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Differences between BSA and GSUSA


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#1 howarthe

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 12:28 PM

The biggest difference that I see between the girl scouts and the boy scouts is size. Girl scout troops are very small and there is nothing like a pack committee to help you out. There is a service unit but that is more like a district. In my experience a girl scout troop is two leaders and eight girls all in the same grade in school. When one girl dropped out I sort of scrambled around to find a replacement because there is a real danger in having the troop evaporate. My daughter was in three troops her first three years of scouting. The second biggest difference I see is drama. I have attended troop meetings with my daughter during which it seems to me that everyone is having a great time only to be told in the car on the way home that everyone was mean and she doesn't want to do scouting anymore. With cubs the drama is all external and easy to see. In my sons den it usually takes the form of a sword fight.
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#2 Basementdweller

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 02:32 PM

the girl scout leaders run the units like kingdoms.....You are good enough to join, you are, you are, you are not. Troops are run on the whim of the leader.... Zero accountability of the unit leaders... Never ever voice an opinion to a leader You are not qualified to be a leader because you are male. You are not from our school/neighborhood/social group/race/religion/financial class you cannot join our troop Oh call the council office they will get back to you with a unit.......Been making that call the first monday of every month now for 2 years. Oh lets do this crafty thing.....Sell cookies..... BTW where did all that cookie and dues money go????? Leader quits the unit is dead. None of the GS troops I have seen own anything of any significance. No tents, outdoor kitchens.....Nothing. The only thing the GSUSA has over the BSA is a national recongizable fundraiser. Beyond that it is a train wreck.....
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#3 tgrimstead

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 05:54 PM

Agreed on GSUSA Troops are run on the whims of the leaders. We tried to get our girls into Troops only to get a run around from local council. Years later we started our own along with Cub Dens attached to the Pack at the church we meet. ( We're unsocialized Home Schoolers.) Our GS Troop has multiple age groups however. Weirdest thing I've noticed about GSUSA is the no tag-a-longs / siblings policy for GSUSA events. Seems kinda not family friendly.
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#4 smoothmom

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 07:23 PM

My co-leader and I have never told anybody that they were not welcome. Prehaps this is one reason why we have two troops, each with 20+ girls.Another reason-leader quit, so we took over. If a man wants to lead a troop, why not? There are just things that have to be considered with overnights, etc. Cookie money helps subsidize camping, trips (UN, stables) etc. One of the troops at my church is planning a trip to Africa. Growing up, I remember troops being age/level specific. I went from a Brownie troop, to a Junior troop, to a Cadette troop.When I returned to Girl Scouting as an adult, I was surprised to hear "1st grade Brownies". "4th grade Juniors", etc. Our local council returns phone calls, and is supportive of new leaders. We go camping, we go on trips, we do service projects, we visit the local nursing home every, we support the animal shelter, the older girls go on midnight runs with the church. We would love to have more leaders male or female, however, everybody is "to busy". We do tell people that if you want your daughter to be a scout, we would like you to be a leader. Most of them say OK, then we never see them again. Oh, by the way my co-leader and I each have one child; a son.
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#5 frank10

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 07:58 PM

smoothmom: Please tel me you are somewhere near Waterbury CT. My daughter's unit is a Snack and a craft unit. One field trip/party each year (candy factory party this year). Other thna that, they have never left the room they meet in. Worst part is they meet at the YMCA right up stairs from the pool... Maybe? maybe? nope. (men need not apply).
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#6 qwazse

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Posted 24 August 2012 - 10:11 PM

soothmom, do you go camping year 'round? If you ask your HS age youth what they want to do for a December activity (the closing weekend of deer season being all hat's available) and one of them says I haven't gone backpacking in forever ... Do you suck it up and make it happen? Or, do you go with the majority who will probably just want to go skating and maybe shopping one Saturday afternoon? That's the difference that I observe between Boy Scouts/Venturers and GS units. I don't by into How's drama difference. I've seen the same from boys. Things may be going smoothly,then boom! (Usually when I finally get in my bunk for an afternoon nap.) But maybe my crowd is a little older. Or it could be the group culture. I know my daughter had it rough on sports teams until about 8th grade.
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#7 fred8033

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 12:08 AM

Size is the obvious difference but I don't think the significant difference. Biggest difference I've noticed is variety. Most Cub Scout dens do outings, attend pack meetings and cub camp. Though quality varies greatly, activities are very similar. BUT ... Girl Scout troops vary greatly driven, I think, by the troop leader. Some might camp. Some might be more craft oriented. Some might be school work like. Others might be yet different again. Each troop is different.(This message has been edited by fred8033)
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#8 ScoutNut

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 01:46 AM

>>"one of them says I haven't gone backpacking in forever ... Do you suck it up and make it happen? Or, do you go with the majority who will probably just want to go skating and maybe shopping one Saturday afternoon?">> I don't know if any other Troops would blow off what the majority of the Troop wants to do in favor of what a single girl wants, but our Troop would not. The GIRLS make the decisions. If on the same weekend, 6 out of 7 girls want to go skating, and 1 girl wants to go backpacking, our girls would talk it out among themselves, and if that 1 girl could not convince 3 others to change their vote to backpacking then skating it would be. Backpacking would be put on the back burner until there was sufficient girl support. It seems only fair to me, however, your definition of fair might vary. Our Troop never turned away anyone, adult, or youth. We had both male, and female leaders. While the majority of the girls were all from our local parish school, we did have some from the local public schools as well. All of our girls were in the same grade. We did at one point take in the girls from the grade ahead of our girls because their leader quit. They stayed with us for 2 years and then, when they bridged to the next level, they started their own Troop again (a parent finally stepped up). We did a lot of different things with the girls. Including camping, canoeing, horseback riding, sledding, and skiing, and service projects of all kinds. Girl Scout Troops/Groups are more independently run than BSA units are. That is because they are not "owned" by a CO. Every unit is an independent entity. >>"BTW where did all that cookie and dues money go?????"
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#9 qwazse

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 10:04 AM

SN, Not so much nitpicking as highlighting a core difference, as Howe requested. And (regarding the drama) pointing out that things may not be all that different. I think that that is the biggest difference ... a BSA unit leader will opt to regard highly the youth who are desperate for a physical challenge -- especially if they are in a position of responsibility. (To a limit ... the crew president who wanted us to visit a rogue state had that idea swept under a rug!). The troop will either form a venture patrol, or a standing patrol will start planning unique excursions, or the crew will form a sub-committee for an activity that may only attract 4 youth. Especially with our crew, it's rare that everyone on the roster is in the same place at the same time. A GSA unit leader, as you just described, will try to have the girls come to a consensus on an activity that will attract the most youth. The end product? From what I've seen from merging the different cultures into a venturing crew, the BSA bred tend to toss out grand ideas, the GSA bred work to bring everybody on board and pay real close attention to someone feeling left out.
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#10 ScoutNut

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:24 AM

Part of the problem with having different sub-groups of a GS Troop doing different things is that a GS Troop often just isn't big enough to make that viable. Add to that the fact that many parents are not willing to take on the responsibility (and training) for extra activities, and assume that the Troop leader will just do twice as much, makes sub-group activity a rare thing. Another difference between the programs is that GSUSA council summer camp is rarely a Troop activity. Councils offer a variety of themed camp programs, and girls sign up individually for the one that interests them. Special trips are the same. Similarity - Religious emblems. GSUSA encourages girls to earn the Religious Emblem of their faith, and to wear it on their uniform vest/sash. As with BSA, girls are expected to get parental permission, and work on their emblem programs outside of GS Troop time. GSUSA has also come out with the "My Promise My Faith" awards. These awards can be earned each year, and are for girls who want to explore their faith in the context of Scouting, and the Girl Scout Law.
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#11 Basementdweller

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Posted 25 August 2012 - 08:48 PM

So what your saying is the GSUSA council took my daughters money when the troop folded?????/ She sold 500 boxes door to door
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#12 ScoutNut

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 02:15 AM

">>So what your saying is the GSUSA council took my daughters money when the troop folded?????"
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#13 qwazse

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 07:16 AM

In BSA, the charter org has claim to the unit supplies, including $$s. If the charter org folds????
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#14 Basementdweller

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:49 AM

Your wrong scoutnut..... The CO owns all of the units equipment and the bank accounts..... I am required to use the CO's 403 numbers not the councils when opening a bank account or changing the signatory's. I have never used the councils 403 for anything.....
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#15 Callooh! Callay!1428010939

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 12:24 PM

The acronyms read differently. "G'soosa" sounds cooler than "b'saa."
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#16 ScoutNut

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 12:36 PM

Nope, according to BSA Rules and Regulations, money raised for Scouting MUST be used for Scouting. Money and equipment raised/purchased for the purpose of Scouting can not go into the CO's pocket to be used for non-Scouting purposes. If a unit folds, the CO has a choice - If they plan on starting up a new unit, they can keep the folded unit,s money and equipment in trust for their new Scouting unit. If they do not plan on starting a new unit, then once all of the current unit's outstanding bills have been paid, the balance of the money and equipment reverts to the council to be used for Scouting purposes. The same is true of GSUSA, but without a CO, there is no middle-man, so to speak.
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#17 BDPT00

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 09:27 PM

Scoutnut, You stated that GSUSA encourages girls to earn the Religious Emblem of their faith, and to wear it on their uniform vest/sash. Can you elaborate on that? Encouraged at what level? Where does it go on the vest/sash? I don't think they're encouraged at anything above the unit level. BDPT00
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#18 ScoutNut

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Posted 26 August 2012 - 11:24 PM

While GSUSA seems to have pared down the awards they show on their current "where to" uniform pdf's, the National organization lists religious recognitions under "Special Opportunity Awards" in their Insignia List. The National organization also mentions in various areas that religious recognitions are allowed to be worn on the GSUSA uniform. This is from a section for adult volunteers - "The national organizations listed below have created religious recognitions to encourage girls to grow stronger in their faith. Each faith organization develops and administers its own program. Girls can wear recognitions earned through their faith organization on their Girl Scouts uniform." Some councils go into more detail about exactly where religious recognitions can be worn. For instance, from Girls Scouts in the Heart of Pennsylvania - "If the religious organization of the individual member provides an award, it may be worn on the right side of the Girl Scout uniform with the membership pin on the left." For more specific detail, this is from the National site before their Insignia site was redone - "Religious and Other Awards - Wear these awards in a single horizontal row on the right side of the uniform blouse, level with the Girl Scout Membership Pin, or on the vest in the area below the membership stars or troop/group numerals, and above the next official insignia already on the vest. On the sash, these pins go in a horizontal line below the membership stars." "Note: Wear only three such awards at a time to avoid a cluttered shirt or uniform. Choose to wear those that are most meaningful to you."
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#19 Brewmeister

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Posted 27 August 2012 - 06:17 AM

Comparing girl scouts to cub scouts is different than comparing girl scouts to boy scouts. The structure of a girl scout troop stays together rather than switching in 6th grade. It would be like a tiger den staying together until graduation. Organizationally girl scouts focuses heavily on the younger girls, not just in recruiting but in programming. I don't have figures but my gut feeling is there is a more significant drop off of girls as they age in the program compared to boys. Also, girl scouts seems to go through more program changes and fiddling with its core beliefs and mission whereas the BSA knows what it is, comparatively speaking. There also seems to be more paid staff and investment in physical office facilities and comparatively minimal investment in camp or other facilities for the girls. But again that's just a gut feeling. A properly functioning girl scout troop of older girls, however, can be very much like a patrol, or perhaps a venturing crew. A poorly functioning, top-down troop will not last long, just like any dis functional unit in any other organization.
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#20 Pack18Alex

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Posted 17 July 2013 - 11:48 AM

Comparing girl scouts to cub scouts is different than comparing girl scouts to boy scouts. The structure of a girl scout troop stays together rather than switching in 6th grade. It would be like a tiger den staying together until graduation.

Organizationally girl scouts focuses heavily on the younger girls, not just in recruiting but in programming. I don't have figures but my gut feeling is there is a more significant drop off of girls as they age in the program compared to boys. Also, girl scouts seems to go through more program changes and fiddling with its core beliefs and mission whereas the BSA knows what it is, comparatively speaking. There also seems to be more paid staff and investment in physical office facilities and comparatively minimal investment in camp or other facilities for the girls. But again that's just a gut feeling.

A properly functioning girl scout troop of older girls, however, can be very much like a patrol, or perhaps a venturing crew. A poorly functioning, top-down troop will not last long, just like any dis functional unit in any other organization.

Plenty of Drop Off from Cubs to Troop as well. BSA leadership doesn't care and still focuses on the Troop. The only division growing is Venturing, and they still are focused entirely on the troop. That's a BSA cultural issue.

GSUSA is focusing Younger and Younger, Daisy starts in Kindergarten (and you can start in Pre-K once you hit 5), and they are working on a Pre-K/4 year old program. At Juniors+ (about the same age as the BSA Troop) you can use the Patrol method for organizing, or something called a Town Hall Method. Prior to that, they use the Girls Decide Troop method, which looks kind of like a Den only with more consensus building.

Also here, the Service Unit does events every month (the equivalent of our district), so instead of individual Troops planning stuff, most of them just piggy back on the district.

But you are correct, BSA Councils (at least mine) are very understaffed with professionals, but the professionals we have are front line. The GSUSA Council seems to have a lot of employees, but the employees aren't front line with Scouts, not sure what they are doing.
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