Interested in hearing some opinions. In our town of around 50K (a bedroom community for a larger metro area) we have 4 troops (although one is chartered thru the catholic school/church and their membership is generally parishoners/students so their members generally didn't consider other troops and non parishoners/students dont join), 1 LDS troop. there is also a troop at the nearby base and one each at two much smaller but adjacent communities. So lots of great options for boys. All troops are healthy, no issues, good leaders/boys. I would recommend any of them to anyone.
So far we are on track for 23 crossovers (our current troop size is 46, while I don't have exact count the other 3 troops in town are smaller but i think in the 20-30 range--I am separating out the "Catholic" troop, for the stated background their numbers are pretty stable and constant). We may get even more. The last few years we have been getting 15 or so. Our troop is growing, the others are holding or shrinking, their crossover numbers have been on a downward trend.
Why am I writing. Our committee (of which I am a member) has a genuine concern for the other troops in our area. we recognize scouting in general is better/stronger when all the troops are healthy. We "recruit," which is to say we reach out to local packs and invite them to visit. when they visit we show them our program, their boys meet our boys, parents meet our parents/ASMs/committee members/SM. we supply den chiefs, we invite packs to a couple different events during the year. While we certainly do not shy away from touting what our troop has to offer and why we like it we do not do it in a comparative fashion (i.e. we are the best at something, or the only one to do something). we do not say anything bad about the other troops, in fact, we encourage all to visit as many troops as possible. We always close by asking if they do not pick us please join somewhere, please join scouting. I know all is the uniform message potential families receive from all adults they come in contact with
I know the other troops do more or less the same. Our issue/thought is we truly do not want to drive the other troops out of business and over time if these trends continue we are fearful that will happen. There is really no easy to direct a boy away from one troop to another. I don't think setting an arbitrary limit on crossovers is right (first come first serve?). Nor would we ever want to turn any boy away--no guarantee they join anywhere. That always disappointed me tremendously about GS, they were not shy about saying our unit is full, can't take any more, please go on our waiting list for an open unit. Sometimes that is a physical limit (my wife would take as many girls as she and her co leader could manage. when they ran out of adult leaders they ran out of slots--a span of control issue) but most time it was a clique deal where a circle of friends forms a unit and they don't want outsiders. but i digress
we are also concerned about maintaining our program and providing a great experience to all of those new boys. It will be a tremendous challenge (which we are ready for!) for our boys (and adults) to train these boys and get them moving (at their own pace) on the advancement (or just plain adventure/fun) trail.
Anyway, would love for those who are interested to share their thoughts on a) managing the large new class and really big troop b) preserving the health of our neighboring troops and ensuring they are getting a healthy influx of new members. c) anything else out of this scenario I have forgotten or not been wise enough to ask about