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#21 fred johnson

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 09:44 AM

BSA promotes a "shopping model" that is NOT designed to have level recruitment across troops.  It's designed to weed out bad troops.  Unfortunately, it has the effect of weeding out troops that are not recruitment focused.  I've seen many troops pervert their program to make themselves look better to new scouts.  

 

In addition, BSA adds troops in areas that do not have sufficient numbers to support another troop while at the same time watching membership drops.  

 

If you really want to support troops, promote cubs crossing over into the same troop as their charter partner.  If the program is bad or if there is conflict, help them know there are always other choices.  Scouts should know they can switch units anytime during the program, Tiger through Eagle.  But shopping for a new unit between Webelos and Boy Scouts is an arbitrary time that causes damage in many many different ways.  

 

I've expressed this opinion before and probably will again. 


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#22 fred johnson

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 09:47 AM

Well we didn't end up doing this, but we did a lot of research into separate programs under one troop and the results weren't very good. Three out of the four programs changed back to one single program. 

 

First, logistics is a killer. The troops would require either meeting on separate nights or in separate meeting places. Either way the adults are being pulled hard, especially the SM. The committee is pulled in several different directions as well. Imagine the challenge of finding enough adults for one functioning troop committee, now you have to double or triple. 

 

In our research, the scouts do ok because they are in patrols anyways, so it's not that big of change. But, troops are adult programs for guiding youth toward men of character. Even in the most boy run programs, success and failure is dependent on the adults. What we found is that the programs become lopsided very quickly because skills of the adults will tend favor one program over the other. Not on purpose, it just worked out that way with the adults of the programs I researched. The SM burns out quickly as well as the adults on his staff and the committee who tend to work the needs of both programs trying to keep their heads above water. 

 

While boy run becomes more of a challenge as the troop grows, working it under a single program of skilled adults is easier than dividing the groups up. And, I personally found the scouts come up with some pretty good ideas themselves when you let them go.

 

Also, there is one other consideration, depending how far the unit wants to take it. Many of the families in our troop heard about our research and informed us that they joined the program that we had, not a program that might be split. They would consider taking their son and their adult volunteering time and leave for another troop.

 

Yes, it's complicated.

 

Barry

 

Well written ... another challenge is adults volunteer often for adult friendship.  Now you are going to put their adult friends in other rooms or separate them?  Like scouts, adults will gravitate toward their friends.  

 

Your description of "lopsided" is exactly the same thing that happens with BSA webelos shopping model.  Some groups do well and the others starve.  It's not a model that promotes a balanced model.  


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#23 Stosh

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 10:04 AM

I think this makes a whole lot of sense.

Focus on the patrol, not the troop.  Scouts are patrol members first and foremost, so if you can get everyone thinking that way it seems like its a more manageable bite sized snack!

 

I wonder if it would be good for a larger troop to think of themselves as a collection of smaller troops......

 

When talking to parents about the patrol method, I use the analogy of the troop being a mini-district where the patrols represent the various troops and the troop is the "district".

 

I know this is not how things are intended....but running with the thinking

             that the total roster is no more than 32 scouts so that each scout can get individual attention form their scoutmaster and from the program

             and that no troop really wants to turn away scouts, or really break up and find other CO's to take them

 

I don't see any need to be restricted to only 32 scouts unless there is a meeting place restriction.  When I had 28 boys in my former troop, the meeting place was a huge room at the American Legion.  4 patrols, 4 corners and all worked out well.  I currently meet at a church and the Sunday School classrooms, the meeting room, library and fellowship hall are all open to us for expansion.  In the first troop I was an ASM for, they had a small meeting room that didn't allow any space between patrols, the patrol method was abandoned and with a heavy corps of ASM's they ran an adult led, troop method program.  Very successfully in terms of activities, but the BSA program was not followed very well.  They had 30 boys, they took on 20 new boys and by the end of the year they were back to 30.  The meeting space was causing the problem because when 50 boys were in there, there weren't even enough chairs for all the boys to sit.

 

so the SM is over the whole thing of course..... setting the tone for the troop

 

In my case, the PL's through the PLC set the tone for the troop, the SM drinks coffee and is available when needed.

 

but what if you subdivide that troop into.... well let's call them platoons for the lack of anything better?

 

Or one can go with patrols.... :)

 

each platoon has an ASM, and is made up of 4 or 5 patrols to meet BP's magic "32" number of scouts.

 

I have found that if one gets over 30 boys, maybe adding another ASM to handle the "crowd".  SM, Support ASM #1 for 32 boys, Patrol Support ASM #2 for overflow 32 boys.

 

and then think of each "platoon" as anyone else would a troop.  Platoon A could go to a different summer camp than platoon B, and so on..... 

Each platoon does everything a troop would do normally, and about the only thing the platoons share would be the number on the sleeve.

Seems like it works for troops of around 60 or more active scouts, until you start considering a troop trailer for each "platoon", or stuff like that...  

 

One could have 3 ASM's one for the New Scout Patrols, one for the Traditional Patrols, and one for the Venture Patrols.  That way the expertise of the ASM's could be focused as they support the patrol groupings.  The focus of interest would be similar for each grouping and thus the NSP boys would probably all attend the same summer camp and take the First Year Camper program.  The Traditional Patrols would be hit or miss on a common goal and may take a bit of work to get them to where they all want to be.  By the time one gets to the Venture Patrols, they may not want any troop trailer and want to focus more on backpacking, hiking, going to high adventure, etc.  They, too, would refocus like the NSP on a common goal of getting to Sea Base, BWCA, Philmont, etc. as patrols.  It could be worked out between Venture PL's to pick a common goal for all the Venture Patrols for the year. 

 

The SM would be there to work with the ASM's to make sure the groupings of patrols are getting what they are planning for the year.  The SPL on the boy side would be doing the same thing for this PL's through the PLC.

 

hmmm.... I wonder, do any of you with mega troops out there do this sort of thing?  Same here, but I suspect they tend to be more adult led until they get sufficient youth leadership they can trust.  Which of course is the ultimate goal of any sized troop.


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#24 John-in-KC

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 11:38 AM

WRT the weakness of the other troops in town,

 

I recommend a friendly lunchtime conversation with the District Commissioner and the District Executive.  Healthy units are their direct responsibility.  Others here said it:  If the unit isn't healthy, the parents won't let the boys go there (granted, all too many see "perceived" health).

 

Otherwise, I'd follow the advice already given in the thread.


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#25 Eagle94-A1

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Posted 15 February 2017 - 04:13 PM

My thoughts.

 

1) You can only help your fellow units out so far, then they have to do something. trust me, we have one unit that has some major issues. The adults would not listen to anyone: their Scouts, other Boy Scouters, their commissioner, even their CO's pack leadership.  Thankfully they got some fresh blood in the form of Scouts and an adult after 3 years of no new Scouts.

 

2) I respectfully disagree with Fred Johnson in that the BSA actually promotes COs having all three programs: Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts,  and Venturing.

 

The problem comes in with the relationships within the CO. Units within a CO  MUST HAVE RELATIONSHIPS BETWEEN THE DIFFERENT UNITS! ( caps, bold and underline are for emphasis). If the adults in the different units cannot work together, the CO really needs to get invovled and find out the problem.

 

Unfortunately, most COs are hands off; they will not get involved.

 

3) Every troop is different. One troop may not fit the needs of the Scout. IMHO, the adults should help the Scout find a better fit. I know with my unit, the philosophy is we'd rather keep Scouts in the program with a unit that better fits them, than quit altogether.


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"Train 'em. Trust 'em. LET THEM LEAD!" William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt


#26 blw2

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:05 PM

don't get me wrong... I wasn't really proposing this idea exactly, more just playing devil's advocate for sake of conversation around the campfire here.....

 

 

I think this makes a whole lot of sense.

Focus on the patrol, not the troop.  Scouts are patrol members first and foremost, so if you can get everyone thinking that way it seems like its a more manageable bite sized snack!

 

I wonder if it would be good for a larger troop to think of themselves as a collection of smaller troops......

 

When talking to parents about the patrol method, I use the analogy of the troop being a mini-district where the patrols represent the various troops and the troop is the "district".

 

I know this is not how things are intended....but running with the thinking

             that the total roster is no more than 32 scouts so that each scout can get individual attention form their scoutmaster and from the program

             and that no troop really wants to turn away scouts, or really break up and find other CO's to take them

 

I don't see any need to be restricted to only 32 scouts unless there is a meeting place restriction.  When I had 28 boys in my former troop, the meeting place was a huge room at the American Legion.  4 patrols, 4 corners and all worked out well.  I currently meet at a church and the Sunday School classrooms, the meeting room, library and fellowship hall are all open to us for expansion.  In the first troop I was an ASM for, they had a small meeting room that didn't allow any space between patrols, the patrol method was abandoned and with a heavy corps of ASM's they ran an adult led, troop method program.  Very successfully in terms of activities, but the BSA program was not followed very well.  They had 30 boys, they took on 20 new boys and by the end of the year they were back to 30.  The meeting space was causing the problem because when 50 boys were in there, there weren't even enough chairs for all the boys to sit.

 

so the SM is over the whole thing of course..... setting the tone for the troop

 

In my case, the PL's through the PLC set the tone for the troop, the SM drinks coffee and is available when needed.

 

but what if you subdivide that troop into.... well let's call them platoons for the lack of anything better?

 

Or one can go with patrols.... :)

 

each platoon has an ASM, and is made up of 4 or 5 patrols to meet BP's magic "32" number of scouts.

 

I have found that if one gets over 30 boys, maybe adding another ASM to handle the "crowd".  SM, Support ASM #1 for 32 boys, Patrol Support ASM #2 for overflow 32 boys.

 

and then think of each "platoon" as anyone else would a troop.  Platoon A could go to a different summer camp than platoon B, and so on..... 

Each platoon does everything a troop would do normally, and about the only thing the platoons share would be the number on the sleeve.

Seems like it works for troops of around 60 or more active scouts, until you start considering a troop trailer for each "platoon", or stuff like that...  

 

One could have 3 ASM's one for the New Scout Patrols, one for the Traditional Patrols, and one for the Venture Patrols.  That way the expertise of the ASM's could be focused as they support the patrol groupings.  The focus of interest would be similar for each grouping and thus the NSP boys would probably all attend the same summer camp and take the First Year Camper program.  The Traditional Patrols would be hit or miss on a common goal and may take a bit of work to get them to where they all want to be.  By the time one gets to the Venture Patrols, they may not want any troop trailer and want to focus more on backpacking, hiking, going to high adventure, etc.  They, too, would refocus like the NSP on a common goal of getting to Sea Base, BWCA, Philmont, etc. as patrols.  It could be worked out between Venture PL's to pick a common goal for all the Venture Patrols for the year. 

 

The SM would be there to work with the ASM's to make sure the groupings of patrols are getting what they are planning for the year.  The SPL on the boy side would be doing the same thing for this PL's through the PLC.

 

hmmm.... I wonder, do any of you with mega troops out there do this sort of thing?  Same here, but I suspect they tend to be more adult led until they get sufficient youth leadership they can trust.  Which of course is the ultimate goal of any sized troop.

 

 

When i read what he wrote, I think the point to restrict to around 32 scouts or so was for SM being able to give proper individual attention. 

 

Stosh, to your point about letting the SPL set the tone instead of the SM set the tone..... well really, that you as SM setting the tone to be scout lead.  Exactly what I meant.... the SM sets the tone. (he guides, and if done the way I think it would be best, he runs interference blocking negative adult influences so the scouts are free to do their thing)

 

Your point about a new ASM for each 32 scouts was exactly my point!

 

@Eagledad, yes.... the logistics would be problematic.....but then again....if you have a couple ASM's over each set of "32", then they have that end of it covered just as any smaller troop would be.  It's the committee that would get stretched a bit more....but there would be overlap too, maybe not so bad.... File 3 tour permits rather than just one....  IMHO a troop really ought to be doing this sort of thing anyway, based on what each patrol wants to be doing.

 

I don't know... that whole idea was just about a troop not wanting to turn away scouts..... when what really might ought to happen is when a troop gets a significant number over the "32" scouts, that they split into two troop.  That's probably the better scenario in the context of what BP was getting at....but talk about stretching the adults.... now that's stretching things!


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#27 Stosh

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Posted 16 February 2017 - 02:37 PM

I was not proposing going over 32 as ideal, my proposal was to offer a solution when and if that were to happen.  I do not like the idea of turning anyone away from a troop and if the troop starts to grow beyond 32, there can be some adjustments made to accommodate the growth without having to go to all the 36 member troop break down into 2 18 member troops.  New CO, second SM/ASM team, another committee, etc. just go with the flow and make sure every boy has an opportunity for scouting.


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