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atrox79

Linked Troop Question

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Hello Everyone!

I will admit I am new to the boards, so if this is a question that has come up, please direct me to the correct spot (I looked and couldn't find it).

We are currently working as a linked troop.  We have two SMs and each troop has their own ASMs, but we share a Committee.   The Scoutmasters work well together (as we have been friends for years).  The two troops do a majority of their events together (meetings, summer camp, reg campouts).  We have also been acting as one PLC (one SPL for both Troops,  but elected PLs for all the patrols).  There is one girl patrol and three boy patrols.  This has been working wonderfully in the troop and attendance to all events has skyrocketed from what it was before I took over as SM (beginning of 2019).

Now that the girls are getting more experience, we had a girl run for SPL and she won.  Actually, none of the boys wanted to run against her because she is that respected in the Troop (17 and just earned her Star).  But now that we have a female SPL, our Committee wants to get National involved to make sure there is no liability issues.

We follow all of the YPT standards and Barriers to Abuse.  Personally, I think National has bigger issues than a thriving troop (that only had about 7 active Scouts 2 years ago).  I always thought youth leadership in a troop was determined by the youth with guidance by the Scoutmaster(s) ad long as it didn't violate any YPT or Barriers to Abuse.  And I always thought the purpose of the committe was to help facilitate the troop(s), not try to tear them apart (the Committee Chair was hesitant to even have a linked troop, btw).

Any suggestions on what to do with this?  I tried to suggest both Troops electing an SPL during the next election and then letting them decide who would be in charge at linked events (one serve as SPL and the other as ASPL), but they had a problem with that, also.

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Welcome to the forum, @atrox79.

Going from 7 scouts to 3+1 patrols sounds great. I'd be interested in hearing how that happened.

As for a female SPL, hopefully the response from national will be: you have two troops so you need two SPL's, a boy for the boy's troop and a girl for the girl's troop.

Here's another idea. Get rid of the SPL. The girl's troop doesn't need one as there is only one patrol. For the three boy patrols the PLC can consist of the three PL's working together. They can figure out how to have a single, senior PL to cover events. They might go round robin. They might just have the senior most PL be the SPL. Let them decide. The point is the focus should be on a group of patrols, not a troop. If the girl's patrol wants to do something different then they should (they are a different troop, after all). And if one of the boy patrols wants to do something different then they should as well.

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We have a similar situation.  3 boy patrols, 1 girls patrol.  There are 2 SPL's (one girl, one boy) and 4 patrol leaders.  Working very well so far.

 

Dale

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Be aware that you are in violation of established BSA policy. While you may share committees, resources, and even adult leadership, you are still operating two separate troops. That means each unit, the male and the female unit, needs to operate apart from the other. That means they should not be sharing youth leadership, and your current organization of boy and girl patrols goes against the rules of the Boy Scouts of America. You need to divide your units into a boy troop (with its own SPL and patrols) and a girl troop (with its own SPL and patrols). The fact that your units are thriving should be an indicator that such a division will not be a problem, and that your troops will continue to grow. But there is a concerning line in your post:

2 hours ago, atrox79 said:

We follow all of the YPT standards and Barriers to Abuse.  Personally, I think National has bigger issues than a thriving troop 

One of the bigger issues National has to deal with is maintaining YPT standards and barriers to abuse. By ignoring the policy regarding male and female units, you are in fact violating those standards. I think you have been successful enough with recruiting new members that you should have no problem making the adjustments needed to conform with proper standards, which will only strengthen your units for both the boys and the girls. But be aware that, as it currently stands, your attempts to merge the boy and girl units will only cause headaches and potential problems down the line. 

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I am not understanding why a female scout can't be a joint SPL?  It's a leadership position in linked troops. Assuming all adults follow YPT and youth follow all tenting requirements, there is no violation that I can see. It's discriminatory and not defensible. Can a female scout be a den chief or troop guide for a boy den or patrol? Of course. 

 

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Posted (edited)

The only place I've ever seen rules about how linked troops operate was in the various FAQs provided by national.  The current version is at: https://www.scouting.org/wp-content/uploads/2019/02/UPDATED-Family-Scouting-FAQ-2-11-191.pdf

In an earlier version of this document there were the guidelines:

Quote

Q: Can a boy troop and girl troop meet as one big troop?
Opening and closing of the meetings can be together or separate, depending on space and desire of the chartered organization and unit leadership. The other components of the Scout meeting should be run separately.

Q: Can boy and girl patrols make up a troop?
No. Troops must be all male or all female youth members.

Q: Can a boy troop and girl troop plan events together?
Yes, they can plan events together, as troops currently do

However, the newer version has removed all of that.

My take - you are free to define linked troop how you want.  If the two troops want to meet alongside each other - great.  If the two troops want to share an SPL - great.  If the two troops want to never meet each other - great.  Your call.

Given how this stuff seems to work. 

  1. You'll put in a request to the national support hotline.  National will refer you to the FAQ above.
  2. The FAQ above no longer has any rules in this regard that I can see.
  3. If you pursue further with national, you'll get referred to your council SE.
  4. Who knows what the SE will say...  My guess is that they'll pass it to a commissioner or to a DE.

My recommendation: Sounds like you've got a winning strategy for you that meets the letter of the rules.  Continue to have a single SPL across both troops - regardless of gender.  Have fun.

 

Edited by ParkMan
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3 hours ago, atrox79 said:

.... our Committee wants to get National involved to make sure there is no liability issues.

We follow all of the YPT standards and Barriers to Abuse.  Personally, I think National has bigger issues than a thriving troop (that only had about 7 active Scouts 2 years ago).  ...

Don't get national involved! They've written enough to give you the latitude to get you into this mess. The last thing you need is getting them spouting off unwritten rules to you.

Rule #1, don't ask for a rule. You'll live to regret it.

Prior to any contemplating of BSA4G the occasional troop would lone its lead scout to SPL another troop who wasn't prepared to field one. (This how my troop got jump-started.)

For reasons that are entirely unclear, your boys troop decided to borrow a scout from your girls troop to be SPL. That comes with a slew of problems for reasons mentioned above andd more that your committee probably voice.

My personal opinion of those concerns is irrelevant.

If your commitee walks, you don't have a troop. About three dozen youth are left hanging. Keep working with one another. Determine a best practice. Apply it.

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40 minutes ago, yknot said:

I am not understanding why a female scout can't be a joint SPL?  It's a leadership position in linked troops. Assuming all adults follow YPT and youth follow all tenting requirements, there is no violation that I can see. It's discriminatory and not defensible. Can a female scout be a den chief or troop guide for a boy den or patrol? Of course. 

 

"Why" is not ours to understand. Using your illustration, if a DL of a den of one sex doesn't won't countenance a DC of the opposite sex, he/she would be within rights to refuse the youth a position ... or abandon the den. Arguing that his/her actions are indefensible would only make matters worse.

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5 minutes ago, qwazse said:

"Why" is not ours to understand. Using your illustration, if a DL of a den of one sex doesn't won't countenance a DC of the opposite sex, he/she would be within rights to refuse the youth a position ... or abandon the den. Arguing that his/her actions are indefensible would only make matters worse.

You have the right to refuse but that doesn't make it defensible and will only be the cause of the next set of negative headlines for scouting. Imagine if a DL refused a special needs DC or a DC of a different religion. It doesn't fly. 

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1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

One of the bigger issues National has to deal with is maintaining YPT standards and barriers to abuse. By ignoring the policy regarding male and female units, you are in fact violating those standards.

Don't mix YPT with the boy troop / girl troop debate.  It's just not there.  Scout camps have always had mixed gender under-18 staff without violating YPT.  Activities, camporees and district events can have both genders.  BSA G2SS never even infers single gender units is a YPT issue.  

If there is an issue, it's with ignoring the "INTENTION" that the troops should be separate.  We as leaders should follow BSA's intentions less we are accused of going rogue.  But even then, there is little to say two units can't meet in the same place at the same time and have similar calendars.  

IMHO, if the scouts are safe, growing, learning and having adventures, then don't question success.  

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2 hours ago, MattR said:

Going from 7 scouts to 3+1 patrols sounds great. I'd be interested in hearing how that happened...

 

Before I was the Scoutmaster, I was the Cub Master of our pack.  When I became Cub Master, we recruited...a lot.  We went from 3 new Cubs the year my oldest son joined to 25 new Cubs the year I took over.  Those recruitment numbers are now filtering into the Troop (and the current committee that is fighting me on this issue are the ones that were running the pack before I took over).

 

1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

Be aware that you are in violation of established BSA policy. While you may share committees, resources, and even adult leadership, you are still operating two separate troops. That means each unit, the male and the female unit, needs to operate apart from the other. That means they should not be sharing youth leadership, and your current organization of boy and girl patrols goes against the rules of the Boy Scouts of America. You need to divide your units into a boy troop (with its own SPL and patrols) and a girl troop (with its own SPL and patrols).

They are, on paper, two troops.  And the boy patrols are part of the boy troop / girl patrol part of the girl troop.  And if you look at any of the information on linked troops, it says they can do everything together.  EVERYTHING.  All camp outs, troop meetings, troop events, etc.  There is nothing that said they cannot.  They can even share the same campsite as long as girls and boys do not share a tent.  This doesn't mean we run a co-ed troop, it means we run two troops that work together.  We even have two deep leadership for BOTH troops on camp outs, even though they share campsites.

 

1 hour ago, The Latin Scot said:

One of the bigger issues National has to deal with is maintaining YPT standards and barriers to abuse. By ignoring the policy regarding male and female units, you are in fact violating those standards. I think you have been successful enough with recruiting new members that you should have no problem making the adjustments needed to conform with proper standards, which will only strengthen your units for both the boys and the girls. But be aware that, as it currently stands, your attempts to merge the boy and girl units will only cause headaches and potential problems down the line. 

I agree with Fred8033.  YPT and Barriers to Abuse say nothing about how youth leadership in a troop (or linked troop) should be organized.

 

2 hours ago, eagle90 said:

We have a similar situation.  3 boy patrols, 1 girls patrol.  There are 2 SPL's (one girl, one boy) and 4 patrol leaders.  Working very well so far.

Do all of your Scouts share a PLC?  We actually had our first PLC with the female SPL tonight and she did a great job.  We actually made a compromise this time with one SPL and two ASPLs (one female, one male).

Thanks for all of the replies and I am glad to see it definitely isn't clear to anyone.  We never had an issue for the past year when there was a boy SPL running the troop and the CC didn't raise an issue until a week before the troop elections when she found out a female was going to run for SPL (and prob get it).  Now she is concerned about "liability", however, I do not see where there is any.

This comes down to how youth leadership should be run.  I am always telling our PLC that the SPL oversee's the Patrol Leaders, but the Patrol Leaders oversee the Patrols.  It is not the SPL's job to tell a member of a patrol what to do.  And the Committee tried to bring up that we are taking away leadership positions by working as one PLC, however, we have leadership roles that are currently not even filled due to how young most of our troop is (80% are prob under 13).  They never even held a PLC or did youth leadership training before I took over.

My frustration comes when you start treating Scouts differently.  I believe Scouting teaches life skills, not boy skills.  The introduction of females in Scouts was long overdue, but they shouldn't be treated any differently.  When I see FB ads for Scouts and it has all girls, or all boys, in the ad, I feel they are missing the point of what makes this program great.  People don't want to be treated differently or want to be categorized by their sex, skin color, religion, etc.  My goal with the linked troops was to give ALL of these kids a quality program like I had as a kid.  I feel like we were doing that, but now the Committee wants to step in and tell me how to run the program.

 

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18 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

We never had an issue for the past year when there was a boy SPL running the troop

My understanding is that the big concern is that boy troop and the girl troop are each to have its own leadership structure.   Because girls and boys don't mature in the same ways at the same rate.

With one girl patrol, the girl troop (which was a single patrol)  did not need an SPL.  With three boy patrols, the boy troop needed an SPL.   But now you have it backwards.  

4 hours ago, atrox79 said:

we had a girl run for SPL and she won.  Actually, none of the boys wanted to run against her because she is that respected in the Troop

That is precisely the problem.   The boys are missing out on an opportunity here.

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18 minutes ago, Treflienne said:

That is precisely the problem.   The boys are missing out on an opportunity here.

What opportunity are they missing out on?  None of them ran for SPL.  Nothing stopped them from running except they wanted her as their SPL.  

Not everyone will get to be SPL.  It is an elected position.  Your only opportunity regarding that position is to "run" for it.  And they have that opportunity every 6 months as long as they fit into the parameters the PLC has set for the position. 

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Posted (edited)
13 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

What opportunity are they missing out on?  None of them ran for SPL.  Nothing stopped them from running except they wanted her as their SPL.  

Not everyone will get to be SPL.  It is an elected position.  Your only opportunity regarding that position is to "run" for it.  And they have that opportunity every 6 months as long as they fit into the parameters the PLC has set for the position. 

I think her opposition to this is that even thought the troops are linked which means they only share the same unit committee.  They are 2 troops not one.  A youth member of one troop cannot hold a position in another troop that they are not a member of which means that your troop made up of male youth dose-not have a SPL.  Them wanting her as SPL is not a factor  because she cannot be because she is not a member of the male troop.   

Edited by ValleyBoy
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3 minutes ago, ValleyBoy said:

I think her opposition to this is that even thought the troops are linked which means they only share the same unit committee.  They are 2 troops not one.  A youth member of one troop cannot hold a position in another troop that they are not a member of which means that your troop made up of male youth dose-not have a SPL.  Them wanting her as SPL is not a factor  because she cannot be because she is not a member of the male troop.   

But where is it in writing that a youth member can't hold a leadership position over another troop (over, not in).  I am not saying it doesn't exist, I just can't find it.  Youth leadership roles are not registered with BSA.  Their roles are only internal.

Plus, we have said we were going to elect 2 SPL's next election.  The girls will elect one and the boys will elect one.  This still didn't make them happy.

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