before us did the event in half the time as us, were younger scouts and had great scout spirit and they got nothing.

The girls got a first place in the Alligator Pit Crossing and it makes zero sense to me or the boys in our troop.

The 5 girl patrol won first place at lashings,  first place at Frisbee, first place at knot tying, first place at soccer, first place at first aid and first place at leaky can relay they got several other ribbons as well, I can't remember them all.

No other troop that I can remember got more than 2 ribbons, there was no strong second place patrol, the new 5 girls patrol skunked everyone. It was not even close. 

The people running the camporee made a point of saying that the girls winning best troop proves that girls belong in the BSA and that now the boys need to step up their game so that they can keep up with the girls.

Sunday morning the boys in my troop were wondering out loud  *IF* they ever go to another  camporee that had 3 girl patrols instead of just one, would the girls automatically win first second and third in every event? 

The boys in my troop are not happy.

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I hope you take it up with your district committee.  That had nothing to do with those girls.

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Posted (edited)
17 minutes ago, cocomax said:

...The girls got a first place in the Alligator Pit Crossing and it makes zero sense to me or the boys in our troop.

The 5 girl patrol won first place at lashings,  first place at Frisbee, first place at knot tying, first place at soccer, first place at first aid and first place at leaky can relay they got several other ribbons as well, I can't remember them all.

No other troop that I can remember got more than 2 ribbons, there was no strong second place patrol, the new 5 girls patrol skunked everyone. It was not even close. 

The people running the camporee made a point of saying that the girls winning best troop proves that girls belong in the BSA and that now the boys need to step up their game so that they can keep up with the girls...

This is disgraceful. It's entirely counter to what we (people who advocated for girls in troops/packs) wanted when this whole debate was going on. And it's in direct contrast to what we said on behalf of the BSA, the program won't change for the boys. And yet here we are...

And you know how this will play out if you boycott the event next year. "Troop XYZ won't come because girls are here, the can't stand getting beat by girls, etc."

I'd protest it. I know that's easy to say in the Internet and less so IRL, but it just seems like this needs to be reined in. Marginalizing boys just to pump up girls for Scouts BSA is wrong.

I'm a Cub leader and I try to imagine this stuff at the Pack level. Could there be a Pack that gives a girl the top trophy in the Pinewood Derby even though her car ran slower than boys' cars? Geez, it's hard to believe, but after reading stuff like this about what Troops are doing, it's entirely possible.

Edited by FireStone
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