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atrox79

Linked Troop Question

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The other issue that I've seen when the SPL is from the one patrol that has a different agenda from the other two or three in the same troop: that SPL is not invested in those three PLs as much as should be.

Is it a grave problem? No, the other youth in the majority of the troop will need to step up their game. This is nothing new ... at least I remember having to deal with it when I was a scout. We certainly had those issues when troops merged. I would not be surprised if it arises in linked troops who go rogue.

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7 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Much of the rest of the world has co-ed Scouting.  I'm all for American exceptionalism, but I'm willing to concede that other countries probably know how to run a Troop too.

At some point I believe that we will have co-ed scouting here as well.   At this time we are not co-ed at the troop level.  Everything I have seen regarding linked troops suggests that BSA understood the challenge of getting completely separate leadership and committees for both units.  This was a reasonable compromise that allowed a CO to get a girl troop up and running.

In my area, we have three troops within a 3 mile area, one of which meets less than a mile away from us.  I would be open to joint activities between our troops, but would never expect the SPL of one of those units to be selected to serve as SPL of more than one troop.  Linked troop or neighbor troop, they are still two separate units, and should have separate SPLs.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, qwazse said:

Intended by whom? By me and @atrox79? I've argued that the most sensible thing for two groups working closely together is identify one senior scout to be on point. Other senior scouts assist. But, I'm just a stranger on the Internet spouting off rogue advice.

If you pay too much attention to scouters like me and ignore the positive models that BSA promotes, you'll never be convinced. Sitting around waiting for BSA to say "no" to every variation on the theme is no way to identify the intended standard. Of the 360 degrees on a compass, only one is north. If asked what north is, I don't say "find Casseopia, that's not it, find Ursa Major, that's not it ...." Sure, you're not in grave danger most nights if you settle for splitting the difference between the two, but nobody should give you credit for being well oriented.

I have produced official literature that aknowledges in writing a prized linked troop that has an SPL for each sex. You have not produced anything that upholds a different model. There is no ambiguity. We may conclude that BSA intends linked troops to field two SPLs.

So, given that the literature cited confirms that you're wrong, so what? Well, for one thing it means that we can't have a scouter be dismissive of his/her committee. It's all he/she has in terms of folks who will dig deep and support the youth nearest and dearest to his/her heart. Some committees will drink the scouter's Koolaid and let him go rogue. Others will set boundaries. Worst case: they will just back away from the program.

Unite or untie. That's the choice facing adult leaders. Being honest about where they are and are not adhering to standards is the first step in being a team.

I respect very much your point here. I am not looking to start a debate on the subject nor nitpick others.  

Some group at national has generated the document I quoted (the 03.5.18 version of the FAQ) where the BSA began to spell out guidance on the linked troop model.  This group is who I'm referring to when I say "intended."  In that document the BSA starts to outline a structure for how a linked troop could work - common unit committee, common opening, common closing, some joint activities.  The bulk of that meeting  - instruction, games, patrol time - is done by individual troop. 

As @MikeS72 writes - this was done in part to deal with creating unit committees - I think this is true.  But, this also reflects a reality that many of the COs starting troops for girls will already have strong troops for boys.  At those COs, there will be a lot of opportunity for the troops to interact, collaborate.  That troop for boys is running a quality program and it makes sense for the troop for girls to grow and benefit from that.  It sounds like this is exactly what happened here to great success.

The structure defined in the 03.5.18 FAQ is bound to lead to questions of organization within the Scouts.  If your two troops are regularly going on joint activities, have joint openings, etc. how do the Scouts within the troop troops interact?  Do we enact a wall between the two groups of Scouts or do we let them Scout alongside each other for that activity?  If they are Scouting alongside each other, then how do the Scouts deal with leadership and organization?  Which troop organizes the event?  Do we jointly organize the event?  Who conducts the opening? Do the adults make that decision or the scouts?  If the Scouts make that decision then how?  

The most probable model in this kind of scenario is that there are two SPLs - one for each unit.  Those SPLs work as equals to organize all this.  But, that model is going to invite frequent questions of who is in charge - what if the boys want a detail one way, but the girls another?  It makes sense to denote one of the two SPLs as lead for that event - sure.  But what if this is happening monthly or even weekly?  Is every event now a negotiation to see who is in charge?  To see which SPL has the stronger ability to assume control?

Here the troop tried something different - they elected a joint SPL.  That is an entirely reasonable idea to try based on the structure and documentation available at the time.  If you read the material closely most people would certainly infer that this wasn't intended.  But this group arrived at a different decision - and it's been working.  Call it a mistake or accident - but it's working and succeeding.  Yeah - maybe it's not the perfect Scouting structure for how the BSA views the structure working - but I don't see the need to tell them this needs to stop.  Sometimes the need of the unit outweigh the rules and regulations.

Edited by ParkMan
typos
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4 hours ago, ParkMan said:

what if the boys want a detail one way, but the girls another?

If they are being treated as two different troops, with separate leadership, then they can both have what they want.  I think that's the point for those arguing they need to be separate.

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Having gender-separate troops on paper, but operating as Co-ed is a clear violation of BSA intent, if not policy.  Period, end of discussion.  It doesn't matter what we THINK works best or what they do in other countries.  I know there are folks from BSA National reading these posts so it will be interesting to hear what they have to say.  @RichardB??

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Posted (edited)
5 hours ago, ParkMan said:

But this group arrived at a different decision - and it's been working.  Call it a mistake or accident - but it's working and succeeding.  Yeah - maybe it's not the perfect Scouting structure for how the BSA views the structure working - but I don't see the need to tell them this needs to stop.  Sometimes the need of the unit outweigh the rules and regulations.

I would tend to agree with you if the OP said outside forces were telling the unit this needs to stop, but this just isn't the case.  It is the unit committee who is telling the scoutmaster this needs to stop.  

I am much more doubtful about the claims that this is working and succeeding, as I am with the assertion that it has unanimous support from the boys' unit.  The opposition from the unit committee might indicate otherwise.

In any case, if the scoutmaster and the unit committee are at loggerheads on this issue, I think the COR needs to step in and settle the issue.

Edited by David CO
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On 3/10/2020 at 9:28 PM, fred8033 said:

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.  

Our local camps require all staff to register as a venture unit, which is co-ed, and then covered by proper YPT requirements.  This is also a dual registration with no cost for the youth.

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6 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Here the troop tried something different - they elected a joint SPL.  That is an entirely reasonable idea to try based on the structure and documentation available at the time.  If you read the material closely most people would certainly infer that this wasn't intended.  But this group arrived at a different decision - and it's been working.  Call it a mistake or accident - but it's working and succeeding.  Yeah - maybe it's not the perfect Scouting structure for how the BSA views the structure working - but I don't see the need to tell them this needs to stop.  Sometimes the need of the unit outweigh the rules and regulations.

I observation of this discussion is that this observation is tunnel visioned and doesn't consider the big picture. First off, if this is the better solution, then why is the discussion so difficult and divided. Do you really think that it won't come up and divide the adults again in the unit? Second, the solution ignores the adults all together. You know me, Scouting is an Adult program to guide youth toward developing growth. No matter what choices are made in the unit, the adults are always responsible for how they develop growth in the program. I struggle with the OP and some of the other responses that say nothing should be changed because the scouts made the decision. Right or wrong, they should get their way because they made the decision. Really? Is that the role modeling we want our youth to see? 

I have found in my experience that scouts will make the tough decisions when they are treated as adults and allowed participation in the discussion. 

My advice for the OP is start looking at their relationship with the youth leadership as a team relationship and share the rules, regulations and struggles with the situation. Then, allow a discussion of ideas.

Barry

 

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For all those looking for explicit documentation about sharing leadership between boy and girl troops, here you go:

https://skcscouts.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/Starting-Linked-Troop.pdf

Quote

Whether boy and girl troops are separate or linked, they can meet at the same place and they can enjoy activities together. They can even conduct joint openings and closings and courts of honor. However, to ensure both boys and girls have equal opportunities to learn and practice leadership the boy troop and girl troop should run their meetings separately and planning should be done by the Patrol Leader’s Council for each troop.

This clearly and definitively states that the entire youth troop structures of linked troops are supposed to be independent.

 

Quote

@ynot Unless there is a clear cut policy that says girls and boys may not ever hold leadership positions over the opposite gender -- and BSA would be falling on its own bad PR sword if it ever issued such a statement -- where is the policy that a girl or a boy can't serve in such leadership roles?

There is no reason a female SPL can't serve in an ad hoc leadership role for some activity, however the key concept behind an "ad hoc" anything is that the term of service is only the duration of the (typically short) immediate activity.  Furthermore, serving in some leadership role on an ad hoc basis is completely different from formally holding a "Position of Leadership". 

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At the time of the release on details of "Scouts BSA", infographics like this were released:

https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/Family-Scouting_Infographic_v11.pdf

As I recall National didn't put out a whole heck of a lot materials and left it up to councils to create their own.  Our council put something similar to the one linked below, but I did not save it: Unfortunately, it was these council created items that ticked GSUSA off and brought about the lawsuit, and the BSA branding guides about how to refer to female BSA scouts.

http://stlbsa.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/12/GSLAC-Guide-for-Establishing-a-Scouts-BSA-Troop-for-Girls-updated-12-21-18.pdf

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I want to thank everyone for their perspectives on this topic.  The committee has been talking and we met with our DE.  She stated she doesn't see a liability issue, but will double check to make sure.  And she likes how we are working together, but still within the actual "linked troop" guidelines set forth by the council.  As the youth leadership issue has never actually been addressed, we will continue with the female SPL until the next election and then have each troop elect an SPL next election.  Those two SPL's will work together on linked events.

As we discussed with our DE, this is really uncharted territory.  No one really knows what will work and what will not.  And every troop is different, which was part of the reason BSA didn't specify and left a lot of it vague (the same reason some troops have no SPL and just have PL's).  You do what works for your troop and your youth.  When BSA talks to the council about what is working and what is not, she will be using our troop as an example of what is.

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Posted (edited)
8 hours ago, Eagledad said:

I observation of this discussion is that this observation is tunnel visioned and doesn't consider the big picture.

I'm sure you're right.  

Guess I'm just getting tired of all the drama in Scouting these days.  More and more I just think of calling it a day.

Edited by ParkMan
clarified a thought
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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, yknot said:

I can't find that brochure anywhere else except at that specific council website. Do you have a BSA original source for it? 

No, I imagine it was simply a scanned copy of the published brochure.  But here's a link to the "Trail to Adventure" publication, Volume 8, Issue 1.  https://i9peu1ikn3a16vg4e45rqi17-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/The-Trail-To-Adventure-Master-Copy_Spring-2019.pdf

This is only talking about the issue in regards to summer camp, but it makes the BSA position pretty clear.
 

Quote

Question: Can Scouts BSA girl troops be combined with Scouts BSA boy troops into a “camp unit”?

Answer: No. Program integrity requires single gender units.

Quote

Question: Can we create a provisional troop for Scouts BSA girl and boy campers?

Answer: No, program integrity requires single gender units. Female provisional campers would be in a provisional Scouts BSA girl troop, and boy provisional campers would be in a provisional Scouts BSA boy troop.

Quote

Question: Can linked Scouts BSA girl and boy troops share a campsite?

Answer: Yes, if your camp layout and amenities meet all the requirements of the Barriers to Abuse, including privacy and separate accommodations.

Now, let's add to those points the fact that the BSA Rules https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/Rules_and_Regulations_June_2018.pdf

specify that the SPL must be elected by half of the members of their troop.(Section VII, page 14)  Therefore a "Joint SPL" is not possible because SPLs can not be elected by anyone outside of his/her troop.

Edited by elitts
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20 minutes ago, elitts said:

Now, let's add to those points the fact that the BSA Rules https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/Rules_and_Regulations_June_2018.pdf

specify that the SPL must be elected by half of the members of their troop.(Section VII, page 14)  Therefore a "Joint SPL" is not possible because SPLs can not be elected by anyone outside of his/her troop.

This was a point I brought up a few pages back. The girl's title of SPL over a male unit was never valid in the first place because she cannot be a member of that troop, regardless of how closely (too closely if you ask me) their two units work together. This is all over the BSA literature if you get into it enough.

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