Scouts-L Mail Archive for February of 1999: Re: Troop Size (Long Response)
Re: Troop Size (Long Response)
Thu, 11 Feb 1999 03:38:08 -0600
Mark Arend Wrote:
> A few years back (well, perhaps more than a few) I heard of a
> study that had been done on the sizes of Troops.
>As I remember it stated that Troops > tended to stay about
>the size the Scoutmaster felt comfortable
> with (either consciously or unconsciously). If the Troop got
>a large influx of new boys within a year or so they'd be
>back to the old level.
The study was called "Are You Delivering the Promise?" and it pointed to
experience and research demonstrating, essentially, that "bigger is better."
The study found that larger troops had more adult support, more outdoor
activity, more advancement and were more likely to be boy led. They also
tended to have longer tenure (survive longer) as dod the Scouts in the
troop. Critical mass for long-term success seemed to be at least 21 active
Scouts. Troops in the 30's and 40's really got going. Later articles in
Scouting featured very large troops as examples of success.
> Anyone else remember this. And more to the point, how does a SM
> fight these "unconscious tendancies" towards a certain sized Troop?
> We have maintained a fairly constant size through the years , it
> looks as if we'll be getting a fairly large group of Webelos in this
>spring, and I would like the Troop to be a bit larger (at least
>consciously). Any advice?
You can find an adaptation of the research summary at:
http://www.pinetreeweb.com/areyou.htm The study offers some specific ideas
for "Upsizing Your Troop" (http://www.pinetreeweb.com/areyou7.htm) and has a
short quiz "The Attributes of a Good Troop" that leads you in the right
direction at: http://www.pinetreeweb.com/areyou8.htm.
My own personal experience as a Scout, as Scoutmaster and as a Council
volunteer leads me to a firm belief that things begin to work well at about
thirty "on the books" and that 40 plus or minus is an excellent and
manageable number. I have found six patrols of 6-8 Scouts plus SPL, ASPLs
and a few older boys on "staff" works marvelously. "Sourcing: Webelos is
really important to regular growth and I have found that having close ties
to a specific Pack is the best way to maintain this. Do not forget "School
night." They can be a real source of new Scouts and have the added value of
keeping your troop in front of the boys at School. In the best situations,
I think the best recruiting comes from a solid, fast-moving and active
program ... focused on the out-of-doors. Boy leadership is often a key, but
so is adult support (I guess that is pretty obvious). When you have that
situation, the Scouts will be a prime source of new boys. And they are the
best possible spokesman. A serious devotion to program at each level -- new
Scouts, experienced Scouts, older boys -- is also critical to success. This
helps you keep the interest of the boys and to retain the older Scouts. In a
large troop, boy leadership will tend to be more mature (and older). This
makes for a much smoother opration and in a well-led troop is most appealing
to the boys.
Hope this is helpful.
Yours in Scouting,
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