(long) GS troop size/government
Lisa Varner (lvarner@FREENET.COLUMBUS.OH.US)
Fri, 27 Oct 1995 17:55:23 -0400
I have delayed in answering you as I wanted to get my facts straight.
> Troops, they merely use our building. None of them have more
> than 12 Girls. I personally do not like to see a Boy Scout
> Troop drop to that level. It becomes difficult to use the
> Patrol Method. Is this the norm for GSUSA Troops?
---exerpt from Girl Scout Leader Magazine, Fall 1993---
In the fifties and sixties, most Girl Scout leades were mothers
who did not work outside their homes. Nowadays such a leader is
in the minority. Today's leaders are busy, overworked women who
must try to find a balance between work, their families and
friends, and their volunteer lives. Yet, women are still the
number one providers of volunteer service in this country (USA).
What has changed in the last 30 years is the way in which women
are volunteering. At one time, women looked to achieve personal
growth through volunteer jobs. Today they are trying to "slow
down" their lives and make the most of their experiences.
What this mean to Girl Scout councils is that many new leaders
are looking to lighten their load by having fewer girls in their
troops/groups than they did in the past. Many leaders are looking
for no more than six to eight girls enough to fit in a van or
station wagon. For many long term volunteers and staff, this
request for smaller groups is very diferent from what they are
used to and contrary to the recommended troop/group size found on
page 44 of the new "Safety-Wise".
---rest deleted (ways leaders can increase the numbers(perhaps
someone will "Safety-Wise post recommendations as I don't have
"Safety-Wise" with me.)
While this is not what GSUSA preaches, unfortunately this IS what
is happening all over. On the whole cars are getting smaller,
and leaders try to keep to number of seatbelts available. If
your lucky to have a few leaders, or a parent that you can ALWAYS
count on, the troop size then increases. I presently have a
cadette troop with 12 (and a couple still considering), plus 3
co-leaders. In my service unit this is one of the largest troops
and we are the largest of the older girls, many being under 5.
Especially with the older girls I feel this is not enough. Many
school activities interfere with our activities so when you plan
an activity low attendence is inevitable. Most activities are
just as easy (some easier) for me to plan for 24 as it is 12.
There are a couple of choices for troop government, and the
patrol method is one. One that IS hard to coordinate with such
low numbers. Many use executive board or town meeting (with
committees), or something close that they have found works for
> In my experience, the above seems to be due to the way the
> program is organized, what with girls and their moms moving up
> with the school grade level of the girls. Would not the life
> times of a GS Troop be more like a BS Troop if the age levels
> were subprograms within one larger Troop?
Probably, although this is not the way GS is organized. This is
the way it has evolved. They do encourage multi-age level
troops, and I grew up in one too, but frankly "It just 'ain't
happ'nin 'round here!"
> My wife and I investigated our church starting a Girl Scout
> Troop, but were rebuffed by the professional who wanted us "to
> provide meeting space" and not leadership or anything else.
While I cannot answer you on your particular incident, I wonder
if they understood that you were interested in supplying
leadership. I cannot understand any council not needing more
> During our research into this my wife commented on the
> differnce in Girl Scouting as opposed to when she was in... she
> is always telling me how much more challenging her GS
> experience was.
I have to agree with her. I thought the same of scouts from my
past. As a leader now, I am constantly relying on what I learned
as a young teenage scout (I was only in it 2 years), as opposed
to what they have given me as far as training. It is amazing
what I realized I had retained.
Lisa Varner << email@example.com >>
Haven't been there. Don't want to go. Don't need another t-shirt!
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City