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How to merge two troops

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  • How to merge two troops

    I have been asked by another troop if they could merge with mine. It would double my troop size. The other troop has more older scouts than mine. I don't know much about the other troop, other than they are having a problem with their CO. If we come to an agreement I don't want problems to creep up latter. Have any of you been in this situation?

  • #2
    Coffee. Talk. Management styles. Boy led, parent involvement. Camp every month? Once a year? Patrol autonomy? Troop camping? Who is the new CCh? The new (old) SM? Flip a coin? How 'bout the equipment? Scout accounts (HORRORS)? Sell popcorn or holiday trees? . Summer camp? Philmont ? Lots to discuss. Assume NOTHING..... have a BIG parent meeting, in a circle, preferably, rather than "church style" (face the pulpit) so all can see and meet all. Do the boys know each other? Different schools?
    So much is often un-said, but thought to be "understood" . Make sure it really IS UNDERSTOOD..

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    • #3
      Just this past March, two long-standing Troops in my community merged. Both were losing membership numbers but were recruiting from the same Pack. So the two Troops amicably merged and took on the unit number of the Pack to make it easier for the incoming Cubs. I know both former Scoutmasters well and I have been discussing the merger over the past few months. There was a lot of cooperation between the two committees and the Unit Commissioner. It's only been two months so we can't tell how things are going to work out.

      However, I did hear just this weekend that several of the Scouts are disheartened by the news of the Seattle Scoutmaster, Geoff McGrath, and the Venturer, Garrett Bryant, being asked to step down due to sexual orientation. Some in the new Troop are advocating for a new organization altogether. It will definitely be interesting to see how their membership numbers progress at the close of the first year.

      My Troop has been doing joint outings with the patrols from a neighboring Troop. I don't want to merge with them since my Troop has been in existence since 1925 and supports, and is supported by, our chartering org, a Methodist church.

      You say, though, that your move "would double [your] troop size". I'm pretty sure that the merger would require your Troop and the other Troop to officially lose the former identity and become a completely new unit. I could be wrong. It might make more since for the other Troop to continue trying to recruit and do joint outings with your Troop. Just my opinion.

      Comment


      • #4
        "...they are having a problem with their CO."

        That's pretty vague. I would find out EXACTLY what's going on before making any changes. If it is the CO that's being the tension creator, then that's one thing, but if the troop is being the tension creator, one would want to get as far away from them as possible. The CO might be insisting on boy-led, patrol-method. The troop is doing some push-back. Okay is that because of the adults or the scouts? Again, more information helps with the problem solution. Okay, the CO is insisting on the troop doing, X, Y and Z and the troop doesn't want to do it. Okay, more insight to making a decision. What if YOUR CO insists on the troop doing X, Y, and Z, and your committee thinks it a good thing. Want to take on a 100% gain in membership who isn't buying into your program?

        Get in touch with the DE, the UC, and set up dialogs with both CO's. This "merger" could be a really great thing for both units or it could be all the problems of the other troop have now infested your unit. Too many units walk blindly into situations and are side-blinded by it.

        I'm not at all saying that a merger isn't possible even if there are problems. If the other CO wants boy-led, patrol-method, your CO wants boy-led, patrol-method, your boys are all sold on boy-led, patrol-method, but the boys of the other troop are all adult-led, Eagle Mill, then I would suggest a long serious visit with the adults and boys of the other troop before jumping into anything permanent. Oh? The old SM of the other troop is a 30 year scouter who's stuck in his ways, but the merger means your SM takes over and the other troop thinks this is the bump they need to help the other troop boys be more responsible and develop leadership? Now discussions can start.

        As a UC, I just merged two troops this spring. Both dropped their CO's and found a third so both units are "getting a fresh start." It seems to be going well. I and the DE only had a minimal part of the process. One CO was an elementary school, so that future didn't really look all that bright, the other CO was a National Guard armory unit, again, tenuous in today's climate. The picked up the American Legion as the new CO. The folding unit didn't have a SM and so all-in-all, I think the situation will turn out okay all the way around.

        Stosh

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        • #5
          You have all voiced some of my thoughts. The other troop would be merging into my troop. I would stay the SM and the CC would stay the same. My troop is self chartered so in effect I direct the troop. The families would have to agree to our bylaws and methods. The important question for me was how to merge in older scouts to our existing two patrols. My plan was to bring the other scouts in as a new patrol. Then when ready call for elections. Their scouts need POR's and so do my scouts. I don't want my existing scout to feel that they are being pushed out or marginalized by the older scouts. I'm meeting with the other SM this week to talk.

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          • #6
            Two nearby Packs merged when one of their Charter Orgs wanted to start charging the Pack for meeting space rental. It wasn't a merger so much as the one Pack absorbed/mass transferred the other Pack (both Packs fed the same Troop).

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            • #7
              Originally posted by SM bob View Post
              I have been asked by another troop if they could merge with mine. It would double my troop size. ...
              So you still get to be SM? Or will you face off in a game of mumbly peg, loser getting the patch?

              Our troop absorbed a number of boys from adjacent neighborhoods ... mainly because they saw us as being more boy led. Most of us adults really enjoyed the new boys' company. Some of the adults were a little rough, but to complain would have been pots calling kettles black. Our established boys in the upper age range, however, were a little cliquish (stellar academic and athletic types). It took the younger siblings in both groups to really form a decent bond with one another.

              During all of this, some of the local adults went and spun off a new troops (technically, merged with a failing troop and relocated it to a different CO), and one adult went from there to spin off a third troop. Lots of reasons for that, but my point is that everyone might like the way you operate "on paper," but a point may come a year or two down the road where there are just too many chefs in one kitchen!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by qwazse View Post

                Our established boys in the upper age range, however, were a little cliquish (stellar academic and athletic types). It took the younger siblings in both groups to really form a decent bond with one another.
                This was the part I wanted to point out as well, older scouts "Don't like change". It is rare for older scouts to go along with big changes in program, even if the change is just a merger. It can work, I'm just advising (warning) to consider the scouts 14 and older. The more involved they are at the begining, the better your chances of success after the merge.

                As for the merge, we found that only 25% of merges and splits are successful. Success meaning that the units continue to perform at least as well as before the change.

                Barry

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by SM bob View Post
                  My troop is self chartered so in effect I direct the troop. .
                  Anyone else see this as a red flag?

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by The Blancmange View Post
                    Anyone else see this as a red flag?

                    As long as teh kids and parents are happy with it, and BSA rules are followed, a self-chartered troop is fine.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      TB, not really a red flag. I personally would rather have the backing of a CO, but if this works for SM bob let him have at it! I think the real challenge will be finding those couple of adults who can grasp the implications of whatever by-laws there are and build a productive committee around them.

                      Originally posted by SM bob View Post
                      ... The important question for me was how to merge in older scouts to our existing two patrols. My plan was to bring the other scouts in as a new patrol. Then when ready call for elections. Their scouts need POR's and so do my scouts. ...
                      Generally older scouts will dive in wherever you put them. I think you're on the right track with starting a new patrol. Then ask the boys what they would like to do most in the next few months (Service, High Adventure, Skills Acquisition). Keep an eye for the "odd boy out" who might suit one of your existing patrols. Later give some of the older boys in the other patrols a chance to swap in to the new patrol. Go through the list of POR's with your PLC to see if you have any gaps, and ask the new boys if any of them want to step up and fill them. Meanwhile, think if there are any practical things that need to be done as a result of the merger (e.g., clean gear, make more seats, organize paperwork), and see if a boy might rather do a service project along those lines instead of wearing a patch for the next few months.

                      They key, I think, is to be flexible and upbeat.

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                      • #12
                        Haven't merged but have moved COs which is what it seems like the other unit is doing. If gear is going to transfer make sure your unit gets a "clean title." When our pack changed COs we were asked for a letter on the old COs letterhead listing everything that was moving to the new CO. I know it's been debated here but I don't believe the old CO is obligated to transfer equipment or money to the new unit. If there's no money or equipment changing hands you might consider just having the boys fill out transfer applications, pay the $1 and be done with it.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by perdidochas View Post


                          As long as teh kids and parents are happy with it, and BSA rules are followed, a self-chartered troop is fine.
                          Sorry for not being clear. My comment was directed more at the "My" troop and "I direct the troop" aspects.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by The Blancmange View Post
                            ... the "My" troop and "I direct the troop" aspects. ...
                            Don't know what you mean.

                            I direct my crew. I set the boundaries for how other adults interact with the youth, and I give the youth (pretty wide) boundaries within which they must operate if they are going to take advantage of my services. My committee is there to support them. I tell them how I would like them to do that.

                            Likewise, it's my SM's troop, and I'm there to assist him. I remind folks who may wish things were different that he's "the guy." Doing "the time." And getting "the work" done.

                            In the next sentence SM Bob refers to "our bylaws and methods". Which implies he's got people. Hopefully each is a good soul who thinks it's "his/her troop" too, but makes sure things are done in a way that suits Bob's style.

                            Sussing out phraseology that may not be "politically correct", just inserts more BS into the BS of A.

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                            • #15
                              It seems like more than semantics to me, suggesting a focus on the adult leaders rather than the scouts. I don't see why that is a "BS" point to discuss.

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