Launch Logos: Picking Your Troop Number and More

This BP Pointer from “The BP 2019 List” (or: ways to Be Prepared for Scouts BSA on February 1, 2019) is about how your new troop of girls will identify itself:  what troop number should it use – or whether it should share a number with the existing troop of boys.

The good news here is that a new troop of girls may either use the same number as the troop of boys or use a new number from those otherwise available.  The bad troop numbernews is that if stakeholders are split about this issue, it may be difficult to reconcile the two views – but we share some factors that might come into play to ease consensus.

The official FAQ National advice is as follows:

  • Q: Can linked troops share troop numbers? If so, how do we tell them apart?
    • A: Yes, they can share troop numbers.  You will be able to tell them apart in the system the same way that we do when councils merge — there is a prefix in ScoutNet that IDs each troop.”

OK, that’s a bit confusing and a bit irrelevant to most.  First, it appears that sharing troop numbers is available to any pair of troops sponsored by the same Chartered Organization (that is, you need not have a “linked” committee).  Second, the “prefix in ScoutNet” will be seen by only a handful of adult leaders entering advancement or charter renewal data, or be relatively overlooked in ScoutBook – so just using troop numbers 1234 on a field uniform shirt, or neckerchief, flag or trailer, will just read 1234 without any prefix.

But … you can add to the troop number as it is used in the field, whether you use the troop patchsame number or a new number, by customizing your troop patches and insignia and gear:

  • Troop number patches can be customized with words:  so new troop of girls 1234 might have a troop number patch that also has words under the number, like Scouts BSA for Girls, Girl Troop or the like.  Maybe even Girl Power?  Version 2.0?
  • Same with neckerchiefs, flags, trailers and such …neckerchief-direct-02
  • … a troop’s identity can be more than just the number!

If the current troop of boys has any Scouts, adult leaders or others worried about girls using “their” historic number, an agreement among the troops that the new troop of girls will identify in these ways may alleviate concerns.

Some councils are adding one or more identifying prefix digits to troop numbers for Scouts BSA troops, like “2” in front of a three digit number, so that alongside existing Troop 123 of boys you might see new troop 2123 of girls.   (We don’t know yet how the Atlanta Area Council might do this).  But … if you both want to be known as Troop 123, do this: on your uniforms and other materials, feel free to drop that “prefix”: just call yourself Troop 123.  Of girls.  P.S.: Councils already adds prefixes to hundreds of units:  if your unit number007 has 1 or 2 or 3 digits, the Council adds one or two or three zeroes to the front, so Troop 12 is listed as Troop 0012 and Troop 123 is listed as Troop 0123.  In practice, most troops just drop those zero prefixes – OK, maybe not Troop 7 (they might just drop one zero, and be known as Troop 007).

[1/8/19 Update from the Atlanta Area Council Program Center:  Despite the National advice about ScoutNet prefix digits, evidently, if you want to use the same troop number, the Program Center reports that they can enter the exact same number in ScoutNet, and differentiate them by adding “Girl Troop” in either the name of the Chartered Organization or (perhaps) in another side descriptor.  They report that unit numbers have 4 digits, so while Troops 1, 12, and 123 (currently entered as 0001, 0012, and 0123) could most likely have another digit prefix to replace the first zero, 4 digit troops like 1234 cannot be differentiated like that.  If there is a change, we will advise … there may be effects in ScoutNet reports, or perhaps boy troops and girl troops will have separate District and Council reports, like packs and troops and crews now.  Watch this space.]

If you want to use a new number for your troop of girls, that’s perfectly fine too.  To do so, the process involves working with your District Professionals to request a number – they will need to determine if it is available (that it is not held by another Chartered Organization).

  • Some units may want to have some variation of the number used for the troop of boys.
  • So a new girl troop paired with boy troop 123 might want to use 321.  Or 1230.

bikesIt is likely (but not absolute) that existing troops of boys that will plan to do more meetings and activities jointly with a new troop of girls may be more amenable to using the same number, and troops that will operate separately may be more desiring of a new number – but Your Mileage May Vary.  Some online commentators wonder whether use of the same number will be the norm if troops in the future are allowed to go completely coed (e.g., with single gender patrols), but there is no plan at all whatsoever for that to occur, says the BSA.  But even if it did (which is irrelevant because there are no plans to do so), likely it would be only an option, and troops of girls could continue as troops of girls, just like some Venturing crews and Sea Scouts ships are single gender only.  Mark this space.

Launch Codes: Paper and Payments you need to Launch a new Troop

Here’s a summary of the items to be signed and/or submitted to launch your new Scouts BSA troop of girls on February 1, 2019 – you’ll want to collect all of this in advance and put the paperwork behind you — click on the underlined links:

  1. New Unit Application – Filled out and signed by the Institutional Head (IH) of troop-92-new-unit-appthe Chartered Organization
  2. Annual Charter Agreement – Filled out and signed by the Institutional Head (IH) or the Chartered Organization Representative (CR)
  3. at least 4 or 5 completed, signed Adult Leader Applications (you need a Scoutmaster, Chartered Organization Representative, and at least three Committee Members, one of whom will be Committee Chair – the Chartered Organization Representative can also be a Committee Member or Chair)
  4. Youth Protection Training Certificates/evidence and/or Training Attendance Report for each adult leader applicationypt
  5. at least 5 completed, signed Youth Applications, though you and the Atlanta Area Council would prefer to have 10 or more, in order to be less at risk of losing viable troop size – and if you have fewer than 10, plan to submit your recruiting plan for getting to 10 and more.
  6. payment of $40 as the Unit Insurance Liability Fee
  7. payment of $30.25 as registration fees for each Youth and Adult Leader (prorated $33 annual payment based on 11 months of 2019, and if you charter after February, adjust accordingly) — but watch your adult registration fees, because many of your adult leaders will be in two units and only need to pay once (in the second, register and recharter as a “multiple”).

For more about starting a new troop, see this District Resource page.

Launch Dates: January 15 Paperwork Goal, and Save the Date: February 1 Party for All

To be ready to launch Scouts BSA troops of girls on February 1, and allow troops to be chartered on that date and the Scouts to be registered, the Atlanta Area Council staff needs to have enough time to review and process the paperwork, and make any corrections that may be needed.  To do that, the Council is asking troops that are ready to submit their paperwork do so by Tuesday, January 15, 2019.

As a bonus, new troops that submit their paperwork by January 15 are guaranteed to paperworkreceive their charter, membership cards, activity patches, and inaugural flag ribbon on Scouts BSA Charter Day, February 1, 2019.  The Atlanta Area Council is also planning a special Charter Day celebration on February 1 – more information on that will follow.

To submit your paperwork, you can visit the Volunteer Service Center (which is open Monday through Friday from 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. and Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.) or contact your District Executive.  If you do not know who your District Executive is or if you need their contact information, please visit: http://www.atlantabsa.org/about-us/contact-us/57554.

If you cannot submit your paperwork by January 15, that’s OK – the Council promises to process the paperwork as quickly as possible.

And paperwork or not, you’re invited to the Launch Party on February 1, 2019.  Looking forward to seeing you on February 1, Silvia de la Cruz, Atlanta Area Council, BSA, Family Scouting Chair.

Launch Legacies: Bling for your new Troop of Girls

As noted in the prior message, there are some special items that are available for a new troop of girls that launches in 2019 – these items include:troop flag

  • Free: Atlanta Area Council Scouts BSA girl troop activity patches for all your youth and leaders – wear these proudly on the right pocket of your field uniform shirt.  (Design to follow … )

 

  • Free: An inaugural flag ribbon for your troop flag (the troop t1219flag itself can be ordered through scoutshop.org, Item 618633 for $39.99).  Remember:  if you want the same troop number as your existing troop of boys, use it.  Yes, there will some sort of internal / reporting ScoutNet prefix or other designation, the exact nature of which is not known as of 1/12/19.  If you want a new number, work with your District Professional to see if it is available, and claim it as they require (forms and such).
  • Order your own custom Troop Number Patch (with added text like your Chartered Organization or “Girl Troop”) through scoutshop.org, Item SKU: 18170 for $7.99.  See this great example from Atlanta T2019!

 

  • Youth and adults starting a new troop of girls … you’re a “Founder” and can wear the “Founder” patch, available through scoutshop.org, Item SKU: 610129founder for $1.79.
  • Customized neckerchiefs also are available through scoutshop.org and other licensed suppliers.

 

 

scout shop girls

As a place to put the bling, keep an eye out for announcements from the Atlanta Scout Shop (they are on Facebook) and from https://www.scoutshop.org/ for female tailored uniform parts.

 

While existing stock may work for some, the newly tailored pieces may be better for most.

 

Launch Logistics: “Linked” Committee Structure, or Ad Hoc Coordination.

An earlier BP Pointer flagged the concept of “linked” troops with a common committee for both as a tool towards effective ways of cooperation and communication in supporting multiple troops held by the same Chartered Organization.

outdoor meetingAs announced in the spring of 2018, the National Executive Board of the BSA “approved the option of a linked troop structure that would allow boy troops and girl troops the opportunity to be linked through a shared troop committee”, in addition to sharing a Chartered Organization and Chartered Organization Representative.

  • This is an option, but not required.
  • It sounded like there would be some sort of simple “click the box” option for units chartering with a shared troop committee.
  • Of course, as noted in that earlier BP Pointer and below, even if troops don’t “link” in a common Committee, troops chartered by the same Chartered Organization will need to coordinate some.

But here’s a 1/12/19 Update – the “linked” concept is less than it seemed:

  • It turns out the whole “linked” committee choice is a bit of “much ado about nothing” in terms of BSA Charters and Applications and how your troops will be listed in anything official.
  • But a “common committee” or “committee coordination” is a terrific option for Chartered Organizations and units they sponsor generally – and not just two troops.
  • troop-92-new-unit-appIt turns out that 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 “linked” troops with a shared committee at all.
    • As far as BSA and Charters go, you’ll have two committees.
    • Nowhere will it reflect that you have “linked” 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 have the same members and can meet together if and when you want.
  • But to be on both troop committees you have to register in both troops as a committee member.

“Link” or “Not Linked”, Coordination is Good.  So, feel free to ignore the “linked” name if you like … but know that coordination among units sponsored by the same Chartered Organization will be useful, and committees need to consider effective ways of cooperation and communication with each other and their troops.  In practice, that might mean that Committees operate on the following spectrum from full common committee coordination to total isolation from each other:

  • troop committeeTotal Common Committee / Total Common Agenda: Every Committee Member is registered in both Troops.
    • Every Committee Meeting covers issues germane to both units (perhaps with “breakouts” for issues really specific to just one troop).
  • Partial Committee Overlap / Partial Common Agenda: Some, but not all, Committee Members are registered in both Troops – maybe most, many few.
    • Some, but not all, Committee Meetings cover issues germane to both units – sometimes (maybe often, maybe not) the “Girl Troop Committee” meets separate from the “Boy Troop Committee”.
  • Limited Committee Overlap / Little (or no) Common Agenda: Few (or no) Committee Members are registered in both Troops.
    • Every Committee Meeting is separate – boy troop or girl troop.
    • Maybe some people are liaisons between the troop committees or between the functions on the committees (e.g., fundraising, PR, joint equipment).
    • Maybe they “sit in” on “the other committee” or maybe they coordinate “outside the committee meeting” agenda.
  • No Committee Overlap / No Common Agenda:  No Committee Members are registered in both Troops.
    • Every Committee Meeting is separate – boy troop or girl troop.
    • Any coordination is done by the Chartered Organization Representative.

Probably most Committees will be somewhere in the “Partial Committee Overlap / Partial Common Agenda” category, and the committees will determine how often and how much the Committees meet together and how much the members of the committees must be registered in both committees (decisions and practices which very likely will change over time).

  • But unless your committees are really strict, vote-taking, Roberts Rules of Order-reading, you will probably find that meetings of helpful cooperative volunteers may not care whether they are registered in both committees.
  • Of course, YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).

How Much “Common Committee” Work Is Right For Your Units?   It seems likely that existing troops of boys that will plan to do more activities and meetings jointly with a new troop of girls would get more value out of a “common committee” structure, though other factors may come into play for all.

  • For example, relatively small troops may find it more efficient to have a single “common committee”, as the committee functions – if done on separate committees for each troop – may be done by the very same people anyway.
  • But very large troops may find separate committee structure optimal, perhaps with liaison relationships between key committee functions like Chairs, equipment, advancement, recruiting, recognition, activities, fundraising and others that may have joint interest and activity.
  • Or a single “common committee” may structure both by function and by unit: for example, there may be a single advancement chair (or membership chair, or fundraising chair, etc.), and separate assistants for the two troops.
  • As noted, All Scouting is Local, so … do it in a way that makes sense.
  • And Use Your Resources, and know that over time your leader resources may evolve, so your committee structure may evolve with your resources.

Interesting Note – “Common Committee” for All Units is an Option:  In explaining why linked troops (common committees) would not be any kind of a big deal in terms of BSA Charters and Applications and won’t look at all different from an “unlinked” pair of troops and committees, a BSA professional involved in the rollout of Scouts BSA noted on 1/12/19 that “this process is no different than what we’ve been doing for decades with packs, troops, crews and ships” – in that many were already “linked” with common membership and (one assumes) common meetings, which is the idea of a “linked” unit with shared committee.

  • This is a cool acknowledgement, because it makes a lot of sense, even if it isn’t spelled out in, for example, committee training syllabi.
  • Frankly, it should be spelled out in the training as an option for units to have a “common committee”. But neither the Troop Committee syllabus nor the Pack Committee syllabus breathe a hint of having a “common committee” … just a few points about having “pack-troop relations”, almost all in connection with transition to a troop.
    • But it makes a lot of sense to coordinate across units with common committee support.
    • Not all the time … but a lot of the time.
  • Most common committees would likely meet like the “Partial Committee Overlap / Partial Common Agenda” idea above:
    • Some Committee Members can be registered in all units.
    • Some Committee Meetings can cover issues germane to all units – but sometimes the “Troop Committees” may meet separate from the “Pack Committee” and the “Crew Committee”, and vice versa.
    • A common structure for a large committee might include having an agenda with “common issues” covered first for all, with breakouts by special interest areas:
      • These might be “unit based” breakouts of Pack, Troop(s), Crew …
      • Or they might be “function based” breakouts of Fundraising, Membership, Equipment, PR, Advancement, Communications, etc.
      • Or function breakouts followed by unit based breakouts.
      • Or structure your agenda around what needs committee focus.
    • This would allow, for example, fundraising people to better coordinate among all the units and mentor the new volunteers in the pack, and for pack people to see the big picture of Scouts BSA and Venturing.
  • So having a “common committee” structure might be super useful to allow packs, troops, crews and ships to better cooperate and “take the long view” of the arc of a Scout’s program, supporting newer families in Cub Scouting, through Scouts BSA, and coordinating high adventure and more sophisticated activity in Venturing.
  • More on a “common committee” concept is found on this District Website page, repeating a proposal submitted for consideration in 2016.
    • Not one that mandates how your meet.
    • Keep meeting separately if that’s what works for you.
    • But a “common committee” charter structure makes it easier to apply and be chartered in multiple units at a Chartered Organization.
    • And these links between pack and troop and crew committee support will help, especially in dealing with “crossover” from a pack to a troop and joint activities (like high adventure) between troops and crews, and oftentimes troop veterans can offer support to pack newbie leaders.
    • Troop and crew support of packs will also aid in the flow of Cub Scouts into the respective troops.

For more about starting a new troop, see this District Resource page.