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Introducing new skills to New Young Troop

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  • Introducing new skills to New Young Troop

    We've recently started a new troop it is about 3-4 months old with 9, 11-12 year olds. I've followed a lot of the advice I've found on the site. (read 3rd edition SM handbook, two patrols no matter the number of boys, etc).

    So far I think things are going far better then I expected. We have a great CO, a functional committee and most importantly the Scouts are doing a fantastic job. I started with them planning everything including the meeting time from the beginning so they would take ownership. They determined short durations for the PL so they could each see what the position meant. I offered if they wanted an SPL, several on here had stated no need for an SPL for a troop this size. The Scouts agreed, saying no to the SPL, stating "Let the Patrol leaders rotate SPL duties until we know what we need to do." In fact at this point if the committee tries to push something down the Scouts get upset saying "I thought this was our troop."

    Where my struggles are is in two parts (well really how to manage the latter part).
    1) Maintaining "this is our troop" attitude, but introducing new skills to them that they need to develop such as Leave No Trace, or even items such as campfire programs or Service Projects. When I've mentioned them during PLC there is still too many 'New' items for them to tackle at one time. 2) This is frustrating several of the parents who see the lack of perfection and skills as a reason the scouts are too young to lead or don't have enough structure in their program. Or see the boys spending all weekend doing the same activity as not making the most of the weekend (even if most of the boys are enjoying it, actually I think they are just enjoying not having to follow a tight schedule. I expect the boys to tire of the overly lax scheduling after a couple of weekends and respond to suggestions to diversify the activities in during their campout).

    Health & Safety issues such as good Kitchen Patrol practices I have no problem stopping them and showing the proper way. With the rest of the items I'm fine with the pace the boys have been taking. Especially when I hear comments like tonight when one of the PL's asked the scouts what they need to change. He got the response "we need less time playing games (its been about 20-25 minutes every meeting), we need to work more on our rank or on some skills."

  • #2
    Congratulations!!!! And good luck...

    You have undertaken an adventure I started on five years ago. We started with five boys and have been as high as 25 and now sit at 20 in our troop. Sounds like you are going in the right direction. Let the boys learn how to lead on their own, with some "direction" from the SM. Our biggest challenge has been a lack of older "role models" for the leaders to pattern themselves after. Developing leaders will take you longer than an established troop. Make use of any and all available training.

    Another challenge has been a lack of knowledgeable adult leaders. We have them all go through training, but unfortunately have few with any actual Scout experience. What I wouldn't give for another adult Eagle Scout! Our CC started the troop with me and had no Scouting experience. After five years, he is now one of the best CC's I know and has also distinguished himself in the District.

    Stick with it. Good things will happen.


    • #3
      Great job! Keep up the good work.

      Started our troop 10 years ago and had all the same hassles, worries, etc. Keep the Patrol Method foremost and remember this is for the boys. Everything becomes fairly routine if you handle it that way. And get some sleep! Remember, "It's only an hour a week." Kidding!

      One thing I did right was not trying to do it all myself. Sure, boy led troop, but recruit a trusted ASM to look after each patrol and help them solve the problems, learn the skills, etc. Not do it for them! And DON'T let the PL's Dad be that person. No nepotism here. Keep a healthy separation. The boy did not join scouting to have to teach other kids to "ignore dad like I do."


      • #4
        Ther's always gonna be a little back-and-forth, but it sounds like your boys are on the right track.

        As the boys advance and committee gets to hear from them in boards of review and such, the adults'll catch on.


        • #5
          Great--how exciting.

          All good advice. Have them learn the practical knots early so they can erect tarps and dining flies. Teach them lashing and make things. Fire and Knives first. Simple cooking and hiking skills. And practice them through friendly games and competitions at the weekly meetings.

          As for Merit Badges I would only worry about the ones like First-Aid, Weather, etc that help with those outdoor adventures.