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Deciding which troop to join

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7 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

Not a single person in my den went to that troop because no one liked it. 

It's the trouble with troop shopping.  One visit and/or one camp-out is just a throw of the dice.  Ya really need to be with a unit for multiple events / activities over a period of time to form a fair judgement.  My favorite is when a parent says "we joined because we really liked the SPL".  Well, ya know SPLs are temporary and it's just a roll of the dice if the troop has a good SPL at any one moment.  

7 hours ago, ItsBrian said:

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

You don't know that.  Maybe it's true, but you could have helped that troop be better.  

I always find it funny because there is almost zero pack shopping, but 100% troop shopping.  IMHO, there is much more difference in the quality of packs then troops.  Yet we don't promote pack shopping.  

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8 minutes ago, fred johnson said:

It's the trouble with troop shopping.  One visit and/or one camp-out is just a throw of the dice.  Ya really need to be with a unit for multiple events / activities over a period of time to form a fair judgement.  My favorite is when a parent says "we joined because we really liked the SPL".  Well, ya know SPLs are temporary and it's just a roll of the dice if the troop has a good SPL at any one moment.  

You don't know that.  Maybe it's true, but you could have helped that troop be better.  

I always find it funny because there is almost zero pack shopping, but 100% troop shopping.  IMHO, there is much more difference in the quality of packs then troops.  Yet we don't promote pack shopping.  

I talked to someone that attends the same vocational school that I do and he is in that Troop I passed on. It’s still the same as when I visited. The SPL & ASPL does not care about advancement. (The ASPL didnt even know what rank he was...). I have personally seen the leaders curse to the scouts at camporees. I grew up around some of those leaders and that’s another reason why I passed on that Troop.

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As a Webelos Den Leader, my duty and burdon is to ensure that every boy leaving my care enters his first Troop fully prepared to adapt to the Boy Scout program. Since the requirements of the Scouting Adventure adventure (ha ha :rolleyes:) and the rank of Scout are identical, every one of my boys should be able to earn his Scout rank within a week or two of crossing over. If not, that's my failing for not preparing him, not the Scout's. If I were to start looking for things the Troop could do for me, well, I would be out of luck - that's not their job. But I can make sure the boys they get from my Den are prepared to take on new responsabilities, equiped with a solid understanding of the program, and ready to begin contributing to their new unit. 

I also make sure parents grasp the differences between the Cub Scout program and the Boy Scout patrol method. I have a few hand-outs and flyers that I give to every boy a month before he crosses over which explain the differences, and I visit each family around that time to talk with all of them about the exciting new changes they will get to experience. When I can, I visit with their new Scoutmaster as well so the Scout and his family can make that connection personally in a friendly, comfortable setting.

Transitioning from Cubs to a new Troop is a big deal, and families have a right to make that transition fully prepared with the resources, knowledge, and tools they'll need to fully embrace the changes. The smart Scouter knows that if boys enter the Troop ready to contribute and prepared for their new responsibilities,  it makes the Troop itself stronger, and it only takes a few excited new Scouts to help revitalize even the most tired units. :D

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1 minute ago, The Latin Scot said:

As a Webelos Den Leader, my duty and burdon is to ensure that every boy leaving my care enters his first Troop fully prepared to adapt to the Boy Scout program. Since the requirements of the Scouting Adventure adventure (ha ha :rolleyes:) and the rank of Scout are identical, every one of my boys should be able to earn his Scout rank within a week or two of crossing over. If not, that's my failing for not preparing him, not the Scout's. If I were to start looking for things the Troop could do for me, well, I would be out of luck - that's not their job. But I can make sure the boys they get from my Den are prepared to take on new responsabilities, equiped with a solid understanding of the program, and ready to begin contributing to their new unit. 

I also make sure parents grasp the differences between the Cub Scout program and the Boy Scout patrol method. I have a few hand-outs and flyers that I give to every boy a month before he crosses over which explain the differences, and I visit each family around that time to talk with all of them about the exciting new changes they will get to experience. When I can, I visit with their new Scoutmaster as well so the Scout and his family can make that connection personally in a friendly, comfortable setting.

Transitioning from Cubs to a new Troop is a big deal, and families have a right to make that transition fully prepared with the resources, knowledge, and tools they'll need to fully embrace the changes. The smart Scouter knows that if boys enter the Troop ready to contribute and prepared for their new responsibilities,  it makes the Troop itself stronger, and it only takes a few excited new Scouts to help revitalize even the most tired units. :D

Only if I had someone like you as my den leader. Unfortunately I had to teach myself mostly during the beginning. The Troop I joined has teached me a lot and did help a lot.   

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1 minute ago, ItsBrian said:

Only if I had someone like you as my den leader. Unfortunately I had to teach myself mostly during the beginning. The Troop I joined has teached me a lot and did help a lot.   

That's the same kind of experience I had, and exactly what was going on when I was asked to be the Webelos leader. One of the first jobs of every new Scouter is to find out what isn't working, and fix it. Then you identify what is working, and nurture it, protect it, and help others master it as well!

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5 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

That's the same kind of experience I had, and exactly what was going on when I was asked to be the Webelos leader. One of the first jobs of every new Scouter is to find out what isn't working, and fix it. Then you identify what is working, and nurture it, protect it, and help others master it as well!

Agreed. I had to teach myself how to be SPL and how to lead. I stepped up from ASPL since the SPL quit suddenly. I’ve been SPL for 2 years now. (I’m officially done in a few weeks!). I guess I had to teach myself right if I won scout of the year in my district last year. 

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1 hour ago, ItsBrian said:

Agreed. I had to teach myself how to be SPL and how to lead. I stepped up from ASPL since the SPL quit suddenly. I’ve been SPL for 2 years now. (I’m officially done in a few weeks!). I guess I had to teach myself right if I won scout of the year in my district last year. 

Congratulations on completing two years of good and faithful service! You have a lucky Troop, and I hope they appreciate what you've accomplished. But there's really no need to slip in the whole scout of the year thing - we already know you're a great kid @ItsBrian; you don't need to pad your reputation with us. ;)

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8 hours ago, The Latin Scot said:

Congratulations on completing two years of good and faithful service! You have a lucky Troop, and I hope they appreciate what you've accomplished. But there's really no need to slip in the whole scout of the year thing - we already know you're a great kid @ItsBrian; you don't need to pad your reputation with us. ;)

But it’s my first time ever being able to use it in a sentence! :D

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From my personal experience staying with their friends has too much emphasis put on it.
Both of my son's dens' all crossed over into the same troop (different Troops for each).

With my older son after 2 years in the troop he was the only one of his den left. He was also the only one left from the all the boys (9 or 10 total) that came into the Troop at the same time.
My younger son is turning just 16 and there is only one other boy left from his den that crossed over.


I found that if you want to know about a Troop (or any unit) ask to attend a committee meeting.
I found that you can really tell more about what a unit is like by attending a committe meeting

Pay attention to what the committee is discussing.
Is the committee planning the camping trips? Are they planning what Merit Badges to offer at Troop meetings?
These are Red flags that the troop is adult run.

The committe should be discussing how to support the events coming up.

Ask about Training - Does the Troop hold Leadership training for the Scouts? Are they sending Scouts to NYLT?
Are the Adult's trained in their positions? Do the adults attend Woodbadge?

For me some other red flags to pass on joining a Troop.
No active committee or No committee meetings
No allowed to attend a committee meeting ( I had a Troop tell me parents were not allowed to come to committee meetings)

 

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14 hours ago, fred johnson said:

It's the trouble with troop shopping.  One visit and/or one camp-out is just a throw of the dice.

yeah, good point.  Maybe a troop has very weak meetings in the church hall, but somehow have great campouts and lots of them.

On the other hand, I am a firm believer that you can usually get a firm read on people in pretty short order, so there is that....

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16 hours ago, fred johnson said:

It's the trouble with troop shopping.  One visit and/or one camp-out is just a throw of the dice.  Ya really need to be with a unit for multiple events / activities over a period of time to form a fair judgement.  My favorite is when a parent says "we joined because we really liked the SPL".  Well, ya know SPLs are temporary and it's just a roll of the dice if the troop has a good SPL at any one moment.

True Dat!  You need to take it out for a spin and do more than kick the tires. See comment below next paragraph. 

Troops can certainly change over time. It all depends on the scouters involved and what they are willing to do to go with the spirit of BSA. I know of a troop in my area that at the time of my son's crossing over, was bent towards agriculture and mechanics. I don't know anymore than that as it wasn't what my son wanted so we didn't return, but I was happy that for scouts who were into that sort of thing, that this could be a great troop for them. Fast forward two scout generations (about seven years) and they are a completely different troop from what I heard recently. Also another troop I knew was "boy lead" in word only. I can't tell you how often I heard that phrase from the SM on that one. (*see below) In reality it was "lord of the flies" while the SM played tour guide and lecture God. Come back a number of years later and there was a change in SMs and the scouts are now doing PLCs and are truly moving towards the boy lead principle. 

Because things change with the scout and with the troops over time, I tell potential scout parents that their kid's needs need to be looked after. Do not be afraid to find a place that better fits their kid if it comes to that. Scouts can make friends really quickly. They have a lot in common with each other. It isn't easy and sure, you can lose connections with people you share a common history with, but the makeup of a troop changes every year. Your friends that came in with you move on. New scouts join up. And someone you were tight with one year might not be someone you hang with the next. It happens naturally if you stay with a troop, so it can happen if you move to a different troop. 

16 hours ago, fred johnson said:

Yet we don't promote pack shopping.  

Yah, that's always a bit strange too. Typically parents find a pack through word of mouth, association with an organization, or from an information desk at the school's parent night. Until parents learn more about scouting, they don't realize how different units can be. And because kids at that age bond strongly with other kids, as long as they are having fun then parents don't see the need to shop. By the end of Webelos, they've learned some and have been taught by the scout leaders that different troops have different offerings. 

Shoot, I was a parent for years until I finally was able to join up as an ASM. It was only then that I truly got to know about what scouting was supposed to be like outside of what I saw in my kid's troop. And it was certainly an eye opening experience. 

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