Discussions with Chartered Organization

The first 5 BP Pointers from “The BP 2019 List” were all about “What’s the Change” and “How Does It Work”, which are essential to know if you’re going to consider establishing a Scouts BSA troop for girls.  Some initial reactions to Scouts BSA seemed to be based on rumor and misconception, and these BP Pointers are intended to reduce rumor and minimize misconceptions.

With that as the background, how do you build consensus about whether – or how – cor 2to establish a Scouts BSA troop of girls at a Chartered Organization.

For this, the decision begins and ends with the Chartered Organization itself, though there are a a lot of other stakeholders.  If the Chartered Organization wants to make use of a Scouts BSA troop of girls as a part of its total program for youth, then parties interested in the troop can get to work on putting together a package for the new troop.  You’ll want to be sure they understand why Scouts BSA is now welcoming girls in all program levels, and that we’re trying to “serve the whole family” and have more families “do Scouting”.

But some Chartered Organizations may be reluctant to approve a Scouts BSA troop of girls.  Reasons for this include the following (and some notes about mitigating factors that might change a Chartered Organization’s view are added below):

  • The Chartered Organization may be adamantly opposed to anything like a “co-educational” program.
    • Of course, most (but not all) churches and schools are co-educational, so this may not be a common objection.cor
    • Also, Scouts BSA troops for boys and girls can, with adequate leader and other resources, operate completely separately, so a Chartered Organization that believes the values of the Scout Oath and Law apply as well to young women as to young men may well welcome a Scouts BSA troop for girls that runs separately.
  • The Chartered Organization may be worried about adequate space and scheduling issues.
    • All Scouting is Local, and all meeting space issues are local too.  There may be other space options at other community locations, and there may be opportunities to recognize that joint meetings, if approved by stakeholders, will reduce the stress points of space and scheduling.
  • The Chartered Organization may be worried about how current Scouts and families will view a Scouts BSA troop of girls – some will be worried about the negative impacts of girls around the boys, and vice versa.
    • This is absolutely a valid concern, and BP Pointers to follow shortly will address discussion points for Scouts and for families.
    • Organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to assure the Chartered Organization that there have been, and will continue to be, discussions with Scouts and families about the establishment of a Scouts BSA troop for girls, and how it will operate, because separate operation will often ensure that concerns about “coed” activities are addressed.
  • The Chartered Organization may be worried about whether there is sufficient adult leadership to support a Scouts BSA troop of girls, especially depth of female leadership.
    • Another valid concern, and BP Pointers to follow shortly will address discussion points for current leaders and how to recruit new leaders.
    • Organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to assure the Chartered Organization that there have been, and will continue to be, discussions with leaders of the existing troop of boys, and a robust plan for ongoing recruitment of new leaders.
  • The Chartered Organization may be worried about whether there are sufficient interested female youth to join a Scouts BSA troop of girls.cor paper
    • Another valid concern, and BP Pointers to follow shortly will address recruiting and organization and planning in advance of launching a troop.
    • Organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to assure the Chartered Organization that there have been, and will continue to be, recruiting efforts with youth in the age range, and share progress reports on those efforts.
  • The Chartered Organization may be worried about whether a Scouts BSA troop of girls might negatively impact other youth organizations supported by the Chartered Organization – especially any perception that the Scouts BSA troop will draw down participation in other organizations.
    • Another valid concern, and BP Pointers to follow shortly will address discussion points for dealing with other community organizations.
    • Organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to assure the Chartered Organization that there have been, and will continue to be, discussions with other youth organization about the establishment of a Scouts BSA troop for girls, to identify the extent of concerns, and the opportunities for cooperation, as there may be opportunities here, not problems.
    • That said, this might be a “deal breaker” for some Chartered Organizations, at least for now, at least until the success of other Scouts BSA troops can be shown.
  • The Chartered Organization may be worried about the general community it serves, and “what will people think” since it is a relatively novel concept for girls to participate in what has been known as “boy scouting”.
    • Another valid concern, and organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to work with the Chartered Organization to share the story of Scouts BSA and why it has evolved to serve girls.
  • The Chartered Organization may be concerned about “branding” the troop … whether it can have the same troop number or whether it can have a distinct troop number.  Other stakeholders may have the same concern.
    • The good news here is that a new troop of girls may use the same number as the troop of boys or use a new number from those otherwise available.  The bad news is that if stakeholders are split about this issue, it may be difficult to reconcile.
    • More on this to follow in a later BP Pointer, including some tips on how to reach consensus, and differentiate troops even with the same “number”.

Ultimately, a Chartered Organization might approve a Scouts BSA troop for girls cor-training-course-pgg-161108-1-638“tentatively” or conditionally, provided that the unit organizers can demonstrate that the troop will be successful (plenty of youth and adult leaders), with a good program plan, while minimizing negative reactions from current Scouts, Adult Leaders and families in the troop of boys.  But … that’s all part of the plan for launching a successful Troop, and will be the subject of BP Pointers to follow.

And if you have, or project, difficult issues that may arise, feel free to contact District resources, as District Executives and Commissioners may be able to assist you in these discussions.

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.

Discussions with Current Leaders

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 with current leaders about whether – or how – to establish a Scouts BSA troop of girls at a Chartered Organization.

Assuming that the Chartered Organization approves of a Scouts BSA troop for girls leader dinner(or will if the unit organizers can demonstrate that the troop will be successful), here are some topics to consider as you pitch current adult leaders of your troop of boys to “multiple” register with a troop of girls.

A key element of all discussions with leaders 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 get feedback from leaders in your troop of boys.  But many may have “heard about” how things must be done, which often may be exaggerated or misunderstood.

As you address current leaders in your troop, you want to be sure to seek not only “addition” responses (like “sure, I’ll also be an ASM for the troop of girls”), but also “subtraction” responses (like “if we start a troop of girls, I’m done”).  The latter may be rare, and not always be as obvious – but in some cases may be more critical than adding another “multiple” leader, because you want to be careful if decisions will reduce leadership corps of an existing troop of boys.  That doesn’t mean that any one current leader necessarily has a “veto” over whether to start a troop of girls (or how to run it), but it’s important to evaluate the impact.wait

And it will be important to ensure that leaders you approach feel free to respond, and free to share their thoughts – in some cases the position may be intractable, but in other cases, there may be the potential to secure continued valuable volunteering by education, and by reaching understanding and consensus about what the troop of girls will mean for the adult leader in question.  This consensus might occur either on a macro basis (e.g., whether the troops will meet and camp mostly or completely separately), or on a micro basis (e.g., that the leader won’t be expected to participate with the troop of girls, or at events that include them).  The ideas of other leaders might often result in a change of how the two troops will operate for the better.

When you poll your leaders, some will be eager to help a Scouts BSA troop of girls – others, not so much.  Reasons for reluctance include ones noted in the BP Pointer about Chartered Organizations, as well as the following (and some notes about mitigating factors that might keep a leader engaged in the existing troop of boys are added below):

  • The leader may be worried about whether the “multiple” registration will in fact “multiply” the leader’s commitment of precious time.four
    • This is a common concern, and organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to assure leaders that they are not, in fact, asked to increase their overall time commitment.
    • Where troops of boys and troops of girls have some level of joint meetings and campouts, having a leadership role in both troops should result in little or no increase, similar to years when the troop of boys has grown with a strong recruiting year.  Most are happy to see that sort of increase in Scouting.
  • The leader may be worried about how to deal with girls in Scouting, as many (especially men) know how to deal with boys, but not girls.women leaders
    • This is a very valid concern, and organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to assure leaders that there have been, and will continue to be, robust recruitment of female leaders.  Share the status of successful recruitment.
  • The leader may be adamantly opposed to anything like a “co-educational” program, or may believe that Scouting is a last bastion of “boy only” program, and must be protected as such.
    • If your troops will operate completely separately, this may not be a significant issue, since there will be minimal joint activities of the two troops.
    • If there will be joint activities, it may be possible to describe or develop how there will be sufficient separate activities that recognize the value of single-gender time.
    • And troops will want to implement “joint” camping protocols.  While some are directed by Youth Protection rules (like no sharing of tents between boys and girls, separate facilities or times for showers/latrines), others must be developed by the troop and adapted to your local campsites, like signsputting the separate troops apart from each other, with watchful eyes and waking ears between or among them.  Of course, it is said that patrols on campouts should be separated at some distance from each other to operate properly.
  • The leader may be worried about whether there is sufficient commitment to successfully launch a Scouts BSA troop of girls, whether numbers of Scouts, numbers of adult leaders, space/planning issues, or similar issues.
    • Another valid concern, and organizers of a possible Scouts BSA troop for girls are wise to get consensus with the leader that there have been, and will continue to be, sufficient progress on all fronts to allow success.

These are not all the reasons why a leader might be reluctant to be a “multiple” leader in a troop of girls, so be sure to get the feedback of your current leader team … it’s a gift.

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.

Discussions with Current Scouts

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 campfire 2should 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 girls at tablewho 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.

plcLike 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.cooking boys 2

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.

Discussions with Current Families

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 families of Scouts in your troop of boys about launching a “sister” troop of girls.

Like your Chartered Organization, current leaders in your troop of boys, and your adults roundtableScouts, the families of Scouts will have an interest and curiosity about what this means.  Many of them might not be in sync initially with their Scout sons, but may well sway them, either to accept a troop of girls or (in the worst case) pull them from a troop if they don’t agree with whether, and how, a new troop of girls will be launched and operate from the same Chartered Organization.

threeSo families need to be briefed in order to become 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 and get parental feedback.  Family feedback might change the course of plans about how your troops will coordinate.  This is a fine time to renew your regular requests that family members register as leaders to assist their troop, as more Scouts will mean more help is needed.

Like your current adult leaders and Scouts in your troop, you want to be sure to seek not only “positive” responses (like “A troop of girls is fine”), but also “negative” responses (like “I do not want my son on campouts near girls ever”).  You may want a series of “one on one” conversations to get the sense of some families – as troops need to be careful about decisions that may reduce the number of boys in their proto troopexisting troop.  That doesn’t mean that any one current family 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.

Discussions with Other Youth Serving Groups

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 in your community about a Scouts BSA troop of girls at a Chartered Organization – because other parties may have concerns or interest about the launch of a troop of girls, including the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA).

girls on bridgeSome leaders of these other programs might be concerned that the existence of Scouts BSA troops for girls will threaten or diminish their programs for youth or confuse the public.  Addressing this with leaders of other youth programs that serve your community and discussing concerns about the change can create some great opportunities – for understanding our respective programs and what they offer youth, and for identifying how we can be supportive of what other programs do for youth.

The Boy Scouts of America applauds the work of all youth-serving organizations that serve our nation’s youth and is committed to respecting the organization’s rights and programs, including the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA).

 

Bottom line:  we want to be sure other leaders in other programs understand sbsa canoe portagewhy Scouts BSA is now welcoming girls in all program levels, and that we’re trying to “serve the whole family” and have more families “do Scouting”.

And we don’t want to confuse the public at all.

For more, see the points on these slides about “Brand Guidance” or how to talk about the BSA and other programs given litigation with the Girl Scouts of the United States of America (GSUSA).