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Great Examples of Girl Troop Successes

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14 hours ago, Eagledad said:

If the Scoutmaster wants to keep these kinds of struggles to a minimum (minimum can still be a lot), they may eventually have to assume the bad guy role of gatekeeper for the program values and process. Sometimes they have to be authoritative (flex their position of leadership muscle) to force a specific direction.

How to  "flex their position of leadership muscle"  while still remaining on good, cooporative terms -- that could be tricky.    I think another go-round of attempted gentle persuasion first may be in order.   I am still learning the interaction styles of the other scouters,  and how hard I can push and have it still perceived as friendly, not hostile.

Have you ever heard of the "tact-filter" theory? (  http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/tact.html )Nerds (scientists, engineers, etc) apply the appropriate amount of tact to everything they hear -- and when nerds interact with nerds everyone is happy.   "Normal" people apply the appropriate amount of tact to everything they say -- and when normal people interact with normal people, everyone is happy.   But "normal" people think the nerds are downright rude, and nerds think that the "normal" people beat around the bush in an infuriating way.       And I don't know the other scouters well enough yet to know where they fall on this scale.

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On 4/11/2019 at 1:11 PM, Cburkhardt said:

That would be a prime topic for Bryan of Scouting or maybe even Scouting Magazine.

Well I guess it would be.  At your suggestion I went looking and found that Bryan on Scouting had already thought so:

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/03/05/what-do-you-do-if-a-leader-is-too-quick-to-sign-off-requirements/

Quote

We asked Mike LoVecchio, BSA advancement specialist, about such a situation

Quote

“If an individual authorized to sign off on rank requirements is not properly fulfilling that responsibility (requirements must be completed as written), the unit leader should either revoke that authorization or ensure that individual is properly trained in advancement policies and procedures,” LoVecchio says.

Revocation of authorization really sounds like the nuclear option.   Have you ever seen it done?  

Edited by Treflienne
clarity

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4 hours ago, Treflienne said:

Well I guess it would be.  At your suggestion I went looking and found that Bryan on Scouting had already thought so:

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2019/03/05/what-do-you-do-if-a-leader-is-too-quick-to-sign-off-requirements/

Revocation of authorization really sounds like the nuclear option.   Have you ever seen it done?  

Yes. In different ways.

  • For a while we would not honor the signature of an ASM if it was in the book of his son or nephew.
  • Then once we trained boys in sign-offs, we effectively revoked sign-offs of all adults.
  • Then when we merged troops, we learned that the other troop's SM had revoked PL sign-offs because they were passing boys who barely showed any skill (if at all). His scouts were  young and didn't have enough mature natural leaders to set the tone. After we merged, the SPL brought me a scout, explaining that a requirement was completed. I asked him if he saw the scout complete it. He said he did, then nearly fainted when I handed him the pen and said my signature doesn't deserve to be on that line.
  • Now, we are at a happy medium where boys talk to the leader who actually saw them do the requirement and ask if they did it well enough.

Finally, after a few disruptive years, everyone seems to be mastering skills equally well. The scouts are winning klondikes, they are serving up some pretty good meals, the senior scouts are asking for tougher challenges.

Uniforming ... its not just about cloth.

 

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Qwazse,

    I like and agree with your "different ways." Lot's of common sense there. A great way to get to the goal.

    But I really liked your last statement; " Uniforming ...it's not just about the cloth." Kind of like the old, "orange juice, it's not just for breakfast."

sst3rd

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8 hours ago, Treflienne said:

How to  "flex their position of leadership muscle"  while still remaining on good, cooporative terms -- that could be tricky.    I think another go-round of attempted gentle persuasion first may be in order.   I am still learning the interaction styles of the other scouters,  and how hard I can push and have it still perceived as friendly, not hostile.

Have you ever heard of the "tact-filter" theory? (  http://www.mit.edu/~jcb/tact.html )Nerds (scientists, engineers, etc) apply the appropriate amount of tact to everything they hear -- and when nerds interact with nerds everyone is happy. 

Yes, I do this every day at work because we have a lot of high educated people over  50 years in age. And it got me through my scouting years. But there will always be “that” one person who thinks they are always right. That’s the one who you develop good leadership skills.

Barry

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4 hours ago, qwazse said:

 

Uniforming ... its not just about cloth.

 

This is really the the best response to many of our discussions. 

Barry

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14 hours ago, Treflienne said:

... I think another go-round of attempted gentle persuasion first may be in order.   I am still learning the interaction styles of the other scouters,  and how hard I can push and have it still perceived as friendly, not hostile. ...

Son #2 prefers gentle persuasion, but the other day at the plant he realized that a couple of workers were taking advantage of that leadership style and assuming they could just watch their partners do the job. He instantly switched to "boss mode" because he wanted to end the week early and with successfully completing the tasks needed to keep the plant on schedule. (Did I mention that he's an intern!?)

Maybe you do need to tread carefully with your volunteers, but generally when we find the tail wagging the dog it's time for a reset.

6 hours ago, sst3rd said:

... I really liked your last statement; " Uniforming ...it's not just about the cloth." ...

 

6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

This is really the the best response to many of our discussions. 

Barry

Well golly. Now I'm gonna have to decide if "Uniforming ... it's not just about the cloth" can make a run against "Stupid happens fast" on the list of Q-isms to carve on my tombstone.

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Gathering Equipment for New Girl Troops

A principal challenge every new all-girl Troop has is to obtain its camping equipment, as well as the other things a troop needs for essential program operations.  The list of items needed is extensive, including flags, an extensive first aid kit, tents, cooking equipment and simple materials like rope.  For a new 30-girl troop, the equipment needed can easily get in the $7 - $10,000 range.  Plus there are the issues of storage and transportation to deal with.  And all of this is needed at a time when there are significant start-up expenses such as a website, uniforms and recruitment expenses.  

The expense load can be a barrier to launch of a successful troop, so what to do?

In our district we have an all-girl Troop forming on a linked basis.  For that group there is a built-in inventory of equipment available for immediate use, as the all-boy Troop it is linked to is actually over-equipped.  The troop has built a significant savings account with a balance over $20,000 and will tap into it to make some supplemental purchases.  The all-Girl troop plans to contribute its efforts to further build the account — so there seems to be smooth sailing for them.

Another Troop in our district is starting from scratch and is not linked.  That Troop is  using a number of successful tactics in it start-up phase.

1.   First, the troop calculated the actual cost of its annual operation on a per-Scout basis.  This included everything.  They charge and recover dues to recover that entire cost with the exception of camp outs and summer camp.  The point here is to charge sufficient dues so your new Troop actually has sufficient funds to operate without nickel-and-dining parents every week.  Or worse, forcing the most dedicated volunteers to pay the balances.

2.   Second, the troop established a flat weekend camping fee for its 7 events during the school year to cover all food and program costs — plus a bit extra for the purchase of essential equipment.

3.   Next, the Troop sought used camping equipment of every category except for Coleman stoves and tents—which they have decided to borrow from a helpful all-boy Troop and buy new after a fall fundraiser.  The used equipment came primarily from a storage unit the BSA District rents to accumulate used equipment from the families of members.  They are also going to circulate a list of desired used equipment in the church program of their Chartered Organization.  The reason they will buy new tents is because they want the unit pride of having matching tents, and when purchased on sale and simultaneously, tents can be a relative bargain.

There are many reasons why it is hard to form a new Troop and equipment acquisition, management and storage Can be a big hurdle.  Key to achieving this requires some good planning and honesty with parents on camping and equipment costs.  

Scouts BSA is “dirt cheap” in comparison to things like sports travel teams, lesson-intensive pursuits and participation in school-sponsored travel activities.  The new girl Troop calculated the total annual cost per Scout, including summer camp, weekend camping events and program expenses, to be just under $1,000.  That is a bargain in comparison to these other activities.  We have noting to apologize for when we are accurate with our expenses and dues.  New girl Troops without existing resources and historic bank accounts should not shy away from pricing things accurately.  It is the best way to motivate participation in a fundraiser to help acquire equipment as well.

Incidentally, the new girl Troop has a few “angles” who subsidize the dues and camping costs of under-resourced families who cannot pay full-freight.

What are other good ways new all-girl troops that are not linked can acquire equipment?  Are some things best purchased new?  Are there some legacy equipment practices that new troops should just avoid from the start?  Please share your ideas.

 

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I can't speak to all-girl troops getting equipment.  When we started a boy troop 3 years ago we had nothing.  We asked for equipment donations, fundraised through traditional methods, company time matching donations, and each scout bought his own stuff.  No trailer needed, you can scout via transportation in cars, after a year we purchased a well used small trailer from a troop that didn't need it anymore.

IMHO, The scouts need:

  • tent which can be as cheap as $30.  
  • sleeping bag
  • bag or basic backpack
  • day bag, can be a school backpack
  • nalgene

Each patrol needs:

  • stove
  • propane
  • a medium pot : goodwill or donation
  • a skillet : goodwill or donation
  • 3 sized knives : goodwill or donation
  • cheap kitchen stuff from walmart: measuring cups, cutting board, wood spoon, ladle, serving spoon, tongs
  • a plastic tote for the chuck box

Scouting can be fun on a shoestring, we did it.  When the scouts fundraised for the trailer they were very proud that they earned it.

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Another approach being suggested is to go ultra-minimalist.  Obtain only backpacking-sized stoves and similar lightweight and compact equipment and entirely forgo the “heavy camping” approach of my youth (patrol boxes, Dutch ovens, trailers, etc.).  Sounds interesting, but I am not sure it would work with the youngest scouts.

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I can see three possible styles of camping that need three different types of equipment

1) backpacking.  lightweight backpacking stoves.

2) front country camping where you want lots of time for other activities, and so want to cook quickly, using a propane stove, which is boringly similar to cooking in the kitchen at home.

3) front country camping somewhere you can build a campfire for cooking, on a trip when you have time to build a campfire for cooking.

And then you need to keep this stuff organized.  

For #2 or #3, any do you have any recommendations between

a) classic wooden patrol box that neatly organizes stuff and opens up into a work surface but weighs a ton (when empty)

b) some kind of plastic rolling tool box

So far we have been using equipment borrowed from troop families and a local boys' troop, and dumped into plastic tote bins, and returned to their respective homes after each trip.   We'd like to be a little better organized.  Also have it better set up so that our (very young) quartermaster can better manage the gear with less adult help -- a patrol box would seem managable for a 6th grade quartermaster to keep in order.  Recommendations?  

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I think we are going to first do a minimal version of the rolling tool box (especially in cold weather) and the backpack approach when temperate.  I cringe getting back into the heavy camping business.

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Regarding funding, I have noticed some girl troops have obtained sponsors in addition to their CO as well as grants. For example 

$800 – Scouts BSA Troop 1000

This grant is for the startup costs of providing a Boy Scouts of America troop for girls age 11-18. This grant is made possible by the Kansas Health Foundation Children’s Fund.

https://www.mcphersonsentinel.com/news/20190415/community-foundation-announces-grants

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Our own Troop received about $2,000 cash from two Episcopal Churches to help pay costs of under-resourced Scouts.  The volunteers who started the troop absorbed about $5,000 of start-up costs.  Starting brand-new Troops is expensive and time-absorbing.  Our first year budget is $40,000.  There are good reasons why so many new Troops fail in their first five years, but the principal reasons are lack of experienced Scouter involvement and failure to plan.  New Troops need to raise more and charge higher dues, which puts them at a recruiting disadvantage with historic troop with well-build financial stability and low dues.  Our group is well-staffed and has a good plan.  I hope experienced Scouters reading this will step forward and actually assist new Troops now forming.  There is no substitute for direct involvement.

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Slightly off topic.

My daughter and two other girls just crossed over to Weblos. We have three girls in an AOL den. The troop our pack shares a charter with has stated a commitment to start a linked female troop. Do you have any advice on things we could be doing to make sure this troop has a good solid start? Besides helping the AOL den find two other girls. What do new troops need from their incoming members?

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