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atrox79

Linked Troop Question

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Posted (edited)
22 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.   

 

11 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

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.

Never in the past have we had linked troops. This is new territory.

I understand the arguments - boys mature differently than girls.  Girls as SPL will discourage boys from running.  We need to have single gender troops to make it fair and to support the development of the scouts.  Personally I think this is coddling youth too much.  Most Scouts who reach the SPL are impressive young adults.  Some challenges like this are healthy.  As a male I'm not ready to count my gender out here :)

But, beyond that - what's the harm in a little innovation here.  On top of that, this is not prohibited in the rules.  We've been declining in youth for 40 years.  The BSA is in bankruptcy.  I'm open to a little thought out innovation.

Edited by ParkMan
expanded the thought

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I am unclear what problem your committee perceives it has.  You had a male SPL who was nominally the SPL for both your male and female troops.  You now have a female SPL fulfilling that role.

What question are you needing to answer now that you didn't need to answer before?

My understanding of the linked troop model was that a CO would have two separate troops that might or might not operate in close parallel with each other.  Under that model you would have two SPLs, or if you decide one troop is too small to need an SPL you would have one patrol size troop led  by a PL.

From your brief description it sounds like your CC foolishly assumed that the SPL would just naturally be male, and now doesn't understand why that is.  Does the CC think that every high school in the country elects only males as student body president.  

If the idea of a female SPL has some people freaked out your best bet is to say well the scouts chose this let's go along with it for six months and then elect two separate SPLs.  

I remain amazed that your people didn't see this coming.  Did they really not think a girl would ever be elected.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, atrox79 said:

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.

Your heated responses, especially the remark about your committee "stepping in and telling (you) how to run the program," makes it clear to me that you KNOW you are violating BSA policy, and you are passionately trying to justify your actions - not to us, but to yourself. Broad aphorisms about inclusion and equality are only masking the real issue - you are not running your troops in accordance with BSA policy, but you worry changing your methods will harm the growth you have been enjoying. In the long run, it's just better to check yourself and where you are going against established policy, and make the necessary changes - before somebody higher up does it for you.

And by the way, I don't regard any unit going against established procedure as successful - regardless of the numbers they have accrued. Success isn't the number of kids you have in your unit - it's the example and behaviors you are teaching them. I know this is a rather brash way of putting it, but I feel that both the boys AND the girls are being cheated out of the full benefits of this program when you mash their troops together as though they were one unit, and for the sakes of the Scouts in your care, I implore you to reconsider the way you run your program.

Edited by The Latin Scot

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43 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

... I feel that both the boys AND the girls are being cheated out of the full benefits of this program when you mash their troops together as though they were one unit, and for the sakes of the Scouts in your care, I implore you to reconsider the way you run your program.

I can understand that view.  

My thoughts are there are many troops that may become viable with a critical mass of scouts when run together for a time.  My gut says a troop of 5 to 10 girls is on the cusp of being viable or failing.  A troop of 5 to 10 boys is on the cusp of being viable or failing.  But if you run them parallel you create a unit of 10 to 20 scouts that can create more positive experiences and more opportunity.  Hopefully, that recruits more scouts.  

If there are enough scouts to begin with, I agree.  Single gender gives scouts a chance to shine.  But I think the real issue is would the troop exist for more than a year or so with 5 to 10 kids.  

IMHO, this is about making troops viable to become strong and grow. 

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I am Scoutmaster of a 37-girl non-linked Troop.  We operate in the standard matter as a Troop, with four patrols and all the normal elected and appointed youth leaders.  Our SPL and her ASPL are tops and have attended NYLT.

I believe you should operate the troops separately in accordance with BSA policy because that is the best way for the Scouts from both troops to have the full advantages and opportunities of Scouting.  Fulfilling the role of an SPL is something not to be missed, and you should offer that to kids from both Troops.   Operating your Troops as separately as possible will cause the girl troop to grow more quickly and provide the full leadership opportunities for more Scouts.

Venturing is available for those chartered organizations who want to have a co-ed program.  Scouts BSA is not co-ed.

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Operating separately as a single patrol has the advantage of strengthening the Patrol Method. Sure, every once in a while have a camporee where all patrols can compete. But most outings can and should be done by patrol. Even the boy troop with multiple patrols ideally should have patrol outings separate from troop outings. 

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A lot of heated discussion on this.  Keeping it short...the troops should operate independently.  Give each an identity and let it run.    I'm sure each troop had a separate recharter packet, so they are linked by the same chartered org and/or committee?  Please don't put out the cub program and BSA Scouts program have the same boy/girl rules.  Cub rules are lighter.   

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Posted (edited)

Virtually nothing has changed since last year- the troops are separate units.  There is a troop 123B and a troop 123G.  Linked troops are an option that streamlines the administration for a Chartering Organization for the Committee only.  The BSA implemented the rule that each unit must have their own SM, and it can not be the same person for both units to emphasize that they are two units at the program level.  We don't have the side of the story for your Committee to know if they are reacting to "something changed" today, or if it has been an ongoing discussion.  I can only offer that I had our committee and SM corps discuss planning last year on being a linked troop- while it did not happen yet due to lack of females interested, we remain open to the possibility.  

The statement that they are two units "on paper" is the problem- it isn't supposed to be just on paper, it is supposed to be in reality.  While I understand all the arguments on why it makes sense to let the youth decide if they will hold joint activities for economy of scale and sharing resources to allow the units to grow, going around BSA policy to accomplish your own goals is not appropriate.  Our job as adult unit leaders is to emphasize following the Oath and Law- teaching the youth to subvert rules and policy doesn't feel to me like it is keeping with that ideal.  As to the question "where is it in writing that a youth member can't hold a leadership position over another troop (over, not in)", please refer to the handbook (or ILST, NYLT, etc.).  Star rank requirement #5: "While a First Class Scout, serve actively in your troop for four months in one or more of the following positions of responsibility..." Again, you have two troops here, troop 123B and troop 123G, not one troop.

Edited by HashTagScouts
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Yeah @atrox79, as one who couldn't care less about who's in whose patrol -- I barely care about who's tenting with whom -- I can feel your pain. But, face facts ... you've gone rogue. No matter how much better off the boys would be with this SPL, and no matter how much the girls don't need an SPL because their recruitment hasn't garnered numbers for multiple patrols, you have two troops and one is established with parents and committee who have set expectations.

I suspect "liability" is a smoke screen for fear of what you will do next. So, reign yourself in.

  • Your 17 year old female is SPL of the girls troop. She's not doing bed-checks on the boys, not hearding them to showers, nor is her first responsibility to leaders who are only registered with the male's troop.
  • Your male ASPL is de facto the SPL of the boys troop. He is not checking that the girls are tucked in, not hearding them to showers, not inspecting their latrine. Nor is his first responsibility to the leaders registered only with the female's troop.

Explain this to your committee, include the SPLs on the meeting. make it work.

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This is why I brought all of this up in this forum.  I am not looking for documentation to justify what we are doing, I was just looking for documentation.

Some clarification.  Both troops are allowed to hold their own events (the girls troop even hold their own camp outs without the boys and vice versa).  We encourage this, actually.  During meetings, they hold a joint opening and closing, but separate during patrol times.  They meet back up during troop time if it is something that effects both troops.  A majority of our events are joint, however.  We currently have the female SPL (who is only registered with the female troop) overseeing a joint PLC.  There is a male ASPL that oversees the boys troop and a female ASPL for the girls.  As for bed checks at camp outs, that is done by the patrol leaders, not the SPL (the SPL oversees everything, but doesn't conduct them).  During the PLC, they do a good job of discussing joint events together, but if it only involves the girls troop, the boys will give input, but will not be able to vote.  If it only involves the boys troop, the girls can give input, but cannot vote (same goes with OA elections as the girls cannot vote in the boys OA elections as they are not members of that troop and vice versa).    

All of the documentation on linked troops show they can have linked events.  It just comes down to how far can you define what is a "linked" event, but I am not even sure BSA is completely clear on it.  It also makes me wonder if they are being vague to see how troops handle it to see what works.  When I say "on paper", I mean they are two separate troops.  According to BSA, they have two different troop numbers, two different SM's.

Since the female was just elected, we have decided to let this model run for the next 6 months (until the next scheduled election).  At the next election, I said we would have the boys elect their SPL and the girls elect an SPL.  The SPL's can then decide, on linked events, who can be in charge.  On solo events, it's a no brainer.  

If we had more girls, we wouldn't do the linked troops model and, eventually, that is what we are hoping for.

And, as far as me going "rogue" (according to @qwazse), I have been accused of that more than once..ha. 

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13 hours ago, qwazse said:

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.

 

Yep, don't start climbing that tree. Call your UC, then the District Commissioner, then the DE. And try to stop there with the solution. 

Curious, why didn't the two troops have separate elections?

Barry

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12 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

During the PLC, they do a good job of discussing joint events together, but if it only involves the girls troop, the boys will give input, but will not be able to vote.  If it only involves the boys troop, the girls can give input, but cannot vote (same goes with OA elections as the girls cannot vote in the boys OA elections as they are not members of that troop and vice versa).    

That sounds like our joint committee meetings for our linked troops  (some committee members are on just one committee,  some are on the other committee, and some are on both).  There has been good and bad:  good the girl's troop committee members can learn from the boys troop, and the boys troop commiteee members can hear what the girls troop is doing.  Bad:  the committee meetings are taking way way too long, and I feel like some of the girls troop issues are getting squeezed out.    

Fortuntaley for us the girls troop PLC and the boys troop PLC meet separately, and can plan their own things,  and the smaller troop's concerns do not get squeezed out in that setting.

16 minutes ago, atrox79 said:

If we had more girls, we wouldn't do the linked troops model and, eventually, that is what we are hoping for.

You can go ahead and start with separate PLC meetings now  (or at the time of the next election.)    You can do this,  even if the girls troop is a single patrol.  PLC meeting is PL, APL,  any of the other POR deemed necessary, and any scout in that tiny troop who wants to get involved in the planning.

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Posted (edited)

Well, lucky us. A positive article on how to "make it work", was posted by Bryan on Scouting about a linked troop on a modest little hike.

Quote

Troop 175 for boys and Troop 1175 for girls were led by senior patrol leaders Max and Kate Hollister. The siblings say their parallel Scouting journeys have brought them closer together and unlocked experiences they wouldn’t get outside of Scouting.

Bryan asked of the boy leader ...

Quote

BOS: What was the toughest part about being the senior patrol leader on this trip?

MH: The biggest challenge was supporting each other on the way up. It showed me that there are a lot tougher things than putting together and running a 90-minute troop meeting.

I may be reading into this a little, but when any two troops join in on an activity, they often may appoint the SPL for that activity. Same thing has been happening for years with activities shared by crew/troop. Basically one leader may defer to the other for the sake of running things smoothly. And it sounded like, at points, this happened here.

Quote

BOS: Did your brother encourage you during the climb? If so, how?

KH: On the final push for the summit, at about 4 a.m., we stopped for a rest break. I was thinking I wasn’t going to make it. I went to Max and told him I didn’t think I was going to make it and he was going to have to take my troop’s flag up to the top. He told me, “When you think you’re done and your body tells you to give up, you’ve only done about 40% of what you can do. You just need to keep pushing.” Max refused to take my flag.

Although identifying both as SPLs, Bryan did not ask the sister her about being SPL, but clearly she faced leadership challenges ...

Quote

BOS: What were the leadership challenges you encountered?

KH: We were a small group with strong personalities, which made it important to focus on the positive and encourage each other.

Again, reading into it, it sounds like her direct responsibilities were to the girls.

The participants were listed at the end of the article: 16 from the boys troop, 3 from the girls troop, 9 adults (not entirely clear who was registered with which troop).

Clearly, this doesn't talk much about day-to-day troop operations. But, I think for anyone trying to operate under a linked model, it gives a really clear vision of what BSA expects in terms of youth organizational structure. Your PLC(s) will probably read different things into the story than I will. But, this story allows for some Kodiak level reflection, so it might be a good one to do over a cracker barrel with your youth leaders.

Edited by qwazse

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My two cents - some troops are searching for any excuse to have coed or have girls lead the boys. SPLs lead thier troop not other troops. Stop trying to read into things that you want to happen. BSA is currently not coed.

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3 hours ago, atrox79 said:

Since the female was just elected, we have decided to let this model run for the next 6 months (until the next scheduled election).  At the next election, I said we would have the boys elect their SPL and the girls elect an SPL.  The SPL's can then decide, on linked events, who can be in charge.  On solo events, it's a no brainer.  

Just, why? Let the two SPLs discuss plans and make decisions for themselves who will be the primary leader for the events.  Handcuff yourself and the other adults from stepping into this.  It is their choices to make for their units.

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