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scoutermomks

Troop Recruiting

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I can't see a spin off occurring unless people are unhappy with the current program.  That's a whole lot of work to leave a program that they happen to like?  Just doesn't make sense.  No one really wants to work that hard at recreating the wheel.

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I can't see a spin off occurring unless people are unhappy with the current program.  That's a whole lot of work to leave a program that they happen to like?  Just doesn't make sense.  No one really wants to work that hard at recreating the wheel.

 

Sure, it makes sense.  

 

A pastor doesn't think that there is enough interest to have his own scout unit. But then, someone points out to him that  20 or so of his parishioners are already registered in the scout unit chartered by the church down the street.

 

It might even be a DE who suggests it.  It might be the UC's idea.

 

Regardless of who is pushing the idea, the chartering church down the street doesn't get a hint of what is going on until it is already a done deal.

Edited by David CO

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@@David CO It's been my experience that splitting a troop in a situation like that doesn't bode well for either troop.  First of all Scouts can go to whatever troop they want.  With that being said, the pastor may be right that there isn't enough interest in those 29 scouts to break off a group and/or the neighborhood is so saturated there are no others who would be interested.  I started a new unit in a church and all the boys that were members of the church stayed with their original units.  It's not an issue of denomination loyalty or even parish loyalty, it's the issue of sticking with buddies in a program they are comfortable with.  Your pastor is probably correct in this situation.

Edited by Stosh

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I'm with most of the guys here.  A new unit would not be started unless there was a need. That need might come from the fact that the current units are not delivering the program to the boys the way it is supposed to be delivered.  It might come from the fact that the current unit is too big (that is how our unit started 50 years ago splitting another Troop to make if more manageable).  It might come from an IH's desire to have a Troop and a Pack based on their positive experience with scouting.

 

As for recruiting, we have up to five Packs that feed into our Troop.  There are three packs that have the same CO and numbers as Troops in the area.  One of those is the Pack that has the same CO as our Troop.  When I was CM of the pack, we had boys go to three different troops and encouraged the boys to visit a variety of troops.  We've had guys from the other "affiliated" packs come to our troop too.  This year, the Webelos II Den leader in one of those packs was estatic that one of his boys who wasn't too keen on continuing in scouting decided to join our troop.  We've actually been happy that a bunch of boys from our affiliated pack joined the troop down the street (the one we broke off from 50 years ago) because it was struggling with members almost dropping below 10 scouts (we are around 50 currently).  Two of the packs don't have Troops associated with them and we pick up a couple scouts from them every year or so.

 

We find that the most important factor is scouts that have older brothers, friends of scouts that have older brothers, scouts who's parents have friends who sons are in the troop and then affiliation between the Pack and the Troop (in that order).  Each of the area Troops has a different feel to it.  We are known as being large, boy-led and chaotic (no surprise there) and recently have gotten a reputation for having a strong outdoor program.  We also have a rag tag, sort of F Troop feel to the boys.  As one parent put it, we have a great bunch of goofballs.  The Troop down the street was smaller and somewhat boy-led (we think that it is becoming more boy-led due to a new SM.  The Troop to the west is midsized and much more adult lead and much better organized.  The Troop to the north is smaller and does a lot of camping and activities.  We really aren't in competition, rather we all are promoting Scouting and we are happy when a boy continues in Scouting regardless of which Troop they are in.

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The Catholic Church recently decided that all units chartered by Knights of Columbus are to be turned over to the parish youth ministries.  This was done to emphasize that the parish should be the focus of all our organized youth activities.

 

 

This isn't quite accurate.  The Knights, internally, made the decision to, among other changes, stop sponsoring troops.  The decision wasn't mandated by the USCCB or the Church writ large.

 

But that still leaves my point unanswered, there is no theological mandate to belong to a Catholic scouting unit and the decision to do so is well within the purview of the scout and his family, to take offense at that decision because one believes that his unit is uniquely qualified to provide the correct scouting experience for a Catholic is hubristic, and frankly disdainful of the family's role of deciding in communion with the Church how best to raise their son  or daughter within the faith.

 

On behalf of my friends who minster through the CYO programs I should probably also take some exception to the notion that playing soccer necessarily does not involve a religious teaching component.

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The best form of recruiting that we have found is for parents of new scouts to tell the parents in their old pack how wonderful our troop is. Especially working through the "mom network".

 

Den chiefs are a second very effective recruiting effort for us. It's a good way to showcase what kind of scouts your troop produces to the parents while giving the Webelos/Cubs the benefit of already knowing someone in your troop.

 

Twice each year, once in the Spring and once in the Fall, we have a meeting dedicated to recruiting Webelos. We invite the Webelos of all the packs to come to our meeting. We do some stuff that might help with the AOL and we do some fun stuff and, while the boys are doing their thing, we hold a "sales pitch" and Q&A meeting with the parents.

 

We also have a campout that we use as a recruiting function. The Webelos do not camp with us, but we invite them to come and, if they do, we provide a place for them to setup camp that is reasonably close to us. They arrive and depart , cook and eat, sleep, etc. separately from us but within eyesite.  All day Saturday, then, we have a variety of activities and the Webelos are invited to participate withing the ambit of Scouting guidelines. 

 

A current, organized and useful website is a passive recruiting tool. Some parents look at our website, see our calendar, our schedule, and our history, and confirm that they are interested in taking a closer look at us.

 

Finally, just as you are not associated with a "feeder pack", there may be packs that are not associated with a "feeder troop".  Find them, establish that relationship.

 

As to "poaching", this is not the USFL or the WNBA where troops have territorial rights over packs. People in our District "poach" all the time. And I feel like the competition makes us all better. If you think about it, "poaching" really helps a Webelo find the right troop, which makes everybody better off over the long haul--not every scout fits into every troop the same way.

 

One obstacle we constantly battle is that our District will provide us with names and contact information for Cubmasters, but not Webelos Leaders. We find that not all Cubmasters are sufficiently conscientious or able enough to get our information to their Webelos den leaders. That is where the den chiefs and new parents can really help...they will know those names for you and can even deliver information in person.

 

Good hunting.

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I say gently educate everyone that feeder packs are not a thing and encourage Scouts to visit multiple Troops and find the one that feels right.  This will take time and you will upset some people but it is the right approach.  The units/people who are upset likely feel that they cannot compete with a well-run unit.  I would even say that the ones who are upset do not truly have the Scout's best interest in mind.  Yes, I prefer to get the Scouts in my unit but I'm happy as long as he continues in Scouts instead quiting because he feels stuck in a Troop he doesnt like.

 

 

This many times over. I always tell parents that just like every scout is different, every troop is different and it is very important to get a match between the scout and the parent. It's better if they get a friend or two to go with them. But nothing is worse for the scout or scouting to wind up in the wrong troop when a right troop is available. That's why I do not respect the idea of "feeder packs" and see no problem with "poaching." It's about the scouts, help them find the best troop for them.

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To bring this back on topic and add to my previous post - it is helpful if your Troop has a Webelos liaison to keep in touch with the various Packs in the area.  As a Cub Scout leader, it was helpful for me when Troops reached out, because Cub Scout leaders are busy folks who don't have a lot of time to track down contacts for Boy Scout Troops.

 

We have an ASPL and a dedicated Adult Advisor for him whose sole job is recruiting. This includes the liaison responsibilities, as well as making going to Pack meetings for presentations/information sharing and for attending AOL ceremonies for Webelos crossing over to our troop. 

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Yes, Really.

 

Our scout unit is part of our youth ministry.  It is not at all like soccer.  Soccer doesn't have a religious component.

 

 

Then you are doing Scouts wrong. Scouting is not a vehicle for "youth ministry" in any particular faith. I know I won't convince you, but I had just had to say it. We have five different faiths represented in our troop and I value every one of those scouts regardless of their faith. Scouting is not trying to produce good Methodists, or good Mormons, or good Muslims, or whatever. That is the the job of the clergy and the religious organization. Scouting is trying to produce good men.

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Then you are doing Scouts wrong. Scouting is not a vehicle for "youth ministry" in any particular faith. I know I won't convince you, but I had just had to say it. We have five different faiths represented in our troop and I value every one of those scouts regardless of their faith. Scouting is not trying to produce good Methodists, or good Mormons, or good Muslims, or whatever. That is the the job of the clergy and the religious organization. Scouting is trying to produce good men.

Not according to the BSA charter agreement: http://www.scouting.org/filestore/membership/pdf/524-182_web.pdf

 

Chartered organizations must utilize the Scouting program to accomplish specific objectives related to one or more of the following:

o Youth character development

o Career skill development

o Community service

o Patriotism and military and veteran recognition

o Faith-based youth ministry

  • Upvote 1

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Then you are doing Scouts wrong. Scouting is not a vehicle for "youth ministry" in any particular faith. I know I won't convince you, but I had just had to say it. We have five different faiths represented in our troop and I value every one of those scouts regardless of their faith. Scouting is not trying to produce good Methodists, or good Mormons, or good Muslims, or whatever. That is the the job of the clergy and the religious organization. Scouting is trying to produce good men.

 

Yes, scouting is a vehicle for youth ministry.  It always has been.

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I'd like to add that for some parents it might come down to what night works best for them because say their open night is on thursdays and your troop meets on mondays so they might need to find a troop that works out better just for the meeting times.

 

I think alot of parents just go on their district website and start looking for troops that are close by. I was surprised to find 2 by my house I didnt even know those churches had troops.

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I'm with most of the guys here.  A new unit would not be started unless there was a need. That need might come from the fact that the current units are not delivering the program to the boys the way it is supposed to be delivered.  It might come from the fact that the current unit is too big (that is how our unit started 50 years ago splitting another Troop to make if more manageable).  It might come from an IH's desire to have a Troop and a Pack based on their positive experience with scouting.

 

As for recruiting, we have up to five Packs that feed into our Troop.  There are three packs that have the same CO and numbers as Troops in the area.  One of those is the Pack that has the same CO as our Troop.  When I was CM of the pack, we had boys go to three different troops and encouraged the boys to visit a variety of troops.  We've had guys from the other "affiliated" packs come to our troop too.  This year, the Webelos II Den leader in one of those packs was estatic that one of his boys who wasn't too keen on continuing in scouting decided to join our troop.  We've actually been happy that a bunch of boys from our affiliated pack joined the troop down the street (the one we broke off from 50 years ago) because it was struggling with members almost dropping below 10 scouts (we are around 50 currently).  Two of the packs don't have Troops associated with them and we pick up a couple scouts from them every year or so.

 

We find that the most important factor is scouts that have older brothers, friends of scouts that have older brothers, scouts who's parents have friends who sons are in the troop and then affiliation between the Pack and the Troop (in that order).  Each of the area Troops has a different feel to it.  We are known as being large, boy-led and chaotic (no surprise there) and recently have gotten a reputation for having a strong outdoor program.  We also have a rag tag, sort of F Troop feel to the boys.  As one parent put it, we have a great bunch of goofballs.  The Troop down the street was smaller and somewhat boy-led (we think that it is becoming more boy-led due to a new SM.  The Troop to the west is midsized and much more adult lead and much better organized.  The Troop to the north is smaller and does a lot of camping and activities.  We really aren't in competition, rather we all are promoting Scouting and we are happy when a boy continues in Scouting regardless of which Troop they are in.

Curious, Do you all meet on the same nights? sometimes that is an issue when parents are trying to schedule things.

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Everyone has strong opinions on how recruiting works from playing naive to people getting upset with poaching.  We should face that strong emotions will follow as successful recruiting is the life blood of a troop.  And the success of our troop is a reflection of us as individuals.  Even more, it affects the experience of our sons.  Strong emotions always follow when it follows our children.  

 

And there are contradictions everywhere in the process.

 

- There are no feeder packs, but there are partnerships between packs and troops.  If you are under the same charter organization, it is reasonably expected that each troop helps each other.  Yes dysfunction and attitudes happen.  But as mature leaders we are to work through them.  Yes, scouts can go anywhere, but the packs and troops under the same CO should be expected to help and support each other. 

 

- When scouts go to another scouting unit, it will hurt emotions.  Unit leaders invest and spend effort both supporting the pack and building friendships.  When a family goes elsewhere, it is an emotional hit that makes you think what did we do wrong?  Why did they not want to join us? 

 

- It is also because of the troop shopping environment that we've recognized a need to avoid problem scouts.  We don't take on problem scouts anymore.  I'm not talking about disabilities (often they are a blessing to the troop).  I'm talking about strong behavior problems such that you hear "if any kid needs scouting, that kid needs scouting."  The trouble is if that kid acts up when others are visiting the pack or even during normal events, you drive members away.  Then, the troop gets a reputation and packs get tied to feeding another troop.  As such, if a scouts is a behavioral challenge, it's often best to encourage them to go to another troop.  Seriously. 

 

Personally, I think the whole recruitment process is broken and troop shopping is one biggest opportunity to leave scouting. 

 

These are my opinions.  I realize others have different views.  I can't stand the current dysfunction between packs and troops.  And that's what it is, dysfunction.  

 

End rant.

 

... How about adding yet another discussion about the damage done by escalating Tiger to a full rank and now compounding that error by adding Lion cubs. Argh.   Want to kill off Boy Scouts?  Burn out the families on Cub Scouts.

Edited by fred johnson

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  I can't stand the current dysfunction between packs and troops.  And that's what it is, dysfunction.  

 

 

WELL SAID!

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