Re: Troop Problem with Webelos - long
Cliff Golden (C60DJK1@MVS.CSO.NIU.EDU)
Thu, 9 Mar 1995 22:00:00 CST
Re: Troop problem with Webelos
I have spent 5 years as a Webelos Leader and 18 years as a
Scoutmaster. I've seen the issue from both sides.
I'm sorry Peter, I think you're a little off base on this.
Expecting a Scout troop to take on 30 1st year Webelos is IMHO
not part of the program. There is a program called "Jumping in
January" that is designed to transition 2nd Year Webelos into troops.
I appreciate your interest in seeing these boys get into Scouting.
We certainly need more Webelos Leaders with your committment to the
boys. I think you need to show some empathy for the Scoutmasters
in your area though. They are working extremely hard to serve their
Scouts currently in the troop, which is a major amount of time and
effort in itself. Much more demanding than most realize. They also
have to deal with the prospect of transitioning a group of 2nd year
Webelos into their program. They have to naturally be concerned
with their recruiting program, but not at the expense of their
ongoing operation for current Scouts. Thirty Webelos showing up a
year early is very intimidating. That is intimidating to any Scout
troop, especially a year early.
Imangine if all the Bear and Wolf Scouts suddenly wanted you to
invest time into recruiting them into Webelos, while your still
trying to manage providing a Webelos program to your current boys?
It would be very trying. I doubt these Scoutmasters are pushing you
aside because of lack of interest in your boys. I think it is much
more likely that they are lacking the time and resources to deal
with the situation.
Wait until the 2nd year of Webelos, then work towards transition.
If that seems implausible to you, consider that Webelos used to be
just a one year program. The boys you have now would have only been
Bears 9 or 10 years ago.
As a Scoutmaster I once had a group of 30 boys join my troop. They
weren't all from the same pack. In fact we had 40 Webelos looking
at us. I did not do any active recruiting, they just showed up.
Only 30 of the Webelos came our way, but the impact was tremendous.
We were a troop of 40 Scouts suddenly expanding to 70 Scouts. We
needed more tents, more cooking equipment, it taxed our meeting
facilities. Our boy leaders needed supplemental training to contend
with the large influx of boys. We gained many new leaders, but that
too became another issue of training and assimilation of new people.
The impact on a unit is tremendous. Some Scoutmasters may not be
very welcoming to that type of change. You are in effect doubling
their responsibility as a leader.
We survived. Our troop has maintained a membership of 60-70 boys.
Our troop is also still making adjustments after 3 years. The
operation of a 70 boy troop is different from a 40 boy troop. You
must consider the logistics involved with that type of change.
In our district all the dens of one pack do not necessarily all go
to the same troop. In fact, not all the boys of one den always go
to the same unit. Sometimes boys within a single den will choose
Last year a Webelos Leader visited 5 troops and was not impressed
with any of them. He took his base of Webelos and started his own
troop. Did he take some senior Scouts from other units? Yes he
did. How did the other Scoutmasters feel about it? They dealt with
it OK. He is doing a super job and they have an excellent troop.
It gives this year's Webelos another alternative to choose from.
The troop also gives the older troops a little incentive to spruce
up their units in the wake of this new competition for Webelos.
That situation hasn't hurt any boys or the program, it has only
enhanced it. True Scouters look at that and applaud!
Every fall at our Scout Roundtable we have the 2nd year Webelos
Leaders join our Roundtable meetings. We let the Scoutmasters and
Webelos leaders get to know one another. It makes a good common
ground meeting place for them. From your original posting it sounds
like instead of calling on Scoutmasters to work with them, you were
calling with your set of demands and receiving some negative
feedback. Consider this process from their perspective and be very
tactful about your contacts and suggestions.
Webelos Dens and Scout Troops coming together in a transition
program is a little like dating. You don't want to come on too
strong. Consider each other's needs, then tactfully select a course
of action that will in the end most benefit your boys. You want to
enter a troop that is welcoming your Webelos, not walk through a
door that was blasted open to a group of smoldering stunned Scouts
I don't mean to be on a soapbox preaching. I don't know the
intracacies of your situation. I'm just offering you food for
thought. You can think about it, or dismiss it.
Either way, good luck to you. You sound determined to find a place
for your boys in Scouting. That's one of the most important goals
you can aspire to. I do admire you for that.
YIS, Cliff Golden Scoutmaster Troop 33
DeKalb, IL Advisor Post 333
Three Fires Council Kishwaukee District Commissioner
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City