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  • Lone Scouts an alternatives to a new troop?

    I'm in the process of wrapping up Arrow of Light with 4 boys in my Webelos Den and they're chomping at the bit to join a Boy Scout Troop. The problem is that there is only one Troop in our District, and it only meets monthly on Sunday afternoons and rarely camps, which is what my boys are eager to do. It seems that most of our District's boys have been joining Troops in other Districts, and then dropping out when they start getting sick of the drive.

    My wife and I are both active scouters, so we decided to start a new Troop. The problem is that we currently only have 5-6 boys that are wanting to join, and while I thought that was enough (the New Unit form says it is!), our Council is requiring 10 boys to start a new troop.

    So, I'm wondering is maybe I could have all these boys become "Lone Scouts", and myself and the other ASMs become their "Advisors" until such time as we reach the magic 10-boy limit (which I would expect to hit in December when 5 more would be eligible to cross over). We could have meetings that are VERY similar to Troop meetings, etc. Any reason why we couldn't do that?

  • #2
    Well that was an education.
    I could find nothing definitive about numbers in the National trove. Only descriptions about what each type of person needed is (Committee Chair, Scoutmaster, Scout, etc.).
    I found several Council sites that mention "5 youth members" as a minimum number for (re)chartering a unit, hence for FOUNDING a new unit.
    Here are some pages to consider:

    But no easy answer or rebuttal about how many youth members are required to start a new unit.
    I suppose it depends how hungry the local DE is for membership and unit numbers. (!)

    Good luck.


    • #3
      Only one troop in the district? In the Atlanta area? Is the district the size of a postage stamp?


      • #4
        Well Lone scouts is for kids too rurel to get to a troop..

        The lone scout is a creative option. But, your council may have made up it's own rules about that also. I know my council was against lone scouts for a mother who was simply using it to advance her son as a helecopter parent.. We would have happily set up you Troop of 6, but if you had been only a group of 3 I think there would be no problem with your lone scout idea, because it would have a true Lone Scout Advisor that is interested in running the program right. I do not believe that there is anything against a Lone Scout Advisor taking on multiple scouts either. I am sure for a rural family with 2 or 3 sons, it has probably happened.

        Another idea would be to join the troop that meets once a month and never camps, request that you are assigned as a patrol because you wish to have patrol meetings on the weeks they don't meet, and patrol campouts.. But, that may hurt the other troops membership # for Journey to Excellence with you comming and leaving in Dec. But if they run their troop this way, there is no reason for them to be making J2E anyway.

        It is worth a discussion with your DE on it.

        One troop in the local area, I could see.. One troop in the district?.. That makes no sense to me either. I think you may have mis-worded that somehow. Also if your district had only one troop, they wouldn't have changed the rules to set the bar in order to start a troop making it harder to do so.. They would be begging you to start a troop.

        What about the boys who left the area, then tired of the drive time?. Any way to get them to be interested in joining your new troop?


        • #5
          Are you SURE there's only one troop in your district? That seems exceedingly unlikely. (Do you mean "district" as in "school district" maybe, and not "BSA district" which is part of a larger "BSA council?")

          If there truly is only one troop in the whole (BSA) district, and assuming that there are at least 2 cub packs in the whole district, then I imagine a little healthy competition would be good for that troop and also popular, very soon, with other bridging webelos from other cub packs. Contact other webelos den leaders and Cubmasters and see if they might be interested in talking with you about the start-up idea.

          About the #s: You have 5-6 boys now; you only need 4-5 more. Do your 5-6 have friends who like to be outdoors?

          If none of that works - find a troop in a neighboring district and go join it. Yes, it may mean a bit more driving but it is likely to be a better experience for your boys than just the lone scout program.

          And there are a number of Atlanta-area folks on this forum so I hope some of them will chime in with better local resource leads for you, too.


          • #6
            Something isn't right....Looking at the maps you should either be in Chattahoochee, Button Gwinnett, or South fulton district. All of the districts appear to be active and very full of units.

            Again no familiarity with roads and traffic, I would believe there would be a troop with in a 20 minute drive of your Pack.

            Who is this really about?????

            So I gotta ask....where did the boys go who previously aged out???? they just quit?????

            Why a new troop????

            Moose....reading your post about being a single patrol within another troop sounds like a bad idea.....and a recipe for adult lead......and looking back at the OP other posts....He was discussing a NSP camping 300 feet from the adults, No training, No experience, No Youth leadership support. shakin my head....

            This appears to be about the best interests of adults and not the scouts.

            (This message has been edited by Basementdweller)


            • #7
              There's no reason that you couldn't do it, at least not in our council. Of course, in our council, you can start a new troop with five Scouts, too. In fact, the council can waive that requirement and I know I've seen units recharter with as few as three youth.

              It does seem unlikely that there aren't more troops around, but you can certainly pursue other options if you want.


              • #8

                As moosetracker said Lone Scouts are for kids living in isolated areas with no local units or for very special circumstances, it is NOT a local option for a parent to choose in lieu of a local troop. You can start a troop with five scouts in ANY council per National, get yourself enough adults for a committee and scout leaders, get them all trained and get ready for the fun to begin. Lone Scouts would not be very fulfilling for your boys or near as much fun as belonging to a troop. Good Luck!


                • #9
                  Basement - I have seen one excellent troop which once a month does not hold a troop meeting so that each patrol can meet at their own prefered location for a patrol meeting.. When my husband was in scouts his troop met once a month for a troop meeting and were expected that each patrol met each week on their own.. Husband said they met at his house in his basement, mostly unsupervised but for the adults in the upstairs. (Except they do have a story of his father coming down to catch them with the playboy magazine once..)

                  Also many people push that patrols should have patrol outings. I do not see why a patrol outing is considered Adult run.. True, with the new rules their has to be adults along.. But they can do the 300' camping thing.

                  Lisabob may be right, district meant school district.. That does make more sense.

                  Think we lost our OP anyway..

                  But, a start of a new troop if the other troop has few outings and only meets once a month, does not seem like suspicion for Adult led.. If all our DE's were as suspicious as you guys, we would never have another new unit, while our old units slowly die off. That has no future but extinction.


                  • #10
                    Moose the first point is there can't be two SM's in a troop which is where the situation would an SM would you let a Scouter use your troop numbers and charter to run a separate troop????? The whole issue of Tour Plans.....

                    uhhhhh nope.

                    My comment about 300 feet was regarding his boys NON-existent camping experience. In no way I would I take a NSP and dump them 300 ft from the adults... The boys need training and it is irresponsible to suggest it.


                    • #11
                      it is NOT a local option for a parent to choose in lieu of a local troop.

                      Sure it is. I've seen it done.

                      That may not be the intention of the program, but it is indeed an option of the program. The Lone Scout Friend and Counselor Guidebook says that boys can apply for membership when they cannot conveniently join a Boy Scout troop. I realize that one interpretation might be that you'd have to join the one convenient troop, but I think that if you don't like the close-by troop and other troops are at an inconvenient distance, that would meet the requirement. At any rate, it would be up to your council registrar to decide whether to accept it or not, and I know our council would accept it.

                      The guide does say that boys who can attend regular meetings of troops are not eligible for the Lone Boy Scout program. It would be my opinion that meeting once a month is not "regular", but it won't be my decision. Talk to your council office and see what they say, if you really want to pursue it.

                      I'd actually pursue getting a new troop started, though. I find it hard to believe that a council is going to turn down a new unit. What council out there isn't trying to create new units? Maybe it's one with a new SE who is trimming all the excess units off the roster in a one-time swoop, but then they'll start wanting to build their unit count up again in a year.


                      • #12

                        If it is not for special cicumstances then it was an error on the councils part, check on the National website for yourself.


                        • #13
                          Yes, South Fulton is very active, as is Button-Gwinnett, Foothills and others. All are a significant distance away, mainly due to traffic, not distance. Take a look at the map here:


                          See those little light green areas marked N, S, E, and W? Those are districts. Do they need to be killed? Maybe, but there's an awful lot of cubs there.

                          And yes, I guess there is something else going on: my wife and I both sit on the East Atlanta District Committee, so we do have an ulterior motive (although I think it's more of a "two birds with one stone" motive). We are charged with getting the district back moving again and yes, there is only one active troop (I know you can find about a half-dozen listed, but as our district commissioner can tell you, none of them meet -- he's tried to visit them).

                          To answer the other question, most boys are just dropping out after earning their AOL. I'm only aware of one boy from our Pack that is still in Boy Scouts, and he joined a troop in a nearby district and still hasn't earned his Tenderfoot after 12 months in the troop. We did have one troop going in the area a while back, but then some hazing issue came up (rather serious, I believe, since the sheriff got involved) and that troop disintegrated.

                          Will people drive 30 minutes to a scout meeting? Some will, but many won't, especially since they're used to being able to drive 10 to their cub meeting. I suppose I could chuck the whole idea and just throw in my lot with one of the mega-troops, but it's not really in my nature to have my sons in an activity without being very involved, and these troops seem to have things running on rails now.


                          • #14
                            So are you in the S. Fulton or one of the S, N, E, W districts? Probably the S, N, E, W should merge as they do look small.. But I have no real gauge to tell how small is the smallest or how big is the biggest..

                            I think it would be great for some new troops. Especially one that is run correctly, and can be a role model for other troops. One troop that is run wrong, or 6 on paper really means zero good troops in the area.

                            I don't though get the Councils resistance to starting a new troop with at least National minimum of 5 scouts (and like someone said before if a district is desperate, they wave the 5 and allow it to start with 3, if there is something that shows others are soon to come from a soon-to-be crossover (which you have also..)

                            Your Troop problem is like our districts/Council Venturing Crews problem.. But with Venturing it is the problem of getting something new started.

                            How many Packs do you have in your district? And what caused this social norm to develop that there is no interest in continueing after BS.. I know it is now selp perpetuating by their not being any BS Troop options in the area, which feeds the concept that there is nothing after CS.. But something must have started this negative trend..

                            Also you mention joining a mega-troop.. Is this one of the troops that you need to travel 30 minutes for?.. By the way we did travel 30 minutes for our sons troop, but I agree, you have to have dedication to the program to do that..

                            Basement - "It will be adult lead" and "Other troop would not like a second scoutmaster" are two different things.. There was no mention of him being a 2nd scoutmaster for the troop. But, I did state the fact that they may only stay on until Dec. then pull out as a possible issue with the other pack.

                            When my husband was in a Troop that only met monthly but all other weeks the patrols were expected to meet elsewhere (sort of like todays pack & den meeting model.) His father being upstairs available for guidence, and to occasionally peek in to make sure they were on task. Nor whomever else oversaw the other patrols was not each considered a ScoutMaster. Anyway it was just a suggestion to pull more from a troop that didn't even offer a full program, thereby keeping the scouts interested and motivated.. But, I did state going there knowing it would be temporary, may not be something the troop wants.. But, then a troop that runs the way they do, may not care, as by the way they run it, it seems that they really don't care about their program. A very active troop run correctly I know would have an issue with 6 scouts and their leaders "hanging" until they can start their own troop.. But, a troop that doesn't even care enough to really run the program? What are their cares? Do they really care?

                            Any way it was just throwing out ideas like the lone Scout for a group of 6 scouts. Which for any of our districts would be enrolled new troop.. And yes a troop is better then a Lone Scout program. But if they just enroll the boys as Lone Scouts but then run a small start up troop, I don't see where the boys are going to have anything less then a small startup troop. The rest is all paperwork which to the boys will be irrelevant.


                            • #15
                              With the traffic in that area, getting to an outlying district would be a nightmare many nights.

                              So what does the DE say? You are in a grossly underserved area. And, if those troops aren't meeting, are they ghost units or COs who won't give up a charter but also won't really support a unit?