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5thGenTexan

First New Troop Adult Meeting

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There's been lots of good advice on this thread.  My recommendations would be two fold:

1) Think about what you want to do and worry less about the labels.  What specifically do you want to do the first 3 months?  How specifically do you want the Scouts to run troop meetings as you get going?  How are Scouts going to decide their camping trips?  etc...

2) At every turn, if you feel like "an adult should do this", think instead of how can the Scouts do this?  What kind of subtle inspiration or guidance can I give them?  How can I give them a challenge or describe a task so that they can accomplish this on their own?

 

On your first meeting with the parents - I'd encourage you to focus on two things:
1) Program, program, program.  These girls are joining a troop to have a great experience.  In getting going, the focus has to be on how to make that experience fun, challenging, and rewarding.  

2) Support from parents.  It takes a lot of support to get a troop going.  A brand new troop can ride the enthusiasm of a few core leaders.  But, over time you're going to need parents to get engaged.  You're going to need more than those few scouts.  You'll probably want to get this troop to 32 scouts in 4 years.  That means a new patrol every year.  You'll need help with recruiting.  You'll need a treasurer to keep track of all those camp fess.  You'll need an advancement co-ordinator to keep track of awards needed and eventually the Life to Eagle process. You'll need a quartermaster to help figure out an keep track of gear.  If you're camping monthly, you'll need 3-4 good ASMs to help staff all these events.  You'll need merit badge counsellors.  You'll need a Committee Chair to keep this all organized for you.  Now is the time to start getting those rolls filled.

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Well...  it looks like I still have work to do.  People from the other unit came to our meeting and they don't have the girls that are ready as I was led to believe.  They (adults) also did not seem overly enthused to do the work.  They came in hoping the Boy Troop committee would be on point for the next year and a half to get things rolling.  One of them even commented that with only 5 girls they didnt see the point in putting in the time, its not worth it for that few Scouts.

 

I have no issue seeking guidance from the folks in the Boy Troop, I have no issue using the resources of the DE, but I am not going to expect it to just all be done and then come to play when the hard work is done.  Its a little discouraging, but I think I have a solid 4 girls and working on a few other leads.  I am pretty sure in the Spring there will be more that are ready to come up.

 

So... there you go.  :)

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Yup,  Good luck to you.  Too bad there are some adults out there who think BSA stands for Baby Sitters of America.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Well...  it looks like I still have work to do.  People from the other unit came to our meeting and they don't have the girls that are ready as I was led to believe.  They (adults) also did not seem overly enthused to do the work.  They came in hoping the Boy Troop committee would be on point for the next year and a half to get things rolling.  One of them even commented that with only 5 girls they didnt see the point in putting in the time, its not worth it for that few Scouts.

 

I have no issue seeking guidance from the folks in the Boy Troop, I have no issue using the resources of the DE, but I am not going to expect it to just all be done and then come to play when the hard work is done.  Its a little discouraging, but I think I have a solid 4 girls and working on a few other leads.  I am pretty sure in the Spring there will be more that are ready to come up.

 

So... there you go.  :)

I've got to imagine that this is pretty important to the families of those 5 girls - no?  My .02.  You need those leaders who want to see a troop for girls happen - regardless of size.  Once you have them, the rest will fall into place.

At some point in every troops history there was just 5 scouts.  If every troop said it's not worth it for 5 scouts, we'd have very few troops today.  Some adults in our larger "troop community" started up a troop for girls this spring.  By last count I think they were up to about 15 girls already.  The girls will show up if there is a good program and a solid adult team.  That's not to suggest that the troop needs to be adult led - not at all.  Just that you'll need a solid volunteer team behind you as you get going.

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thouhght
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4 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

They came in hoping the Boy Troop committee would be on point for the next year and a half to get things rolling.  One of them even commented that with only 5 girls they didnt see the point in putting in the time, its not worth it for that few Scouts.

 

I have no issue seeking guidance from the folks in the Boy Troop, I have no issue using the resources of the DE, but I am not going to expect it to just all be done and then come to play when the hard work is done.

I never see more than about 1 in 3 or 4 families really get involved and it's getting worse. So expecting all 5 families to help out is a bit impractical. Using the boys troop might not be ideal but if it' a way to get more girls involved then I think it's worth it. Five girls might look like enough but I think it needs to be much more. Two patrols at a minimum. Three would be better. So, twenty scouts.

As for web 3, I think teamwork is a more important skill to learn up front. As others have said, start with an adult as PL, show them the process you want them to follow for planning and problem solving and reviews, and also model servant leadership, looking out for scouts, getting their input, etc, and make it clear that you're done and someone else will be taking over in a fixed time frame.

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22 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

Well...  it looks like I still have work to do. ... They came in hoping the Boy Troop committee would be on point for the next year and a half to get things rolling.  One of them even commented that with only 5 girls they didnt see the point in putting in the time, its not worth it for that few Scouts. ...

It's like I have an evil Texan twin!

I get their point. If you build it, they might not come.

I also have your view ... if you don't, they definitely wont!

A lot really depends on those four girls. If they can build enthusiasm ... if they can meet with sisters of scouts ... if they can remind them of how it feels when their brothers marched of to camp with Dad ... how it felt when the one GS/USA troop that did monthly outdoor activities said it was full ... if they can pester their parents to form a committee.

Sure, a lot of units start with just five. But a lot end because they don't have the right five.

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18 hours ago, MattR said:

As for web 3, I think teamwork is a more important skill to learn up front. As others have said, start with an adult as PL, show them the process you want them to follow for planning and problem solving and reviews, and also model servant leadership, looking out for scouts, getting their input, etc, and make it clear that you're done and someone else will be taking over in a fixed time frame.

I agree with the adult as a PL (works very well) only when the adult uses the youth handbooks in front of scouts and along with the scouts, (ie. Patrol Leaders Handbook, Senior Patrol Leader Handbook, and Scout Handbook). Adults with out guidance have a number of different ideas of how a patrol should function, but the youth handbooks direct the adults and scouts toward basically one picture of a functioning patrol. 

Also, a new unit needs the kindling of fun for growing into the fire of "Game with a purpose". Inexperienced adults more often than not focus to much on purpose. 5 scouts doesn't allow the adults any margin of error to learn from their mistakes. The adults who are willing to give the time must run the program at a pace they can keep their energy high. So, if that means only two meetings a month with one camp out every two months, then so be it, with the intentional goals of getting to the fun meeting each week and camp out each month. Focus on quality, not quantity. Focus on the game until everyone gets their feet underneath themselves, then they can work toward advancement and quality meetings. 

Barry

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We have 3 girls signed up with our new Troop, with one more who says she wants to join but who hasn't turned in her application. 

All 3 girls we have signed up have parent leaders involved. The 4th probably won't have a parent leader but at least she is an actively involved parent in general judging from mom's willingness to show up at Pack stuff for yer younger daughter. We also have two more families (mine included) with leaders in the Troop who have Webelos rank girls who will be joining in the next 6-18 months. So right now we have twice as many adult leaders with applications turned in as we have Scouts (and more who are just dragging their feet to do YPT). I consider that a GREAT thing and I'm really glad we have it. I don't expect that 2 to 1 ratio to continue as the Troop grows but it makes me feel good about having "room" to accept more youth without being desperate for all their parents to sign up right away.

Although we won't be the first Ladies' Troop in our district, the other one keeps to themselves and has zero interest in recruiting. So to be 100% honest I expect at least 90% of the girls in our community who earn their Arrow of Lights in the next year and who make the choice to go to a Troop to be joining our Troop. This is going to be a main focus for our team, to make sure we have lots of outreach and invite those Webelos girls to join us for activities. 3 girls is enough if that's all we have for the next 6-9 months until the Crossover ceremonies begin. I think we'll be able to support at least two patrols by this time next year. 

Don't worry about low numbers to start. It's hard to get members to join you when you don't have anything to join yet. Build it and invite people to come. :) 

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1 hour ago, Liz said:

the other one keeps to themselves and has zero interest in recruiting.

Bizarre.  Sounds more like a GSUSA Troop.  Without some "recruiting", who is going to be there next year?   What's the use?  Only the kids we have now?  

If Scouting is worthwhile, if the IDEA is worth promoting and insisting on for our future citizens (don't forget, your kids will pick out your assisted living facility), then  you (YOU) need to get the Troop known.  Sign out front of the meeting place, news article/ social FB thing  about the service project,  another one about the overnight on the old ship, another article about the Philmont Trip planned (and later accomplished).   Demo table at the town fair,   appearance in the 4th of July Parade,    Little cards to hand out to other kids/friends/relatives inviting them to join the fun..... 

And make it impossible for the nascent Scouts to have any free weekends.  Make your Troop motto  "ALWAYS ON THE GO", and live up to it.  

See you on the trail. 

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10 hours ago, SSScout said:

Bizarre.  Sounds more like a GSUSA Troop.  Without some "recruiting", who is going to be there next year?   What's the use?  Only the kids we have now?  

One of the things new Scouters with female troops, especially former GSUSA or duel enrolled GSUSA leaders, is that THE BSA AND GSUSA HAVE MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN HOW THEY OPERATE AND DO THINGS! (emphasis). My biggest fear is that female Scouts BSA troops will have adults with only GSUSA experience, and try to use that model when running a Scouts BSA troop. Recruiting is vital is you want to succeed

 

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12 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

One of the things new Scouters with female troops, especially former GSUSA or duel enrolled GSUSA leaders, is that THE BSA AND GSUSA HAVE MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN HOW THEY OPERATE AND DO THINGS! (emphasis). My biggest fear is that female Scouts BSA troops will have adults with only GSUSA experience, and try to use that model when running a Scouts BSA troop. Recruiting is vital is you want to succeed

 

Absolutely - every troop needs to make recruiting a prioroty.  Certainly not as much as program, but it's got to be a major focus.

As for adult experience in Troops for girls.  Fortunately something like 40% of the adult volunteers in our local troops for boys are currently female.  So, in our area there is a remarkable wealth of knowledge to draw upon already.  As I mentioned above, our local troop for girls which was started by some of those very same female leaders.  They're doing an amazing job and have a great program aleady.  They're are something like 15 girls even after a few months.  In a year they'll be at 25.

The other nice thing about this troop for girls is that some adult leaders are men too.  The ratio is certainly reversed (60% women, 40% men) - but is certainly mixed.  Mixed gender volunteer teams is the way to go.  Get the best adult volunteers you can - don't worry about gender (beyond YPT rules)

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28 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

One of the things new Scouters with female troops, especially former GSUSA or duel enrolled GSUSA leaders, is that THE BSA AND GSUSA HAVE MAJOR DIFFERENCES IN HOW THEY OPERATE AND DO THINGS! (emphasis). My biggest fear is that female Scouts BSA troops will have adults with only GSUSA experience, and try to use that model when running a Scouts BSA troop. Recruiting is vital is you want to succeed

The major differences in how BSA and GSUSA operate and do things is one of the reasons that some currently and/or formerly associated with GSUSA have now enrolled with BSA.   If they were entirely happy with all the ways that GSUSA operates they would see no reason to join BSA.

That being said,  there are a couple of things from my GSUSA background that I would like to bring into the BSA troop I am affiliated with:

1) enthusiastic singing around the campfire

2) scouts developing real competence in campfire cooking

Neither are, I think, opposed to BSA ways,  simply out of fashion at the moment.

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Agree with campfires and songs/skits. Problem is there are so many rules as to what can be done, folks are losing interest fast.

As for cooking, that is a challenge. Burn bans are lousy. Crazy thing is, there is a type of fire designed for these conditions, it's just not LNT friendly.

But I am afraid that some folks will want a continuation of GSUSA. Heck they have "Journeys" and we have "Adventures" because we are using the same sets of education experts.

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Just now, Eagle94-A1 said:

As for cooking, that is a challenge. Burn bans are lousy. Crazy thing is, there is a type of fire designed for these conditions, it's just not LNT friendly.

Our girls troop just went for a joint camping trip with our linked boys troop.   (First joint trip,  the girls troop has had several camping trips on its own.)   This was a traditional annual event for the boys troop.   All the cooking was done with propane.   But the boys built a bonfire that had flames that must have been at least five feet high -- and burned much more wood than would have been needed to cook for the entire long weekend.   In our part of the country at least, camping in camps with established fire rings and ample downed wood,  we cannot blame LNT for the lack of campfire cooking.

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6 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

But I am afraid that some folks will want a continuation of GSUSA. Heck they have "Journeys" and we have "Adventures" because we are using the same sets of education experts.

I have never met anyone in GSUSA who enthused about the "Journeys".  Of course I have only met the average volunteers, not the people who write these materials.

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