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my_three_sons

Time to leave a Troop?

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There was a hilarious moment a couple of years ago where a Scoutmaster accused our Troop of poaching "his" Cub Scouts. He made the mistake of saying this at a Roundtable to one of our ASM's who is not a shrinking violet and had been the Den Leader of a Den of 10 boys, 9 of which came to our Troop a year prior. He explained what the Den's experience was like, and how it made the boys feel, when they went to Camporee as this other Troop's guests and were completely ignored by the Boy Scouts the entire weekend.

 

We decided years ago that the only important thing was that Webelos join a Boy Scout Troop. If it's ours, that's great, but if someone else is a better fit, so be it. Even though the "feeder Pack" concept would have benefited my Troop at the time (we were on the verge of folding), I rejected the idea at a District meeting for precisely this reason. I believe it would cause some boys who would otherwise have good Scouting careers to drop out instead of going to a Troop that didn't fit them.

 

As above, I utterly reject the idea that a Troop somehow deserves or owns certain Cub Scouts.

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There was a hilarious moment a couple of years ago where a Scoutmaster accused our Troop of poaching "his" Cub Scouts. He made the mistake of saying this at a Roundtable to one of our ASM's who is not a shrinking violet and had been the Den Leader of a Den of 10 boys, 9 of which came to our Troop a year prior. He explained what the Den's experience was like, and how it made the boys feel, when they went to Camporee as this other Troop's guests and were completely ignored by the Boy Scouts the entire weekend.

 

We decided years ago that the only important thing was that Webelos join a Boy Scout Troop. If it's ours, that's great, but if someone else is a better fit, so be it. Even though the "feeder Pack" concept would have benefited my Troop at the time (we were on the verge of folding), I rejected the idea at a District meeting for precisely this reason. I believe it would cause some boys who would otherwise have good Scouting careers to drop out instead of going to a Troop that didn't fit them.

 

As above, I utterly reject the idea that a Troop somehow deserves or owns certain Cub Scouts.

 

Well, the Den leader I mentioned claimed that we didn't do anything with their den at the Camporee--this was strange, as I and a few of our scouts took most of them on a nature walk (and I even put a bandaid on his son's finger). I do agree with you, that the goal is to have Webelos cross over to Boy Scouts, and then stay a while. I'd rather they join any troop than no troop.

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So, regarding poaching: I took over a weak pack. It was struggling but there was still some interest and I had things starting to turn around. Then the DE not only started up a new competing pack, a den leader for them also started calling the parents for boys in this pack and told them that our pack was going to 'go under', why not transfer to theirs? I found out about this when some parents called me upset that they hadn't been told our pack was 'going under'...which was news to me too. I could have bitten a tire in half. The DE and council did not even bother to respond to my request for assistance or a meeting about this problem. To make matters worse, the SM of the other local troop announced (he claimed he was trying to help) that he would not allow any boys from our pack to join that troop. Finally, at the following roundup, I overhead the DE talking to parents privately trying to get them not to join this pack. [and this is one of the principal reasons I will neither trust nor respect any DE ever again]

So I waited until the next fall and prepared our own handouts and waited until I heard the date for the district roundup. Then I held an independent roundup ahead of the district date and snagged a bunch of new boys got their signed applications and checks and delivered them to the council myself. A couple of years later, we took almost half of the other pack enrollment and a bunch of den leaders. That SM and some others were really steamed. I merely reminded them of the saying about what goes around.

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So' date=' regarding poaching: I took over a weak pack. It was struggling but there was still some interest and I had things starting to turn around. Then the DE not only started up a new competing pack, a den leader for them also started calling the parents for boys in this pack and told them that our pack was going to 'go under', why not transfer to theirs? I found out about this when some parents called me upset that they hadn't been told our pack was 'going under'...which was news to me too. I could have bitten a tire in half. The DE and council did not even bother to respond to my request for assistance or a meeting about this problem. To make matters worse, the SM of the other local troop announced (he claimed he was trying to help) that he would not allow any boys from our pack to join that troop. Finally, at the following roundup, I overhead the DE talking to parents privately trying to get them not to join this pack. [and this is one of the principal reasons I will neither trust nor respect any DE ever again']

So I waited until the next fall and prepared our own handouts and waited until I heard the date for the district roundup. Then I held an independent roundup ahead of the district date and snagged a bunch of new boys got their signed applications and checks and delivered them to the council myself. A couple of years later, we took almost half of the other pack enrollment and a bunch of den leaders. That SM and some others were really steamed. I merely reminded them of the saying about what goes around.

Excluding kids from a certain Cub Scout pack to join a troop? What kind of crap is that?

 

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I am late to game

 

Poaching scouts.........

 

It isn't Okay.

 

 

If you don't have a feeder pack then you need to start one. I equate it to shoplifting.

 

 

So, as big brother troop.

 

We have hosted the cub family campout twice a year since they joined.

We worked every pinewood derby, provided den chief and taught skills as requested.

We host the webelos dens at the webelos woods events.

 

On and on..........

 

 

Now at the 11th hour another troop swoops in and wows them with gifts and promises. Had it happen, a troop that folded despite poaching one years crossovers with gift that included a complete scout set up. backpack, sleeping bag and all.

 

 

While I understand that our relationship isn't the norm, Poaching leaves a very bitter feelings.

 

Oh btw, the boys that were poached are no longer in scouting.

 

 

 

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And how many of those boys will still be scouts 6 months from now' date=' a year from now. [/quote'] I know that answer! Seen it play out repeatedly.

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And how many of those boys will still be scouts 6 months from now, a year from now.

 

 

I'm not sure. I do know that we just had another boy from the CO's Pack join that far off troop. Thankfully, we recruited the other ten (and no, we didn't just assume they were coming over--we provided them a Den Chief, and invited them on two campouts (both of which they attended)).

 

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BD,

 

Sorry I am a little late to this, but I don't necessarily agree with your comment about "poaching" being bad. We have three troops in our school district, one is primarily associated with the Catholic church and school in our area and the other two are on either side of the district, about 15 minutes apart, if that. We have four packs in our school district, three that are supported by the same CO that the troops are and one that doesn't have a "feeder" troop. When I was SM last time, I had someone approach me early on in my tenure to come visit my troop from the pack supported by the other non-Catholic CO. I welcomed them and was very friendly towards them. Once they saw our troop they decided to cross into our troop and told others about it and we got many more from that group over the next couple of years.

 

We got them because we invited them to a campout and our boys interacted with them. We got them because we made an outreach effort to them. They didn't have any contact from the troop that shared their CO with them. We didn't offer them anything but a nicer reception and in their minds a better program. I wouldn't consider this poaching. I agree with you that troops shouldn't offer "special gifts" or bribes to come over, but I see nothing wrong with reaching out and inviting multiple packs to see what your troop has to offer.

 

So, what happened to the other troop? The committee saw what was happening and replaced their SM because he had no interest in recruiting. He just thought because they were a feeder pack that they should just automatically come to his troop. Once they got a new SM, who I became good friends with and went on a high adventure trip with, they did a much better job recruiting and we built a friendly rivalry by both recruiting from the entire school district. After I stepped down as SM, we appeared to have a significantly lower outreach to the packs in our school district, including our feeder pack, and now we are suffering in boys coming in.

 

I just think that Webelos need the opportunity to look at multiple troops to see which program might fit them the best and not just go into a troop because they have the same number as their pack.

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You'd hate my brother's district. Thirty three (yes, 33) Boy Scout units within a 35 sq mile area!!! Packs are out of schools mostly, some aligned with churches. Most are not affiliated with any unit. Recruiting is a total free-for-all!!!

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As long as the units are all thriving that's great. I think more recruiting pressure makes troops have better programs.

From the stories I hear the competition is rough. So much so that units cutthroat each other. Not all, but the big ones do. It is not very Scout-like.

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In my honest opinion, I am walking a very fine line between "poaching" and being loyal to the individual Scouts and Scouting movement. Hopefully I am on the individual Scouts side of the line.

 

You all know my situation. I got 2 Cubs Scouts in one CO's pack, but oldest is in another CO's troop. I let my oldest son make the decision where he wanted to go. I admit I guided him some, I knew what he wanted, a "hiking and camping troop" and knew what we could afford. So I took him to troops that met that criteria.

 

The troop that is chartered by the Cub Scout pack I am in has major issues as I have discussed in various posts. Against my better judgement, I did recruit for them at a Boy Scout Round Up, encouraged my old den to visit them, etc. Heck I advised my son to not mention where he was going until the last possible moment because I did not want it influence my den. I've mentioned the results of that decision: the 3 boys I recruited at Round Up quit within 3 months and out of the 5 Cubs from my old den that went to them, 2 quit altogether and 2 transferred within 11 months.

 

I try my best to be impartial. But it can be hard. We had a Webelos event this past weekend. We had several troop staff the even, and of course the troop with issues was not there. The folks in my pack know I am in another troop and since their boys will start looking at troop soon, wanted to know why my oldest went to the troop he did as well what is the issue with the CO's troop. I am not going to lie about the issues. While I hope and pray that the troop does another 180 and get back on course, it's been 4 years of issues. I honestly don't think a course correction is possible.

 

But I also still encourage them to visit not only the CO's troop, but all troops in the district. I tell the parents that their sons needs to find the best fit because while all troops use the same program, each troop is unique. And they may not like one troop for whatever reason, but another troop may fit them like a glove.

 

Now this is the part that may be the "poaching," but I try to talk about all aspects of the troop my son is in. Yes I talk about the 10 camp outs, week of summer camp, and the lock in we do. I talk about how we are not as "advancment oriented" but rather focus on giving the youth as many opportunities as possible. I also talk about some of the "negatives:" young troop with that is still growing into their own older Scouts ( this is the troop with an 11 year old SPL) , growing faster than expected, equipment issues, etc. But I also talk about the potential I see with the troop. The "older" guys wanted to do HA, and they got a spot for Philmont next year. Not only do I think that expereince will benefit them personally, I think it will benefit the troop as a whole.

 

But again I talk about all of the troops in the district and encourage Webelos to visit any and all of them, and if possible camp with them Camping with a troop will make, or break as in my son's case with the CO's troop, the desire to join a troop.

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