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."