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raisinemright

Starting a new troop-Looking for advice

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Hi y'all,

 

For the record, I've been involved as a leader for about 8 years. Den leader, Asst Cubmaster and Asst Scoutmaster. Sometimes all at the same time.

 

We had to move a few states away and there's an opportunity to start up a new troop. Coincidentally, one of the other scouts from our old troop moved to the same area as us. Between us, we have two trained leaders and three scouts. Life, almost Star and almost 2C.

 

We've had plenty of interest among several families in our area and last week got the approval of a charter organization. Don't have a committee chair yet though.

 

Here's my question. I've never been involved in a troop startup. I'm looking for some ideas from all of you experienced Scouters. We're planning on doing some variation fo Scouting 101 for the first few weeks; Oath, Law, uniforms, salute, sign, basic knots, some minor outdoor skills, rank advancement, Patrol method, Scouting for Food and maybe a fundraiser.

 

My son is Life and has been ASPL and PL for most of his time in Scouts so he will be our initial SPL, probably for 6 months then we'll have elections. He's pretty good at training so that will help instill Patrol Method.

 

I'm confident that we'll succeed, but any advice would be helpful.

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CONGRATULATIONS! If some of the advice is not needed, then ignore.

 

1) Get training ASAP as Boy Scout leaders, if you haven't already, as Boy Scouts is very different than Cub Scouts and I have found some folks make a difficult transition.

 

2) Get your Life, Star, and 2nd class Trained, if not done so already. I would advise looking at both current training like TLT, NYLT as well as older material like JLTC, and my personal favorite Brownsea 22 (PM me if you want a copy of that syllabus, and yes I am a Cocky Curlew!).

 

3) have those 3 scouts who will be the foundation of the troop to look at the best things adn traditions they liked about their old troop, and try to incorporate it. If you got other scouts transfering in, see if they have any traditions you can incorporate.

 

4) Get a copy of the 3rd Ed. SMHB,both volumes, and let the SPL review the training section from it an implement it. Yes I know it's meant to be done by the SM initially and gradually letting the youth do the training, But if you got expereinced scouts, why do soemthing they can do themselves?

 

5) get a copy of the old Woods Wisdom, or Troop Program Features vols 1-3 and Troop Resources (those 4 books = the old Woods Wisdom book, just may have outdated forms in it). These are pre-writtent plans for SPLs to use in planning their troop meetings. Good foundation to start from.

 

OK gotta get back to work.

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Yah, hmmm...

 

Hard thing to do, startin' up a new troop in a new area that yeh aren't yet fully familiar with. Not sure I'd have advised it.

 

Some notes (in no particular order):

 

* Try to get one or two "local" experienced leaders aboard. Folks who know the area better than you do; also so that yeh introduce some new blood and new ways of thinkin' instead of just becoming a private club of expatriots from your former environs.

 

* Find an "experienced" troop in your area that you like. Take their leadership out to dinner, and pick their brains. Great camping spots, ideas, info on local district, areas they feel where boys are under-recruited, etc. Ask 'em to help you out to get going, maybe do a joint campout, maybe help train your committee people in "how things really work".

 

* For da first year of a new troop, yeh have to generate a calendar without the usual youth involvement. Yeh have to have something to "sell" recruits. Get your kids workin' on it.

 

* After yeh get some more adults engaged, take the time to have 'em all sit down around a table or campfire somewhere and talk about goals/values/vision. Listen. Share. Listen some more. Yeh have to get your startup core really aligned and in agreement on the vision for the unit, along with the COR and IH. Especially the COR and IH! Make sure the CO has some "skin" in the game, eh? They should help pay for startup.

 

* Have some notion of how yeh want to operate as yeh get going... structure for patrols, how handle fundraising and accounts, car camping or multi-sport lightweight camping, etc. But don't over-specify this stuff. Yeh want enough of an outline to get yeh running, but leave enough undefined so that people can make it "theirs" as they help yeh build the program.

 

* Try not to start up at the bare minimum of 5 scouts, eh? 10-12 boys committed with committed parents is where yeh want to try to get to in a hurry.

 

* Get with your DE and identify cub packs that have been under-recruited in the past, and go meet with their leadership (especially CM and the webelos den leaders). Start defining your recruiting, both short and long term, right from the start.

 

Good luck with it!

 

Beavah

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Regular Webelos recruiting season will be starting soon. It's probably safe to say you don't have a regular stream of Scouts from an existing Pack to rely on.

 

You may be able to recruit at other places you have connections, such as a church.

 

It's difficult enough starting a new troop, but to start a new troop with leaders that are transplants to the area make sit even harder. If there are other decent troops nearby, you may become friends with a few that match some of y'all goals and shadow them a little. Just so the few boys you currently have will have more interaction/practice/play with other like minded Scouts.

 

If you are close together, you may consider a recruitment drive in your neighborhoods also.

 

Just some ideas. Good luck with it.

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Guys,

 

Your advice has been very good and I appreciate it. Heres a little more info.

 

Our goal is to mostly recruit home schooled kids and there are some decent networks in the area. I had to move here about 8 months before my family came, so I got hooked up with another troop to help as an unofficial ASM. Since the family moved here, weve been with them but the troop is nearly 40 miles from home. Since my presence there was only temporary, Im leaving under very good terms and intend to have some co-activities with them. Weve also been invited by another troop to shadow as well if we want.

 

Its true that we have no feeder pack. Thats phase two of the Master Plan but Im not in a position to lead that due to time so well need to recruit some leaders for Cubs.

 

Of the kids whove expressed interest in joining, most are new to Scouts but a couple have some experience. But, my plan is to be adult led with deep youth sub leadership for as short a period of time as possible.

 

What Im really looking for is some program ideas. We want to do sort of Scouting 101 starting at point 1.

 

Weve got nothing at all gear wise and no budget or cash in the bank, so its going to be even more fun. I hope our CO decides to grant us a small account to get us started.

 

Eagle, I like your idea of having our other boys write down pluses and minuses of other troops. My two have had experience in two troops, the other boy in three, so we might have some good stuff.

 

I think its time to re-read my SM handbook too.

 

Beavah, I realize that it sounds like a bunch of ex-pats, but our goal is to get a good, strong, solid troop with as many boys and adults involved as possible. Circumstances just happened to work out (heavenly Providence maybe?) that both families moved 600 miles to land with 5 miles of each other. For the record, I lost my job and got a new one, hes military and got transferred.

 

Scouting ties in so well with home education that Ive become somewhat of an evangelist for it, so when the opportunity arose, we jumped on it.

 

Hopefully it will work out and we can get something going and make it strong.

 

Thanks for your help.

 

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The one thing I will say is "Webelo Recruiting Season" is a misnomer: At least one of your experienced Scouts needs to kick out now and get a Den Chief position. It may be 2 years before you harvest, but the sooner you start working the sale, the better it will be.

 

A Troop I know has a Pack under the same Chartered Partner. They thought they were going to get all 10 boys that moved up this February. That was late this summer. As of now, they are getting TWO.

 

You have to sell Mom and Dad that yours is the right one for their kids.

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Ah, I see. John, I don't think a den chief will help if there is not a nearby homeschooled pack to feed from, based on their goals.

 

So, you have an opportunity to start a new troop, and start it with "patrol method" right away. WHile you said it will be kind of "troop method" at the start, that may be true in the background, but in the foreground, you can model patrol method early on.

 

I would think early on you need to really emphasize outdoor skills.

 

Have one outing with nothing but different cooking methods. Cook in patrols, adults in their own patrol modeling how patrol method works.

 

Have another outing where you lash a tower together, emphasizing teamwork and how everyone contributes a small part of the whole, and if one person doesn't do his part, the tower won't be stable.

 

Do your own "First-Aid-O-Ree", get scouts from other troops to help be victims.

 

Most of all, go slow, let your SPL run it. Resist the temptation to jump in and "fix things" (unless someones safety is at stake). If they make a mistake, they learn from it. Explain alternatives of how it could have been done afterwards. If you jump in and fix things all the time, then the Scouts start to expect it, and they stop doing stuff for themselves. They start expecting you to do it.

 

Be quick to listen, slow to speak and all that. Good Luck on your endeavor.

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Someone else mentioned it but get all the boys you have now NYLT trained. They will be able to work together as a core that sets the example for all the others that join.

 

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Get the SPL Handbook and Patrol Leaders handbook for all the boys and adults working with scouts. Those two handbooks are simple instructions to running a troop. Working through those books together with the boys gives everyone involved an equal understanding of how the program works. That way there is no mystery for either the boys or adults. Refer to those handbooks for all the questions. And by the way, the Aims and Methods are discussed in the SPL Handbook. Everyone should sit down together and discuss them. I directed the discussion that the adults are responsible for the "Aims", and the scouts are responsible for the "Methods".

 

We found out that fundraising was an excellent way for our troop bonding together when we started.

 

Barry

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