Re: Troop Problem with Webelos Leaders
Bob Condon (rec@EPOCH.COM)
Mon, 6 Mar 1995 09:39:45 -0500
> The main problem that comes up is that the Webelos Leaders aren't
> thinking ahead. The second year Webelos program should be designed
> for getting the Webelos thinking about joining Boy Scouts from the
The problem, as I see it, is that the Webelo leaders may not be
trained in the concept of "first year", "second year". I
wasn't. What we did, which I am eternally lucky, is that we plowed
through the program in the first year (got 90% done for AOL), and
in the second year, my assistent, who was an Eagle scouter and great friend,
really started looking ahead so that in Jan, we were doing
BSA preparation for transition in April.
We looked at all 4 troops in Feb for our meetings.
I think one of the problems here is this is the FIRST time
the Webelo leaders have gone through this transition and
during the first time we are very inexperienced.
>Accordingly, the Troop plans several campouts during the
> fall and winter to which we invite the Webelos. We have a spotty
> attendance sometimes, a better turn-out other times. We have a
> pretty good record of attracting those Webelos and their parents
> if they come on those outings.
We have never had good attendence on Fall camping trips so we
do not plan any longer for them. We have taken the "customer view"
as to what are their needs as oppose to what are our needs i this case.
> Come spring, we are getting ready for Camporee. The Troop leaders
> realize that they have some work to do as patrols to be prepared. I
> agree and I also feel they need time to themselves to work together.
> Even with a campout every month, there are four packs that we are working
> with. It would be easy to have Webelos recruiting driving the program
> instead of developing the skills the patrols and their leaders need.
You may want to change when you are preparing in patrols IF you
want to recruit more Webelos.
> The Scouts recognize the need for recruiting and have been very accommodating.
> I would say they have bent over backwards for the benefit of Webelos who
> want to visit.
> Now the Webelos Leaders recognize that it's time to pick a troop, and
> they want to go on outings with us. "OK, we'll plug in a day hike for
> you." "No, we want to camp with you." "You can come to Camporee as our
> guests." "No, we want to bridge before Camporee." "I'm sorry, but there
> isn't another camping opportunity available." "Well, if you don't want us,
> we'll go elsewhere." And so on.
Once again, THEIR customer view is coming out. If they feel that your
program in centered around the troop's needs and not looking
at their needs, then they will go where they feel more more welcome.
If they do not feel welcome in the four troops, then they will not
continue on with Boy Scouting.
> How can I communicate with the Webelos Leaders in the fall to explain
> why our calendar is set up the way it is (and by whom), and why I can't
> change it to accommodate their short-term wishes? Sometimes I can't even
> get them (or the Cubmaster) to return my calls in September and October.
You have a couple of choices. I would contact all the Webelo leaders
in the fall and have a quick meeting to "get to know them" TEACH them
what the transition will be (remember, its their first time), let them
know how you can best integrate them into the troops program and then let
them make the decisions.
I started 3 years ago with 20 boys. I now have 35 boys. I just got 2 calls
with two Webelo leaders wanting to bring 18 + 4 boys to our meeting
on Wednesday. This is the worst week it could happen because the boys
were going to have patrol corners for 1 hour (VVVVEEEEERRRRRYYYYYY
LLLOOONNNGGGG for us) to plan their gourmet weekend where they compete
(to impress the adults and Senior staff) with their cooking skills.
This would be a very boring meeting for outsiders so I will bring 1500
tennis balls to the meeting, talk about our program with parents and adults,
and run a couple of very early team building exercises with the Webelos
and their parents to show how we can build leadership skill. The SPL
and ASPL will work with me.
Most boys, seeing 1500 tennis balls get really wired. It is wild and
a lot of fun!
Another point that I found critical to my discussion with adults and
boys is that in making a decision to go onto Boy SCouts, there are NO
If you join our troop and you find that your involvement is not working
out there, I will personally take you to other troops to keep you in
If you join ANOTHER troop and it is not working out, the door is ALWAYS
OPEN. I am as open to what ever works for the boy and the parent.
Everyone gets my home number (After 8 calls at night, I wonder why!)
We have a great recruiting record and I am ver concerned this year
that the numbers will grow out of our abilities. I would rather a
small well run troop then a big poorly run troop. No one wins.
The work load is very well distributed and we have some very
didicated adults and kids.
A second problem we have this year is that one of the four troops
just folded. 3 older boys transferred in but this reduces the opportunity
for the Webelos.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City