This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is another about how to build consensus about whether – or how – to establish a Scouts BSA troop of girls at a Chartered Organization – some topics to consider as you pitch current Scouts in your troop of boys about launching a “sister” troop of girls.
Yes, your Scouts have a voice in this too … a critical voice, since your troop of boys should be run by the youth leaders, so even any sharing of space or gear needs a “heads up” and, ideally, approval by your Scouts in the troop of boys. And hopefully it will come, because, after all, “A Scout is friendly. A Scout is a friend to all. He is a brother to other Scouts.”
- Many troops will want to start briefing and obtaining consensus at the level of the Senior Patrol Leader, and then the Patrol Leaders Council.
- They may be best able to both absorb how a new troop of girls might impact their Scouting life, and also understand why it may be good for the girls and the Chartered Organization.
- They may set the example for the Scouts they lead.
- Especially with respect to meetings, campouts and other activities, your youth-led troop will need to have an opinion about whether, and how, a new troop of girls can coordinate with the current troop of boys – it’s their troop, after all.
- And key also is to consider the leaders of the other troop in question: the girls who will join the new troop of girls. A troop of boys may well be fully willing to do joint meetings and campouts with a new troop of girls, but if the girls want to go their own way and blaze their own trail separately, well … blaze on!
A key element of all discussions with Scouts in your current troop of boys is to be sure that all are aware of how your two troops might operate, and what the current plans are for separate and joint operation – though those plans may well change over time, including as you conduct planning for launch of a troop of girls and interact with your existing PLC and the prospective PLC of the new troop of girls. Their feedback might change the minds of the adults and the way you play the game of Scouting.
Like your current adult leaders in your troop, you want to be sure to seek not only “positive” responses (like “I don’t mind doing meetings and campouts with a troop of girls”), but also “negative” responses (like “No. Girls. Allowed.”). The latter may not always be as obvious – you may need some Scoutmaster conferences to check in with some Scouts – but you want to be careful if decisions will reduce the number of boys in their existing troop. That doesn’t mean that any one current Scout has a “veto” over whether to start a troop of girls (or how to run it), but it’s important to evaluate the impact, and, ideally, counsel all on an acceptable path forward.
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.