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insanescouter

Re-Starting a Troop

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I have posted this in newsgroups as well ... Please be patient with me as this is my first time posting here...

 

My Dad and I (I am 27, Eagle, WoodBadge trained, etc) are in the process of re-starting a failed Troop. The reason it failed was due to a lack of parent support to assist with things like transportation to campouts and with Troop Committee functions. It also didn't help that in a period of 6 weeks the Committee Chair and Two ASM's resigned, for a variety of reason including moving and family issues. The Troop family structure was a bit weird too ... composed mostly of either Single Parent Mothers or Grandparents raising Grandson(s).

 

I was wondering if anyone has had similar problems, and if so how the over came them? How other units are getting parents and the community to help support the Troop? And how other Units are recruiting new members and parents?

 

InsaneScouter

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webmaster@insanescouter.org

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Greetings,

 

Good for you for re-starting the troop. First talk to your CO about local Cub Packs in the area and start attending some Packs about recruitment. Also (and idea given to me, not my own, but it sure is a good idea) run a couple ads in your local newspaper announcing your troop and recruit sign ups. get real involved in the local schools and ask if you can post recruitment posters. (you can get them from your council) Good luck, best wishes and "Get That Troop Up & Running"

 

ASM1

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Welcome aboard

We (Scoutmaster and myself) took over a troop five years ago, but it was like starting a new troop. All the scouts were young hence no older scouts to be the example. We as leaders had to be a patrol of our on and set the example for the young scouts. Its a long process but worth it. By th eway we still do our own patrol. There's nothing like leading by example. Eventually you begin to see some results and have scout leaders. Make sure all incoming scouters get the training like you and your father have, and if its been a while since you had update training, do it with them. It will help build comraderie. It is also a great time to do Troop Junior Leader Training. Be patient!

YIS

Doug

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What's so weird about having single parents mother's raising a scout? There is at least one on this forum that you or any troop would be lucky to have, and she is trained.

 

What's so weird about grandparents raising grandchildren?

 

I applaud you and your father for your efforts, but dont make it harder than it will be about pre-conceived notions of what a "weird" home life is, focus on the boys and help where ever you find it, we are rooting for your success!

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Sorry, you are right ... I am not trying to say that their family life itself is weird .. just the fact that around 90% of the Scouts home life was not the tradtional 2 parent ... in my 20 years of Scouting I have never known of a Troop to have that high of percentage (thus my reference to weird), however that could be becuase I grew up on Air Force bases. Im not saying this to say it is good or bad ... just saying the way the Troop was and may contuine to be - so that others could best offer their advice. I hope this makes sence and I am not shoving my foot further down my throat ...

 

InsaneScouter

http://insanescouter.com Webmaster

webmaster@insanescouter.org

 

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There is something for every parent/guardian to do in a troop. Let it be known you will help those who have never camped but would like. For those who don't want to camp, there are lots of other things to do. Recruit the adults to be on the committee, to be merit badge counselors, etc.

 

These boys may also have other adults in their lives that would like to help -- aunts, uncles, older siblings, etc.

 

Make it clear that EVERYONE is encouraged to be involved. Let them know how they can get trained.

 

Also, be understanding about kids that go out of town for the summer and other school vacation times.

 

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Slow down Insane, I knew what you meant. I just wanted you to think about the use of the word "weird" and how it might sound if you spoke it and it got back to some parents in the troop. I know your heart is in the right place and I will be on your side every step of the way.

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Insane I am just coming out of the start up phase with my new Troop. It has been 18 months of grinding away at behaving reasonably, responsible leadership and lots of skills training. We also did a very big trip (overseas) to give real focus. The word is out and in the last four months my Troop has had 75% growth.

 

But - I still can't get through to parents what we are doing and what is needed. I am short of trained leaders.

 

My error was to concentrate on the program, the Scouts and getting more Scouts when I really needed to get the adult assistance set up correctly. The parents need to be educated and motivated - your fast start training is probably step one.

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(sorry, bumped enter)

 

WEIRD? sounds normal to me! Welcome to the typical contemporary American Family! This is why it is SOOO important for good people to do good things. I take it as a compliment that moms want their kid around me! (now THAT"S weird!!)

 

A small group of experienced Scouters and I just started a new troop. I offer these suggestions:

 

Make it SSSOOOO fun they would'nt dare miss it!

 

Plan really cool outings - get the parents excited about going along.

 

Spend your money on outings, NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT NOT on tents. They'll find a tent if the outing sounds fun!

 

Take a thousand pictures and make a big bulletin board showing off what you have been doing. The parents have no idea how great the outing was. Johnny won't tell them...that's YOUR job!

 

Make sure it is truly boy led and the parents understand what decision making skills the boys are learning as the stumble along.

 

Do the program "by the book" - full uniforms, committee meetings, PLC's, annual calendar, proper discipline (I cannot begin to count how many parents bring their sons because we require full uniforms and have tight discipline...)

 

Think quality, not quantity. Some of our best outings were 2 adults and 2 Scouts.

 

Do the program not matter what - somedays you may be the only one there, and have to do it all, so do it anyway.

 

Check the "adult talk" - no sarcastic or put down humor. Always upbeat and proud of the Scouts.

 

I see lots of troops suffering form "overtraining" - the adults like to stand around and impress everbody with their Scout knowledge while the new kid sits all alone eating a cold hot dog.

 

Brag to the parent about how great Johnny did - you'll see their eyes light up and VOLUNTEER to help out!

 

Take care of the boys God gives you. He put them in your care for a reason.

 

Build it (properly) and they will come.

 

Welcome to the club!

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PS- by the book also means fill all the positions. Don't try to do it all yourself. BUT....if you are the only one who shows up, do it all yourself! The others will only "Follow" your commitment.

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don't ask for "volunteers" or help - that's too general, and nobody will answer because no one wants to get in over their heads. After all, they think - what do i know about It?

 

call up the parents and invite them specifically to an event or meeting. See them in town, at the grocery, in church, and get to know them. Know your boys, and know their families.

 

Then...

 

"Gee, Mrs T., Johnny tells me you run the neighborhood garage sale and are Mrs organization - do you think you could help me with the troop checkbook and fundraising money?"

 

Hey, Mr B! your son told me about that fly fishing trip you went on with your family last year - d'you think you could teach the boys those fly fishing knots next month? how about Sept 14th?, no? may be the week after? GREAt!"

 

Be specific . Ask for specific help that plays on their skills and strengths. Like the boys, grownups like to be recognized and valued, too! hook them in on one thing and get them involved little by little!

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Bugle writes:

"Take a thousand pictures and make a big bulletin board showing off what you have been doing. The parents have no idea how great the outing was. Johnny won't tell them...that's YOUR job!"

 

The adults in our troop that went to summer camp took digital cameras (they are cheap now days) and took lots of pictures. Including pictures of the inside of tents, the spiders, the dining hall, etc. Then copied them to computer CD's for each boy who went. As a parent, I can see what my son did all week, how much fun he was having and I have pictures of him doing it.

 

Also, after each campout, everyone who attended (boys and adults) must rate the campout from 1 to 10, 10 being best. Then they must say WHY they gave it that rating. For those who didn't go on the campout, they get to hear how cool it was. It gets down right funny sometimes to hear all the new scouts give a campout a 9 or 10, then the older scouts (who got in trouble on the campout) give it a 4. Usually you get to hear some great little story about what happened and the boys start giggling so bad remembering it they can't talk.

 

I know Boy Scouting is not family camping like Cub Scouts. But as a single mom, Cub Scout events were one of the best things for me and my son. It gave us something fun to do, usually low cost, I had adults to talk to and he had other boys to play with.

 

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I just wanted to thank everyone who has helped me so far. Your advice has shed light on some things I can try to make the Troop go. I have also past much of the advice I have received here and in several newsgroups to my dad, who is the Scoutmaster.

 

Our first Troop meeting is less then a week away. :) I can't wait.

 

Please keep the ideas coming, the smallest thing may become our biggest tool to saving the Troop.

 

I guess the biggest thing I have to remember is this...

 

"The difference between the possible

and the impossible is the measure of

the man's will." -Battle Hymn Movie

 

Again thanks for all the help.

 

InsaneScouter

www.insanescouter.com Webmaster

webmaster@insanescouter.org

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On my first Troop camp (start plus five weeks) I had some of my scouts from my previous Troop to set an example and just pitch in. They helped train my new scouts and led in 'scout spirit'.

 

I would recommend that you use existing scouts at your first few meetings for the same reason.

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