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Making sense of the program


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#21 AKdenldr

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 11:24 AM

Okay all, links are terrific. What is the recommended size for a girl scout troop? (I know b.s.a. den is 6-8. And there have been lots of discussions on these forums on how to make other sizes work.) --AK
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#22 ScoutNut

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Posted 13 March 2012 - 12:35 PM

A Girl Scout Troop is not a Cub Scout den. The size of your Troop depends on how many girls that want to join, and how many adults you have to help. Single grade Troops tend to be smaller, while multiple grades, and multiple levels, tend to be larger. Also younger levels like Brownie tend to be larger. Like BSA, by the time the girls are in high school there are lots of things competing for their attention and the numbers get smaller. Some Troops have a self-imposed cut off number. Others do not.
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#23 Nike

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 04:14 AM

From own experience, I like 12-14 girls with two leaders and one other parent on hand in the younger levels. You get a pretty reliable ten count at every meeting and event. Also, due to the transience of military posts, we try to grade balance troops so that a troop doesn't die every two years as well as avoiding multi age troops if possible.
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#24 AKdenldr

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 12:02 PM

Thanks Nut and Nike, I was asking because size becuase we sense that it is also part of the issue. Size wise it is 2-3 cub scout dens with one leader, no assistant or co-leader, and one rotating parent volunteer who may or may not remember to come. The space they meet in is not conductive to active games with that many children. I'm amazed how well the girls behave, my cubs could have never done that well. At that age we always had 3 adults (for 8) and we needed them. -- AK
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#25 SSScout

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 06:16 PM

I am constantly amazed at the differrence between the two programs. Some of the GSUSA program does makes sense, but then, some of BSA promotes head scratching too. Compare: In BSA, the units are self perpetuating, we actively recruit and seek more Scouts. My home Troop is approaching it's 65th year. GS units, on the other hand, are USUALLY limited to the girls that originally join. They therefor self destruct when the girls age out. Yeah, I know, some "enlightened" GS leaders organize multi age Troops, and even encourage Daisies and Brownies to fraternize (sororitize?) with Seniors and Ambassadors, but that is not the design... My favorite story: Back when I was a CM, we scheduled a "Join Scouting Night" by renting the school gym. We were going to run a PWD, and do other Cubby things. Hey! Let's invite the GSs! Bet they'd like the chance to use a corner of the gym for recruiting! Contacted the local GS leaders, and they responded (no kidding) "oh no, we don't want any more GSs, We have enough". (!!!???) That's what they said. That was my introduction to the difference in philosophy of the two orgs.
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#26 AKdenldr

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:12 PM

Thanks SSS-- That does bring up another question, how does the whole bridging thing work with multi age troops? Are the bridging girls forming a new troop if one does not exist that they can join? Can the remaining girls and leaders establish if they will accept new girls from the lower grade in their troop? Bridging season (is it usually end of the school year?) might be a good time to correct any size issues. -- AK
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#27 trainerlady

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Posted 14 March 2012 - 07:37 PM

Bridging in our multilevel troop is very similar to crossing over to the next level in CS. Since we have over 30 girls in the troop we have some girls bridge levels every year. Sometimes its only 1-2 from each level sometimes its 8-10. We do our bridge ceremony at a park with a bridge, very pretty site. We send the Ambassadors to the far side of the bridge they receive the Seniors crossing to Ambassadors and they pin on their bridging pin/patch. Then the Seniors go over and receive the Cadettes that are crossing over, repeat the pinning portion. Then the Cadettes go over, now the whole troop is across the bridge. The whole troop receives the bridging Juniors and pins on their patches. All girls return to the middle of the bridge and its photo-op time. If scheduling permits, all the troops in the cluster (think BS district)come to the same park on the same night and do bridging the same way. Sometimes there are over a 100 girls and families there, sometimes just 20-30 girls and families. All the troops participating chip in on cake and ice cream and punch. A very nice late spring evening.
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#28 ScoutNut

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 02:28 AM

SSS - As I posted "Some Troops have a self-imposed cut off number. Others do not." AKdenldr - Are you saying that your Brownie Troop has 12-20+ girls with one registered leader, and one non-registered parent who often does not show up? It sounds to me like the leaders of your Brownies were either not trained, or simply do not care about following the GSUSA rules for adult/girl ratios. GSUSA requires at least 2 unrelated, adult volunteers, at least 18 years old, approved and screened by the local council, one of whom must be female. The number of additional required adult volunteers is based on the size, and age of the group, and the activity involved. Per GSUSA Volunteer Essentials, for a Brownie group meeting with up to 20 girls, 2 leaders are required. For a regular meeting with 21-28 Brownies, 3 leaders are required. For Brownie events/travel/camping the number of adult volunteers required goes up (1-12girls/2adults, 13-18girls/3adults, 19-24girls/4 adults). As to how bridging works in a multi-level Troop, it would be similar to how Cubs graduate from one level to another but stay in the same Pack. If you have all Brownies, but 2 grades, it might get trickier. Third grade Brownies bridging to Juniors might have to form a new Troop (with a new Troop number). Or, if you keep them with the Brownie Troop you might have to form a new, multilevel, Troop (with possibly a new Troop number). It depends on how your local Council does things. The best way to get accurate answers is to take your Council's training, and purchase/read the appropriate literature. You should also look thru the GSUSA National, and your local Council, websites.
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#29 Nike

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Posted 15 March 2012 - 08:56 AM

OMG!!!!!! If the situation is one adult and any number of girls, you have yourselves a significant mess/legal disaster in the making. Your friend needs help, of all sorts, now. Or, she needs to put her for down and stop meeting until she can get her required number of registered adults at every meeting on a reliable basis. If she were meeting in my area under those circumstances, we'd be having a serious discussion.
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#30 AKdenldr

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Posted 17 March 2012 - 03:11 PM

Thanks Nike for letting us know the rules. And all the resources are terrific. I have no influence with current G.S. leader. She seems stressed and overwhelmed. She takes any parent questions as criticisms. My former cub scout moms are gathering information and waiting until she departs. I'll put some bugs in some ears about adult coverage so girls are safe. On the positive side, I've run into several of the girls this last week and they all are looking into summer camp with great excitement! -- AK
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#31 AKdenldr

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 01:55 PM

Thanks all for your help. Just wanted to give you a six month or so update. Well the brownie troop is doing very well. There was a parent meeting and all the mothers talked about their vision and goals for their scouts. New leader (one of the former cub moms) stepped up and with the cooperation of all is pulling together an active program. Size issues were taken care of at bridging time and group is now down to a manageable size. Lots of field trips, camping, hands-on and outside experts. New leader is trained and has good help. I was at one event girls having fun, learning, and getting dirty. Terrific.
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#32 Nike

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Posted 25 October 2012 - 04:11 PM

While I am sure that I am preaching to the choir, every successful youth program requires trained leaders, supportive parents who do more than just pick up and drop off, and kids who want to be there.
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#33 RoddaTyler

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Posted 28 February 2013 - 02:32 PM

I know this an old thread, but I am new to the forum and would like to share my opinion. I am VERY active in GSUSA, not a staff member, but a very active volunteer. I have two girl scout troops, in which I have Daisy through Ambassadors. I love the new curriculum. The basis of the Journeys is Servant Leadership, a skill that is vitally important. The leader manuals that come with Journeys have very detailed lesson plans in them, but emphasize that girls should be taking "side trips." They should be earning other badges, going on trips, doing other "fun stuff." Each Journey challenges the girls to invesigate a topic, and to complete a "take action" project (service project) based on what they have learned. The new handbook does decrease the number of badges greatly, but there is the option to "design your own." This option allows girls to work through the process to design their own badge and earn it. They can delve into any topic they want. This is a great way for them to show proficiency in any area. The badges that are available in the handbook, as well as the skill-builder sets mirror the older badges. Many of the them are almost identical (the Brownie "senses" badge). As far as combined troops go, trust me, I understand! It can be a challenge with the Journeys, but you will find that many of the other badges work well across age levels, as they are desined to build on each other. I often combine activities to allow girls to work in one big group. And, as has been said, let the girls decide! They are not bound by a book or set program. Let them explore what they want, and make it fun. I will happily assist anyone with planning!
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