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What is the best time of the year to start a Boy Scout troop?

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  • What is the best time of the year to start a Boy Scout troop?

    I live in a community of about 24,000 people. In our community we have two successful packs that have been around for at least 25 years each.

    All of the boys in both packs have to go to another town when they cross over to boy scouts. We have a number of troops in neighborhooding towns that are 4 to 10 miles away. Our community used to have a boy scout troop that folded about 10 years ago from what I can gather. The town has changed a lot in those 10 years and is really growing.

    I have been in many positions in cub scouts. For the district I am a new unit commissioner that I currently assist one great pack. I have been through a lot of scout training. I have been with a troop in a neighboring community for about 18 months.

    I am interested in starting a Boy Scout troop in our community. I think we should have the scouts that live in our town be able to continue to support the community as a representative of their local boy scout troop.

    The real question that I have is what is the best time of year to start a new boy scout troop?

    Any advice that you can provide would be appreciated.

    Thanks!
    Dennis



  • #2
    Do you already have youth with you that want to form a Troop?

    As for the time of the year to start a Troop, I'll leave that up to someone who knows better than I do.

    Best of luck!

    Comment


    • #3
      Do you have a sponsor? Get that taken care of now, as well as all the paperwork needed to bring the Troop into existence. Work with the sponsor to find a space you can meet in and the best time to have your meetings.

      Once the foundation is in place, get the word out. Let the Scouts you know, as well as your contacts in the Cub Packs, know that they now have an option to attend a Troop in their own town. Some may be delighted, other may want to stay where they are. Most of your Scouts may end up coming from the Cub Packs.

      Once you have a group of Scouts, set up Patrols and a Patrol Leader Council. Work with them to decide what they want to do. Maybe start out with a hike in March, then in April or May progress to a monthly camping trip. Go to summer camp. Have fun! The advancement will come. A rank a year is just fine -- don't worry about pushing them any faster.

      Let us know what happens.

      Comment


      • #4
        Wow
        Seriously Your asking When is the Best Time to Form a Troop?
        I think some people just over thinks these Things.

        Before the Boys are ready to Cross Over you need to Find a Charter Organization..Find Committee Members, get Initial Financial Support and Be ready with welcoming Arms...

        Perhaps recruit some Local Scouts away from the Other Community, Maybe Ones that Need Leadership Positions to advance and have no position now because their troop is Full. Recruit some Scouts which The Commute is a Hardship on..

        The Troop must be ready for the Boys to Visit...Otherwise there will be next year or the Next or the Next because You keep loosing them to the Other Community. It will be extremely hard to recruit them once they have already made friends in another troop

        Comment


        • #5
          Wow
          Seriously Your asking When is the Best Time to Form a Troop?
          I think some people just over thinks these Things.

          Before the Boys are ready to Cross Over you need to Find a Charter Organization..Find Committee Members, get Initial Financial Support and Be ready with welcoming Arms...

          Perhaps recruit some Local Scouts away from the Other Community, Maybe Ones that Need Leadership Positions to advance and have no position now because their troop is Full. Recruit some Scouts which The Commute is a Hardship on..

          The Troop must be ready for the Boys to Visit...Otherwise there will be next year or the Next or the Next because You keep loosing them to the Other Community. It will be extremely hard to recruit them once they have already made friends in another troop

          Comment


          • #6
            Tommorrow.

            Maybe the next day. Depends on when you can get 5 scouts signed up.

            Don't worry about timing - start the ball rolling. When you have 5+ scouts and enough adults to fill out the charter and take care of the work, do it.

            But it sounds like you are in a very similar situation to what we were two years ago (though you have a few more people that we do, we're maybe 6,000, not 24,000). Two packs, a Troop that folded over a decade ago, most kids who continued went to a troop in the next town over, 11 miles away. That was us.

            We started organizing things in the fall, got all the paperwork lined up, and had 5 WebIIs committed to join when they got their AoL in March, so we set that as the inception date. In the meantime, we recruited in the community (held a few open houses and the like) and the adults met to plan out the first three months of activities. We also put a deposit down and secured a date at Summer Camp.

            We officially started in March and had 23 Scouts for our first meeting.

            March worked out great for us because the weather got progressively better for camping over the first six months (though the 2nd campout was an epic rainstorm - set records for out valley, and we're in the Seattle area, so rainfall ain't exactly uncommon). But the best time to start is when you have Scouts ready to go scouting and adults ready to provide the support.

            Good Luck!



            Comment


            • #7
              Now is the time. January, February and March. This gives you enough time to get a few camp outs under your belt to develop some routine of running a troop before summer camp. Summer camp is important because it is a week of intense scouting that bonds both the scouts and scouters together into a functioning troop. Then you have the fall to recruit for the next set of new scouts to come in January and February. That gives your present set of scouts one year of maturity to work with the new scouts.

              I wish you the best of luck and hope we can help with your future questions.

              I love this scouting stuff.

              Barry

              Comment


              • #8
                Ditto all of the above. Start yesterday if:
                ... you have a charter organization that will host a unit,
                ... you have three key adults who will take on roles as CO rep, SM, and CC,
                ... you have 5 or more boys who want to start something new and parents who will support them.

                By "parents who will support", I mean parents who aren't expecting an Eagle mill, who understand their boys may have to visit the next town to earn a merit badge, who aren't upset if you don't have a massive trailer with a pretty paint job, who will offer their pickup to haul gear when needed -- gas on their dime (even if the boys budget for it), who might be missing a few pots and pans on camping weekends, who are happy just to see their boys sticking together and having fun. And then, will be happy as the "frills" are accumulated if the boys succeed in recruiting a lot of their buddies.

                If those are in place, tell your DE that your boys are meeting weekly now, and ask him/her to expedite the paperwork. Go to your roundtable and ask scouters if they have a boy who is up for the challenge of starting a new troop. While you meet and pick up some skills, let the boys know how things are progressing with HQ. (Seriously, my SM always showed us the rechartering packet before it was turned in and the charter after we got it. I think it was a tradition from when he started the troop.)

                Comment


                • #9
                  I would say now is the perfect time of year. In our district, second year Webelos scouts are finishing up their Arrow of Light award, and as soon as they do that, they can cross over to a troop. If a troop put together a good recruiting plan, they could recruit a patrols worth of these cross over Webelos. A new scoutmaster would be wise to call up the pack leaders of the two packs in his town, take them out to lunch, and discuss with them the possibility of speaking to the scouts and their parents about the new troop. In addition, you would get 11 year olds and up if you could advertise your troops program at a school or church youth group meetings. I bet you could have a troop of 30 within a year.

                  I don't know that I would actively recruit the scouts in an existing troop. I would hate it if someone did this to our troop. But I would welcome any boys who came to visit from another troop. I would ask them why they are considering the change, and be honest about the pros and cons of transferring. I might send the scoutmaster of the other troop an email announcing the formation of our troop.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Good luck! Find a Chartering Partner. Find the Training Chair in your area. Find the adults that will be the leaders in this troop.
                    Get trained. All the way. All the while be promoting your troop.
                    It's better to hit the ground running, when you have a clue, than trying to figure it out on the fly.

                    It'd be ideal if you could be up and running in time for Webelos bridging in the spring.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      I generally agree with what some others have said. You need to have a number of pieces in place before you actually have a troop -- a chartered organization, your first prospective Scouts (people are saying five, although I thought I had read somewhere that this had been increased), a Scoutmaster, three members for a troop committee (including the chair) -- and then the charter itself. You should probably call your District Executive to help you through the process, and I believe there are BSA publications on starting new units as well.

                      And once you're ready, you can start having meetings and activities. I do not think there is an ideal time of year. The timing will be influenced by how you recruit your first group of Scouts. If you are depending entirely on new crossovers from the pack(s), your meetings are probably going to start after they cross over. However, if you have recruited enough "older" Scouts (whether from existing troops or boys who are 11 or older but not yet Scouts), there is no point in waiting.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        As ASM of a 6 mo old unit I agree with what everyone has said.

                        The only things I'd add are:

                        Having some cash on hand (donated) to purchase some items helps too.(ie: flags, troop gear that otherwise can not be scrounged or borrowed)

                        This is where the flexible parents help. If they "need" pretty flags like the school or previous troop had, then it will be couple hundred bucks. Those that can make due with a table top flag will have more flexibility with their budget.

                        When starting up a brand new PLC, it helps to have some limited ideas for the boys to choose from anytime a scout decision needs to be made until they learn group decision making skills and are better practiced with coming up with ideas of their own.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          "what is the best time of year to start a new boy scout troop?"

                          There's no time like the present. First, your initial core group needs to conduct a semi-formal interest survey as to the need for a troop. Contact current Cub parents, write letters to the editor soliciting responses, guest speak at the local Lions, Elks, Kiwanis, Rotary, etc.
                          If enough interest is generated, then find a potential CO and start the paperwork for that. Get the initial SM and ASMs their initial training.
                          Once that is done, spread the word you're accepting Scouts.

                          Now is a real good time because you can have most of your new Scouts pass their Second Class requirements by the time summer camp starts.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Wow!

                            One would think a city of 24,000 would have 3 or 4 Scout Troops!

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              On the subject of flags:

                              Our community used to have a boy scout troop that folded about 10 years ago from what I can gather. The town has changed a lot in those 10 years and is really growing.

                              That was true for us. The last SM of the former troop (I think we got his name from the DE) still had the flags from the old unit (a US flag and the Troop flag, along with stands). Since we decided to revive the same unit number, he was happy to give us the old flags to use again. Doesn't hurt to check...

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