Joining a new troop v. an established troop
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Tue, 19 Sep 1995 12:18:02 EST
Karen Bope raised the issue of webelos joining a new troop or an
established troop. I would look at the established troop first and
make an assessment of its quality. There are several things you ought
to look for in a troop.
1. Trained, two-deep, uniformed adults.
2. An active outdoor program, including summer camp?
3. Boy led.
4. Quality unit?
5. Participation in district activities?
6. Attention to proper uniforming?
7. Scout spirit?
8. Size. This last is perhaps a bit controversial, so let me expand
on this a little bit in the hopes I can avoid being flamed. An
article in SCOUTING magazine a couple of years ago talked about large
units in a council in New Jersey. The quality units in this
particular council were overwhelmingly those units that were larger.
"Larger" for purposes of the article was defined as having 35 boys or
The point the article made was that a good program attracts attention,
and scouts want to join it, which leads to large units. A troop in
trouble is more likely to be small.
Now, before I get flamed by all of you out there in small troops, let
me point out that there is not necessarily a correlation. I merely
point out that small size may--repeat, may--be an indicator of a
problem, especially if most of the first seven criteria in my list are
I also point out that my troop had five boys when we rechartered last
July. We are now up to seven. So my own unit is small as well. But
our goal is to get us up to the large troop category, and my SPL (who
is a real gem) and I intend to do that through a quality boy-led
program. The reason we were small when I came in was that the first
seven criteria on my list were either entirely or mostly absent.
Anyway, the above criteria are not exhaustive, but I think they cover
most of the major points. If the established troop meets most of
these criteria, Karen has a good unit for her boys to join, it seems
There are advantages to coming into a dying troop, or starting a new
one, however. The main one is that you don't have any history to
contend with, as in, "Oh, we've always planned the program for the
boys, Ms. Bope. They like it that way. That way, they can
concentrate on having fun. After all, they're just boys. They don't
know how to plan a year long program."
Or: "You can't do that; Mr. Jones (the revered predecessor to the new
SM) never did it that way."
In other words, you have the chance to get in on the ground floor and
get a program going that is run properly. This would especially be an
advantage, if the alternate route--i.e., the established troop--is not
well run. A new, dynamic troop with a good program would also make
the other troop better by virtue of the competition, because they'd
start wondering why all the boys who used to join their troop now are
going into the other one.
Anyway, just a few thoughts on this issue. My own preference would be
to come into a new situation myself and set up a troop that was
properly run, but that's just me. If you don't want to have to worry
about that and just get your boys into a well-run, already-established
troop, that's a good call too.
I want to close with the most important point, however--what do the
weebs want to do?
SM, Troop 113
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City