scouts-l Mail Archive for April of 2000: Re: How to "Shape Up Troop"?
Jeffry Smith (jsmith@ALUM.MIT.EDU
Sun Apr 09 2000 - 13:51:48 CDT
Kris, you've gotten a lot of good advice so far. I'll add my 2 cents
from when I took over a troop that had been run "single-handed:"
1. Train everyone. Adults, youth, etc. I ran the whole troop
through JLT. I also set up a course on "how a troop operates" with
model troop meeting, PLC meeting, patrol meetings, etc.
2. Get the youth to help write a code of conduct / guidebook, based
on the law, oath, motto, slogan. This will help them buy into both
correct actions and punishment / correction for failing to meet
actions. Once everyone (youth, scoutmaster corps, committee, parents)
buys off on it, enforce it.
3. Make it clear that the youth are in charge, and if they don't plan,
things don't happen. This means letting them fail occasionally. When I
took over, I told them I wouldn't be planning the campouts. I
expected the PLC to deliver a plan for the campout no later than 2
weeks prior to the campout (location, travel time, goals, etc). I'd
work with them on developing it, but it was THEIR responsibility.
Also, patrol menus had to be done and approved by the adult leadership
by the week before the campout. First campout, no plan, no menus. I
cancelled it. Told them why. Made it clear that their leadership had
failed. I was their to support, guide, and train, but not do. You
want it to happen, you MAKE it happen. Let them know that I didn't
have to go (it helps when you don't have kids in the troop). Ensured
they knew I was there to help them in developing these things, along
with the rest of my Scoutmaster Corps, if they would ask. Second
campout came, they knew what had to be done to have a campout. They
4. Expect some of the older boys to leave. Painful as it was, I
recognized that they couldn't handle the change, had never been
prepared for leadership, and didn't want to have leadership. I ended
up with a 12 year old, 2nd class SPL, but he was willing to try to
lead, which was all I could ask.
5. Expect a lot of rough times. Remember, this is VERY new to them.
Expect failures, expect problems, wait them out, careful correction.
6. Communicate. With the youth, with the parents, with the adult
leaders, with Council, expecially with your fellow Scoutmasters at
Roundtable. You've got a lot of resources out there, waiting to help.
This is a good time to use it. Especially, one thing I did was took
the new SPL & ASPL to visit some other troops, that were recoginized
as "good" troops (i.e. active programs, youth run, with waiting lists
to get into).
ASM, Troop 173
Hanscom AFB, MA
I used to be a Fox (Knotty Italian Foxes, W3-803-92)
Always - A Bicentennial Eagle