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Are smaller Troops better Troops?

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  • Are smaller Troops better Troops?

    Our Troop started out with 6-7 boys. They are all Eagles now. The Troop has grown to 15-20 now and now it seems like we have alot of drama that didn't exist when we were small. Kinda thinking smaller is better in this instance.

  • #2
    I think 15-20 is about the minimum size for a functional troop. Our troop is about that size, and I can't imagine being able to set up outings for 6-7 boys and having enough attendance.

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    • #3
      I think 15-20 is about the minimum size for a functional troop. Our troop is about that size, and I can't imagine being able to set up outings for 6-7 boys and having enough attendance.

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      • #4
        Is it manageable, age appropriate drama amoung the boys or the parents? Two totally different animals.

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        • #5
          Is it manageable, age appropriate drama amoung the boys or the parents? Two totally different animals.

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          • #6
            No. Smaller may be easier, but I think you're missing the point that a big part of scouting is developing leadership skills in scouts. To do so you need to have enough troop members for the leadership scouts to lead. And dealing with the "drama" and interpersonal issues is a big part of leadership.

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            • #7
              Back in the Delivering the Promise days, statistics showed that a troop with fewer than 21 Scouts was typically adult led. For us adutls, yes, a troop of 6 or 7 (that's not a troop; it's a patrol) is pretty easy to manage. Pretty easy to keep them interested in advancement, and really easy to transport, feed, and mentor. Camping would be simple. Having each others' backs would be natural, because they all know each other so well. With a motivated leader and some good kids, it's no surprise they all became Eagles.
              BDPT00

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              • #8
                BDP00 You are right. Since our troop has grown it has certainly become both a blessing and a curse. We hace cliques within the troop between the boys, partents/leaders that don't agree on things, not enought help from the parents, etc...

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                • #9
                  I have no idea if we are typical or atypical, but when we were were adult-led we had about 24 Scouts, roughly 18 active, and an average of 6-8 outings. Ever since we tried to actively expunge adult-led everything, our troop grew. Now we're up to about 38 Scouts, and the average outing has 22 to 24 Scouts. :-)

                  One more set of data points -- in 2008, there were 18 Scouts at summer camp, the next year (my first year at camp) there were 14, and the next year, 8 (these were in all the adult-led years). Then in our first year of new leadership, we bottomed out at 6 Scouts at summer camp. The next year 8, but we went to another camp as well, and 18 total Scouts went to camp. Last year, 22 Scouts at two camps. This year, with only one camp on the schedule, we're pushing 20 early signups, not counting any crossovers we might have. Things are looking good in our patrol method world (we go to a patrol-oriented camp).

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                  • #10
                    You're having growing pains. Eight is the ideal patrol for many reasons. It's large enough to get a task accomplished while small enough to be tightly knit, emotionally and operationally. As you have grown, people have begun to see themselves as both insiders and outsiders, depending on the relationships. This goes for boys as well as parents. Things probably feel way more frenetic and chaotic with a lack of easy agreement. Let the leadership of each group reach consensus amoung the leaders (PLC and Committee/SM & ASMs), and then the leaders bring along their followers. In Ranger school, my husband was told that leadership "isn't getting people to do what they want to do, but what they don't want to do."

                    Make sure the patrols are working and let them do patrol oriented activities like camp outs, hikes, etc.

                    I hope you hang in there and continue to let your troop grow.

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                    • #11
                      My Troop is fairly small at 14 Scouts and part of my Wood Badge ticket has been to step up recruiting and grow the Troop. So far we've gone from 10 to 14 with the Webelos' crossing over last month. I agree that the smaller group feels more closely-knit and the Scouts tend to have each other's backs as someone said earlier. But I have to also echo the fact that smaller Troops have a harder time with the patrol method. I'd ideally like to have another 6-11 boys join the Troop. The good news is that now, with 14 Scouts, we can have two patrols with 7 in each. That's not a bad number.

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