This is the second BP Pointer in “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019). This is about how Scouts BSA troops of boys and troops of girls chartered by the same Chartered Organization might – or might not – coordinate Scouting activities.
Echoes of the prior BP Pointer apply: All Scouting is Local, and Use Your Resources. Provided that you follow key rules (like Youth Protection, including adequate female adult leadership), Chartered Organizations and their troops have significant discretion in how to operate Scouts BSA troops of boys and troops of girls and in how much the two troops do together.
- So if your community (Chartered Organization, Adult Leaders, Youth Leaders, Scouts, Families, Community) wants to have fully gender-separate programs, activities, space, and adult leadership, that’s fine. You have that option.
- And if your community wants to have joint programs, activities, space, and adult leadership between the two troops, that’s fine too, with just a few caveats. You have that option.
Most pairs of troops will do some things jointly, and some things separately, because there can be advantages to both approaches in the right time and place and with the right people. All Scouting is Local. Use Your Resources.
This BP Pointer will focus on “upper level” troop cooperation and administration … the next note will address troop program level joint and separate activities.
What Must Pairs of Troops Do Together? Only one thing: cooperate with Chartered Organization rules, like schedules for use of space. Both troops will report to the Chartered Organization through the Chartered Organization Representative (who will also be supporting any pack or crew or ship chartered there), and so use of space must be coordinated with the other troop, as well as all other organizations sponsored by the Chartered Organization.
- As a reality check for troops with lots of “stuff”, like gear, trailer, Scout hut, library, etc.: your ‘troop’ doesn’t own it! Your troop, and all troop “stuff”, is owned by the Chartered Organization. Usually, there’s no resulting discord or dispute, since troops and Chartered Organizations usually remain on good terms.
- So, the new dynamic of a Scouts BSA troop of girls will lead to the question of whether, or under what terms, a new troop of girls gets to share “stuff” like space and gear. How that is determined will depend on the three parties: the troop of boys, the troop of girls, and the Chartered Organization.
What Should Pairs of Troops Do Together? Following on that note, you’ll see that it would be best for the first two parties (the troop of boys and the troop of girls) to find a way to cooperate with each other on matters like use of space and gear and libraries – putting the Chartered Organization in the middle of every issue will be dysfunctional at best. There no one way to implement a foolproof solution, but here’s some basic concepts:
- Short on Separate Space? Consider all options (use your resources).
- If you’ll meet at the same time as the other troop, consider whether there is other space at (or near) the Chartered Organization that might be used.
- As part of that, consider the outdoors (psst: it’s one of the methods of Scouting), because a troop meeting does not need to be done indoors.
- Maybe you’ll be able to use the same space, but at different times.
- Maybe rotating when you meet if one day and time is better for both.
- Yours? Mine? Ours? A new troop of girls getting to use “your” troops gear doesn’t have to be a loss. It might be a challenge, at least temporarily, but in most cases not worse than if your troop increased in size overnight – you’ll find a way to make it happen.
- Yes, you might have to split up the gear if you’re doing separate campouts on the same weekend, but … you have to split up gear as patrols go to separate campsites too.
- True that a trailer can’t be in one place at one time, but … many troops camp without trailers.
- Some wags have noted that maybe when another group is using the same patrol box later, this weekend’s patrol just might clean it better!
- Not forever, just for now! The 2019 sharing of patrol boxes, cooking gear – and even trailers – need not last forever, as one or both troops might use the launch of a new troop as the launch of fundraising for new gear for both Troops.
- Committee Cooperation. A later note will focus on the concept of “linked” troops with a common committee for both, but whether “linked” or not, committees need to consider effective ways of cooperation and communication with each other and their troops.
- [1/12/19 Update: turns out the whole “linked” committee choice is a bit of “much ado about nothing” in terms of BSA Charters and Applications, though coordination is a terrific option for Chartered Organizations and units they sponsor generally – and not just two troops. Here’s the update:
- The BSA, and the Council, won’t differentiate at all about whether two troops will be linked, or will share a committee, and you won’t Charter as a “linked” committee at all.
- As far as BSA and Charters go, you’ll have two committees.
- Yeah, there was this sort of big deal announcement about how the BSA Board “approved the option of a linked troop structure”, but it turns out they just meant this: two Committees can meet together if and when you want.
- But to be on both troop committees you have to register in both troops.
- More at this Unit Launch/Committee Structure post about how two committees might cooperate. ]
- The Kids Are Alright. Stewardship over troop “stuff” will be part of the responsibility of youth leaders like Quartermasters and Librarians, and they may be able to work it out between themselves, but can use the guidance of kind and cooperative adult advisors.
For more, see posts here and to follow for past and upcoming items in the BP 2019 List (and for upcoming items that are not complete, shoot your comments to this Family Scouting email, as that might result in updates and clarifications). More about what troop leaders might want to know about family scouting and girls is found on this District page of Scouts BSA resources and ideas.