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Cburkhardt

Scouts BSA implementation for girl troops

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So, off the topic of Linked Troops and committees, I am curious how other units with "Linked Troops", or potentially even "just" two troops out of the same CO, are conceptualizing the division of resources.

In our case, if the "batch of new scouts that joined on Feb 1" had been boys, they simply would have gone into another couple patrols in the boy's troop, and there would be no question about equal access to CO-owned (read original boy's troop) resources.  If BSA National had said "girls can join boys troops as separate single-gender patrols", the exact same thing would have happened and they'd still have equal access to all of the boys-troop/CO resources.  However, since we were forced to start a separate unit to accommodate the girls, for some reason we're thinking of their finances and resources as separate .

I'm not sure why we're thinking that way.  I'm not sure it's the wrong way to think of things, but I don't believe we've actually thought deeply about what model might actually be right, or about how we've chosen to think about this.  So - has anyone else who's in this situation of two troops under one CO, given much thought to exactly why you're tightly coordinated or not tightly coordinated, and how this plays into questions of access to resources/funds/etc?

think that for my part, I see our girls' troop eventually heading in the direction of significant independence, and so I expect that colors my thinking regarding "their" resources vs "our" resources, but I'm not really sure I wouldn't see a reason for distinct resources even if our girls' troop was primarily a legal fiction to enable having girls patrols that could participate alongside the boys patrols.

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17 minutes ago, willray said:

With the proviso that even for a Linked Troops model, BSA still requires that the committee members submit a separate Adult application to be a member of the 2nd troop's committee (even though it's the same committee).

We were caught by surprise by the requirement that all the committee members submit a new adult application to be on the committee for the "linked" troop.    As things now stand,  some committee members are registered as committee members for both troops, some just for the girls, and some just for the boys. (Why?  because of the paperwork hassle.)  The committee (committees?) does (do?) meet as a single entitiy with a single meeting each month.    I suppose if it ever came down to a vote on a contentious issue it might matter who was registered for which troop.

22 minutes ago, willray said:

 As a result, there appears to be no actual paperwork difference between two "Linked Troops that share a committee", and two "not Linked Troops that have separate committees with all the same individuals on them".

Somehow, to me, this seems daft. 

I agree.  Maybe the BSA  can improve their application process in the future.  

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The 40+ all girl Troops in our council are almost all linked troops.  What we are seeing is that the girl troops are getting access to the equipment as long as there is sufficient supplies to get around.  It also depends on whether the girl and boy Troops are camping on the same weekends.  The experience is that sharing the program equipment has not been much of an issue in my observation.  The girl Troop parents should be obligated to help raise funds for the additional equipment that is necessary.  

As I noted elsewhere on the Forum, our own Troop is one of the few that are not linked, but we are blessed to have some boy Troops willing to lend us equipment as we ramp up independently.  I think we will have everything we need within about a year.  Perhaps the more sensitive item would be the use of savings that have been built through the years by boy Troops, which technically belong to the CO.  If I were the Scoutmaster or CC of an a linked girl Troop, I would never request to use those funds directly.  I would begin building a new account and be happy to benefit from the ability to borrow/use equipment from the boy Troop, and be advantaged by the existing reputational goodwill of the boy Troop.

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With the membership losses over the past couple of years, there has to be more gear than boys need out there.

For decades, most of us have been sharing with GS/USA, so this will be easier than most think.

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17 hours ago, willray said:

I'm not sure why we're thinking that way.  I'm not sure it's the wrong way to think of things, but I don't believe we've actually thought deeply about what model might actually be right, or about how we've chosen to think about this.  So - has anyone else who's in this situation of two troops under one CO, given much thought to exactly why you're tightly coordinated or not tightly coordinated, and how this plays into questions of access to resources/funds/etc?

think that for my part, I see our girls' troop eventually heading in the direction of significant independence, and so I expect that colors my thinking regarding "their" resources vs "our" resources, but I'm not really sure I wouldn't see a reason for distinct resources even if our girls' troop was primarily a legal fiction to enable having girls patrols that could participate alongside the boys patrols.

If the troop committee of both troops is the same (as you say it i here), then the committee is going to have to figure out how to get access to resources for the girls troop.  After a little while, they may come around to the idea that sharing is inherently good.  Or, they may come around to the idea that they just need to purchase new equipment and acquire new funds.  

In our case, they have establshed a non-linked troop at our CO.  The girls troop has a different committee - but it is composed of several experienced adults from the boys troop.  The girls troop has really taken on their own sense of "we want to build up our own equipment and be self sufficient".  They want to stand on their own.  I think people are generally impressed with that ethic and as a result are willing to help out as much as possible.

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17 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

The experience is that sharing the program equipment has not been much of an issue in my observation.  The girl Troop parents should be obligated to help raise funds for the additional equipment that is necessary.  

We are running into some complications, but at least at this point everyone seems willing to work through them amicably.  I'm expecting the drama to increase as our girls troop ramps up their camping, and inevitable squabbles over patrol equipment/maintenance/etc break out.  Scout-led is wonderful, but sometimes, like when the troop quartermaster feels empowered to scavenge all of the patrols' equipment kits to pull together the best equipment to give to his old patrol, we have "interesting" learning moments, and since the girls aren't "part of the gang", I expect they're going to react to this with a bit less charity than the other boys who have known the quartermaster for years.  (sadly) doubly so, if it ever goes in the other direction.

I'm curious about your "girl troop parents should be obligated" comment - Do you feel this way purely in the context of a "completely independent" girls troop, or do you think that's appropriate for "Linked" troops, which are effectively a legal fiction created by BSA National to avoid having girls and boys in the "same" unit.  Would you feel the same way about the "parents of the girls' patrols" if BSA National had instead said "separate girls' patrols and boys' patrols in the same troop"?    Serious question - I'm really not sure how I would feel in that case.

I'm doubly curious because I'm a member of a Linked Troop committee, and I find it peculiar that we do seem to have an undercurrent of "the girls' parents should help acquire equipment for the girls' needs", but we absolutely do not have this expectation for the parents of the "new boys" patrols.  I it interesting, and currently can't explain, why we seem to feel that acquiring equipment for the dozen new boy weblos crossovers is a committee responsibility, while we seem to feel that acquiring equipment for the dozen new girls is a parents' responsibility.

(I should also couch this in an understanding that our longstanding boys' troop yearly fundraiser is a gigantic community garage sale, and a large fraction of the girls who joined the girls' troop, have been participating in the garage sale as volunteers beside their brothers for years, so arguably, a big chunk of the boys' troop fundraising effort has historically been donated by our girls)

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54 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

In our case, they have establshed a non-linked troop at our CO.  The girls troop has a different committee - but it is composed of several experienced adults from the boys troop.  The girls troop has really taken on their own sense of "we want to build up our own equipment and be self sufficient".  They want to stand on their own.  I think people are generally impressed with that ethic and as a result are willing to help out as much as possible.

With the exception of the fact that we've got linked troops, this is the direction we are going - I think, perhaps, unfortunately quickly, and in a fashion that is going to cause us some unnecessary challenges  (we have one adult who is, shall we say, exceptionally dedicated to tearing the troops apart as quickly as possible, which I personally believe is completely irresponsible).

One of the resources-based challenges to that, is that - and maybe this is actually the crux of the matter - we have a single equipment storage location.  As a result, there is "a pile of dutch ovens".  If the girls buy additional dutch ovens for their patrols, they're just going to go into the pile, and when the boys use and return them (as they did after this last campout, with 2" of water and leftover food in them), the girls are going to be furious.

Maybe as equipment coordinator, I should just start spray-painting everything pink and blue...  I've been trying to figure out how to improve several things about our (boy's troop) use of the patrol method, and instituting some way of having distinct/protected patrol resources seems to be one of the unsolved issues that would help.  Maybe what this is trying to teach me is that having a "troop supply room" is the wrong approach.

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7 minutes ago, willray said:

One of the resources-based challenges to that, is that - and maybe this is actually the crux of the matter - we have a single equipment storage location.  As a result, there is "a pile of dutch ovens".  If the girls buy additional dutch ovens for their patrols, they're just going to go into the pile, and when the boys use and return them (as they did after this last campout, with 2" of water and leftover food in them), the girls are going to be furious.

Maybe as equipment coordinator, I should just start spray-painting everything pink and blue...  I've been trying to figure out how to improve several things about our (boy's troop) use of the patrol method, and instituting some way of having distinct/protected patrol resources seems to be one of the unsolved issues that would help.  Maybe what this is trying to teach me is that having a "troop supply room" is the wrong approach.

If I were there, I'd use this as a reason to discuss resources.  "You're sharing a storage location.  You are anticipating acquiring some for the new troop.  Since you'll now have two troops sharing similar equipment in the same space, there are bound to be unintended issues.  People using the wrong gear, people returning that wrong gear in a less than clean state, etc.  You want to respect their equipment and get ahead of any issues here."  That sounds like a great premise for a meeting to me.  

11 minutes ago, willray said:

(we have one adult who is, shall we say, exceptionally dedicated to tearing the troops apart as quickly as possible, which I personally believe is completely irresponsible).

I know I'm answering this backwards.  We scouters seem to love to jump through hoops to get around dealing with difficult volunteers.  To me, I think you've got to fix this issue.  When you get cases like this, people are not on the same page and conflcits start to happen.  In the end - adults get in the way of good program.  I don't know how to solve this, but I think you've got to try.  

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Ultimately the capability and advisability of the new girl linked Troops to use existing equipment stores and benefit from the bank accounts that have been built-up by historic and linked boy troops is a matter of sensitivity that can only be properly handled by the CO and unit leadership having appropriate conversations in good faith -- and up front..  If I were in one of those conversations and I was a leader of the all-girl linked Troop, I would want to offer complete and enthusiastic participation on the part of the parents of girls to join in the overall effort to raise, funds, etc.  Of course, a number of these parents of girls are also going to be parents of boys, because that is one of the reasons for linking in the first place.  If you have expressly anti-girl volunteers in the boy Troop, that is really a different matter that will have to be handled directly.  If the CO has made a policy determination that the CO will offer a girl Troop, they actually have the upper hand in guiding the group to a reasonable way to operate.  The above comment that it is good to deal with difficult volunteers would be applicable here. 

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I guess my question would be regarding the equipment issue is what would a new Troop have done say three years ago if they were just starting out?  My Troop donated stoves, tents, pots, pans, utensils, water jugs, chairs, coolers, propane tanks to the local girl troop in our area.  I personally don't know what would have happened a few years ago if it was a boy Troop.  I would assume that other Troops in the area would try to help out.  While I am not completely on board with the girl Troop issue, I do want them be successful.  I think it could have been handled better. 

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25 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

If I were there, I'd use this as a reason to discuss resources.  "You're sharing a storage location.  You are anticipating acquiring some for the new troop.  Since you'll now have two troops sharing similar equipment in the same space, there are bound to be unintended issues.  People using the wrong gear, people returning that wrong gear in a less than clean state, etc.  You want to respect their equipment and get ahead of any issues here."  That sounds like a great premise for a meeting to me.  

I have not yet persuaded our boys troop SM and SPL to address the fact that we now have a girls troop under the same roof, to the boys troop.   (I actually think this is going to end up being a festering source of problems, as the boys are inventing their own dialog regarding the purpose, relationship/etc of the girls troop to the boys troop, and in the echo-chamber of their own fantasies and paranoia, quite a lot of things are "becoming fact" that just ain't so.)

Unfortunately I think this is one of those "the perfect is the enemy of the good" situations, and our boys troop SM is cogitating on the best way to have the discussion.  I'm a bit more bull-in-a-china-closet myself, but in a support role, I'm limited to lubricating certain paths and periodic nudges.

31 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I know I'm answering this backwards.  We scouters seem to love to jump through hoops to get around dealing with difficult volunteers.  To me, I think you've got to fix this issue.  When you get cases like this, people are not on the same page and conflcits start to happen.  In the end - adults get in the way of good program.  I don't know how to solve this, but I think you've got to try.  

Oh boy do I know it.  I personally am in the challenging situation of being the person in the girls troop best equipped to make this stop, but also being the person with the largest need to avoid the appearance of a conflict of interest.  Oh woe is me...  Meh, we'll figure it out.  So far, the girls haven't noticed that there's a problem, and so long as I can keep it that way, we'll do ok in the end.

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42 minutes ago, willray said:

...

Maybe as equipment coordinator, I should just start spray-painting everything pink and blue...  I've been trying to figure out how to improve several things about our (boy's troop) use of the patrol method, and instituting some way of having distinct/protected patrol resources seems to be one of the unsolved issues that would help.  Maybe what this is trying to teach me is that having a "troop supply room" is the wrong approach.

A "troop supply room" is definitely a painful way to handle gear. Take this as me not trying to tell you how to do your job, but how make your job work for both you and the troop's QM(s) ...

Assign things to patrols, not troops. I understand the temptation to use "pink" vs. "blue", but that will last until you have a boy leader whose favorite color is pink and a girl leader whose favorite color is blue and they compare notes one evening after overhearing adults carping about stuff. Your QM must tag assets with something durable. (I think there's an old thread somewhere about how to do this with d/o's.) And those tags should reflect patrols. (E.g., Wolfs get gear on the alpha shelf with alpha tags, Cobras get beta, etc ... If a scout can make an assignment board for you, that would be gravy.) The QM is not to scavenge kits for his/her pet patrol. Such a QM would be dropped in a day by any PLC that I've known. If alpha patrol needs more than its allotment of d/o's, it can ask beta patrol for a loaner. If it comes back wet, it goes to beta patrol to clean and season. Which scout actually does that is between the two PL's, and if they don't resolve it, the PLC will.

You could have one troop or five sharing a space. It doesn't matter. From a QM perspective the gear is managed by patrols. If he tells the SPL that the equipment room is disheveled, the SPL(s) arranges for the PLC to have a clean-up day. In that process, the QM goes over with the PLs how gear is inspected allocated and shelved. The result in our troop has been sets of patrol gear and bins of spare parts. All must be returned cleaned.

Note that I didn't mention QM form troop 1 and QM from troop 2. I'm not against that sort of thing if the two QMs actually work well together. But more often then not there's only one scout in 50 who is really passionate about polished gear. Nobody wants that person in a tug-of-war in a small room with someone who isn't as rigorous.

And I guess that's where the rubber hits the road for a linked troop. It's all fine and good making space for boys to develop in positions of responsibilities as easily as girls. But in real life, two librarians, two historians, two QMs, etc ... under the same roof could do more harm than good. (Two buglers? That's actually kind of nice.)

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We are in the midst of a start-up of a major nationwide roll-out of a new youth organization.  Fortunately we do not need to master a new program or operating techniques.  What we do need to do is use our wits and negotiating skills with fellow volunteers on these basic implementation matters.  Our discussion regarding equipment is a great illustration and is easier to deal with than some of the other issues because it deals with easily understood "hard objects". 

Because this is a start-up, and because there are infinitely different fact variations (boy troops with a lot of assets, boy troops with no resources, girl troops with nothing, girl troops comprised largely of members who have brothers in the boy troop and all are close friends, girl troops with a financial backer, etc.), there are and cannot be any standard rules of how to approach things.  I believe the best approach is to convent a good meeting with the policymakers at the CO and the Troop leadership.  I would not put this into the hands of a broad parent group.

Folks like Ranman who have not yet fully sorted-out their personal views on the welcome to girls into our program are good people who might prefer hard rules, but know that we just have to do our best at being open people of good faith in this circumstance.  If we are open and approach these decisions with a generous spirit, we will get through this start-up in fine shape.  With some exception, Troop equipment is not really expensive.  So, this is really a matter of understanding how to manage and respect our assets.  

We do need to be prepared to approach those who are not yet supporters with a generous spirit.  They reasonably want to protect and well-manage Troop property.  When they see girl Troops treat these items with respect and girl Troop Committees joining in to maintain funding and provide volunteer service, they will have reason to look favorably on girls in Scouts BSA.

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1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

Of course, a number of these parents of girls are also going to be parents of boys, because that is one of the reasons for linking in the first place. 

Not necessarily.   None of our girls had brothers already in our linked troop.   (Several had brothers in several other troops,  one of these brothers has since switched to our linked troop.)   I forsee more boy-girl sibling pairs in the two troops in the future, as more kids come up from cubs.

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38 minutes ago, qwazse said:

And those tags should reflect patrols. (E.g., Wolfs get gear on the alpha shelf with alpha tags, Cobras get beta,

I agree about patrols having their own gear and being responsible for it.   But why not put a wolf on it?  or a cobra?

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