scouts-l Mail Archive for August of 2000: Re: limiting troop membership
golden cliff (c60clg1@CORN.CSO.NIU.EDU
Thu Aug 31 2000 - 14:54:38 CDT
> Out troop has been succesfull recruiting over the last several years. Now we
> have 62 active scouts and have the prospect of possibly having 30 boys
> wanting to join in the Spring.
About 8 years ago we have had a similar situation when 30 new Scouts
joined one spring, adding to our troop of 43 boys.
Like many, we have an open door policy and don't turn away boys. Going
from 43 boys to 73 boys presented some major challenges.
Equipment was a problem, but that's a simple fix, though an expensive one.
Dealing with logistics and troop organization were our biggest challenges.
We divided the troop into 3 "divisions", each led by an ASPL. Once a
month we had a super meeting where we met as one large group. Other
weekly meetings were done by division which we split by age; new,
experienced, and older Scouts. The new Scouts (Div I) had a meeting at
6pm Monday, the experienced Scouts (Div II) met at 7:30pm Monday, and the
older boys (Div III) met twice a month on a different night. There were
about 3-4 patrols per division. Each division had a QM, Scribe, and
Librarian; with a Troop Chief Scribe, ect., training and supervising his
counterparts at the division level. The program of each divisional
meeting was specific to the needs of that group of Scouts.
The SPL presided at the monthly super meeting, the ASPLs presided at their
respective divisional meetings. The Chief Scribe, etc., presided at the
monthly, with divisional Scribe, etc., working with the weekly meetings.
The PLC Meetings included the SPL with the ASPLs in executive session,
followed by the full PLC meeting which split into break-out sessions for
each division and then reuniting in joint session for the last part of the
meeting. It became a little more structured than I like, but with a bigger
group it became a necessity.
We also adopted a hyperactive calendar of activities, spreading out
participation in events. More trips with smaller groups, rather than a
monthly event with an army of boys. That was our preference.
I had an ASM working with each divisional weekly meeting, working with his
ASPL as an advisor.
Sometimes you get into what I call "herding syndrome". That's when you
feel more like you're herding boys through a program than actually working
with them. We tried to minimize that.
Anyone who has been in the program will tell you that membership often
works in cycles. Wait it out, the cycle will usually correct itself.
That big group of 30 new boys are all now in college. We have shyed away
from any recruiting efforts for several years, and our troop has returned
to a more easily manageable size.
We returned to a single meeting format a few years back as those 30 aged
through the program and the numbers returned to normal. We dropped the
divisional format and are now much more laid back and informal in our
troop operation. I'm a pretty laid back informal person.
Our program didn't suffer too much from the experience. There were
positives and negatives.
The legacy from it is a strong fundraising program, improved equipment
inventory, and a hyperactive program calendar.
I breathe a sigh of relief in having gone through that. I think a troop
of 35-45 boys is about ideal for us, but we will adjust and work to
accomodate any boys that come our way.
We try very hard to be a boy's troop and not an adult's troop. It's
harder to keep the boys in charge as membership climbs, but it can be
What's important isn't the size of the troop, but the quality of the
experience for each boy.
Good luck to you.
Scoutmaster Troop 33