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My Troop is Close To Death

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  • My Troop is Close To Death

    I am in a very small troop. There are 7 members, 6 of which are 15 or older. I am an Eagle, there are 4 Life Scouts, 1 First Class Scout, and 1 new 11 year old Scout who is a Life's younger brother. The deal is that we are extremely top heavy with no feeder pack and there are few children in the struggling church we are at. We are outside a medium sized city there are plenty of other troops just minutes away. The troop will inevitably fold in the next two years as some guys age out.

    With all of this said, I really want to see the troop survive. We use the patrol system as much as possible, go on great trips, are involved in the OA, and have active kids. Does anyone here have an idea of what we can do to gain members? I expect getting a handful of new members can't be that hard, but we need to start now and need ideas.

  • #2
    Become den chiefs to several local Packs, Have a couple of webelos/Troop campouts, Host the den and provide the weekends activity.


    Get permission to recruit at your local intermediary school. show up with pictures of your events and your gear.

    Recruiting isn't that tough retention is the issue.

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    • #3
      Find a home school association that is looking for a scouting outlet for their members. Recruit from that group, and you will get leaders and kids. Don't wait, time is not on your side.

      What is the SM doing to recruit? What about younger brothers of friends of your members?
      Get after it, and remember that you don't need to reinvent the wheel. Find your Unit Commissioner, and engage him in this process.

      Good luck, stay in touch.

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      • #4
        Also girlfriends with little brothers.?

        Anyway, make a flyer that describes your troop. Circulate it to your neighbors and classmates.

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        • #5

          You can register more than 1/3 of an audience with this presentation:

          http://inquiry.net/adult/recruiting.htm

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          • #6
            And if you do it, vice the SM, it will have more of an impact.

            Comment


            • #7
              You are facing a very stiff up-hill struggle. You might want to re-think what is best for the remaining boys in the unit.

              -----------

              I've seen Kudu's presentation web page in the past. Great idea. The challenge is getting it in front of middle age youth. IMHO, if you have a chance of doing it anywhere, you have a chance doing it at churches or at your charter org. Our schools wouldn't let us do it at a school event. If flyers get lost / ignored, youth won't get to the presentation anyway.

              -----------

              Ask your pastor if you can stage Kudu's presentation at the church for after each and every service for two weeks. Ask for a small room that people have to walk by on their way in and out of the church.

              Bring the canoe too.

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              • #8
                Each of 7 scouts likely personally knows some people younger than themselves, whether through their churches' youth groups, high school sports teams, neighbors, and as Qwazse suggests, girlfriend's younger brothers. Each of you can invite two people to come to your next activity. And the activity after that, and ... (Invite to activities, not to meetings; unless your meetings are as fun as your activties)

                Thing is, you just can't tell prospective members that you have great trips, you've got to let them experience them. And they won't experience them unless they are invited. Advertizing to groups is not as effective as personal invitations. If you want the troop to grow, all of you will have to invite, and invite again and again, person to person.

                What gets in the way: people's fear of rejection. It is the same thing that keeps someone from asking the cute girl in algebra class out to a movie - what if they say no; I'll feel like a moron, they will tell their friends that I am a jerk, etc. etc. Thing is, this fear is natural, but typically overblown. Some of the people that you personally ask will say no, because they aren't interested in that kind of activity, or for a number of other reasons of their own. Most will feel good that you thought enough of them to invite them, even if they don't come.

                How to get the 7 of you to follow through on invitations: At your next meeting, discuss this, and ask for their commitment to invite 2 people before the next meeting. Once people verbally commit to their peers, they are more likely to follow through. then review each week and thank those that did follow through, and ask those that didn't for renewed commitment. (as a side benefit to this, the fear of approaching and asking will diminish, and your friends just might end up asking out the cute girl in algebra class)

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                • #9
                  You recruit, recruit, recruit. You invite Webelos to go camping with you and you pay attention to them and make them feel welcome. The first troop my son joined (a troop I didn't want him to join, but let him decide) was not welcoming at all. They were an older troop of mostly older boys who really didn't want their boat rocked. They liked their little group. There were 5 boys and their parents who all joined along with us. It lasted 6 months before there was a falling out. We left there and joined another troop where my son earned his Eagle and attended until the day he turned 18 and went off to college. That troop has a roster of around 60 with most of them very active. Our secret, good program and recruiting. Don't worry about a feeder pack. Our troop has been around for almost 50 years and we didn't have a pack associated with our charter until this year. While we have a good relationship with them and help them, we know that they are free to join the troop that best fits them. We will do our best to recruit them, but respect them making a different choice. Some of our fellow troops call us poachers because we recruit with every pack in our district. They believe that the pack at their charter or the schools surrounding thei location are off limits to everyome but them. That's just laziness on their part. They need to provide a good program and recruit too. Make an open invitiation to every pack in your district to go camping with your troop. Staff day camp and cub resident camp. I can't tell you how many kids wanted to join our troop because they knew the boys in our troop from cub camp staff. Get active in your OA ceremony team and provide crossover ceremonies to the Webelos. Recruit, recruit, recruit and then welcome them with open arms.

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                  • #10
                    These are all great ideas! I think that getting the guys to invite others can work, and what I'm really looking for is getting some younger kids to join, whether through Cubs or friends. Thanks for the help!

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