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I don't really know exactly what to ask. My son and I have been approached once again about helping to start a Troop in our town. There are finally enough boys interested that it is feasible. Any words of wisdom would be appreciated. I've been ASM for a couple of years now and my son has been in Boy Scouts for about 5 years. I know the basics.



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Scoutldr has a good point.


The BSA recommends a 12-step process to start new units, which is shown at this link:




As a member of the district committee, I've seen a number of new units started. Without the proper support, many units are destined to fail, and I'm left wondering why go to the trouble of starting up a unit if it will only have a year or two lifespan?


No matter who is asking you to start a unit (DE, CO, or otherwise), it would make sense to see how they have accounted for these 12 steps.


An example: in our district, we have a volunteer formerly affiliated with a troop that wants to start a Venturing crew. He would mostly likely be the COR and the CC for the crew, and he has a volunteer who will most likely be the crew adviser. At this point, the DE is pressuring them to have a recruiting event (which is scheduled for this coming Saturday) so that they can get applications and checks before the end of the year. This new CC/COR is convinced that he just has to make a sales pitch at local troop meetings and that he'll get a whole bunch of older scouts ready to sign up. Other than having been through recent Venturing training, I'm not sure how much more of the process they've actually been through.



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Green Bar Bill said it the best - start small, and let your program grow as your success grows. Start with the right kind of boys - keep your eye focused on quality, not quantity. Build a strong nucleus of boys that will influence the others who join, in the values and traditions you want to establish. Have a strong vision for the Troop and stick to it. Don't compromise your vision just to add more members. Run a quality program, and the numbers will be there over time.


Most importantly, ask God for direction, wisdom and patience. Ask Him to bless your new Troop.

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To a new leader I would say, read the scoutmasters handbook from cover to cover. Get to know the program. Especially the concepts of the Patrol Method and the Boy Led Troop. And I would encourage anyone starting out to refer to older scoutmaster handbooks, now out of print, but available on sites like EBAY. I got a copy of the 1962 scoutmasters handbook, and marveled at the stuff no longer found in the current version. Then I got the 1942 copy, and marvel at the stuff no longer found in the 1962 version. Knowledge is power.

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We were approached by the Webelos leader, who would be the ASM, and his wife who is the Cub Master for the Pack. We have a Charter Organization, the same one that sponsors the Cub Scouts. The COR would be the same as for Cubs (he is an Eagle and understands the program). There are already 3 Webelos that should be crossing over, 1 boy who has wanted to join for about a year but mother won't drive him 20+ miles to a local Troop, 2 brothers (one of which is almost First Class, long story but he wants to get back into scouting), and my son (who is almost Eagle). My son would be 'dual' registered, his current SM and the committee are aware of what is going on and are supportive of it. They feel that he has a lot to offer a group of boys.


We are unhappy in our current Troop, but it would be nice to get a Troop running locally so that as my other boys get into Boy Scouts we wouldn't have to travel as much for it. I am going to be a leader wherever we are. My son and I have discussed it and he would like to give back to his community a little by trying this, but he doesn't want to totally leave current Troop til after he has finished his Eagle.


The Charter Organization was hoping when they agreed to sponsor a Pack that a Troop would follow. I have approached them and let them know that we would need a group that would be willing to help with our BORs. There are at least 4 former SMs, 5 or 6 Eagles, and several that have had sons in Scouts.


allangr1024, I have several older Scout books that I use as reference material now. I do like the older books.



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Its a lot of work. Sorry, I miss spoke. I meant to say, ITS A LOT OF WORK!


Thats not to scare you off, but to get you in the right frame of mind. It generally takes at least 3 years for the troop to get some momentum, and 6 years to develop a solid program. You need to commit to the six years to maintain a continuity of developing toward the same goal or vision. I use to be the districts adviser for struggling units and my experience is 90% of troops had no vision when they started. Vision is the first and highest priority for starting a successful unit because it gives everyone an understanding of their role as a team member. Passion is next on the list because it is a lot of work.


As a team, find your Vision, write it down and repeat it a lot all the time to everyone including parents. Develop every part of your program to in some way have purpose toward that Vision. The Vision should be idealistic so that it stands the test of time, seemingly impossible so that it doesnt become a stepping stone toward a new Vision, and Noble so that it is something every parent wants for their son. Badon Powell's vision World Peace based from values of scouting.


I agree with the suggestions of reading the present SM Handbook and also reading the old stuff because they are much better about working with scouts toward the visual of building citizens of character and leaders of integrity. However, I also suggest that everyone (scouts and scouters) read the Patrol Leaders Handbook and SPL Handbook. Those two books are the easiest road maps the BSA publishes toward building a successful troop that easy to read and understand. Building a program is a lot easier when the boys and adults understand the parts of the program and work together toward the same goals.


If you decide to take on this endeavor, I envy the rewards that you will gain from the experience. Its a lot of work and very well worth it. God has a special place for those bold enough to start new units.


I love this scouting stuff.




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It's a lot of work. The big issue I'm having right now is recruiting and retention of both kids and adults. We've been recruiting from the middle schools, get 3 boys and 2 quit within months. The other problem is getting the adults motivated to help.


We started focusing on Webelos right now and hope it works. We just re-charted with 5 but this week one boy told me that his dad got orders for VA.


Even when I ask parents to take on a job I get blank stares.


Apologies that I'm venting.

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