Re: starting a new troop ???
Jim Sleezer (JHS8@OSUVM1.BITNET)
Wed, 7 Apr 1993 13:34:12 CST
If the nearby troops are not meeting the need, then by all means start a
new unit. This is especially desirable when you do not have units in the
neighborhood. As a boy, I walked to most meetings. Once in a while if the
weather was poor, my parents or another parent would provide rides. I
chose a troop about 5 blocks away. There were other units, one 2 blocks
away, one 6 blocks away, and one 7 blocks away. The latter two were within
2 blocks of the unit I joined. All had reasonable good programs and
membership. Most had a fair range of ages although one had mostly younger
boys. Few people remained in the unit more than about two years but they
did lots of things and most of the boys reached first class--they just didn't
go on to merit badges. I never understood why.
In my unit we had a range of 11 through 15. At 14, we became explorers but
some of us remained active in the troop. Most faded away and only one of the
scouts that joined with me reached Eagle.
The troop with the "older" average age tended to do more activities of a non-
Scout variety and a bit less camping. They also tended to fluctuate in
membership more than most.
All of the troops came from the same original unit--the one I joined. Troop
4 got bigger than could be handled by the leaders so the split into Troops 4
and 6 (around 1924). About five years later, Troop 19 was formed. It
included boys from both 4 and 6 plus several others. A year later, Troop 21
was formed, mostly by splitting Troop 4 but with a couple of boys from Troop 6.
All new units did include some new Scouts (then 12 year olds). In each split
the average age of the original units went up and the average age of the new
units was fairly low. Essentially, one or two older boys would move with a
patrol or two of younger boys.
If I were you, I would look for an "oversized" Troop and give a few of the
older boys a chance at leadership. You will probably start out with a
couple of new scout patrols, but it won't be long before you see some boys
moving ahead and others moving slowly. And, you may pick up a few 'older'
scouts who find the new unit more convenient. Pick a different night than
other troops meeting in the general area (if possible). BTW, all of the
above units met on Tuesday nights. Don't worry about a younger troop
being cheated. In fact, they may be ahead because they are in similar
positions in advancement. Arrange to do a few things with other troops so
you get some exposure to "older" Scouts--camporees, summer camp, district
competitions, or just troop-troop activities. Three of the troops described
above frequently met for a big wide game in the park just three blocks from
the farthest of the three.
Adults may have to make a bigger contribution at first, but that won't
last long if you help the boys develop good programs around their interests
Don't be concerned about the DE's numbers, but do be concerned about
bringing the program to the neighborhood--go for it.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City