Scout Patrols, New Troops and a Bad Year
Barry C Runnels (Barry_C_Runnels@MMACMAIL.JCCBI.GOV)
Thu, 17 Apr 1997 11:12:07 CST
Two years ago we took a dying Troop of 5 Scouts and brought 11 of our
Webelos with the goals of building a truly boy run Troop. We had all the
same questions that I am seeing now. New patrol method?, old Patrol
method?, advice on starting a new Troop? Adult Leader methods.
Turns out the 5 Scouts left weren't much of a help. So we were stuck with
the NSP. We learned a lot the 1st year just like most new Troops. But we
built a good reputation and one year later we acquired 30 NEW SCOUTS. Yep,
30 and more came later.
What was our attraction? Boy Run Troop that has a lot of fun. Problem was
we were only expecting 12. The leadership went into shock. We had to start
over again. After about six months we started feeling some control. However
we noticed that we only had about 25 active Scouts.
Last week we had our after rechartering Committee meeting. The good news is
we gained a comfortable 17 new scouts. The bad news was we lost 24. It was
a sobering evening. We all knew what the problem was and we adjusted this
year. But we failed those boys. We failed as BSA and we failed the Troop. I
know we all have to learn, but it still hurt.
We are in our third year now and boy have we learned a lot. Scout_L has
helped a lot. The original two adults feel hardened by the ups and downs of
the last two years. We have been so busy, that we have not been able to go
to Wood Badge. This year we are going. Sometimes we feel like we know it
all but then we are humbled and feel like we know nothing. We still have
eight of the original 11 and they are Boy Run Experts.
What did we learn? Don't be afraid to try new methods for a better Troop.
We were forced into it. From the start we had to try different methods of
fund rasing, new patrols, different equipment, design and build Patrol
Boxes and different methods of leading and training to reach our goals.
Patrols: The success of the Patrols has a lot to do with the personality of
the Scouts and the training of the boy leader positions. We have done every
method except the traditional because our guys weren't old enough. Some
boys just don't get along well with others and some get along to well. Have
patience, work with PLC to change and improve it. Scouts will do a very
good job creating good patrols with a little guidence.
Boy Run: I truly believe this is why our Troop is so successful. Most boys
who visit, join us. We don't recruit because we are still gun shy from the
30 boys thing. For NEW TROOPS, the adult leadership must have PATIENCE
because 11 and 12 year olds don't have the maturity to understand a Boy Run
Troop. If you can get older Scouts to help, use them but they must
understand Boy Run leadership. We had three older SPLs (who are Eagles now)
that stunk because they didn't understand Boy Run. Our best SPLs have come
from the original Webs we started with. They lack maturity but they were
taught boy run from beginning and only know that method of leadership. A
boy run Troop requires patience to work with the PLC.
Adult Leaders: Learn patience and get trained. What I have seen that it is
really, really hard to let the Scouts run the Troop. For new Troops, the
adults have to act like the PLC and this is hard. You feel like a Webelos
leader. Have patience and work through the Boy Leaders. Teach the new adult
leaders what boy run is and what the end product gives. The more adults you
get working together, the better the Troop will Function. Have goals. Our
goal is a FUN, FUN, FUN Boy Run Troop. I have watched adults take the Fun
out of Scouting in both Packs and Troops. What adults think is fun is
different from boys. Adults tend to do the easy thing. I am working with
our Camping ASM now who thinks boys under 14 can't backpack over five miles
a day. Oh, and adults should have fun to.
Lately I have seen several post asking advice for new Troops. Start with
the Eight Methods of Scouting. You can't loose. They work and they help
give a vision. Most units that have trouble or fail have no vision. When we
started, we told all the parents this: Our goal and vision is to teach
leadership through a Boy Run Troop where the Scouts have FUN. We don't want
to get bigger than 35 Scouts (forget that). We will us the Eight Methods of
Scouting because we don't know any other way. Followers will follow a
vision through difficult times.
Sorry this post is long. The rewards of Scouting are great. I have never
felt better about my influence on young people. Scouting has taught me to
be a better parent and to love God all the more. I keep my Scouting goals
on the boys because every time I change that focus, I am humbled.
What's new? Webelos Leaders in three packs have promised to bring over 30
new Scouts next year (16 are mine). But we are planning for it now. We are
considering splitting. Any advice?
Thanks for your patience. I love this Scouting Stuff.
"Mighty" Pack 339
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City