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sctmom

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Bob White,

 

Dare I bite...Okay, I'm a sucker, I'll bite.

 

There are several items noted in your post that we have debated before. I dare not address them all...It would be too tasking even for me (despite my love for a good debate). But let's take one item to start with:

 

Lose 50% of new scouts - Your disdain for this possibility, seems to indicate that if the program is being run properly (according to BSA), it is impossible for at a troop to lose 50% of their new scouts. I think that is a poor assumption and one that insults a lot of dedicated leaders.

 

I am not going to revive all of the disagreements that we've already debated. However, I want it to be noted that I have not used the quotes that sctmom provided to defend any of my positions. First and foremost, most of them don't come close to any of the positions that I have staked claim to. And secondly, any of the ones that might come close, don't representative my reasoning.

 

For example, I might say - "A retention rate of 50% is okay if you're presenting the program as best you can." (I give folks credit for realizing that "best you can" means following the BSA program). I wouldn't simply state - "A retention rate of 50% is okay." Obviously we should be striving for something better. Yet, I don't automatically assume that the adult leaders are presenting a bad program.

 

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Where we differ I believe is in the the definition of "doing the best I can". To many of the posters experiencing a high drop off rate that translates to "doing it my way the best I can" Not "following the program the best I can".

 

besides it shouldn';t be an I statement. if you are indeed following the program this should be plural.

Bob

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besides it shouldn';t be an I statement. if you are indeed following the program this should be plural.

 

This is what I call "Classic Bob". To that, I can only smile :) If you're nothing else, you're consist Bob.

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My head is spinning from this thread! LOL

 

So what happens when the program is altered and the current SM is not likey to correct the problem? Do you leave for a better run troop?

 

supermom

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I know most volunteers are giving all they can to a troop. But I think we should still always be looking for improvement, even if you KNOW you are following the program 100%. If you expect 50% to drop out, it is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You will not even worry about the first boys that disappear. No one will call and ask why. No one will try to listen to them to see what is going on. You shrug your shoulders and walk on. Does it mean we change the program to be all things for all people? No. Does it mean we try to find something in the program to get the boy's attention? I say YES. Listen to that first 50% that walks out the door, there may be something you can easily fix.

 

I'm sure most of you have taken Quality classes in the last decade or so at work, no matter what your job is. We should always strive for 100%. Reality is that some boys will not stay no matter what.

 

The basics for the program are there. Rooster, you are right it has changed over the years. It will continue to change as our society changes and the needs of our boys change. A troop should offer the best program it can for today's boys.

 

 

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I've heard all of these discussions before, and again I say that it must be nice to even have graduating Webolos into your Troop program. Our Troop runs an excellent program, but it now has been over three (3) years since we received an graduates, much less having to worry about retaining them. Our older Scouts know each other too well, and they need new Scouts to work with. When one of our few younger Scouts brought a friend on a recent campout, they couldn't do enough to show him a great weekend. He joined the next meeting. I've pushed the COR to do something until he utterly dislikes even seeing me. We both sing in the church choir, and I no longer bother to ask how the Pack is doing. I've pushed him to demand adult leader training, and turning the Pack over to other adults, but it's the same old story. The Pack has a leader whose sons have gone through this Pack program, but she wants to stay in charge. No other adult leader wants to do anything but assist. This leader is always late to meetings, and the parents complain, but don't want to do anything about it because they would have to get more involved. Meanwhile, the Troop is fading fast. As the Scoutmaster, we've been doing lots of recruitment programs, etc., and pick up a Scout here and there, but nothing like having a consistent group of graduates from the very Pack you support.

Eventually the COR will take action. He won't have a choice. The Troop will be ready.

 

sst3rd

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sst3rd,

 

Invite all the 2nd year webelos in your area on a troop camp out or other troop function. It doesn't have to be just the webelos from the troop that your co sponsors. Explain the recruiter strip to the current scouts and challenge them to each bring a friend to the next troop outing.

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Here's a thought...

 

For our October Boy Scout Roundtable meeting, our District is holding a 2nd year Webelos night. All the troops in the Distrct (who show up) will have a banquet table assigned to them. The troops may set up any display they wish and hand out as much or as little information as they wish. Last year this was done for the first time. Several troops had Poster Board displays and Power point presentations. Information about the meeting was through

the Cub packs. Since it was determined some Cubmasters didnt pass information about the meeing on, this year the District is sending all 2nd year Webelos specifics on this meeting by good ol' snail mail actual letters.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

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ScoutParent,

 

That thought came up before at the PLC and Committee meetings, but our Council and District are set up where there is a Pack associated to a Troop. However, there are a few extra Packs here and there, and they are heavily recruited by nearby Troops. In our case, all area Troops have a Pack associated with them, and when a Webolos leader trys to take his Den in another direction, a phone call to Council gets it straightened out. I will say that if an individual Webolos/family checks out other nearby Troops, that's usually not a problem.

 

OldGreyEagle,

 

That's an idea I haven't heard of before. I'll check it out. But as you can see by my reply above to ScoutParent, our Council/District is set in it's ways. It pushes the Night For Scouting in the fall for Packs, but encourages Open House Programs for the Troops. We've had Open House programs in the past with dismal results. We promote, plan, and present, but have very little turnout, and our Scouts are easily discouraged.

 

We're Keepin' the Scouting Spirit

sst3rd

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Hey Bob;

 

Here's a hypothetical. If, as you suggest, you couled expect a prospective PL to commit to 80% meeting attendance, and he falls short of that (slightly or considerably), would you as SM still sign off the leadership advancement requirement for Star, Life, or Eagle?

 

If not, isn't that the same as an attendance requirement for advancement, which some of us think is reasonable but you do not? If so, aren't you concerned about the example set for those in the troop who will follow (i.e., "...the 80% was a requirement/standard/ commitment, but Joe didn't make 80% and Mr. X signed him off on his leadership requirement anyway...").

 

I'm not trying to paint you into a corner, since I know from some time in this forum that you always try to position yourself in the room so you have a door or window behind you rather than a corner. Rather, I'm seriously interested in your opinion on this question, since I have such a situation upcoming. Although I haven't given specific percentage requirements, one of my Scouts just hasn't attended/performed in his leadership position, and I'm pondering how to deal with it come SM conference time...

 

KS

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Hi KoreaScouter,

Here is my door...As a SM I would not use a specific attendance figure to determine the requirement you selected. Take another look at what I wrote.

"If I were a scout in a patrol I would not elect a PL who did not committ to being at 80% or more of troop and patrol activities."

 

I left this in the hands of the individual scout to determine if the candidate understands the expectations of the patrol before he is elected. It is not my role as a SM to determine who the scouts should elect, but I do have a responsibility to train them in good decision making.

 

As far as the underlying question...how would I evaluate the advancement requirement of "actively serve in a leadership position" I would have the scout present his evidence to me that he has been an active leader. They know if they have done their job or not. If you ask them what it means to be active and then ask if they did those things or not, they will be able to see for themselves if they fulfilled the requirement or not. They know we are not blind to what goes on, and when made to self-evaluate are usually brutally honest to themselves.

 

Hope this answers your question.

 

Bob White(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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Well, it sounds like two different roads to the same destination to me. All leaders have standards; problems arise, in my experience, when they're not articulated clearly. The standards (like your 80%) can be a double-edged sword -- they can help define what's acceptable vs. what's not, but they can also hoist a leader on his own petard. For example, using the same example, what if the Scout attended 79% and all other indicators were positive? Obviously an application of discretion is in order, but you did say 80%...

 

BTW, I liked your suggestions on rewarding uniform wear...we've gotten better, but are not fully head-to-toe. I'm going to try free ice cream coupons or something to motivate them.

 

KS

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" If you expect 50% to drop out, it

is a self-fulfilling prophecy. "

 

Gotta disagree here. If you are running the program the way that it is supposed to be run, you can't worry too much about the drop outs. Changing a program to try to keep the kids who are leaving short changes those who want the program.

 

I've been involved in number of large organizations over the years and I've seen similar things. My chapter of the BMW CCA is one of the largest in the country, about 4,000 members. The strange thing was that only 150 to 200 members were seen at the functions. That's not 200 members at any given function, that's 200 different people showing up for everything and anything. We tried polls to find out what people wanted to do. We tried new events but very little changed. What did we do? We stopped worrying about it.

 

If three kids don't like wearing a uniform and quit because of that, should we eliminate the uniform to hang onto three kids? If five kids quit because they don't like the service projects, should we eliminat service projects?

 

I don't see sports programs eliminating physical activity to encourage slugs to join. I don't see church groups showing porn to attract new members.

 

A group needs to stick to its core. Evolution isn't bad and that should be reflected in Scouting by the changes in the merit badge program.

 

If kids are leaving because they don't like Scouting, that's fine. Scouting isn't for everyone just like soccer isn't for everyone. However, if kids are leaving because your program is run poorly, then you need to change things. Big difference.

 

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Korea

Again, I didn't say to set a "policy" on attendance. I suggested that scouts consider another scouts attendance before they cast a vote. There is a big difference there.

 

Yaworski,

What was said yaworski, is that if you are losing 50% of the scouts then you are not following the program and you need to change and start using all of it. Kids don't leave a scouting program in droves. They leave programs that wear a scout uniform and don't use scouting.

 

I have never seen a unit that used the program have a retention problem, and I have never seen a unit with a retention problem that didn't blame everyone and everything for it except their use of the methods of scouting.

 

Bob White

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You have interesting thoughts on changing the rules! I think that changing the rules must be very common.

My son belonged to a troop where the rules were ignored.

There were parents who openly consumed alcohol on outings and in the parking lot during scout meetings.

I've known of fathers who carried guns in their backpacks, even though these fathers were not in law inforcement.

This must be no big deal, because when complaints were made, both the charter rep. and the council treated the problem as if they were dealing with two groups of squabbling parents, those who didn't agree with this practice and those who did.

 

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