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  • Lodges Merging

    Our councils merged in October and we're supposed to merge the lodges within 18 months, although I expect it will probably be sooner than that. I'd like to hear the good, the bad, and the ugly about any lodge mergers involving you. Thanks.

  • #2
    Make sure the youth involved in the merger are sensitive to Lodge-owned museum pieces and regalia, but that they are prepared to put Lodge loyalty aside for the exciting prospect of something new!

    How many lodges are merging? If it's more than two, things become much easier as the "constitutional convention" is more of an open ideas forum than sometimes heated negotiations.

    The best thing for the Adults to do in this process is make sure their youth are excited about the change and are bringing ideas to the table. The worst thing that can happen is letting anybody at the table take a backseat in the proceedings. The ones who don't say anything when you're working out the new processes, rules, and recognitions are going to be the first ones to complain about it. This is less true of the boys, because they adapt pretty easily. We all know the adults who don't adapt too easily, and any complaints they raise that criticize actions and decisions of the youth need to be stifled immediately. The only Advisers that should be involved in counseling in this process are the ones you know will not have their feelings hurt if their ideas don't strike a chord with the youth.

    Dealt with merging problems as a youth... lock the advisers out of the room if necessary.

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    • #3
      Some programs have very strong traditions (WB, NYLT, & OA). Our lodge is still working on it, and it's been several years. First attempt at totem was a combination, and it was a bust. Better idea was to get rid of the old stuff, and just find a totally new and different identity. I'd recommend it.
      BDPT00

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      • #4
        Good advice from BS87 and BDPT.

        Whatever is done, the focus should be on respecting each lodges' past, even if you press on with a new era with new symbols etc. Because if it turns into a hostile takeover, with one lodge shouting down or strong arming the other, bad blood will linger for years.

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        • #5
          *sigh*

          See previous postings about redistricting "to better serve our youth".

          We are recreating three chapters out of one big one. Lodge (council) is, I think, unaffected. I say recreating because about three years ago, the reverse happened.

          We wish you well, brother.

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          • #6
            Be prepared, because things are going to change. BDPT00 is right, the best thing to do is to make a new lodge with totally new symbols. Definetly have the youth lead the discussions. Lay out each lodge's customs and program at the beginning and maybe they can keep somthing from each.

            The lodge i'm in is the result of a merger between two lodges about 15 years ago (admittedly around the time i joined cub scouts, but i have heard alot of horror stories about it) . there were alot of hurt feelings going into the merger anyways but there were alot more after. alot of the oa presence in what was one of the lodges completely dissapeared. from what i heard it was a messy process and they lost alot of good scouts and scouters.

            So every be sensitive and play nice.

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            • #7
              I've never been through that, but one thing I'd recommend is that the historical documentation begin now. Put a good research team together to compile a lodge history booklet or report, to preserve the past of both lodges. That includes not just the official history - the lists of officers and chiefs, the membership numbers, the awards - but the traditions and stories, as well. Do some oral history interviews with old-timers and new-timers.

              At the time of the merger, invite past lodge chiefs back from both lodges for a public ceremony.

              Unless the councils are perfectly balanced in membership, one lodge and council is going to dominate over the other. That's a fact of nature. The new districts can help by working closely with the new chapter leadership to make sure everyone's in synch.

              Attention should be paid to all the council camps. Leaders from the current lodges should spend the next 18 months visiting all the camps, learning their history, traditions, layout, resources, meeting their directors and rangers, etc. Those personal relationships need to form now.

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              • #8
                I've been through a Lodge Merger as a youth. It was a tough merger (due to some unfair Scout Executive edicts), but I think there are some things that I can suggest that will help:

                1. The youth must lead the merge: Get key youth from the two lodges to sit down and work through the merger. Try to keep the numbers balanced.

                2. Get an impartial moderator: Maybe a Section officer can help lead the discussion of the youth. Or you have someone with strong ties to both lodges.

                3. Limit the adults in the meeting room: Maybe 1 adult from each lodge and the new staff adviser.

                4. Focus on the future and administration: During my merger talks, the lodge adviser asked us youth in the beginning "How are we going to manage this new, larger lodge?" This got us focusing on process, administration and the future, and less on symbols and traditions of the past. As a result, we spent the most merge talks working on the lodge's bylaws.

                5. Start fresh. New name, new totem, new number. Maybe even re-do the call out ceremonies, or other traditions of the old lodges.

                6. Unified Front: Disagreements are OK in the room. But once everything is decided and everyone leaves the room, everyone supports the plan in its entirety. Make sure youth aren't saying things like "Well, I didn't support that part."

                7. Have the youth sell the plan.

                8. Wrangle the adults. Make sure to keep their grumbling to a minimum. Consider taking them out of the room when the plan is being approved by the youth.

                9. Consider having a closing ceremony for each lodge which segues into an opening ceremony for the new lodge. This is a good way for people to say good bye, and then garner support for the new lodge.

                Good luck. It can be an emotional issue.

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