Re: starting a new troop ???
Mark Wilson (mwilson@POLARIS.ORL.MMC.COM)
Wed, 7 Apr 1993 16:49:57 EDT
> From: Jim Holman <HOLMAN_JIM/OMGATE_OA@gate.us.ohio-state.edu>
> My DE is bugging me to start a new troop and I'd like some advice
> on what to do.
It isn't what your DE wants you to do. What do YOU want to do. Starting a
new unit or rebuilding an old one takes a lot of time, energy and support.
I have been working on rebuilding a troop for the past three years. In the
beginning I was spending 20-30 hours a week getting equipment and record in
order and attending the usual meetings.
> Situation: we have a fairly successful cub scout pack
> chartered through our PTO (the troop would have to find a different
> CO), but no corresponding troop to move into.
For some reason, the professionals like the idea of having a unit number
relationship between units. It's kind of nice, but it leads to the false
impression that a troop only needs one pack to keep it fed. My experience
indicates that a 2:1 pack to troop ratio works best, if you can get it.
> There *is* a troop we
> traditionally point our exiting Webelos towards, but don't have a very
> good transition rate, part of the reason being that it isn't really
> local, and our kids don't know anyone already in the troop.
Why is that? If your Webelos usually go into that troop, surely the new
guys know the ones who came in last year.
BTW, this is one argument I have against the New Scout patrol. The new boys
come in not really knowing the guys in the troop and the first thing the
New Scout patrol does is segregate them. It seems to place an artificial
barrier slowing the acquianting (sp :() process and the sense of belonging.
> This is
> a *very* active troop, but their main concern is an Indian Dance Team
> which performs for other groups and this is where most of the energy is.
Sounds like a troop that wants to be an Explorer Post instead of a troop.
I can see where there is a need for a more traditional troop in the area
to meet the needs of boys who aren't into Indian lore.
> We could move 4-6 Webelos/year in which might be enough to sustain a
> troop with a few outsiders coming in too, but my concern is that when
> you start with all new boys and new (trained but still new) leaders
> that the kids would be cheated at first. It seems that you'd want
> older scouts to "seed" the troop with leadership AND example.
This is about where I was two years ago. One thing that will help prevent
burnout is to change leadership positions frequently, at least every 3-4
months. Another thing you might try is to assign "patrol dads" to help coach
the patrols and patrol leaders. With a troop of new boys you will be doing
more than you would with some experienced Scouts on hand. Just be careful to
not do too much for them or to overburden them. Slowly add to what you expect
them to do for themselves. Above all be patient. You will likely be building
your older junior leaders from the first batch and that will take time.
Expect a few setbacks along the way. They will happen, but if you have a good
program, you will over come them.
> original thought was to start out with an already established troop,
> and then when we thought we were ready to split off and establish our
> own troop, but then that wouldn't be fair to the other troop either.
If there is another troop (besides the one you mentioned) that could use
the boys and leaders, and they have a good program, and they are reasonably
close, then why all the talk of a new unit. You are right. It would be unfair
to go into a troop intending to leave it a short while later.
> If we plan on starting next year, we'd have at least 2 leaders with
> Scoutmaster Fundamentals, probably a decent sized committee, and a
> start of 6-9 newly crossed Webelos from our pack plus (maybe) others.
Sounds like enough to get started. Go for it.
> Of course, the DE is as much interested in numbers as anything else
> (new troop, new leaders even if most of them are multiples); I'm
> more interested in the program.
Your interest is in the right place. IMHO, program is what makes or breaks
a troop. Keep the guys doing the things they want to do and they will stay
on and bring in their friends. Give them room and the opportunity to grow
and they won't disappoint you.
Get as big a committee as you can. Funds will be the first major hurdle.
You will need money for equipment.
Check with other troops to see if they have some servicable equipment they
can give/sell you to start with. Also check out yard/garage sales for stuff.
Get 'em camping as soon as possible. Those Webelos have probably been waiting
for two years to do some "real" Boy Scout camping.
Take your time building a good foundation.
Don't worry aabout it too much. If it is meant to be, it will be.
SM, Troop 565, Deltona, FL.
27 years old and still kicking
(the troop, not me)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City