New troop's first months (long posting,
Timothy J O'Leary (tjo@CPTCHR.AFIP.MIL)
Wed, 5 Apr 1995 13:20:02 -0700
In my last posting (on snipe hunts), I commented on some things that led to
forming a new troop. Based on parent and boy comments, I think it is off to
a pretty goodstart. The troop committee set up the first two months program with informal
boy input. In January, we participated in a Klondike derby sponsored by a
neighboring district; the troop was so small it participated as a single patrol
(and came in 4th of about 40 patrols, largely on the basis of teamwork rather
than skill). Not bad for a troop which had elected an 11 year old second class
scout as senior patrol leader (no, he is not the Scoutmaster's son). The SPL
went through an informal JLT session with a parent and has been coached by the
SM and committee chair (who _usually_ remain in the background). He tried to
put together the next few months program by consensus during patrol corners, but
when that didn't work too well, he took the boys' ideas home, put them together
in a program (after watching the troop program planning training tape), and
brought them back to the whole troop for assent. This seems to work better.
Since the troop is small (eight boys, but one out with a broken femur), PLC
doesn't quite make sense, yet.
Their program (and it isn't exactly one which either the Scoutmaster or
Committee would have put together) has included, in addition to Klondike Derby
District merit badge day (7 MB's earned that day)
A trip to the State Department Operations Room (during a month in which they
chose a citizenship in the world theme) and the National Capitol
Scout Sunday - charter presented to the pastor at Mass; pastor was absolutely
beaming (an important ingredient for long-term success)
Future plans include:
Assisting at a Webelos weekend
Trip to the Goddard space center to learn about weather satellites (part of a
Bike trip (location to be announced)
One boy wanted to go to an Amish town in PA, but hasn't gotten enough support
from the others!
The Scoutmaster and an ASM are completing their 6-week fundamentals course now.
The program the boys have chosen is much less "outdoors oriented" than
I experiencedas a Scout, but it is _their program_, and they are enjoying it. Interestingly,
this group of boys is somewhat less adept athletically than most of their
classmates, and somewhat more adept intellectually; I suspect that their
intellectual curiosity has fueled their interest in things like state department
operations and control of weather satellites. Is that appropriate for boy
Scouts? It's their troop!
How about Boy leadership? The meetings are by no means perfect; the SPL's
written agenda seldom runs exactly as written, and sometimes the SM has to
restore control of the meeting (one pair of boys has some difficulty in getting
along). Nevertheless, it is not bad, the meetings are no more disorganized than
relatively small Boy-run troops I have seen with 13 and 14 year old SPL's. It
may be working a little better than might be expected, because the SPL (who is a
rather shy young man, by the way) spent half a year as a den chief first, and
because they made their initial forays into Boy leadership as Webelos, in
preparation for transitioning. He gets feedback from the SM before and after
every meeting; he has two boys assigned for each meeting activitiy, and checks
with both the day before to see if they are prepared.
Adult involvement: Crucial. Before we chartered, we had an SM, two ASMs, and
five troop committee members who were willing to commit significant amounts of
time to the program, including the outdoor program. Most were former scouts (2
Eagles, one life, several first class). For even a small troop, this is crucial
to avoid burnout.
My apologies for long-windedness, but I wanted to share how things were going
since I introduced byself to the list a few months ago.
Timothy O'Leary, CC Troop 772, Eagle '65
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City