Unit Committees in Other Countries?
Gino Lucrezi (scouts-l@SCOUTNET.ORG)
Wed, 18 Dec 1996 03:47:00 +0000
On 12 Dec 1996, Turba, Thomas N RV wrote:
TT> From my travels to other countries, I know that it is common to
TT> have a unit structure that covers both younger and older boys, or
TT> boys and girls, and possibly even Rovers.
BSA and GSUSA are the only scout associations I know of which don't work this
way... I'm sure they aren't the only ones, but it's quite peculiar.
TT> What I would like to know is how a committee of such a joint unit
TT> is run? How it serves the needs of two different, but similar,
TT> groups? And, are there written guide lines for the operation of
TT> such a unit committee?
I'll relate to you our experiences in Italy.
First of all, in Italy we have two scout/guide associations, one is AGESCI, and
it is a Catholic association, the other one is CNGEI, and it is
I'll speak about Agesci, there are many differences in organization with CNGEI
and I don't really know their 'inner workings' very well.
I think sometimes I'll stray from just describing what you asked for; but then
it's easier for me, and my message will probably be of a more general interest.
I hope you'll understand my terminology, even though it's different than
First of all, we have three sections, based on age.
Each section has both boys and girls. On the whole, the split between sexes is
about 50/50. The split between sections is about 35% / 43% / 22%
Within each section, you can have single-sex units, mixed units, or "parallel"
units. The latter is when you have two units of the opposite sex who follow a
"parallel" program, with some joint activities and some separate ones.
The choice is up to each group. You can have as many units as you wish.
My scout group has one (mixed) Cub Pack, two parallel Scout Troops and a Rover
Crew (mixed). This is a very common arrangement.
Each unit will have its own Staff, including one Unit Leader (two if it's a
mixed unit), and some Assistants.
Unit leaders ought to have Woodbadge; exceptions are allowed when one is on the
path to gaining it, though.
Each Scout Group will have two Group Leaders, one a man and the other a woman.
They are jointly responsible for the group as a whole, with each having an
All adults who are part of a Scout Group (Rovers aren't counted as adults..)
are part of the "Comunita` Capi" (Leader's Community), usually shortened as
Most of them will have a role as Unit Leaders or Assistants. There will also be
a Group Leader who sometimes also acts as a Unit Leader or Assistant, most
In the Co.Ca. there might also be other adults who temporarily have no such
roles, or maybe they are part of a District or Region Committee but stay in
their Scout Group, or people who work in some other capacity, but they are the
So, a big difference between a Co.Ca. and your Unit Committee is that most of
the people in a Co.Ca. are actual Scouters, who work directly with the boys.
As an example, in my Co.Ca. there are six Unit Leaders, seven Assistants, two
Chaplains, and two Group Leaders (but one of them is also an Assistant).
Last year, I wasn't acting as a Unit Leader or Assistant, but I was part of the
Co.Ca. anyway, and so did another leader who however left the group this year.
Only one of these people has children in Scouting; he is an Assistant with the
Cub Pack, his son is a Rover and his daughter is a Guide.
We don't have parents in a Co.Ca as, well, parents; we can have them if they
are willing to become leaders, and then we'll encourage them to be in a unit
different than that of their children :-)
There are other Co.Ca.s where there is an higher proportion of "inactive"
adults, but it's always a minority.
Most leaders have been scouts as youth; in my group there are only three
Assistants who haven't, and all Unit Leaders have been at least Scouts (or
Guides) and then Rovers...
The Co.Ca. is mainly responsible for drawing and implementing an "Educational
Plan", ideally triennial.
This plan will analyze the youth in the group's area, their needs, the strength
of the group and its resources.
>From this information, the plan will detail how to best serve the needs of
youth, both in "practical" terms (how many units having at each section, where
to locate the meeting point of the Units) and in "educational" terms, i.e.
which points of our program should we emphasize more.
For example, my group's Educational Plan stresses Solidarity; this doesn't mean
we forget that we aim for "Health and Fitness", "Character", "Handicraft and
Skill" (to say it with BP's words). We just say that we will have to work more
towards that skill than towards others.
Each year, all units will draw their program according to the group's plan, of
The Co.Ca. also has the following duties:
- caring for the training of all leaders
- making scouting more present in its territory
Each Co.Ca. will
- appoint the Group Leader(s)
- give duties such as Unit Leader or Assistant
- appoint the Chaplain (subject to Bishop's approval)
- keep in touch with the environment of the youth (family, school, church...)
On the other hand, the Group Leaders are in charge of
- managing the Co.Ca. and conducting its meetings
- keeping contacts with other scout groups, with the Council and Region
- keeping contacts with other organizations and entities acting in the same
- dealing with the organization and administration of the Scout Group
They will legally represent the Scout Group.
BTW, in the past we separated the role of Group Leader and that of the
person(s) who actually conducted meetings of the Co.Ca. but it didn't really
work very well, and it kept more people busy while they might have been working
TT> For example: What things are done together and what are done
We usually do the inaugural outing of the year (October) as a whole, then it's
decided on a case-by-case basis. Most activities are for the units on their
own, anyway, not for the group as a whole.
This year, we probably will have Spring Camp as a Group; all units will be
present, but each will have its own program, with a few joint activities
(probably a wide game, a camp fire, mass, and not much more).
Most groups will usually attend Mass together.
Each group will handle things differently, but anyway each Unit will have a lot
of independence (subjected to the Educational Plan, of course).
TT> Is fund raising done together?
Many years ago, we used to have a big fundraising event for the whole group,
and then each unit did any other fundraising it felt necessary.
TT> Is there one unit treasure?
This is how things work in my group.
All youth and leaders, at the start of the year, pay the same dues. This year
it was about $60 :-(
Part of this will go to national HQ, the rest is in Group Treasury. This pays
for heating of the whole meeting place, van-related expenses, subsidizing
leaders training (partly), buying major equipment (even though it might be
specifically for one unit) and other common expenses.
Part of this money is given to each unit for its small expenses, but it must be
accounted for to the Co.Ca. at the end of the year.
Money raised by units in their own fundraising is managed as they like.
Each camp will have a fee, and if there is a surplus of money it will go to the
Group, if there is a deficit the fee will be raised or the Group will cover it.
TT> Are there joint campouts or picnics?
Yes, but they are the minority.
TT> Is there one person that tracks advancement for both groups; or,
TT> does each group have its own person? .......
Advancement is "tracked" by Unit Leaders... but it's not as complicated as in
BSA so we don't need a computer to do so :-)
Also, Cubs will usually go to the Troop of the same Group, at the appropriate
age, and Scouts will become Rovers in the Crew of their Group... it is very
uncommon to switch from a Group to another.
Each Group is identified by a badge with the name and number. Units inside that
group will have a name (e.g. our two Troops are named "Mafeking" and "Gilwell")
but scouts will usually identify themselves by referring to the group. The name
of the group is the town or village, followed by a number if needed.
Each group will also have its distinctive neckerchief. It is customary to mark
items belonging to the group in its colours :-)
In conclusion, I want to tell you that I am intrigued by your experiment. It
looks like it is fully within BSA rules, and it has great potential.
Please let us know how it works out in practice.
TTNR> Please send replies to my primary e-mail address below. Copy the
TTNR> list if you feel the information is of general interest.
Well, a 9K message is quite an effort.. I'll send it to the list, too :-)
Assistant Scout Master
AGESCI (Associazione Guide E Scouts Cattolici Italiani)
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