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  • How to scout a new troop ?

    As many of you know I have not been thrilled with the program in our troop. It is not fully active, does not meet during summer outside camp and HA, mostly do nothing PORs except for SPL, low participation rate, ad hoc patrols, highest active age is 14, "high speed, low drag". Not everything is horrible about it, and there are some really great people but it certainly is not turning out as I envisioned. Seems like a great troop for boys involved with a lot of other activities. There is not enough parental involvement or scouting knowledge to change things.

    My son if young for his grade just turned 11, ADHD, awkward, geeky, skinny, glasses, not strong, not good with team sports, a bit emotionally immature, does not have many close friends, recently we relocated from out of state. He loves scouts and wants to go to every meeting and outing, but doesn't really know other options exist. Especially from information acquired from this board I do know are other choices. I am not sure what I am looking for, but this isn't it. We are not a organized religion family, so I am leery of the influence a church based unit, but not completely opposed.

    We visited a fairly close unit last night that had these components.

    "Dads of" CO that meets in basement of City Hall
    Trailer Troop with well stocked storage room.
    90 scouts, about 40 at last nights meeting, ages up to 16-17
    1 short term per month, 1 local activity per month, several scheduled service projects
    No 300', citing safety issues.
    Told committee of 40, 20 have WB, hoard of ASMs
    Fundraising through concessions at city events and pizza sales, scout accounts, no popcorn sales
    Estimated program cost including summer camp $1000-1500/yr Told scout can pay his full amount if participates in all fundraising.
    At the back of troop meeting there was a table of 3 Banana Republic Generals taking notes to provide feedback after the meeting to the PLC.
    Meeting was completely boy led, with only a few announcements at the end by a couple of adults, one was inviting some older scouts on a Venture activity.
    Recognized at least 3 of the leaders on District Training Staff.
    T1 requirements: SM acknowledged they lean more toward the "once and done" side of the scale than mastery, but emphasize continued learning through teaching the younger scouts.
    SM said about 50% participation rate on outings. Only occasional need to combine a patrols. Patrols seemed about 10 at meeting.
    Their uniform "problems" they are working on are correct shoes and socks. Most boys had collars folded under, with neckers. At my troops last meeting only a couple of the scouts had a uniform shirt on, some had a troop t shirt.
    Son was invited as a guest to Fall Camporee in a couple of weeks. Our PLC opted out as it is "boring".
    Run TLT one day twice a year.
    Decent mix of outings including hikes, climbing, pioneer kit, wilderness survival, caving, float trip (Canoe MB required), cabin, midnight ski, zipline, no COPE however.

    When my wife heard no popcorn sales the response was "What are you waiting for, JOIN NOW, I'm not kidding !"
    My thoughts are this is 100 times better

    Thoughts ?
    What should I be looking for, what questions do I need to ask ?
    Should all the Critters scare me away, or assure me at least some minimal standards are maintained ?

  • #2
    It does sound like the promised land....compared to where your at.....but there is nothing wrong with one and done in the context of what he said.
    Last edited by Basementdweller; 10-10-2013, 02:30 PM.


    • Basementdweller
      Basementdweller commented
      Editing a comment
      But more importantly what does your lad think.....

    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      He seemed fine with it. Hey, they threw out jolly ranchers for correct answers. . He has a concern about leaving his patrol, but it is now down to 4 it will need to be integrated soon. The past few meetings have been small enough there was really no dividing into patrols. I think he will have a better feeling for it after the campout. Ultimately it will be his choice, but he is so new to BS he doesn't really understand there is a forest to see.

      I plan on visiting at least three troops and make sure he spends at least a couple of meetings and one outing before jumping ship. I don't want to bounce around.

      One thing I forgot to mention was the meeting schedule in two troop meetings a month, one patrol meeting and, one PLC meeting. Can't remember what they do with the 5th 4 times a year.

      I suspect the generals surround the monthly PLC and coach, might see if I can drop in on one.
      Last edited by King Ding Dong; 10-10-2013, 04:35 PM.

  • #3
    As I read through the two troops, they seem to be extreme opposites. With that being said, you will not like my choice of the two. Personally, if it was my kid, the problems of your current troop can be corrected, but the other troop with 40 people on the committee, half wood badge, a "hoard" of ASM's, no 300', etc. it seems like a mega-adult run program.

    Your kid sounds like me as a kid and I have a ADD son myself so i know where you are coming from. Your best bet would be to help the existing troop improve rather than lock into a troop that isn't going to change a thing.

    You said there are a lot of nice people in the first troop, but lack skills. Those can easily be acquired and they might actually welcome any coaching, assisting to improve their program. Not enough parental support? You're a parent, roll up your sleeves and get to work.

    I ran a year-round program with a committee of 5 adults and me and 1 ASM. We had parents help out whenever asked for an occasional activity here or there and for driving. We had a troop of 24 scouts, 3 patrols.

    Because we were not adult-top heavy, the boys ran the program and it worked very well. Well, until the parents of a couple of scouts complained that the boys were expected to do too much leadership, stepped in, took over and I was on the outside looking in.

    There was another troop like your second one described a few miles away, run by an iron-fisted SM and a "hoard" of ASM's. Once the boys realized they were not going to be able to run their own troop, they shifted over to the other troop (about half of them) and just let the adults do everything for them. They figured as long as they were going to end up with an adult led program, might as well be one that's bigger and they won't have to do as much work for the same benefit.

    If it was me, listen to the advice of this forum, learn and share with the troop you are currently with, roll up your sleeves and help it be the troop which is the real promised land,

    Remember as you scout out new troops, they know you're in the market, they will put their best foot forward, but buyer beware. Read the fine print. Turn over a couple of rocks and see what's really there.

    Right now I have an unorganized troop with one lone scout attending every week. A second scout is due to join in mid November, we are recruiting from their pool of friends, and just yesterday, I got an email from a pack wanting their Webelos II come and visit our "troop". I have both parents of the first boy ready to sign on as registered adults. Am I frustrated after 9 months of work? Heck no... I see potential and opportunity around every corner I turn. This is great! Oh, and by the way, your son sound exactly like the lone scout in my troop.



    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      I have been tried to remain optimistic about change, but 6 months of effort have proved futile so far. SM is mine in 6 months if I want it, but the parents are not going to want me. I have talked to many of them and they like things just how they are. Low drag, Eagle and done. They Talk the talk about do nothing POR but don't hold their own sons accountable. Could only find one other dad to take climbing training. On said to me "I can't take any more training because then I will be asked to go on more of these things". What do you say to that ?

      CC wants the boys to do more, but wont push the issue, because the troop is small. Won't support removing PORs for failure to do anything. Current SM obviously won't do anything about it. The only thing the PLC plans is what they want to do and patrol menus.

      Scouting skills amount many of the parents is not the big problem, it is knowledge of what things should be like and they don't want to hear it. They want their Eagle however they can get it as long as it doesn't interfere with football, soccer, fall ball or lacrosse. I just sat on a BOR for an 18 month Life, I read the GTA, not much I could do since the troop will not set expectations for PORs.

      I thought I could slowly change things, but without parental buy in I am not so sure I can. Where does they leave my son ?

  • #4

    No adult voices until announcements at the end? That is impressive.

    "Most boys had collars folded under, with neckers" is a small but good thing.

    Older Scouts is usually a good sign.

    As for a unit of 90 Scouts, Baden-Powell limited Troops to 32 Scouts, but that was when all 32 loved Scouting. The advantage of 90 Scouts is that perhaps 30-45 are potentially competent enough in the backwoods to allow ad hoc backpacking Patrols (without adults during the day), and 300 foot Patrols at night (when away from the rest of the Troop).

    "No 300', citing safety issues" and "Run TLT one day twice a year" is redundant!

    You can not replace Patrol Leaders every six months and camp safely without Bruce Tuckman helicopters (hence "20 have WB" and you "Recognized at least 3 of the leaders on District Training Staff.")

    I'm not familiar with your current situation.


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Thanks Kudu I value your input. We just relocated a year ago and my oldest crossed over from the feeder pack 6 months ago. I am now IH so I could force change, but but few would follow.

    • Scouter99
      Scouter99 commented
      Editing a comment
      I recently found that quote by accident, and I like the reasoning behind the number: "The numbers in a Troop should preferably not exceed thirty two. I suggest this number because in training boys myself I have found that sixteen was about as many I could deal with - in getting at and bringing out the individual character in each. I allow for other people being twice as capable as myself and hence the total of thirty-two." (Aids to Scoutmasterhip)
      In the context that the quote was used, the author asks a pointed question that really got a chuckle out of me: "Please explain to your troop leader that running a troop of 60 members means that you think you are four times as capable as the Founder!" (
      Well, well.

      And so it follows that the leadership of the troop KDD visited must think he is more than 5 times more talented than Baden-Powell.

  • #5
    KDD: Exploring your options is the right thing to do! A smaller troop may be what you're looking for. If your son is inclined, take them up on the offer of Camporee. That will give you the added bonus of checking out other troops at once. jblake47 has good advice and I don't disagree with BD either. This troop sounds better than your current situation, but I'd still look around.

    Other items to think about:

    Patrols: mixed age/NSP? Do they act as patrols or a troop? Patrol yells, flags? Are the permanent? Do the reorganize frequently? Are the patrol method or troop method?

    Leadership: How often are elections held? How many PORS? Do they "require" a minimum rank, or training for a POR?

    Advancement: do they believe you need to be First Class to start merit badges? What is done for scouts that are not advancing? SM conference? BOR? How many Eagles in the past three years? What is the "paper trail" of recording advancements so that Advancement chair gets info? Who signs off? (SM, ASM, patrol leader?), and where do items get signed off? (camp out, after meetings?)

    Camping: Where did they go last year? Where are they going this year? (if same, indicates possible rut). do they go big or small? How many adults are hovering over the patrols? How many non-Scoutmaster trained adults go on the campouts?

    Cash: What happens to your scout account if you transfer out (per troop policy, regardless of your position on scout accounts)

    Uniform: Nazis present? Neckers required? Do they require you buy 1,2,3,4 or 5 activity unis?

    (all those critters would scare the bejeebers out of me, but that's been hashed out here before hasn't it?)

    Trust your gut when meeting the SM.

    Good luck! Keep us informed!


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      Lots of great questions. I know a few of the answers.

      Yes NSP then mixed in. Patrols are determined by SM with input from Scouts to keep as many friends as possible. At meeting they were seated as patrols, will have to see how they operate in the field. Yes mixed age. Six month elections, not sure if they are reorganized.

      Non-trained adults are allowed on events to observe, SM said the friendly hand on the shoulder if they get to close.

      From photo gallery looks like lax on activity uniforms. Looks like they encourage complete uniform. Only one scout was out of uniform, other than socks and shoes.

      13 Eagles last year. 90 scouts. Not sure what to make of that. This is in the best school district in the state.

      Not one peep out of an adult until the very end and announcements were short. Unlike summer camp this year where they went on forever.

      The SPL and two others were running the show and seemed to be well prepared with clipboards. SM said all were NYLT. topic was cooking/safe food handling. They brought in 3 chuck boxes, set them up and did and inspection.

      Must say I was impressed with their public speaking abilities.

      Judging by photo gallery they are not in a rut but seem to do a battlefield hike each year. jblake has to like that.
      Last edited by King Ding Dong; 10-10-2013, 08:11 PM.

  • #6
    Why are you limiting your options to just two troops?

    With my oldest we made the mistake of going from the cub unit that was the "feeder" for the troop to the troop by the same CO, because it was expected. It turned out to be a huge mistake.

    When the second son was a Weblo I made a point of taking on a troop visit to every unit in the area that allowed "outside" denominations. When we visited our first "other" troop the boys were so impressed by the improvement that they insisted this was "the one," but I told them they were going to make an informed decision and insisted that they would visit the rest and that we could still join that troop if that was their decision after visiting all the others. The boys had to visit several troops before they found the one they are currently in and it wasn't the first "other" troop we visited.

    I guess that you should look at it like shopping for a new house; you don't buy the first one you come across that is better than what you currently have. Take the time to make sure it's a good fit for you and the lads.


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      You must have missed this.

      "I plan on visiting at least three troops and make sure he spends at least a couple of meetings and one outing before jumping ship. I don't want to bounce around."

      However that will prove expensive as troop dues are next month.

    • NeverAnEagle
      NeverAnEagle commented
      Editing a comment
      I only read your opening post and was responding to that.

      You don't have to pay dues to any troop that you are not a member of, so it shouldn't be to expensive. I'd run from any troop that wants dues before you've become committed. Let your current troop know you are shopping; re-charter isn't due until December so dues can be put on until then. If they won't take maybe for an answer ask yourself, "Do you really want to stay in a group that won't work with you?"

  • #7
    You shouldn't be looking for anything, your Son should be the One Looking.

    Personally I will tell you How I decided which troop to join when I moved from California back to Wichita Falls Texas. You Decide which one I joined

    First Troop I went and Looked at (Biggest and Richest in Town at Time). Adult Scouters set me down..gave me My Eagle Schedule.
    Fancy Scout Hut..Not well Kept..Plenty of awards on the Wall..Scouts running Around..Uniforms untidy.. No Dues..No Adults Involved in Meeting. Only Scoutmaster in Uniform.
    reputation of an EAGLE FACTORY...

    Second Troop (Another Big One and Money) as a First Troop..Nice Facilities..Introduced me as a Guest and Then Talked to me about Eagle. No Dues..Some Adults involved..Only Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster in Uniform..Reputation not as Bad as First in the Ways of Eagle Manufacturing.

    Third Troop (Small in size, meet in a Scout Hut that was barely big enough, Had a Fire place though. Scout Hut was more of a Shack than anything else Hut was Like 12x20, No AIR, No Heating Except Fireplace) Equipment hanging out of the Open Rafters, Awards Every Where. Scouts were in Uniform, Orderly, Quite, Polite..Leaders Welcomed me and said Go Meet the Boys..There was about 8 in the Troop. They were planning Menu for Next Camping Trip...One joked New Guy gets to Plan the Menu. Had Refreshments.. Dues were 50 cents per week. Elderly Scouter talking with Boys about Nature. Every Registered Scouter involved in Troop in Full Uniform. Not Known for Many Eagles

    Three visits was enough for me to find


    • King Ding Dong
      King Ding Dong commented
      Editing a comment
      What can I say, this board spoiled me. I know there is better out there now and not to accept the status quo.

      Sign us up for the 50 cents dues per week troop.

      How on earth do you expect an 11 year old new to a metro area of 3M to find and evaluate a new troop, when he is just discovering what BS are and do ? The one friend he has made is not allowed by his mother to be a scout. is a useless here.

  • #8
    Things that raised "red flags" with me":

    "Dads of" CO: These kinds of COs always seem to have issues, and too many of them.

    "No 300', citing safety issues": Potential "helicopterism"---I've run into this before.

    "Told committee of 40, 20 have WB, hoard of ASMs": How in HADES do you find jobs in a single scout troop for 40 people???? Their committee meetings must be LOOOONNNG!

    "At the back of troop meeting there was a table of 3 Banana Republic Generals taking notes to provide feedback after the meeting to the PLC." : Who are they? Why are they doing this? Is this really a BOY run Troop?

    "Recognized at least 3 of the leaders on District Training Staff.": This means nothing to the boys.

    "Their uniform "problems" they are working on are correct shoes and socks.": If this really is an issue for them, I'd say they're doing pretty well in the uniform department. Who's being this picky? The PLC? Or dare I say, the adults?

    My opinions only, because you asked!

    Last edited by FrankScout; 10-10-2013, 10:03 PM.


    • #9
      Thanks for your opinion, keep them coming. Actually I bet those committee meetings run like clockwork. Any training event here I have been to have timers in the back with countdown flip charts and hand signals to keep things moving on schedule. I am curious what kinds of problems a Dads Of CO would have over one run by clergy ? My current on is a PTO and all they do is sign applications. I know, I am now PTO President. In theory I quite like the idea of the dads having an interest in a troop and hot having interference from professional clergy or a PTO that doesn't give a damn. While I am intrigued by the idea of a 300' troop from my inquiries, that animal appears to be extinct in my neck of the woods. But you never know. The generals ? One was a dad I talked two, the others were to old to plausibly be parents. I talked to the dad and he was evaluating the meeting to give feedback at a brief PLC after the meeting. This troop has several old scouters as ASMs. Why do dads whose sons have aged out of scouts stick around and help out troops ? Ask the board, we have a lot of them here. Is it a boy run troop, from the surface it appears more boy run than mine. The Scouters claim it is. What tests should I apply to make that determination ? That is a critical fact to get right, I doubt you will find any Scouter boast about his adult led troop. The dark shoes and socks thing is new to me but sure seems to be the culture among district level Scouters around here. I mention my troops uniform problem and the ASM said their "problem" was with shoes and socks. I took it to mean very minor. I just remembered I stated one thing incorrectly. The SM did speak in the middle of the meeting when the SPL asked him a question.


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        I hate when that happens. damn you iOS.

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        My entire troop committee is Life long scouters who are in their 70's they truly are about scouting. If they were physically able I am sure I would not be SM. They need a guy who is program, which is me.

        I intend on sticking around after my son and current crop of boys move on.

        Called a thing called giving back. Whether my roll is ASM or Committee member I will continue.

    • #10
      Again being in a Small troop is what spoiled me...Adults helping teach us...Certainly...but did they Run Stuff No.. Scouts ran the Meetings.. We Decided where to go Camping and When. Even when we had a Council Event we still did a Monthly Campout. Did they Dictate Us No..
      We Won First Aid Meets every year we were competing..We took First Place in Camporees we attended. almost every time Best Camp site. We won Ribbons at Scout-O-Ramas. No 300 feet for Us. We had a Camp Trailer.. We Used big Bulky Chuck Boxes, cooked in Cast Iron...We Competed against the Adults all the Time..
      They Wore Uniforms, We did to..
      We Camped using old Canvas Baker Tents.. No High Adventure type Camping for Us...Because there was none available to us...We did not want to waste time walking in Circles around our Local Camps just so we could brag about doing a 15 miler or Wasting over half the time to Drive anywhere to "Back Pack" our way into a Camp. rarely would we drive More than 55 miles to Camp. We Lashed together Tent Frames..We Learned to set up a Camp..We learned First Aid..We learned Learned Scout Skills..We Camped on many Private Owned Ranches and Farms. We Went 55 miles away to Oklahoma Wichita Wildlife Refuge near Lawton Oklahoma to Camp. Look it up, Yall Mountain Folk will die laughing at What is Called Mountains around Here. We participated every year in the EASTER PAGENT there also at the Holy City..( Only Local troop to Do So). We Canoed the Brazos River..No Tents on that Overnighter.
      Time Frame was 1978-1986 as a Youth for Me..not pre-1950's. Went to Philmont twice by the Way.

      We did ride our Bikes one time 30 miles to the Local Camp...Would have been only 18 Miles if we could have avoided the Country Route and taken the Main Highway and Interstate.

      While a Scout in California..I did Camp Joshua Tree Monument Park, Lake Havashu Arizona (London Bridge), Rim to Rim Grand Canyon (South to North), but you know what sticks out most about those Trips..All the Hours crammed into a Hot Van Driving being tired and sore..and a Small Amount of time spent having fun. Fun in California Scouting was the trips to the LA Zoo, The San Diego Zoo, Griffin Park Observatory, Knots Berry Farm, Disney Land..Not Camping
      Last edited by jpstodwftexas; 10-10-2013, 11:57 PM.


      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        So that makes you mid 40's and no mention of your son. Do you have a scout?

    • #11
      I would take the up on the camporee offer and see how the unit camps.

      They sound pretty good despite all of the woodbadge trained adults.

      The fact they are in teh best school district in the state means it is a wealthy area with parents who are engaged with their lads. Money means full uniforms, and a much more interesting program. I bet their gear is top notch too.

      Make your other visits....I am going to bet this is where you land.


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        My issue with WB is the beaders capturing you and then droning on and on about the Zulus and Boer War and they all give the same damn speech.

        Does WB do damage to people ? I do not know, but it sure seems to instill a air of arrogance about them. If all our Eagles acted like Wood Badgers they and constantly puffed themselves up about how great they are because they camped for two weekends, there would be no scouts left.
        Last edited by King Ding Dong; 10-11-2013, 10:26 AM.

      • Bando
        Bando commented
        Editing a comment
        Honestly, I don't see the big deal. Sure, just like anything else in Scouting, there are Wood Badgers who love talking about Wood Badge. But it seems to me that's a lot more about individual personality conflicts than issues with the Wood Badge program itself. Nearly all of the leaders I know who have done it are better for it, and the difference you see in them before and after is pretty dramatic.

        But, hey, what do I know? I guess it's a lot easier to see the worst in people.

      • Basementdweller
        Basementdweller commented
        Editing a comment
        Bottom line is 1 in 10 woodbadger is an idiot.....Who are you going to remember the 9 great guys who probably never even mention they are woodbadgers or the one idiot who throws it in your face ever chance he gets.

        The problem is they congregate in groups at places like roundtable where they have an audience.

        I am a woodbadger, completed my ticket. Will never wear the beads, I don't need two pieces of wood to know who I am or show off for other people.

    • #12
      I am not a "switcher" in most areas of life, and probably would not be in this one.

      Instead of WB, I'd look for Powderhorn, but that's just me. And, maybe it's because I took WB but not PH ... yet.

      But, any boy with an opportunity to camp with another troop is in a win-win situation. He gets to learn how other patrols do things and maybe that will inform on what he expects from his patrol (whichever one that winds up being).

      FWIW, our IH's boy goes to a different troop and is doing well there.


      • King Ding Dong
        King Ding Dong commented
        Editing a comment
        I am sticking with the Pack for my younger son even though we are having parental involvement issues. A full on strong Cub program just doesn't seem as important to me now. Better he sticks with his classmates.

        I really feel if he stays with his current troop he will be cheated out of so much of what Scouting has to offer. Sure he will get his Eagle by 14, no problem, but at what cost ? If he was really good friends with any of the other boys I might think differently. It's more the relationships I have built that is holding me back. It is not about me. If we went with this one troop they would likely have little use for me other than as a driver, I have the bug and not sure I want to give it up.

    • #13

      Basementdweller commented
      Today, 06:19 AM
      So that makes you mid 40's and no mention of your son. Do you have a scout?

      No I never Married.. Never Had Kids...Having Prostate removed next month. so unless I can get a woman pregnant between now and the 6th of November I never will have kids..unless a Miracle happens. I admit I was one of those silly stupid boys who was raised to respect women. My Mom Was a single Mom because my Dad died when we were young, not because he ran off. Kept Saying there was time for a Family later...I supported my Mother till she Died, never had a great never could find a Girlfriend who wanted to get Married and have kids and be poor. My last Girlfriend did have a 7 Year old and that is what got me back into scouting..Raising another Person's child was an Issue between us..Seems I was to old Fashioned and to poor for her.


      • #14
        Pros: The calendar sounds like fun. Very active. Must be a lot better than what you had. Having a lot of adults volunteering can be a good thing. Having older scouts teach the skills is good. The comment about the SM restricting the adults.

        Cons: SM picking patrols (I used to do that, now the scouts handle it). Not allowing 300' because of safety concerns (i.e., do the adults trust the scouts? Train, trust, lead?) Suspecting the generals surround the monthly plc and coach (are the scouts deciding anything at the PLC?) The meeting of bringing in 3 patrol boxes for 40 scouts sounds boring (no hands on). No wonder only 40 out of 90 showed up. So what are the other meetings like?

        Maybes: With 90 scouts there is sure to be a few that are exceptional in front of a crowd. I'd watch the patrol leaders. What are the patrol activities and what do they do at the one meeting a month that's a patrol meeting? If it's only advancement: con, if it's a mix chosen by the PL: pro. If the uniforms are the biggest issue and the PLs don't lead, that's a con to me. With 90 scouts how many go on high adventure trips? Many trips have limits of a dozen people, they would need 3 per year. Do they have high adventure trips every year? How do the patrols function on the campouts? How was your son treated when he visited? Ignored:con, welcomed: pro.

        The real question - are the patrol leaders leading or are they glorified secretaries? If they are leading, it sounds like a great troop. If not, it's still doing a lot.


        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          Thanks Matt.

          Yeah in the end that meeting was rather boring. The whole thing was in that one room. To a large degree a lecture with q&a. Will want to see another meeting. The chuck boxes was only 5-10 minutes, though. That could indicate they are to focused on cubical skills. Will want to check out a PLC meeting as well.

          One Scouter said they just had elections, so the PLs do not have much responsibility right now and that is a focus of their efforts right currently. Hell honesty is good and they know what needs improvement.

          They did Canada this summer and SeaBase next summer. Had at least some go to Jambo. My troop does HA each summer even if it is only 2 or 3 scouts and combine with another contingent.

          Another high profile troop with several district staffers is one a cousin was in years ago. But no summer weekend trips or meetings and seem to do a lot of bus trips to Chicago or DC. They seem to like visiting buildings and landmarks. and that is all likely expensive. In a write up on the website they was a comment " ...then we all climbed back into the Greyhound type bus like we usually do." Though they did a trip to Yellowstone for summer camp a year or two ago.

          My son seemed very welcomed and gently guided on where to stand, lineup etc. He knew one scout from middle school, a plus. There certainly was no chaos as in my troop. They all seemed very well disciplined. That could certainly be seen as a negative as well. I don't think there was much need for signs up. Hmmm, were they really having fun ?

          How often do most troops have a PLC meeting ? Other than calendar planning I am unaware of any in my troop.
          Last edited by King Ding Dong; 10-11-2013, 01:06 PM.

        • Basementdweller
          Basementdweller commented
          Editing a comment
          Our PLC has short meetings weekly and one the first meeting night of the month.

        • MattR
          MattR commented
          Editing a comment
          My plc has a meeting after every campout, so roughly once a month.

          A couple of years ago it dawned on me that while the committee was meeting for an hour or two once a month, the plc was getting everything done in 20 minutes a month. So I decided the scouts weren't doing much leading. They certainly weren't making many decisions.

      • #15
        Well KDD, we are both in the same boat; helping our sons decide on a troop. Mine crosses over in 2 months. Been to 2 meeting and 2 camp outs with 4 different units. All he knows is that 1 unit, the unit that I originally hoped he would join until leadership changes occurred and parents took over, creating a 'high speed, low drag" troop, is out of the question now. SHMBO told me I was to tell him in no uncertain terms that he is not to consider the troop. And I admit I did the 'yes dear,' and merrily went on my way to be subtle in discouraging him. I should not have worried since A) he wasn't impressed at all with the troop on the campout and B) when he was told who his PL would be when he crossed over, he said "NO!"

        He hasn't made a decision yet, and I hope he goes camping with 1 of the troops visited, if not both, and visits a troop he camped with.

        He's looking for 2 things:

        A troop that camps every month.

        A troop with folks his own age and/or friends joining the troop so that he will have friends in it.

        Here are some things I look for, and told him to look for.

        1) Who's in charge, youth or adults?

        2) Who's doing the teaching, youth or adults?

        2a) If an adult is teaching, why is he? (one troop meeting had an adult going over backpacking skills and the area they were going to with the older Scouts since he had extensive backpacking expereince and did that section of the AT already. I thought it was reasonable)

        3) How often do they camp and/or hike?

        4) How did he feel about the group,i.e. accepted, tolerated, had fun etc?

        Some things I'm interested in are

        5) How much does the program cost?

        6) What fundraising opportunities do they have for the boys to earn their way?

        7) Do they meet year round?

        8) Do they go to summer camp?

        8a) If they don't go why? (one troop every three years or so does a HA trip: Philmont, AT, etc, and won't go to summer camp as a troop, but will send Scouts as provisional who want to go.)

        9) And a very important one for me , what do they think of new parents serving on the troop committee and will you let committee members go camping?


        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          No summer camp as a troop would be a no go for me. Not sure what I think of HA, but once every three years seems a little slim. Everybody has their own thing, but the concept of carrying a canoe is just foreign to me. Do you push your car for fun ? Besides every time I get out of a canoe I spill my beer and pollute the river.

          I like going on the campouts and observing from a distance and helping when needed. With this big troop I don't think I would have much to offer, at least without some beads. Then again I could use that time for family activities/camping and let him have his own time away from me for real independence.

          It would be neat to find that troop that sends patrols out by themselves for at least a day hike or a patrol like BD's that hang out together. In the culture of the burbs I may not find it.

          What I just don't understand is why these troops/patrols are not extremely active in the summer outside out council camps. Sure its hot and muggy here but they really have the time to tackle something like the Cycling MB and rack up major time/distance for the NOAs. The demands of homework and school clubs don't leave much time for that kind of thing during the school year.

        • Eagle92
          Eagle92 commented
          Editing a comment

          Sorry for the delay in response very busy at work and in Scouting. In response to no summer camp when they do their HA trip, they do send kids to camp, but usually provisional or with another troop locally and a leader not going on the HA trip may attend. But not formally as a troop.

          As for every 3 years, my understanding is 2 years to prep for it, i.e. get proper gear, do shakedowns, fundraising, etc, and one year to take a break.