So I'm crazy (troop revival)
William N. Dilla (sdilla@UMSLVMA.UMSL.EDU)
Mon, 22 Dec 1997 11:00:42 -0500
Tried to send this last week, but somehow didn't get it through to the
list. Apologies to anyone who gets this twice.--B.D.
> So my request to the listmembers is for any suggestions you might have
> of things you've seen work (or seen fail) in reviving an essentially
> dead troop. What sorts of goals should be set, what kind of timeline
> is reasonable, how do you get Webelos to join an unknown situation,
> how do you reach other boys to flesh out the age groups, etc.? I know
> there is a lot of experience in these situations out there, and I
> figure I'll need all the help I can get, so I appreciate any ideas you
> might have.
Chris wrote in reply:
Congratulations on your new position! And it certainly is reason to
will be able to share your knowledge and experience with a struggling troop...
Chris--Your list is right on the mark. As a SM of another "problem" troop,
I've asked for and heard lots of advice. What you said is pretty consistent
with what I've been hearing. The items on your list we've been doing
already seem to be working, although only time will tell. Others, I plan to
I do have a few comments on what you've said.
>1. Set your personal goals for the troop very high. Dream about what you want
troop to be like in 2 or 3 years.
I agree here. But, it's important to set acheivable, short-term goals too.
I've gone through periods of being frustrated at how far away my personal
goals seemed. Now, I've started looking at quarterly and annual goals.
Makes me feel better to see that we're making some progress, although we're
a long way from where I want to be. I also make a point of letting the
Scouts and adults know how well they are doing.
>4. Do new stuff- go places those three kids haven't gone before. Those three
might see the "old troop" as a failure. You need to make sure they know that
future is bright. Get out the cobwebs!
Be careful on this one. This may be true for a troop that's almost totally
fallen apart. But, if your troop has some favorite activities, don't throw
them out. In our case, one of the things the troop DID have going for it
was a pretty good outdoor program. One of the mistakes my predecessor made
was to try to totally revamp the outdoor program without getting adequate
input from Scouts or adults. Then he had a problem with lack of support for
the program (especially getting enough adults for outings). The strategy
I've taken is to keep a few favorite, quality events in the program, add a
couple of new ones, and modify some of the old events.
>10. Involve your Cub Pack- invite them to a campout to spend a Saturday with
and let the Webelos sleep over. Do a fun night at the School for both the
the pack and just play games.
Heartily agree on this one. One of the best things our District did for us
was to start inviting 2nd yr. Webelos to the Fall Camporee again. A "fun
night" or other fun event is a good idea (for any recruiting prospect),
since you might get boys (and parents) to commit who might not be willing
to take the plunge sign up for a weekend. In our case, the event was an
evening at a climbing wall inside one of the local schools. Learned the
value of this quite by accident. On the spur of the moment, I decided to
add to our guest list a prospective member who I thought we had lost to
another troop. Now, he's seriously thinking about joining us.
Cub pack involvement shouldn't just be in recruiting events. Seize every
opportunity you can to have your Scouts help out with Pack meetings or
other functions. We've found this strategy really helpful as a small troop,
and it helps to make up for the fact that we don't have enough Scouts to go
around to serve as Den Chiefs.
>As far as a timeline- I suggest getting one boy a month and then when
>cross-over time rolls around, those kids are just a "bonus"...
This is a good strategy, but not the only one. We've taken the tactic of
focusing on cross-over. If we get any boys in the interim, they will be our
"bonus." What works best may depend on the environment and your troop
makeup. Our troop is mainly older boys, so it's extremely unlikely they
will be bringing in their 14-15 yr. old friends as new Scouts. As we bring
in younger Scouts, we may move to a combination of recruiting from the Cub
Pack and from friends of these Scouts.
Again, Chris, thanks for an excellent post.
Scoutmaster, Troop 310
Webelos Den Leader, Pack 310
New Horizons District--Greater St. Louis Area Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City