Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Bob White

Common traits of failing troops

Recommended Posts

Just as there are common elements in successful units there are also common traits of units in trouble. Maybe these sound familiar to you in your unit, I hope not. rarely will you only find one of these traits alone.

Bob White

 

> Leaders are not trained

 

> Scoutmaster runs the committee

 

> Most parents are unwilling to help (think about it, its not that they don't want to work with their children.)

 

> Leadership distain for district, council, and professional scouters.

 

> Troop meetings are merit badge classes

 

> They don't get outside once a month

 

> They don't have quarterly Courts of Honor

 

> SM doesn't train junior leaders

 

> New scouts do not advance to First Class near the first year

 

> greater than 10% drop off rate

 

> Poor troop meeting attendance

 

> Adults cook for scouts at campouts

 

> Scouts are punished by unit leaders

 

> Adults hollering at boys

 

> SM who doesn't trust the boys to elect their own leaders

 

> No monthly Patrol Leaders Council meetings

 

> Leaders do not follow the policies of the Guide to safe scouting, Advancement or Uniforming.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A couple questions Bob.

 

You listed getting first year scouts to First Class in one year. Would this include those boys that only show up 50-75% of the time? Our troop provides an opportunity for each boy to earn First Class within 1 year IF they attend all the outings and meetings. But if a boy misses a meeting, we leave it up to them to complete the work. Do you behave differently?

 

We have semi-annual Courts of Honor. Is the quarterly COH necessary or helpful? Do you hold these in place of the regularly scheduled troop meeting or on a different night?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Glenn,

I have seen boys how have had less than 50% attendance meet all the requirements as listed in the handbook, if they attend the right activities, and have evidence of being able to do the required skill.

 

I'll be honest with you Glenn It has benn many years since I've had an attendance problem. The units I have served have been an awful lot of fun and done some interesting camping, the scouts don't stay away. The few that have we treat on an individual basis. If for instance we had a scout who was needing a few requirements but it was Basket ball season and he couldn't make the meetings, we would have a scout near him meet at his house and work with him. We are there to help them grow and we accept some need more flexibility on our part to acheive that growth.

 

We do courts of honor quarterly as recommended for the Quality Unit Award. It's one of our most important communication tools we have for keeping in touch with all the parents. It is also important for the scouts to show their growth and development in front of their parents.

 

Court of Honors are usually, but certainly not restricted to, meeting nights. We almost always do Eagle Courts separate.

 

Good questions, hope this helped,

Bob White

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Several years back when I was active at the troop level it was extremly difficult to keep any scouting unit in this county running over a year. Thankly we've got a unit thats been here going on about 3 years now.

The problem with scouting in this area was that in the past, mostly the 50's and 60's units were supported by the KKK, and the community's memory of this era is starting to slowly fade. It's a tough legacy to live down, but inroads are being made by some hardworking scouters here.

Now, if we could only find a way to keep a DE in the District.....

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I would have to agree with Bob. I would just say that some are more important than others while all are important these are the ones that I feel are fatal. The number one reason is 1 and 2 on my list. The others are just listed in the order I cut and pasted them.

 

1. Leaders NOT TRAINED

2. Adults hollering at boys

3. Leaders do not follow the policies of the Guide to safe scouting, Advancement or Uniforming

4. Scoutmaster runs the committee

5. Troop meetings are merit badge classes

6. They don't get outside once a month

7. greater than 10% drop off rate

8. Poor troop meeting attendance

9. SM doesn't train junior leaders

10. Scouts are punished by unit leaders

11. SM who doesn't trust the boys to elect their own leaders

 

 

 

Each item on the above list, I believe has enough merit to break a program individually, whereas the following are mistakes but individually will not be fatal (in my opinion).

 

 

Most parents are unwilling to help (think about it, its not that they don't want to work with their children.)

-- I would say not having enough parents willing to help; just trying to distinguish the difference between Cub Scouts which needs more parents.

-- The key is can you get enough parents to help. If not, then this moves to the other list.

 

 

Leadership distain for district, council, and professional scouters.

-- Important, but in some councils the driving distance between troop and office may make it difficult to achieve.

 

They don't have quarterly Courts of Honor

-- Or any at all. If you have semi-annual youd be ok, if this was the only thing on the list you did. But often I see many not doing them at all or yearly.

 

New scouts do not advance to First Class near the first year

-- I would say new scouts MUST have the opportunity to get to FC within a reasonable amount of time to ensure FCFY is obtainable.

 

Adults cook for scouts at campouts

-- I would say not allowing scouts to cook at all. We do patrol cooking and troop cooking with a scout kitchen too. I do believe in always allowing the scouts to cook and/or help. But, we focus this around the activities. So sometimes the adults cook while other times a patrol or individual scouts cook. But, if every time you go the adults cook then you need to rethink whats going on.

 

No monthly Patrol Leaders Council meetings

-- Again, based on your council this may or may not be as feasible as youd like.

 

Good work Bob, I wonder how many units have several from your list?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The most difficult problem that I have seen in failing or in trouble troops is the parent participation. COH are great times to recruit parents and get them involved. Disdain for DC and above...... about the only time we hear from district is when they want money from the troop or when they have a pet project that they want us involved in. the troop I am involved with is one of the premier troops in our area and we are accused of not supporting the distict, therefore not a 'proper' troop supporting BSA. We are a very active troop doing spelunking, sailing, canoeing, backpacking, high adventure, on top of pushing the basic scout skills. We draw from 4-5 packs and get 2-3 transfers a year from other troops. But we are doing something incorrect according to a lot of the district and pro scouts. Each troop os different and should rise or fall on the merits of that troop. Parnetal involvement is paramount in the survival of a troop. Off the soap box. Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Parents participation is a by product of other elements not an element in itself.

 

Parents don't want to be a part of a program that is disorganized, poorly lead, poor communications, and appears like too much work to do, or where they are not appreciated for their individual skills.

 

They don't want to volunteer their time to be miserable.

 

Everbody is willing to stand around and watch a train wreck...but nobody wants to be on board.

 

If you want adults you need to do whats on the list and the adults will come to you when you invite them individually.

 

Another thought red feather. You say you don't here from your district or council unless they need money. who does your trainin, organizes camporeess, runs the cub day camps, puts on roundtables, maintains your camps, operates summer camp, keeps your the council reacords, helps with cub recruitment, puts out communications on events, starts new units, promotes advancement, opersates the scout shop, helps when a scout is injured, protects scouters when there is a lawsuit, as well as raise the monety needed to maintain a program in your community. Districts, councils and units are inseparable. They can't exist without you or you without them. The healthier one of you are the healthier you both are.

 

Bob White

 

 

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

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×
×
  • Create New...