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  • So the troop is failing also..

    OK I am UC for a CO their pack and troop, right now I am spending most of my time with the Pack because it had collapsed but being a little less then a year away most our scouts are wolf & Tiger. I was working hard not to loose two Webelos who both like the program, but would like more of a group. I know the troop did not get crossovers last year, and until we work our wolves up to Webelos crossovers it will be hard for this pack to feed the Troop and keep it healthy..

    Well now I find, that although this troop has only had one year with no crossovers, it pretty much is not doing so good either.. They won't tell me this though, they bypass me and the IH and direct their woes and complaints to the DE, so I don't know the whole story as the DE did not have time to enlighten me, but reason I am not getting a response from the Troop leadership to work out how the troop could help give these Webs a group setting without turning into a Webs program, and thus gain two new scouts.. Is because they are not interested in expanding the troop anymore.. They are kindof in the mode of working through who they have, and letting the troop die.

    So great.. Does this mean I should just encouraged these two Webs to go to the other Pack/Troop.. Seems if I don't change the dynamics of the troop, I am doing them no favors trying to keep them at all costs.. They may end up just watching the older boys finish up their eagle and the troop will fold if it whittles down to just the two of them anyway. And with one of the boys possibly getting adopted and moving away, it might just end up being one lone scout.. If so, better to get them into a better troop..

    Not sure how to fix the troop right now anyway.. Which is the reason, I just observe, ask how things are going and let them tell me "Just fine.. And sell me a story of how they are improving the program".. I know it is in need of improvement, but as UC I can't force improvement, and the adult leadership has some back issues that they don't want my help anyway. Not issues with me, but there was a thing where they lead my son to believe they were open to the idea of his taking the SM position and then when he came in to finalize it with the committee found the committee chair had gone about looking for someone else, and sprung the new guy on the committee and pushed him through even though most others on the committee wanted my son.. So then there was a big blow out and some of the parents took their scouts out of the troop and went elsewhere.. Well for some reason though my son I think was a victim of this, as he had unwittingly walked into a committee meeting expecting and approval of him to SM and slapped in the face with a curve ball, then became stuck in the middle of two angry sides of the issue.. It seems it is all my son's fault this happened, and I as his mother am part of the blame too.. Though I wasn't UC or had anything to do with the pack or troop at the time..

    Well, anyway.. That is the short of why they give me the story of "All right with the world" and go and talk to the DE about issues and problems..

    I really will hate having the troop fold, and doing nothing to help.. I don't know how I feel about considering letting it go, and then needing to resurrect it with our now Webs (who are at a count of 9 and we seem to be growing).. They won't move into a troop with bad habits and a "We have always done it this way mentality".. I could start training the Den Leaders to a different mindset when they get to Webs.. But.. Uggh, restarts are very hard, I am winning the resurrecting of the Pack, but it is not easy at all, and I am still at the stage where I can look at the pack from one angle and think success, but look at the pack from a different angle and think real close to failing.. If I do have to restart, I hope the troop will at least set us up with some decent equipment and some money in the account.. I also hope by then, I have poked and prodded more parents from the pack into stepping up and taking on leadership roles in the Pack, that I can then keep them active with when they move to the troop..

    Then I feel I should do something to fight harder to keep the troop going and not just let the adult leaders purposely run it into the ground.. I feel I am giving up while the body is not just still warm, but still alive and kicking.. How can I do anything now I know their is issues, but when I talk to them I will get the smiles and the answer of "All is good, we are just fine".. UC means I can not grab them shake them and force them to stop being dunderheads.. I know the only way the troop can grow is to get it to be truly boy led, to the point that the youth are not going through the motions but were really feeling ownership and excited about what they were doing and planning to do.. Their enthusiasm would bring their friends in.. But, I can't force the adults to make the change..

    I know of two great troops in the area that run a great program. I would love to have the boys and the adults see their operation and get ideas from them that might kickstart them with renewed excitement.. The DE said the SM might be at roundtable.. I guess my first attempt would be to see if I couldn't get this SM to meet with the two SM's of the other troop and see if they (not I) could maybe get the SM of my troop to at least think about other alternative rather then quickly getting the boys in the troop to Eagle then turning out the lights. Perhaps if I sit him at a table where the ideas are not coming from me, he may listen.

  • #2
    MT, There is basically only one question here that matters.
    Originally posted by moosetracker View Post
    So great.. Does this mean I should just encouraged these two Webs to go to the other Pack/Troop.
    You should encourage your Webelos to visit and camp with every troop within an day's walk, then decide amongst their folks and friends to where they would like to crossover. A UC can't make anybody do anything, so don't try. Buy them coffee. Listen to their vision, and help by connecting them to the people or resources to make it happen. You don't have to agree with them. You can even tell them "I you wish you would consider doing things differently, but I'll do my best to help with whatever you need." How the baggage with MIB (my shorthand for MT's son for those new to the formums) should be handled? It's baggage. Let it go.


    • #3
      Right now it would be visit other packs, as they really aren't of age/grade for the Troop, and if the other packs have a decent Webs pack, then they wouldn't need to have them become guests to the troop until they get of grade/age to crossover. Packs in a days walk is not many, we are out in the country, so no multiple troops in the same town, and some towns are large & spread out land wise..

      I do want to do right by these scouts and not put them in a dying troop. But, my position is not to only focus on the pack, but the troop also. So I don't know if this is my only question that matters. The answer might be to send these scouts to a better place, but right now I am going on something the DE has told me, that I have not sensed myself.. Oh I have sensed that the troop could use work, the adults have yet to figure out what boy lead is, though they think they are doing boy lead, yet would not welcome my helpful advice.. But, I had never sensed that they did not want new blood.. Just this summer at the annual meeting between the IH , Pack leadership & Troop leadership they really wanted to do more with all the pack. We told them they were welcomed to work more with our Webs, and could ask the Pack leadership if they were interested in other joint events together for them to decide. We were putting our foot down about them sending out eblast to all our scouts parents inviting them to all their activities.. We would be getting them prepared to go to one outing, they would send out eblast for their event, the parents became conflicted and didn't know what to do, so they did nothing..

      From wanting the Pack on all outing, to not wanting to work with two Webs, and crossing them over. Just seems like a big change in a few months.. Of course, talking with the SM the last few months I also get the all is fine speech. But, I don't doubt I would get that from him whether things were good or bad. Wish the troop had their troop meeting when I was hoping to catch them after the Pack meeting ended. I would have a little first hand knowledge of if they are having more issues now then they had this summer.

      Both the health of the Pack and Troop are something I should be concerned with. Right now I have easy access to kickstarting the pack.. Currently I don't feel the same welcome to help with the troop. But, that mean, I should just shrug my shoulders and let them die?

      Perhaps, I should have a discussion with the IH of the church.. If he is fine with letting the troop die for a few years till our pack can pick it up, then I guess I will feel better. But, then I guess if he wants the troop to change, I could get some support from him in getting the Adult Leadership to take suggestions from me (or listen and observe well running troops) so that they can start thinking about ways to improve their program..


      • #4
        I'm not clear. Do you have two Webelos or nine? Web 1 or 2?

        Two Web 2s crossing over this winter I would probably encourage to look at other troops. Nine Web 1s crossing over in 18 months, I would look at as the nucleus of a new/revamped troop. Remembering all the turmoil/BS when your son went through the junk with the troop, I would almost call it preferably to let the old troop fold and take their head trash with them. But then ask the council to hold the unit dormant for a year until that group of nine could start it anew.

        Timing is everything and you would be playing Russian roulette with the troop. And of course all would be predicated on new leadership for the troop, but it's a thought.


        • #5

          Nope two Webs one is at level one, one is at level two.. We had a Bear in this group but just lost him.. They were all solo if you broke them into grade/age groups.. Now, we have an email from a boy who just moved into the area.. A new Bear.. Still no comment from the Troop SM. I will either see him at Round Table tomorrow or I will visit on Tuesday when they should have a troop meeting going.. We have potential to trickle feed this troop until our wolves move up which wont be for another 3 years.. But the troop has to want it, to meet us half way, or we might as well point them over to the Pack/Troop in the next town.

          We currently have nine in our wolves den, and I think 4 in our tiger den.
          Last edited by moosetracker; 11-17-2013, 05:58 PM.


          • #6

            I feel for ya. I was in a very similar situation. Troop is deteriorating, and many folks, including their UC, former SM, one of their Eagles, the district training chair, and I have been offering advice and trying to counsel the leadership. We've been ignored, told we don't know what we are doing, and, and this really chaps my hide, don't offer training when it's convenient for them. Each district in my council offers ITOLs throughout the year,. PLUS I did an ITOLS class for specifically for them since no one had ITOLS when the new SM took over. I scheduled the ITOLS class around their calendar to make sure everyone could take it who needed it. Only one person showed up, with the excuse from everyone else being , "It's too cold to camp."

            I have washed my hand of the situation, as everyone else has. Especially after some of the public commentary their leaders did on facebook. Oldest will be going to another troop, taking at least 1 other Webelos from the pack with him, if not more. As much as I would like to save the troop, what is in my son's best interest, and what he also really wants, is my priority.


            • #7
              Those troops that rely on feeder pack cross-overs are going to someday be sorely disappointed. Just as soon as one has a DL that has a son who isn't into Boy Scouts, you can be assured of a void that year at the Troop level. I have seen it work a few times over the years. I had 7 Web 2 cross over and NOT A ONE ever showed up for a Boy Scout meeting.

              Recruiting that is limited to just feeder packs doesn't guarantee a successful Boy Scout Troop. There are a lot of boys that could benefit from Boy Scouts that didn't do the cubby thing. Sometimes they come in and don't have a lot of cub baggage that one has to overcome for the Boy Scout program.

              When was the last time a troop had an open house for more than just the feeder pack cubs? I have three potential feeder packs that I can draw from. But I can't afford to wait to see what they decide to do. I have to have open house events for the neighborhood. I publicize the troop in grocery stores, libraries and schools. I'm not going to sit back and wait for them to come waltzing in, I have to go find them.



              • #8

                Well tonight if the SM is at roundtable I will have a sit down with him. If he is just planning to get his son through then really cares nothing about keeping the pack healthy, I can't help him.. If he thinks he has tried unsuccessfully to recruit without a feeder pack and really does want to get the troop running, well maybe I can help. At least I go with him to see the two successful Boy run troops from our area that I know of. These Troops do recruit boy scout age boys and not all from a feeder pack. From talking to him, he thinks he is offering boy run, he is not.. Not a guarantee it would work a) he has to be able to see the big difference, which some people have blinders when looking at their own troop and can't see the weeds that is choking out the garden.. b) He has to have the ability to make the change to offer a better program.. Some people are just micro-managers and even if they see their flaws can't stop themselves..

                I realize a healthy troop should pull boys in regardless of age if well run.. I also know this troop isn't healthy.. If the SM doesn't want healthy though I can not force it upon him. If the SM does but just can't figure it out without guidance, and can't even figure out where to ask for help, well there's a slim hope of fixing that.


                • jblake47
                  jblake47 commented
                  Editing a comment
                  As UC I faced the same thing with one of my troops. If the adults aren't backing it, you're pretty much dead in the water. The adults all had their boys through the program and had done very little to recruit adult support, let alone new scouts. 5 ASM's an no one wanted to step up to SM and keep things going. It folded this past recartering and we were able to transfer all the boys to other troops in the area. The adults followed along and signed on as ASM's. They want to wear the uniform, but they don't want to do the work.

                  The sad part of the whole thing is the Troop 10-15 years ago was a real powerhouse in the area. These people just basically sat back on their laurels and let it nosedive into the ground. I had even offered my services as SM and they turned me down. This was a good thing in that the troop I'm building now never would have happened if I had been trying to resurrect the older one nearby.


              • #9
                I always tell folks to shop all good Troops in the area. When they visit ours I give them names and contacts of the others and tell them on what we expect. All Troops have different cultures and go up and down in quality. We have two Packs as feeders and having been attracting one or two others a month. We just had a mess of Webelos visit that usually feeds into a nearby Troop because they couldn't be bothered to fit them into our schedule. The Webelos that visited ended up experiencing our Survival campout and we might just attract the ones that ate it up. A couple leaders very put off by the boy-led meeting before and the lack of camping I wish them Godspeed.

                My attitude is that you want to keep them in Scouting, period. And sometimes for me that has meant letting go of some of my boys that were not the right fit. But I was happy if they were happy somewhere else.

                But Mousie, you are in a tough spot. I think you are right that some Troops (like the one that didn't bother to host 'their' pack this weekend at our campout) get lazy--they just assume they will get a majority every year. That is not a good sign. You have to work at having a good program and once there it is a constant battle. Much more delicate than cubs.


                • #10
                  my son crossover to a troop that had very little new scouts. it seems for whatever reason, they didn't do much of recruiting previous few yrs. with leadership change, that is turning around. we are recruiting from all the packs around the area. we are doing webelos weekend, and extensive webelos parents meetings. maybe the leaders are burnt out.


                  • #11
                    If you do the math and crunch the numbers you will quickly notice that there are more boys outside of scouting that are eligible for recruitment than just the Webelos II boys of all the combined Packs in the area? I set up a table to recruit neighborhood kids at a church (our CO) and recruited 3 boys, none of which joined my Troop, but were set up in Packs and Troops in the area. It's rather unfortunate the myopic view of recruiting seems to be Webelos II only.



                    • Tampa Turtle
                      Tampa Turtle commented
                      Editing a comment
                      I agree. There are a lot of boys who drop out of cubbing because they though it would be more like Boy Scouts and may be ripe for some adventure.

                  • #12
                    Too much politics.

                    If the troop committee ans SM are truly letting the troop die out intentionally, and are truly keeping the IH out of the loop, and your son is willing to be SM for a good long while, then I would do two things: (1) As UC, keep hands-off with the troop (I'm surprised they assigned you to this troop given the situation with your son to begin with, which is no sleight against you) and (2) have your son sit down with the IH and CoR without you and if the IH wants to keep the troop then he/she needs to make your son the SM.
                    It is, frankly, not the SM's decision whether or not to disband the troop, and if he doesn't want to run a troop his decision is to step down or not, not to kill the troop or not.


                    • #13
                      Well right now my son is the Cub Master, and "NO" he would no longer want to be Scout Master for the troop.. In fact I am waiting for when he bows out of the Cub Master position.. This summer he moved so now to do anything with the Pack it is an 1.5 hour trip to come back to this area.. When he does make that move though I fear if anyone will step up to take the CM position, since as of right now, we have no one wanting to even take on ACM positions..

                      Actually I took on UC when the only Adult leader was a very absentee Cub Master who had done NOTHING with the pack from the start of the school year until she was finally removed in January.. Then we had 6 tigers and a parent willing to be a Tiger Den Leader and the only ones coming back were 2 Bears and their Den Leader, and we did get 3 people willing to be committee members.. But, no Cub Master, so knowing my son had been a ACM for a while in another Pack, and had interest with the SM position the troop associated to the Pack. It was I who asked him if he would be willing.. With him excepting we were able to resurrect the Pack last year..

                      I don't think it bothered the DE that we were related, they just wanted the Pack up and running again.


                      • #14
                        Hey Moose!

                        Have you talked with your Disctrict Commissioner to see if he has nay insight, I know the District Membership Chair would help if you think it would help. The DE is willing to help you with this situation. As far as the troop dying; definitely speak to the IH (or ahve someone do it) the SM does not have the right to kill a troop.


                        • #15
                          How does the Charter Org feel about the troops plan to cease operation?