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Raiding another troops membership

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Our troop has found itself in an uncomfortable position. We are an old troop, 50+ years with the same CO. We have 45 registered scouts with probably 25 active. A new troop started a couple of years ago with about 8 new scouts. We were contacted by one of the scouts last week if he could come with our troop for Klondoree since his troop wasn't going (Seems they think they are too young to do winter camping). Well we welcomed him and he had a great time. He now wants to transfer to our troop. We didn't recruit him, just integrated him in one of the patrols for the campout. Now he has told other scouts in his home troop and another one wants to come into our troop.


We have no intention of raiding membership from the other troop, but they just don't seem to be running a good program and do all the activities we do. I'm afraid since they are so small, losing a couple of scouts could spell disaster for them. I personally believe more small troops are better than a few large troops. Should we discourage these scouts from transfering?

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If you get a couple of transfers, maybe it will be shake up the other troop enough that they realize something is wrong with their program and they'll need to change it in order to keep boys.


We are in somewhat of a similar situation in the opposite...we had a troop that was ready to fold with rechartering..the SM had already talked to me about absorbing the boys into our troop and we had invited the remaining boys to go with us on outings several times. The consensus of people in the district was to let the troop die at this time...Well, one of my adult leaders decided that he was going to "save" the other troop so he moved to the troop, along with his wife & son and then also has recruited (or tried to recruit) several other troop members. I really have no problem with it other than it was done kind of underhandedly with no notice, right at recharting time..so my troop ended up paying for the rechartering fee and then they just transferred out right after that!!

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If a Lad or a group of Lad's think that they will get more out of one Troop than another, it's their choice.

I'd welcome them them in, or if I was the leader of the Troop that they were leaving I'd want to try and make some improvements.


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I have no problem with a scout joining whatever troop they like, even transferring from one to another.


But, I so often hear on this forum that boys transfer from one troop to another because the one they leave has a poor program.


"just don't seem to be running a good program and do all the activities we do"


"something is wrong with their program..change it in order to keep boys"


"if I was the leader of the Troop that they were leaving I'd want to try and make some improvements"


I am SM of a very small troop. 12 boys annually. Most we ever had was 16 about four years ago. Along with the small number of scouts, we have always had a small number of active adult leaders.


Last year (Dec. 2004), when I took over as SM three Scouts left for another troop because they didn't think a female should be SM. As a side note, I was the last person that thought I should have the job because I felt a man should be SM as a role model for the boys. But, no one stepped up and rather than see the Troop fold, I took the job.


The troop the 3 scouts went to was the same one they had left a couple of years before because they thought it was too big and/or they had personal problems with the SM. The loss of 3 scouts at one time was a big hit to our Troop when we only had 10 registered at the time.


Our troop struggled along as I learned to be a SM, tried to reorganize the youth leadership, work them toward becoming boy run instead of adult run, and hope every week we'd have more than 3-4 scouts show up (never the same 3-4 either).


What a way to run a troop! Patrol method...please!


Anyway, my husband (ASM) and our CC kept plugging away, trying to get the program turned around.


Now, a bit more than a year later and a lot of hard work by the adults and scouts, we are up to 10 ACTIVE and REGULARLY attending Scouts, graduated 1 Eagle Scout, another 2 on the way. Scouts are actually working in their PORs, taking initiative in planning and carrying out activities and we just recruited 2 new young scouts. We now go camping every month and are looking forward to our first packpacking trip next month in over 2 years.


By the way, the three scouts that bailed last year - 1 made Eagle in a couple of months, the other two dropped out altogether (1 was only a service project away from Eagle).


So, I guess what I'm trying to say is how can the new small troops ever survive if it's perceived that they always have a poor program and that bigger (or older) is better.


How can a small troop ever hope to last? With a few dedicated adults and a group of loyal Scouts - eager to see "their Troop" be the best and work toward that goal.


My 2 cents.

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I sympathise GWD,

I understand the issues having to deal with a small troop. That is the primary reason why my son didn't want to cross over to this particular starter troop. It was in its first year, he would have been one of the oldest scouts. The size and history of our troop has allowed us to participate in every district event and do an annual high adventure trip along with monthly camp-outs and other various outings.


I'm afraid that the success of our troop is hindering the success of this smaller troop. I guess I need to just get over it and continue to deliver the best program possible with our boys. If the other troop can't compete, I guess that is the American way.


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Yah, Gern...


Just another possibility. Why don't you buddy up with them for a bit? Give them a hand with ideas for outings, an occasional joint trip, a joint PLC/NYLT, etc.? If you had a constructive working relationship, you might help them grow into a strong program.



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I was thinking the exact same thing as Beavah.

Maybe two-deep leadership is a problem for the smaller troop.

Maybe not enough Scouts show for a particular outing.

If both troops can work together that would solve either problem.

The troop I serve is about to partner with a new formed troop to help get them going. We've done this several times over the years.

Works out well for everyone.


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Boy..what a familiar sounding story! Though I only lost one boy when I became SM, because he didn't agree that it should be a woman and I said Good ridance!! He quit scouting all together because he was there for all the wrong reasons to start with. He was nothing but a distraction to the whole troop..2 of his buddies though with similar views did stay though because they were close to Eagle..both continued to cause issues until they both finally Eagled out and left for good! Things have been so much better and I've actually been able to make more troop progress in the past 5 months since they've been gone.


I don't have a problem with boys going to other troops if they don't feel right in ours...Or OTOH, coming into our troop from another if they don't feel a fit there. Every troop has its own "flavor" of people and sometimes boys just decide that it wasn't the flavor that they wanted after all..so they need to try someplace else.


Sue m.

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The thought of teaming with the other troop has crossed my mind. However, my "one hour a week" I allocate to our troop already strains my energy and free time. I didn't sign up to become a crusader for failing troops! A couple of years ago, our SM did make contact with the other SM and received a less than warm welcome on the idea. Personnel have changed since then. I think we will wait for them to ask for assistance if they feel they need it.

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I know the feeling of getting less than warm reception to the idea of teaming up with another troop. While ours was struggling over the past year, I talked with SM of another small troop about the idea of doing a couple of joint campouts. He came back with "the boys aren't interested."


Oh well.


On the other hand, I've had another troop in town offer to have our boys join them on some of their more high adventure outings. Our boys - not interested.


Oh well.


Gern-I didn't sign on to rescue a troop either. My husband and I signed up as ASM and Advancement Chair when our youngest crossed over from the Pack. One year later, SM announced he was stepping down and no one was willing to take over. The only other ASM besides my husband also announced at the same time that he wanted to take a less demanding role and asked to be Committee Chair.


So, with no one willing to take the helm and with a good bit of pressure from our remaining Committee, I took the job of SM.


There were plenty of other Troop options available to us if ours folded. But, youngest wanted to be in the Troop that his older brother was in. Oldest son made Eagle in 2001 and is now ASM for the Troop, helping out and coming home from college when he can.


Also, I was compelled to keep the Troop going because of a few older Scouts who remained and wanted to get their Eagle from "their Troop."


Sure has been a tough year, but worth it as I see those older Scouts finally stepping into leadership roles and taking charge of the troop, the idea of patrols beginning to sink in, younger Scouts learning from the older, and much greater participation and enthusiasm.


In a SM minute at the beginning of this year I talked about goals. I told them my goal last year was to keep the troop together, while learning how to be an effective SM. My goal for this year is to be able to sit back by the end of the year and DO NOTHING! Go camping with my favorite equipment - a comfy chair and a cup of coffee.


I've seen progress. Still have a long way to go, but we're getting there!

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We split off from the towns oldest troop about three years ago. It was at one time a large vital troop with an excellent SM (a female). :) Because adults allowed personality conflicts to overide concern for the boys the exhausted SM eventually resigned. The CC brought in a new SM that no one in the community knew. Uncomfortable with that, about half of us left the Troop and started over asking the retired SM to go with us. We secured a CO & they agreed to take us on, along with the former SM. She graciously served a year to get us started and until a new SM could be trained. We started with just the 7 boys required to have a troop, with only 5 active. To our suprise & delight, our scouts won first prize at a district event just a month after the troop was formed! Small groups CAN do big things! It's three years later and we are up to 30 Scouts with 10 boys expressing interest in crossing over into our troop in the next few weeks.


Sadly, the troop we left behind declined rapidly after we left and did not recharter this year. We made it our practice to never speak badly of the other group or discourage any scout from joining them. We felt like we would be judged on our merit and they on theirs.


I recall when my oldest son was recruited that the former group never mentioned that other troops existed. We were never encouraged to shop around and were and rushed us into signing the scout application. Later we heard the other troop (a great troop!) continually bashed!


Most people will shop around and go for the best deal in town, be it car dealers or boyscouts. If a troop is doimg what they should be doing they need not worry about having their membership raided! I agree that you should welcome the boys who wish to transfer. If you are on good terms, perhaps a friendly chat with the SM of the other group is in order.



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