Rapid Growth's Problems
Peter Farnham (pfarnham@ASBMB.FASEB.ORG)
Wed, 27 Mar 1996 11:29:24 EST
I've got a few questions to ask of those of you who have been through
the rapid resurrection of a troop.
First, we rechartered three months late last year with five scouts on
the roster. Last night, we signed up our 15th and 16th scouts!
We recharter in about three weeks, and will have tripled in size in 8
months, we'll make quality unit, etc. So, I think troop 113 will
However, there are a few..."problems"...that such rapid growth
creates. Let me also say up front, I'm delighted to have these
problems, and not the reverse of them--i.e., rapid decline.
Nevertheless, ya'll's advice would be helpful on the following points.
First, our new scout patrol is now up to nine boys, all scouts or
brand-new just crossed-over weebs. I have every expectation of
getting more boys into the troop over the next several months (more on
that in a minute). Since a patrol is supposed to be 3-8 boys, and the
ideal size is 5-6, might this not be a bit large to be manageable?
I have no intention of arbitrarily breaking up the patrol into two,
although I may suggest it to the boys and see how they react. If they
don't want to, I'll leave it alone until the fall, when they'll have
been in the troop a year, and will thus no longer be considered new
An alternative might be to start a second new scout patrol with the
new guys who just joined last night. There's only two of them,
though, for the time being. Is this a problem, in the list's opinion?
I do expect to add more in coming months, so I don't imagine they'll
be only two for very long. In fact, two of my scouts are real good
friends with one of the brand new boys; maybe they'd be willing to
join the two brand new guys in another patrol. Any thoughts on these
possible solutions, or on any others I haven't thought of yet? I'll
of course discuss the whole matter with the boys and the PLC before
proceeding on any idea.
Another problem is one of ethics and neighborliness. A church several
blocks up the street from us has a scout troop and a pack (we only
have a troop; the pack died years ago). The boys from this pack
almost always feed into the "sister" troop. However, I got a call
from a dad of a boy in that pack, who asked to bring his son by to
visit as he needed to visit another troop for one of his AoL
requirements and had been unable to work anything out with another
troop. I said sure, and the kid came by. I knew I was unlikely to
get this kid, as his dad told me that most of his friends were going
into the other troop at the pack's same church.
Well, they left after the meeting, no hard feelings, etc. I wished
the dad and the kid good luck, and that was it. Well, the next night,
the kid's den leader called me up, and he announced he wanted to bring
his whole den of 7 boys by to visit!
You see the problem--if some (or all?) of these boys decide to join my
troop, might this annoy/irritate the SM of the other troop, who is a
very decent guy also trying to resurrect his troop? Our troops
conduct joint service projects, etc., and have helped each other out
over the years in a variety of ways. I'd love to have more boys, of
course, but I'm not sure the possible bad feelings that might develop
between me and the other SM would be worth it in this case. OTOH, I'm
not about to turn away any kid!!!
A third problem is related to the new scout patrol concept in general.
I understand how it's supposed to work--a kid joins the new scout
patrol, where he stays for a year, then he joins a regular patrol.
But what if there's only one regular patrol? How does one start up
regular patrols if there haven't been any up to now? Does the new
scout patrol become a regular patrol at the end of a year? If so,
what about the age difference that is supposed to exist in a regular
patrol (and which guarantees the existence of the patrol
long-term)--isn't this eliminated if the new scout patrol becomes a
regular patrol, since they'll all be the same age? Thus, when they
all turn 18, the patrol disappears. I thought the regular patrols
were supposed to go on forever, with all the attendant tradition,
etc., although the boys of course would change.
To solve this, I've been thinking of having my current new scout
patrol (9 guys) become two regular patrols next fall when they've been
in scouts a year. Then, the new guys that come in in the fall would
become the new scout patrol, and at the end of their year, they'd have
three patrols they could join. Does this seem workable?
Any comments on these "problems" would be most appreciated. Again,
I'm going to talk about our internal organization problems with the
PLC, of course, although your thoughts on this would be helpful. I'm
especially interested, however, in any thoughts you guys might have
about the "other troop" problem, which I don't think I'm going to
share with the boys just yet.
SM, Troop 113
GW District, NCAC
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City