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Cburkhardt

Great Examples of Girl Troop Successes

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1 hour ago, PinkPajamas said:

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?

Obviously, the bigger a den the better. But, it the odds of success increase with every 11-13 year old who is interested in a troop. Incoming members of diverse age, yet full of brotherly love is a big deal.

Trained adult female leaders is essential. So incoming members who can bring a mature sister or aunt are invaluable. This may mean putting real $ behind funding the training of a younger SM/ASM (e.g. a 20-something college grad or ex-military). If the parents of these scouts aren't in a position to do that, they need to figure out how to ask for help.

Finally, one of the biggest blessings is someplace special to camp. Who has property (maybe near a trail)? Whose grandparents have a farm? Which parent has done a favor for a park manager and can ask for a camping spot in a hidden corner of a a community park. Scout camps are nice. But it's really nice to have someplace special that your troop can call "its own."

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We used our Webelos II Den to jump-start our all-girl troop.   We started with about 6 Webelos girls and had 10 by the end of the year.  All crossed-over into our new all-girl troop in February, which now numbers 26.  Those 10 Webelos were the ones who provided the basis for our new Troop open house/welcome parties.  Through them we gained another 10 girls and have picked up another 6 over the last 2 months based on word of mouth.  It is easier to get girls to join the Webelos group, so I urge you do recruit them now.  It will make your planned new troop a lot easier to start.  One thing I learned is that girls are more likely to bring their friends into a Troop than my experience with boys.  Open house -type activity where a prospect girl member sees her friend in a uniform and having fun with peers really works.  I would allocate a good amount of recruiting effort to peer-to-peer activity..

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On 4/16/2019 at 7:49 AM, Cburkhardt said:

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.

Just curious about the breakdown of the $40,000 annual budget. Our 40+ scout troop probably operates on a tenth of that amount. Are you including the costs for summer camp or super trips?

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7 minutes ago, Rock Doc said:

Just curious about the breakdown of the $40,000 annual budget. Our 40+ scout troop probably operates on a tenth of that amount. Are you including the costs for summer camp or super trips?

Not the person, but $40,000 to start up presumably includes a lot of costs that will be amortized over many years. Troop trailer, tents, cooking gear, etc are not cheap, but will last a long time.

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Our $40,000 yearly budget includes everything for 40 Scouts.  So, the all-in expense to the Troop of a Scout is about $1K/year.  Includes all program and recognition, weekend campouts, summer camp, but not the annual special trip.  This is less than the cost of a single "travel team" away game where a child and parent fly somewhere.  Scouts BSA is truly a bargain in comparison to just about any other youth activity.  We can all be very proud of this.

Our special annual trip is modest.  This year a 4-day camping trip including a day visit to the World Jamboree (will probably charge somethin like $200).  Next year a trip to Michigan to another Scout Reservation (Owasippe) to experience their incredible horse program.

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The capital acquisition budget is separate.  We are modest there and are going the "minimalist" route.  Less than $10K over 2 years for the basics and no trailer.   We are an urban Troop with some under-resourced families and are accessing a lot of contributed individual equipment for their Scouts.  We are really blessed by having established troops willing to lend us things as we ramp-up and a very generous group of scouters who gather, organize and re-deploy used uniforms and equipment.  I hope those reading this who have access to lendable equipment proactively reach-out to these new all-girl Troops and offer help.  Most of them are not going to be led by a 30-year Scouter like me and will have no idea how to get the help.

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On 4/16/2019 at 8:28 AM, PinkPajamas said:

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?

Does that mean they'll be crossing over to scouts in two years time?  Hopefully by then there will already be a troop going that they can join.

Consider critical mass.  Are there other girls troops starting in your town or school district?  It might make sense to join with them instead of getting another new troop going.  (Or maybe there will be enough interested girls for another new troop.)

About this "stated commitment to start a linked female troop".  What is backing this statement?  General goodwill?  A willingness on the part of the troop committee to help with the administration of the new troop?  Experienced scouters with daughters who want to be scouts?   A daughter who really wants to be a scout can be *very* motivating to an adult to put the time into volunteering.

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6 hours ago, Treflienne said:

Does that mean they'll be crossing over to scouts in two years time?  Hopefully by then there will already be a troop going that they can join.

Consider critical mass.  Are there other girls troops starting in your town or school district?  It might make sense to join with them instead of getting another new troop going.  (Or maybe there will be enough interested girls for another new troop.)

About this "stated commitment to start a linked female troop".  What is backing this statement?  General goodwill?  A willingness on the part of the troop committee to help with the administration of the new troop?  Experienced scouters with daughters who want to be scouts?   A daughter who really wants to be a scout can be *very* motivating to an adult to put the time into volunteering.

Our pack crosses AOLs over in January so about 18 months out. There are no girl troops, that I am aware of, currently up and running in our immediate area, from chatting with people it seems like everyone is waiting for the first batch of Weblos/AOL to cross over in Jan. 2020 to start the troops. 

In our case the AOL den leader is a heavily involved scouter with leadership positions in both the pack, boy troop, council, and a personal relationship with several of the girls in the den. Our COR has talked about "when we get the girl troop up and running". And casual conversations with troop leadership where phrases like "we're absolutely going to have a linked troop" were tossed around. All the girls in both the Weblos/AOL dens have parents in registered leadership positions either in the pack or boys' troop, so I feel confident it will happen. But even if it falls through, no matter where these girls go, it's going to be a "new" troop. 

Knowing that some areas are having an easier time recruiting at the Weblos rank and that the girls who are joining are from the same friend group is incredibly helpful information. :) 

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, PinkPajamas said:

All the girls in both the Weblos/AOL dens have parents in registered leadership positions either in the pack or boys' troop, so I feel confident it will happen.

Assuming that these experienced parents will continue volunteering,  it sounds like mostly what you need is more girls -- who will likely come with inexperienced but willing to help out parents.

2 hours ago, PinkPajamas said:

Knowing that some areas are having an easier time recruiting at the Weblos rank and that the girls who are joining are from the same friend group is incredibly helpful information.

Anecdotes are just that -- but in our troop we have no Venturers, no highschoolers, and no crossovers from cub scouts.   Only 6th-8th graders.  (Our area did not have early-adopter cub packs.)       And yes,  about half the girls in the troop are there because they were invited by a friend who was already planning to join the troop.

If you want to be sure that the new local girls' troop is conveniently at your CO (and not in the next town) you might not want to wait a year and a half.    Do any of the Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts have sisters (age 11 and up) interested in scouts?   Has anyone asked?   (All the troops/packs in our school district did this for us, and yes it turned up girls.) 

And if the interested 11-14-year old girls only have dads willing to camp, and not moms willing to camp,  you could consider double-registering with the new girls troop, and occasionally camping with them.

 

Edited by Treflienne
clarity

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Girl Webelos Dens in a special pack affiliated with a girl troop.

?   Here is an idea some of us at our all-girl troop are considering.  Our earlier experience with our all-girls Webelos den (the members of which have crossed into our troop) was so positive that we are giving thought to having Webelos 1 and 2 dens affiliated with our all-girl Troop.  We would not operate a full Pack — only the Webelos programming.  We would have them meet at the same time and place with us, but they would have a different meeting room. We would have a Cubmaster/den Leader staff in parallel with our Scoutmaster Staff.  Of course we would have a built-in supply of den chiefs.  This would establish a membership pipeline for us.  We are thinking of starting this fall.  Any thoughts?

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1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

Girl Webelos Dens in a special pack affiliated with a girl troop.

?   Here is an idea some of us at our all-girl troop are considering.  Our earlier experience with our all-girls Webelos den (the members of which have crossed into our troop) was so positive that we are giving thought to having Webelos 1 and 2 dens affiliated with our all-girl Troop.  We would not operate a full Pack — only the Webelos programming.  We would have them meet at the same time and place with us, but they would have a different meeting room. We would have a Cubmaster/den Leader staff in parallel with our Scoutmaster Staff.  Of course we would have a built-in supply of den chiefs.  This would establish a membership pipeline for us.  We are thinking of starting this fall.  Any thoughts?

That idea has been proposed for 25 years with “all boy” Webelos. We tried something like it in our district and success at a unit level is very dependent on adult cooperation and leadership because there isn’t any high level guidelines. The units are on their own. Like the Venturing units, likely success will last for one generation of adults. 

Our attempt at something like this was more about helping the cub level adult burnout problem. Troop growth would be a byproduct of the cub pack success.

Barry

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Posted (edited)
On 4/11/2019 at 12:23 PM, Treflienne said:

Suppose you want to convince an ASM, new to BSA, about how rushing through shortchanges the scouts.  About how cutting corners on demonstration of skill mastery shortchanges the scouts.   Do you have, say, any recommended reading to suggest?   (This is not a hypothetical question,   I would like to bring someone around to this point of view and have not succeeded yet.)

Coming to this late, but since I'm having this discussion with some people in my troops at the moment:

Really, you can have them go back and read practically anything of early scouting by BP or Green Bar Bill, however, there's a lot to read, and it's the general gestalt that they're trying to get.

More importantly, get them to read the Mission, Vision and Aims of Scouting ( https://troopleader.scouting.org/scoutings-aims-and-methods/ )

Nothing in the mission/etc is about learning to tie knots, set up tents, or identify plants.

The reason that nothing in the mission/etc is about those things, is because "those things" are tools, as are the experiences necessary to learn those things, and later to teach "those things".  The important thing about advancement isn't the specific scout skills embodied in the requirements, it is the experiences that a scout gets, working their way through learning those skills and accomplishing the requirements.  An adult shortcutting that process, teaching those skills, prioritizing advancement, etc, takes away the opportunities from the scout, to get the very experiences that the scouting program is designed to create for them.

For example, the cooking requirements really aren't about cooking.  They are about learning to negotiate a meal, with a group of other scouts who probably don't all like the same food, getting them all on the same page, and then getting them to help out with the doing, even if they aren't completely happy with the meal or the tasks involved.  If an adult steps in and says "This upcoming campout Timmy needs to plan the meals because he has a rank requirement", then that adult has just shortchanged Timmy on the entire point - they've put him in charge, told everyone else to shut up, and removed the negotiation and working together part that the requirement is supposed to force the scout into confronting.  Timmy gets nothing other than making a grocery list and some cooking.  Grocery lists and cooking are nowhere in the mission or vision of scouting.

So -- ask your over-enthusiastic adult what they think the point of a given requirement is.  What will the scout learn if they work through this, with other scouts?  What difficulties will they encounter and need to overcome?  What skills will they learn and improve upon if they do?   If an adult pushes them through it/facilitates for them, what difficulties will they avoid?  Will they learn more valuable life skills if they struggle through with other scouts, or if an adult greases the process and helps them slide through quickly?

Edited by willray

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A sure sign that girl troops are being increasingly accepted and commonplace is that we're seeing less and less attention being focused on them.  It won't be long now until they are just plain old "troops" and their members are just scouts who do what's been expected of every scout since 1910.

Not quite there yet, though.  The "Houston Chronicle" still finds girl BSA troops to be newsworthy...
https://www.chron.com/neighborhood/pearland/news/article/Pearland-all-girl-Scouts-BSA-troop-happy-to-14085655.php 

 

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All-Girl Troop Report from Summer Camp

Our all-girl, non-linked Troop just returned from a week of summer camp.  We had 21 of our 30 Scouts go with a total of 7 leaders.  There were 17 Troops and 350 Scouts in camp.  In addition to our all-girl Troop there was another 6-girl group.  Every Scout earned at least 2 merit badges, with a couple of superstars earning 6.  At this particular camp there was an objective point-based system to determine a few "honor troops", and our unit was one of three that qualified.  The co-SPLs figured out the point system on their own without adults running that show.  The camp had traditional wall-tent/wooden platform/army cot accommodations and a dining hall.

The experience overall was -- ordinary.  The youth members of all-boy troops treated our Scouts well and took almost no notice that something had changed.  Several unit Scouters approached our leaders starting mid-week to remark that, while they had early questions about the addition of girls, they were really glad to see us at camp.  Young people can be silly, and early in the week there were the limited instances of teasing which the Scouters and Staff easily curtailed.  I frequently circulated through the program areas and found our Scouts welcomed, including instances where one of them was the only female in a merit badge class.  At the closing campfire the 2 all-girl troops combined to sing a song for the camp and were applauded heartily without cat-calls or other disagreeable behavior.    The true impact of our membership policy changes over these past few years is best assessed by observing how our young people have reacted.  I sensed no change in how Scouting is experienced by young people at this summer camp.

When pressed, the only thing I could come up with was to suggest that the camp's new swimsuit rule be made more clear and universally applied -- pretty minor stuff in my view. 

Our youngest Scouts had no more or less difficulty getting used to "summer camp things" like insects and simple accommodations than those from other troops I have camped with in the past.  There was no "hover parent" difficulty and just a few early-week expected instances of home sickness that were handled.

So, to any Scouters who are concerned about our summer camp experience being changed, there was nothing of concern I could discern this past week.  WE were welcomed and -- hardly noticed.

 

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I will echo @Cburkhardt that our linked Troop of girls had a great experience at camp.  They were the only girl Troop (5 girls total) at a camp with nearly 400 attendees.   My primary concern was how other Troops and scouts would treat them.   Other than 1 minor comment the girls said they were treated well and loved the camp.     The camp didn’t make a big deal of girls attending, other than during a leader meeting.   I’m sure there will be bumps on the road, but it was a great start.

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