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Deciding which troop to join

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Instead of poo-pooing the distance of choice D, l look at it as potential valuable time spent with your son. The drive can make for memorable conversation between the two of you that both of you will remember and cherish for years.

Edited by Chadamus
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Just now, Chadamus said:

Instead of poo-pooing the distance of choice D, l look at it as potential valuable time spent with your son. The drive can make for memorable conversation between the two of you that the two of you will remember and cherish for years.

Especially the ride home to say what he learned and did.

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Everyone probably remembers this, but I'm really negative on the whole troop shopping experience.  It's just hugely overblown, done poorly and rarely do families really choose the right match if there is such a thing as "the right match".  Worse, it perverts the whole transition.  Generally, I think there is more success in joining the troop that is part of the same COR.

If you want a different unit, I'd prefer to view it as switching and it should be done at anytime during the scouting years.  Why wait for that one specific time.  A COR provides a continuum of scouting experiences from Lion to Venturing.  If somewhere along the way a mismatch happens, then switch.  And, there are reasons that can justify switching.  

  • Sometimes the troop is bad.
  • Sometimes families need a fresh start.
  • Sometimes there is another significant factor.  

But otherwise, support your COR's scouting program and help make it better.  

My experience with "shopping" is it's more important to stay with your friends and it's really hard to make a good match for everyone.  Also, it's hard to predict if the match will work.  In the end, one person sways the group to their best interest or the whole group breaks up.  

Edited by fred johnson
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17 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

Everyone probably remembers this, but I'm really negative on the whole troop shopping experience.  It's just hugely overblown, done poorly and rarely do families really choose the right match if there is such a thing as "the right match".  Worse, it perverts the whole transition.  Generally, I think there is more success in joining the troop that is part of the same COR.

If you want a different unit, I'd prefer to view it as switching and it should be done at anytime during the scouting years.  Why wait for that one specific time.  A COR provides a continuum of scouting experiences from Lion to Venturing.  If somewhere along the way a mismatch happens, then switch.  And, there are reasons that can justify switching.  

  • Sometimes the troop is bad.
  • Sometimes families need a fresh start.
  • Sometimes there is another significant factor.  

But otherwise, support your COR's scouting program and help make it better.  

My experience with "shopping" is it's more important to stay with your friends and it's really hard to make a good match for everyone.  Also, it's hard to predict if the match will work.  In the end, one person sways the group to their best interest or the whole group breaks up.  

I somewhat disagree with your statement. My den had went “troop shopping” to around 4 troops (I was sick so I missed all of the meetings). Our pack is a feeder to a troop. Not a single person in my den went to that troop because no one liked it. We had around 10 people in the den and they all joined another troop in a nearby town. I decided to just go with the flow and went with the rest of my friends. To this day, the pack feeder troop is still not so great and adult ran. I’m glad I followed the flow.

 

I probably wouldn’t in scouting still if I went to that Troop.

Edited by ItsBrian
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17 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

But otherwise, support your COR's scouting program and help make it better.

How common is it for a COR to have both a pack and a troop? In my area, it doesn't seem that common. We have about 5-10 packs (all with various CORs) organized geographically by elementary schools and just two troops - one of which is organized by a church (I don't know how the other is organized).

My pack went "troop shopping" because we really had no other choice. Our Troop has scouts from at least three separate high school systems, and probably a dozen different intermediate and middle schools.

While switching troops is certainly an option, I wonder how many scouts simply quit before even considering that option. A bad troop experience is probably enough to ruin scout for more scouts.

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In our area about 75% of CORs have both a pack and a troop.  It's the most common model here.

I encourage Scouts to shop troops - but it has limited success.  Most of the time scouts are more influenced by their den leader than anything else.  

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My observation is that success of multiple units in a single CO is directly related to the goals, leadership and direction of the CO. 90% of the COs around here are happy to provide support and space for the scout program, but not leadership or direction. The Catholic COs are the best for providing direction. Ironically direction with a spiritual influence upsets some of the more progressive adults. It's the times I suppose.

But, without a mission to find agreeable leaders, success of all the units in a single CO is more about luck than the natural momentum from the structure.

I imagine a good Unit Commissioner could accomplish developing successful units in one CO, but finding a UC capable is not only hard to find, it would be temporary.

Barry

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I'm all for shopping around and for the Scout getting the experience he wants.

In our town, until recently, we had six troops and three packs. Two of the three packs were "feeder packs." Our pack wasn't affiliated with any troop, so the crossovers had to shop around. Does shopping around guarantee a perfect fit? Of course not, but I wouldn't have it any other way.

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You wanna make sure you hold out for signing bonus and good incentives.  Make sure the incentives are paid out early in the contract.  One can never tell what the future may hold.  Also make sure the incentives are guaranteed in case he gets traded to another troop or venture post.  

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19 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

good Unit Commissioner could accomplish developing successful units in one CO, but finding a UC capable is not only hard to find

Sort of like a Unicorn

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19 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

You wanna make sure you hold out for signing bonus and good incentives.  Make sure the incentives are paid out early in the contract.  One can never tell what the future may hold.  Also make sure the incentives are guaranteed in case he gets traded to another troop or venture post.  

If dad is going to be an ASM make sure he gets the Cost of Living adjustment and cast iron cookware subsidy. Tell him to read carefully for the contract insert "per boy" after "only an hour a week". 

Also ask about the Troop uniforming policy (BSA is surprisingly not uniform in uniforming) variants include: full uniform with smokey bear hat, full uniform, uniform from waist up, uniform optional, clothing optional. 

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1 hour ago, ParkMan said:

In our area about 75% of CORs have both a pack and a troop.  It's the most common model here.

I encourage Scouts to shop troops - but it has limited success.  Most of the time scouts are more influenced by their den leader than anything else.  

I agree. The year after I crossed over, all the good committee members, den leaders, etc. had moved on since their child went to Boy Scouts. I was a den chief around two years later and now they do not visit any troops, they go straight into the packs troop. It’s a shame, we only have around 12 scouts and 3-4 are about to get Eagle which means there is only around 2-3 years left of 25% of the Troop.

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43 minutes ago, ItsBrian said:

I agree. The year after I crossed over, all the good committee members, den leaders, etc. had moved on since their child went to Boy Scouts. I was a den chief around two years later and now they do not visit any troops, they go straight into the packs troop. It’s a shame, we only have around 12 scouts and 3-4 are about to get Eagle which means there is only around 2-3 years left of 25% of the Troop.

 

I'm getting off topic, but...

50% of recruiting is pack outreach.  Troops need to have an organized, active outreach program to packs.  We have an event in the fall, event in the spring, visit dens, provide den chiefs, and will help packs however we can.  My belief is that Scouting is a continuum.  It's not that our feeder pack owes it to us to send their scouts to the troop - but that a feeder pack relationship allows us to concentrate our efforts on that pack.

If you're in a troop that isn't doing this and you're shrinking, then I would strongly encourage you to pull together the PLC and figure out how to start.

BTW - the other 50% is a distinguishing program.  What is it that makes your troop special?

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7 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Most of the time scouts are more influenced by their den leader than anything else.  

That's my experience too.  Then the other parents are starting at somewhere new and different.  Longer drive for some.  Less of a match than the previous location.  New people.  It may be good for the person driving the choice, but often it's an excuse to leave for others.  

There will always be good reasons to switch.  Always.  But as soon as I hear statements about the other troop being "adult led" I just shake my head.  That's less about good/bad troops and more about labeling another troop to be the bad guy.   IMHO, it's just not scout-like.  

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6 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

You wanna make sure you hold out for signing bonus and good incentives.  Make sure the incentives are paid out early in the contract.  One can never tell what the future may hold.  Also make sure the incentives are guaranteed in case he gets traded to another troop or venture post.  

You may be joking, but I've seen things like that happen.  Den leaders who starting looking for what the troop can do for them, etc and which troop will effectively please them the most.  

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