Knowledge is Good! While girls are not registered as Scouts in a Scouts BSA troop until their troop is chartered on or after February 1, 2019 and their youth applications are accepted, there are things that they can learn before that first day.
Leadership Knowledge. One element is troop leadership skills, and so you can conduct the program called “Introduction to Leadership Skills for Troops” or “ILST”. The purpose of ILST is to teach Scouts with leadership positions about their new roles and how to most effectively reach success in that role. It is intended to help Scouts in leadership positions within their troop understand their responsibilities and to equip them with organizational and leadership skills to fulfill those responsibilities. The syllabus, updated in July, 2018, is found at the Scouting.org “Training for Youth” page.
- As with all Scouting resources, All Scouting is Local, and your troop may do it differently than others or differently than some parts of the syllabus – and you may do it differently in month one than you do in month six as your troop evolves.
- You might see if your “brother” troop wants to participate in that with you … they might, as you might emulate some of how they operate.
- But you might do it better than them!
The ILST course, and many others (including some great camping skills courses), are offered at the February 16 University of Scouting, held all day at Life University. Register at http://www.atlantabsa.org/training/supplemental-training/university-of-scouting/6962. Take everyone, adults and youth, and let them learn!
The Scouting.org “Training for Youth” page has other useful syllabi and links for you, like Den Chief Training, Hazardous Weather Training, and more.
Scout Skills Knowledge. If the girls joining your troop are keen on earning rank advancement quickly, they might want to acquire some knowledge about it … starting with the Scout Rank.
- Remember: in 2015 this got elevated from a “joining badge” to a rank, and so the requirements are more fulsome than before.
- Your best resource for that is a Scout Handbook, and even before the handbook version for girls is released, you can use the existing “Boy Scout Handbook”, since the rank requirements are the same.
- Another resource is the Cub Scout Arrow of Light adventure called “Scouting Adventure” … the den leader guide for that is found at the end of this leader guide excerpt.
But if They are Tested Before Becoming Scouts, Can They Get Credit for Advancement? Nope. Not until they register as Scouts on or after February 1, 2019. They can get instruction now at a troop activity or other BSA activity like a Merit Badge clinic (if invited to participate). That will benefit them, and make “testing” and signoff easier after they are Scouts registered on or after February 1, 2019. For example, a Cub Scout’s earning the Arrow of Light doesn’t mean he or she also earns the Scout Rank upon joining a troop – it just means the Scout has benefitted from instruction before joining a troop, and is likely to be better able to be tested and pass the Scout Rank requirements quickly. So too with girls who get Scout skills or merit badge instruction before they join a troop: after they are registered on or after February 1, 2019, they are likely to be better able to be tested and pass the requirements quickly.
More on advancement and whether things done before officially joining can be “counted” on or after registration, from the Guide to Advancement (the most recent version, from 2017):
- A general note at the top of Section 7 says: “All merit badge requirements must be met while a registered Boy Scout or Varsity Scout, or a qualified Venturer or Sea Scout. Accomplishments before joining, or while a Cub Scout, do not apply.”
- So, for example, the nights camping while a Cub Scout don’t apply either to T-2-1 camping requirements, nor to Camping Merit Badge. Nor do nights camping in 2018 while visiting a Troop in anticipation of joining a Scouts BSA Troop.
- On Merit Badge Work, Section 126.96.36.199 says: “Even though Scouts may benefit from reviewing requirements with a counselor before pursuing them, a boy may begin working on a merit badge at any time after he is registered. It is the counselor’s decision whether to accept work or activities completed prior to the issuing of the signed blue card. Common sense should prevail, however. For example, nights already camped as a Boy Scout, or coins or stamps already collected, would count toward their respective badges.”
- So, for Coin Collecting Merit Badge, the knowledge from a period of time before joining will serve the Scout well in being able to be tested on the “Explain”, “Know”, “Describe”, “Identify” and “Demonstrate” parts, but for the “do” parts the existing collection will need to expand a bit to meet minimum requirements.
- On Advancement generally, Section 188.8.131.52 says: “If a former member rejoins a BSA program, still as a youth member, then that youth may carry on in the advancement program, picking up where he left off when last he was a member, but not receiving credit for activities while not registered.”
- Extending that logic, what you do generally before becoming a member (at whatever age) doesn’t get “credit”, though it may inform a Scout and give the Scout skills to get a signoff faster when tested.
More about advancement in the BSA is found at this Scouting.org Advancement and Awards page.