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  • Trying to keep a troop from dying...

    Having crossed over with my son back in January 06, we brought a total of 3 boys from his Webelos II den. I had agreed to transition into the SM position, and talked one of the mothers of the other 2 boys into being the CC, since both the SM and CC were on the way out. The troop is almost 70 years old (1938), which is one of the reasons I felt this needed to keep going. Since January, I have completed all of the SM training, and took the boys to summer camp. Since the crossover, we have camped out 7 times (18 nights), and have advanced the boys thru their 2nd class requirements. However, in the past month, one of the original 3 boys had to leave the state, temporarily, for custody reasons with his unmarried parents, and now I am being told the 2nd boys (he and my son have been in scouts since Wolfs, and both started as Tigers), who's mom had agreed to be CC, is going to be leaving as well, due to problems with middle school, and apparently an older boy in the troop, who is also having issues with his mom and new dad. We are going to have an emergency committee meeting this Thursday to talk about this and whether or not to recharter the troop. My concern is my son is now going to be the only scout left in his patrol, with this older boy, who joined as a 7th grader a few months before the 3 crossedover. He has challenges of his own, but for the most part is a good kid, but doing scouts is more his step fathers idea, and I know that is no way for any boy to do this program.

    I came from a pack that was established to be a feeder to this troop over 6 years ago. We are the first group of boys to make that transition, with the understanding that more would be coming as soon as this spring, from the pack. Since I left, it has been hard for the pack to run things since I was doing too much of the work (CM,CC,W2DL&PopcornK), for lack of enough parents willing to help out. Lately I have gotten the impression we might not get any boys from the pack (they are apparently mad at me), so I have been actively contacting some new packs, nearby, that do not have a feeder troop, as well as trying to recruit boys from my son's charter middle school. Other then my son (he's a 12 year old 6th grader), and this 14 year old (8th grade), there are about 5 other, older boys trying to complete their eagle. Only 1 or 2 of them ever come to troop meetings, which makes our numbers about 4 to 6 boys at each meeting. We usually only have 3 (occassionally 4) that go on campouts, but we usually go camping every month.

    I'm curious how small a troop can be to still be effective? At this point I am wondering if this situation is really fair to recruit Webelos into, if they don't have alot of older scouts to benefit from? I am absolutely committed to this troop and keeping it's history alive, but am wondering what the options are for this months rechartering. My son has a cousin (who lives out of state) who joined Scouting a year before he did, and is very committed to completing this program, because they have this shared connection. I know there are other troops that can be options, but none of them have, I believe, what this troop has.

    The troop will be 70 years old in January of 08. Can any of you give me a scenario that you have experienced (pie in the sky is a little hard to embrace at this point..) that we can seriously consider? Other then the new CC, we have a very good troop committee, particularly our treasurer and advancement chair. I do have problems getting that 2nd leader to go camping, since most who have gone with me are either always out of town on weekends for their work, or will be leaving the troop with this next recharter. That is going to be the hard part, but I am on good terms with the OA chapter and they have offered to fill in as that 2nd leader. As of this fall, I have done 5 years as an adult leader, starting as a Tiger DL with my son, and have 9 months with the troop. I am very comfortable with the challenges ahead for me, but I know I can't do it all. I won't... Thanks.

  • #2
    kahits - I am not a SM, nor do I play one on TV.

    However, Nephew is a member of a small Troop. Like yours it has 6 boys who regularly attend meetings, only about 4 who go on camp outs. Their SM is new to the position last Feb, but is a well experienced and enthusiastic Scouter. They must be doing something right because last fall they got one boy from a Troop from a neighboring town (and lost one to that same Troop). This fall they got 2 from that same Troop (and lost zero). The Web II leader from the neighboring town is having her Den camp w/ this Troop to encourage cross over to this Troop. It is a very young Troop - highest rank active is almost 14 Life. There is one 17 yo Life who is working on Eagle, but his attendence is erratic at best.

    They just keep plugging away. They camp out at least once a month. They go on District camporees. They hold interesting Troop meetings (outdoors even - whoda thunkit?). Their brother Pack is growing again (we have Web I's thru Tiger), they are rebuilding that relationship with Den Chiefs, etc.

    Have you tried to send DC's to the Pack (or Packs)? If you are looking at area Packs as a way to grow the Troop (I hate the phrase "Feeder") building a relationship is important. That way the boys and, by extension the parents, know who you are, what you and your Troop are about, etc. Don't wait to DC when the boys are Webelos. Get 'em young, when they want to be impressed by the Big Boys. Invite a whole Pack to a service project you are doing (cleaning a town park has elements that even Tigers can do). Offer to help w/ Blue & Gold, PWD, etc. Get seen and noticed.

    As far as recruiting currect Boy Scout aged boys - bribery might work to get your guys to bring a friend. Someone on this forum uses Reese's Cups as "coin o' the realm" to aid recruiting. Again, be seen - do a school night, get blurbs of activities put in the local paper, etc. Something will pay off.

    Good Luck
    YiS
    Michelle

    Comment


    • #3
      I am a Scoutmaster and I am familiar with the situation your Troop is in. Last year's five Webelos from my feeder Pack that crossed over were all duds. One actually filled out an application, but then did not go to summer camp and did not return in September. The parent's said that there was too much going on in the boy's life, with the transition to middle school and all.

      I agree with msnowman in you should keep plugging away. Attrition is a fact of life in a troop and you have to keep feeding new boys into the program to make up for it.

      Hold a recruiting drive that runs from now to December. Give any scout that brings in a friend a free movie pass. If the friend joins scouting, the scout has a chance at a $50 gift certificate. Is this bribery? You bet!

      Start working on the Webelos in you feeder packs NOW! Send each Webelos a letter of introduction from you with an invitation to a weekend campout. Invite the Webelos to one of your troop meetings and give a presentation to the parents selling the boys scouting program. Attend the Pinewood derby and give out certificates to all participants. Attend their Blue and Gold dinner and talk to the parents about crossing over and the transitioning to the Troop.

      In the mean time, I believe as long as you have three boys you still have a troop in the eyes of the BSA. These boys deserve the best program you can give them. They are there because they love scouting as much as you do and don't care how small the troop is. Get all the SM training you can get and keep plugging away. The troop will grow.

      Comment


      • #4
        My wife had a unit in this exact situation (remember she is the DE of the District) Here she is:

        A Troop in my district was in the same boat. You should be working with your DE to go into the middle schools in the area to do a boy talk. The other responses are great as well bribery is key to the older boys. The Troop had a huge influx of Webelos due to a relationship that they built with a unit htat had no feeder Troop. They had 7 boys form that pack join plus 4 that I had recruited from a nearby school. They are all still active. While it is a challenge for the leadership because there really are not any onlder boys in the unit they are having fun teach these younger youth how to be leaders. It will work for you!! It sounds like you are super dedicaed but remember, you NEVER have to do it alone. Ask you DE for help or the District Commissioner. Do you know who your Troop Commissioner is? find out!! They are supposed to be there to provide you with support. If you do it all on your own you will be left with ScoutMaster burn out and not enjoying yourself. In my opinion, do not think that you have a huge responsibility to go back to the Pack level. We use the "big list of little jobs" to help parents get involved and just standing before a room of parents and asking for help doesn't help. Pull them aside and ask them to do simple things like preparing snack or coordinating Den scheduling etc etc.

        Keep upthe great work volunteers like you are pricelss!

        Comment


        • #5
          Thanks, very much, for the feedback and encouragement. We actually have a Middle school across from the church that we meet at, but have had miserable luck recruiting from that particular population of boys. The adult effort that was required is just not in the troop right now, considering the limited success they had a few months before we crossed over last January. But my son's charter school is a very different situation and I think we will be successful getting boys from that school, because of the way they structured it. Right now I spend a fair amount of time there getting to know the boys. They all seem to know who I am in relation to my son, and since it is just 6th and 7th grade (it will eventually be 6-12th) right now, that opportunity is definitely there. We do have our brother pack that I was CM for the past 2 years, but they are not communicating much right now, but they have a den of Webelos II's that have been committed to coming in January. On top of that there is another pack with no connection to a troop, that we will make a presentation to next month, so I guess we have plenty of irons in the fire, in that department. Huh, I guess it's not so bad after all. I still need a CC for recharter however.

          In the area of den chiefs, we don't have any boys who are viable candidates for that kind of service to a pack, but we had one for the last 3 years of my son's den, and it was a wonderful addition to the den activity. Ironically, we did not go to his troop, because my DE asked me to take a look at this very old troop in need of new leadership and young scouts. I have had a close relationship with him for the past 4 years, and he took an Assistant SE up North last month. We miss him very much, but I know I got the best from him and do feel up to the challenge, with a minimum of outside help. He nominated me for the Dist. Award of Merit last year, and I guess this is my challenge now. His replacement is, shall we say, less then helpful, at least not right now. I am also on good relations with the district commissioner, who's son is my associate male advisor in my daughter's crew. He is also the OA chapter advisor. For ony being 21, this guy learned alot from his father, along with his Eagle rank. He is willing to be my 2nd adult on troop campouts, if I need one.

          I just need to keep hearing these stories about these baby troops, having fun, taking turns being the leader. I have to be honest to the Webelos that I will be talking to, but I think this is not as bad a situation as I think it might be. I know what can happen when they join a large troop and lose their focus, because the older scouts pretty much run them off, just being the obnoxious middle or HS aged scout. No matter, what it still needs to be boy led, and we'll just take it from there. Thanks, again, for the words of encouragement.

          Comment


          • #6
            Sometimes it's better to devote your time on a quality program than trying to save a dying one. You may want to consider transferring your entire membership to a more vital Troop. Or at the very least, propose such a thing to your Unit Commissioner and your adult leaders. Their reaction should tell you whether or not you will have allies to help you save your unit.

            Comment


            • #7
              I too, have been there and done that. Our troop was down to just a few loyal boys. The CO was not supportive of the troop and the DE was bent on starting yet another troop to compete for recruits. I was determined not to let these few boys down so we kept it alive. I wish I had known then what I know now.
              In our case, the DC and all the upper-echelon volunteers are equivalent to 'bumps' on a boar hog. I know of their existence and they are always there with a hand out for more donations. To the troop they are slightly less significant than the existence of Halleys comet. They seem to like to have a title and then do absolutely nothing other than to collect accolades for doing nothing. A DE is rated (therefore paid) partly based on numbers. If a unit dies he gets a black mark. If he raises numbers he gets a good mark. Play this card. If no one else is willing to help, consider throwing in the towel and moving memberships to another troop. But first, make it clear to those who are supposed to be supportive that this is going to happen and that their neglect is one of the reasons. This way they can't claim ignorance. Make and keep a paper trail.

              In our case, I met with church leaders and shamed them in front of a large group of people. I suggested the parable of the fig tree - they had one year to get behind the troop or it would die. They got the message. More adults from the CO got involved. A large group of cubs from our CO who had been in a competing pack 'defected' back to us and the troop has been on the way up ever since.
              The DE was a know-nothing idiot and has since gone on to ruin some other organization. The DE that replaced him is, at least, benign - no help but at least not actively seeking our demise.
              The bottom line is: don't expect much help from anyone. Don't get too personally involved and 'be prepared' to move on to greener pastures if necessary - the boys are worth it.
              Good luck

              Comment


              • #8
                Thank you both for those great words of wisdom. As I said, I had benefitted for the past 5 years under the assistance of a very young and energized DE. He left for the next level in that proScouter career track, last month, but I do believe that I benefitted greatly under his years of assistance and inspiration. As hard as he worked, knowing he had 4 young kids at home (the oldest, a son, was my son's age), he was the only person I could not say no to. His replacement is pretty much what you described and I know I won't be getting much help from him, let alone the kind I might actually appreciate.

                Since I am the first, and only adult, to come from the feeder pack that shares the same unit number, this has been hard, and with the original 3 boys now down to just my son, I have been having my doubts since the 2nd boy dropped out last week. Even though we will only have 8 boys on the recharter (6 are Life or Eagle), I did talk with my CM replacement at the pack and he is telling me there will be 6 boys coming in the spring. I have another new pack in the neighborhood to present to, early next month, and am hopeful to get a few boys from their large W2 den. The main thing is I will be getting 2 more ASM's, in February, and that is what I am missing right now. As for the program of the troop, they have run a very good program, as far as advancements, camping each month, and treks to Philmont (the last one was 2 years ago). They have some nice, old traditions, but I can see opportunities to make the program just a little more fun for the boys, and I intend to work hard on that. The other troops, nearby, are of lesser quality, and much higher up in the adult baggage department. I would not survive in them as a leader, which means neither would my son. Our group of adults are very dedicated to the boys and whatever they choose to do. It's funny how you come into these situations and think you can improve it overnight, but after a quick 9 months, I have grown to respect all of the leaders and their dedication to this old unit. I'm ready to take over with their help, but I appreciate the little things that sometimes get lost in the larger units, so I'll hang in there and try to attract Scouts by making sure my few boys have alot of fun themselves.

                Comment


                • #9
                  A couple of my thoughts! For what they are worth.
                  History is fine, but kids don't care that much about the age of the unit.

                  I notice that you make no mention of a CO?

                  Unless you are the only Troop around? The idea of "Feeders" doesn't work. Kids and their parents have different reasons for picking /choosing the unit they join. Some reasons are about program, while some might just be the night on which the meeting is held.

                  Running a Troop of 6 active Scouts is hard. Trying to run a Troop of 4 active Scouts is really hard. To be honest going into the schools trying to recruit Boy Scouts rarely works. The reasons why could be discussed in a spin off thread.

                  If the Troop is going to be saved? It is going to take a lot more than just your will and your enthusiasm. Maybe the time has come to take a long hard look at who (other than you) wants to save the Troop?
                  The CO?
                  The Parents?
                  The Scouts?
                  While Professionals and members of the District Team will never want to see a unit die. These fine people really can't do very much to help.
                  If it seems that there is enough interest to save the Troop all of everyones effort has to be put into recruitment.
                  The most effective form of recruitment is peer to peer.
                  At your next meeting have each of the Scouts write down the names of two prospects. Kids of their own age that they are going to invite to a meeting. Keep a copy of the list and follow up with it. Ask the Scouts about the people they have named, prod them, keep asking.
                  Keep doing this with every new Scout.

                  I'm not big on bribery!! However some events seem to be more attractive than others!! Think about a all night movie and pizza event, our Sea Scouts seem to always bring friends to our all night bowling nights.

                  While the Pro's can't do much to help, you might want to talk to someone in your Council Service Center about Scoutreach. A lot will depend on your location and how the Council goes about the Scoutreach program. - If you go that route you might find that the local OA Lodge is willing to help.
                  Sadly it might be that you are flogging a dead horse!!
                  Units die when there isn't enough people with enough interest to keep them going.
                  People does mean more than one person!!
                  Trying to be CM,CC,W2DL&PopcornK, in the pack was not the best thing to do. -If you try to do this with a Troop it isn't going to work.
                  Set a realistic date and a goal for membership. Maybe the next rechartering date? If the Troop hasn't reached the goal, I would say that the horse is dead.
                  Eamonn.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Eamonn, you make some very good points!

                    I agree that a long troop history is something that adults can better grasp, but troop aged boys can certainly be taught to embrace historic concepts, if it has some impact of their experience. I'm trying to make those connections with new neckerchiefs (square rather then triangular), and the unit insignia has a 65 year VB. It's a start at least.

                    The CO is an unfortunate part of the whole situation. We currently meet in the basement of a church, but they have long severed their connection with the troop over contemporary religious issues, that made it difficult for some parents to allow their Webelos to come to the troop, becasue of it. The current CO is a law firm that really has no actual connection to the troop. I guess I have gotten used to that, since the pack had similar CO issues, with little to no assistance being rendered to the unit. Our COR is a consultant to the firm, but is very active with the troop. It just does not go much beyond that. That is the way it is, and I have had to just accept that, but you are right this does not help the situation.

                    I consider our current active troop numbers to be temporary, and always did since the crossover, but there is a limit to what can be done without more boys. There are 6 coming in February, and possibly a few more, which will make a difference, but that is a ways off. The only school I am willing to recruit from is my son's charter school, but I know it might not produce many new scouts. The public middle school across the street from the church is really a difficult challenge, and I know I don't have the energy to put on that kind of recruitment effort.

                    We did have a meeting last week to talk about the next year for the troop, and we do have the commitments of the older scouts, who certainly wish to complete their eagle, but some of them have friends in other troops and would move if they had to. Their parents are also solidly behind them, and serve on the committee and as ASM's, but don't do much more then that, and it has been difficult getting that 2nd adult on campouts. I agree that I can't count on the District people to help my much in this regard, but I know if I really needed something, they would respond. I'm on good terms with the District Chairman and Commissioner, and work regularly with the OA Chapter Advisor, who is one of my male assoc. Advisors for the crew. (I know... this is enough for most people, but I did agree to start a crew, for my 14 year old daughter, who is currently the new President. I have plenty of advisors to hand it off, if I need to, but not right now.) So, as you can see, the district is like a family, and I am on good terms with most everybody, with the only exception being the new DE. I don't expect much help from him.

                    I think your peer to peer idea is very good, and probably the best way to bring in boys with no prior scouting experience. I know it's difficult for some because they don't care to share what they do in this program, but I have a problem with any boy who is in the unit, yet denys they are members, if they are going to commit to making eagle with the time that it will take. We lost a boy last week, who was too much of a follower and started letting his peers at his new middle school tell him what he should be doing. His parents were not happy about it, but when you leave an 11 year old kid at the local skate board park for hours on the weekend, what do you expect, when you know his is impressionable?

                    I do think the best way for boys to come to the troop is for the troop to do alot of fun things, that can be shared. We have created DVD's for each COH and they do tell some great stories about what the troop did since the last one, and they can't hurt to distribute to potential recruits.

                    Scoutreach is not an option, because we are near the university, and they have many other places that have no units of any kind, while we have many troops in this part of the city. If we were to have to close the troop down, I know my son would be fine at a new troop that just started up nearby. I guess when you look at it, there are 3 troops that surround campus, and that is probably not the greatest, given how close in proximity all three of them are. We would be the troop in the middle when it comes to troop size, of these three units.

                    I think your last few comments pretty much said it best. I will never spread myself as thin as I was with the pack, but do have this commitment to the only crew in this part of town (I have 2 male, and 2 female assoc. advisors, however, and one is the District Chairman, if you can believe that), within our district (we are 3 districts in the city). Our troop committee is fully commited, but we need a few more new ASM's for the outdoor program. I will get 2 with the 6 boys that will, hopefully, be here in Feb. I know I have to at least try on this one, but will not drag it out, if it's not working for the boys. Riding a dead horse into the ground won't help anyone in this troop, and I never said I could save the troop, but came over to at least try. This unit is my primary focus. I really do appreciate your experienced advice, and am realistic in where I find myself, but the SM is not really gone yet, but will be after New Years. I feel good about taking the reins, and have proposed quite a few things to help distinguish the troop, in the eyes of someone who might wish to consider us. In the end, I'll do my best. Thanks, again...

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Kahits. Saving a troop is hard! It takes an enormous about of time, energy and commitment. At times it will seem like you will never stop going uphill. At times others will question your sanity. At times you will question your sanity. At times you will think you are the only person on the planet that cares whether your troop survives.

                      I can only relate my personal experience and hope it helps.

                      Our troop certainly does not have a long history, only being about nine years old. By the end of 2003, the majority of Scouts left in the troop were the few remaining original Scouts that started it, along with their Dads. Younger son and one other 11-year-old joined the troop in the beginning of 2004. They were the only new Scouts for that whole year.

                      At the end of 2004, the Dads that originally started the troop quit, leaving my husband, Dad of the new Scout, and myself with the Troop. After the shocking news that I would take over as SM, 3 of the original Scouts (death-bed Eagles) transferred to another Troop.

                      Now, I was the newly minted SM and I only 10 Scouts in the Troop: 2 new scouts, a few 14-15 year olds (first class) and five 16-17 year-old Lifers. None of these guys had experience actually leading their troop. None of these guys had really been "active" for years. Troop campouts had dropped to only about five a year plus summer camp.

                      So, it was a LONG HARD UPHILL ROAD ahead. I was certainly given advice to help the remaining Scouts find other troops and let ours fold. The Chartered Organization has never been very interested in us, offering no support or leadership. Throughout the year 2005 I asked myself many many times what the heck I was working so hard for!

                      For the year 2005, my focus was mainly to keep the troop alive by planning outings every month and talking to the scouts individually about their progress, or lack thereof, and about helping them set goals. We had boys in PORs, but these were completely spoon-fed leadership positions.

                      In August 2005 the Scouts held their very first planning weekend. They planned out their calendar for a full year. No matter what they had planned - we did it. They were very surprised that we went to an amusement park for a day. In the past, the adults did all the planning - where, when, what, etc.

                      The end of 2005 also saw more responsibility being laid at the feet of the Scouts with PORs. We were slowly raising the bar of expectations. This past year has been amazing. Last September the boys had their 2nd planning weekend. Even bigger plans for this coming year. And, yes, we will do them all. PLCs are meeting regularly and planning weekly agendas to correspond with the month's upcoming campout.

                      So, here we are after a two-year struggle. Our numbers have remained steady at 12. Older Scouts aged out, replaced fairly evenly with new Scouts. We have two packs that are asking for Den Chiefs and for Webelos to meet with our Troop, go on a joint campout, and hopefully cross over in the Spring.

                      I can't point out an exact moment when changes began to happen or what specifically influenced our troop's revival.

                      I will say that we have gone camping every month even if only three guys were going, and as I mentioned earlier here - we are doing what the scouts want. I'll admit, my husband and I were getting a bit weary of this since we were the only leaders. We now have a newly-trained enthusiastic ASM to share the load, plus another Dad eager to sign up. Requiring the older Scouts looking for advancement to actually DO SOMETHING with their PORs was slow going at first, but they are now stepping up to the responsibilities. I've watched these formerly lackadaisical Scouts enjoy the benefits of being in charge and they rather like the fact that our new younger Scouts look up to them. The have become the role models of our troop - even wearing the uniform properly when called for.

                      In the end, we must be doing something right. Just signed up two new guys a couple of weeks ago. One of the Scouts that joined last Spring has invited a friend for next week's meeting. My son has convinced another Scout that dropped last year to come back. So, growth is slow, but it is happening. And, as I mentioned, we have two Packs looking at us for Webelos cross-over.

                      Good luck to you kahits. Let us know how things turn out.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Yes saving a troop is hard, but remember that Scouting often runs in cycles. It could be that in a year or two you could have a troop of 20 or more Scouts.
                        In the Summer of 2004 our troop was practically dead. Basically, for a time we were down to one new Scout period. But things change. The new enthusiastic DE recruited 7 at school night. I convinced one former to come back. Two of his friends soon followed. To make a long story short today we're almost at 30 Scouts with a steady 20 at every meeting.
                        My thoughts; hang in there for a little while at least. See how things are in 6 monthes and go from there.
                        Good luck and God Bless.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Wow, I knew there were more stories out there. Thank you, gwd-scouter! That was a great deal of experience and love for scouting you shared, and I feel the very same way about what I am doing with this old troop. And yes, t158sm, all of these units do run in cycles, as I have heard from previous SM's with this troop that I have met these past few months. The troop had gone down to just 3 boys at one point, and somebody obviously stuck with it. There were 16 boys as of the beginning of this year, including my 3, but we are down to 8 at this rechartering. There are many opportunities that I consider well worth the effort, between the two local packs, and my son's new charter school. Our campouts this year have been from 3 to 4 boys, but we have gone every month until this month, with 2 of the new scouts leaving since October. Next month is the annual trip to White Sands (they play capture the flag under the moonlight, if there is any...) National Monument, and quite a few of the older scouts will be going with us, along with a Webelos or two in need of their overnighter, before next February's crossover. I'm really looking forward to it, as is my son. I know we'll have that gypsum all over the place when we get back, but what an adventure.

                          As an architect, I enjoy opportunities to design, just about anything. I want to purchase a trailer to use for the troop, so I don't have to pack up the Land Rover, or just keep it packed the way it now is. The troop needs a new neckerchief, and I want them to go back to the original, square design (something so big, they can't possibly put it under the collar). There may not be enough money in the troop account to cover that, right now, but I'm willing to spring for it, and sell them back to the troop as they need them. It's a great opportunity to set the tone for this troop renewal, and if the kids don't see this as an adventure for them, it is hard to get more kids to join, particularly if they are going to go out on a limb and recruit a friend. The sabbatical I took from my work to do this (I started when my son went into Webelos) has been a great opportunity for me, personally, and my hard working wife is supportive as long as it involves our children. I can't believe how easy it is for me to go camping (the cot helps), but I no longer have those difficult moments where I have to talk myself into getting packed up, when I know I am the only consistent adult who drives over to the church to pick up the boys. I'm in on this journey, and it makes me smile to know there are more of you out there willing to do this for your son (and daughter), and anyone else who chooses wisely to be a part of it too. It won't be long before all of this will be gone, and I can sit back and reflect and have absolutely no regrets about what I did out of love for my boy. Thank you all!

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Your son's charter school is a good option for recruiting. In my sons' charter school, there are a large number of boy scouts, so no one is considered "odd" if they talk about scouts - one summer 20% of my older son's class (5 boys) went to Philmont together. The teachers know who the scouts are, and give them responsibilities that the boys love (e.g., checking the drinking fountains and changing out the water bottles). Ask if your scouts can do a flag ceremony at the school (for several years, my sons and other scouts raised and lowered the flag every day). As the school grows, your troop can grow with it - and the school may benefit from future Eagle projects. (Our school is about to build it's own building, and we are looking at 8-10 boys doing Eagle projects in the next 3 years.)

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                            • #15
                              Thanks, mtm25653... those are some very good ideas. His charter school will eventually be 6-12th, and they began this year with 40, 7th graders and 60, 6th graders. Each year they will add a new 6th grade. I put alot of effort into sending flyers home with the boys in the 6th grade, to invite them to the troop open house. Apparently, alot of boys were talking about going, and then only 2, twin brothers showed up. They were under the impression alot more boys were going to be there, but it didn't happen. I never got around to try and find out who they were, let alone a way to get them to come to a meeting, but this is only the beginning with that school. They are going to build a new facility, in about 3 years, and by then will be ripe for many eagle projects. The current situation at the church, where we meet, is not all that great (they steel fenced in the one area we could do something outside, to make a playground), and since his school has asked about whether the troop would be interested in relocating, this might eventually work out. Right now we have about 5 older scouts who are getting close to finishing their eagle, but once that is done, I would consider just moving the troop out of that basement to a better place. I very much would like to be the design architect for this new school, but the promise of a new campus is enough for now. I do believe this Charter school can be a great group to recruit scouts from, and am approaching it as such. They currently don't have a flag pole to do a flag ceremony, since it's temporary.

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