scouts-l Mail Archive for November of 1999: Re: Small Troop Challenges
Calvin H. Gray (405geezer@IGG-TX.NET
Fri Nov 19 1999 - 16:40:06 CST
Gary Rayson wrote:
> My question to the list is both simple and complex. How does a small troop
> operate using the system and succeed?
My observations have been that it's almost impossible for a small
troop to succeed over the long run. Unless you have at least two
patrols, you can't use the patrol method and it will be difficult to
offer activities which ensure the boys are having fun.
Perhaps you can team up with another small troop in your area and
work together so you'll be able to offer a variety of camping and
other outdoor opportunities.
Once the boys get older, they want high adventure opportunities.
Again, maybe you can team up with another troop or maybe one of the
larger troops in your area will allow a few of your Scouts to take part
in their high adventure trips.
If parents are moving their boys to other troops because they want to
see more advancement, you can offer these opportunities and still be a
boy run troop. In my opinion, there is nothing wrong with letting the
boys work on merit badges during troop meetings if this is what they
want to do. Each year, we do this for about four months and it works
>From reading the situation you described, my opinion is that your
long-term solution is to work toward strengthening the Cub Pack
affiliated with your chartered organization. Also, invite the Cub
families, especially the Webelos, to go camping with your troop every
few months. If the Cubs/Webelos enjoy the outdoor program, they'll
eventually hang around and your troop will grow.
As for a short term solution, encourage your Scouts to recruit their
friends. If this doesn't work, try to recruit a few boys from the
nearest middle school. The BSA has material that will help with this.
Finally, the Philmont Training Center will have an excellent course
titled "Strictly for Scoutmasters" during the week of June 11-17. If
you have time, I highly recommend this course as you'll have an
opportunity to learn from and share ideas with other Scoutmasters from
througout the US.
More than likely, your council has already sent in their nominations for
the 2000 PTC courses but you may still be able to attend by contacting
your council's HQ. If needed, I can supply you with the e-mail address
for the PTC Director and you can contact him directly to see how you can
get invited to the course.
One of the better ideas I picked up at the "Strictly for Scoutmasters"
course this past June was to "get out of the box" as far as guiding a
troop is concerned. In other words, a successful troop is not
necessarily one that always operates "by the book" but one that finds
ways to be creative and offer a program which keeps the boys interested.
To do this, the Scoutmaster and other adult leaders have to get out of
their comfort zone and try new methods and ideas that may or may not
Calvin H. Gray
Scoutmaster, Troop 405
I used to be an Owl (WM-62-2-98 @ Philmont)