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Useful Troop Progress Metric

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For those enough to have good data (we use Troopmaster) what is some good/bad metrics to look at? I can extract nights of camping, participation in activities, MB earned, time between ranks, miles hiked, etc.


I thought of this after checking up to see if some of the lads got credit on a recent hike. I saw that a number of the 2nd years had 24-30 nights of camping and 45-50 miles of hiking their first year. Is that good?


I mean we focus probably too much on rank advancement...is there a better way to measure progress? (putting aside that many things are NOT measurable)

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turtle this aint rocket science......


camping 12 months a year so 11 weekend campouts 2 nights each, 1 resident camp for 6 nights


So that is 28 nights possible per year......so 56 for 2 years.......



We do two backpacking trips a year for about 20 miles each....so we hike probably 100 miles a year... We canoe 10 miles a year.....and Sled down hill a couple of miles worth...


Monthly we participate in local orienteering events. which are about 5k each and we run multiple courses....





Now not every boy attends every event....events get canceled or changed.....


Progress.......I measure progress by growth or shrinkage of the troop....by the smiles on their faces and the excitement at planning meetings...Boys are bringing friends so the troop is growing, to me that is success.


Advancement is a poor way to measure progress.



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Sorry Basementdweller, I can't but help thinking that your being a little harsh.

I agree with the yardsticks that you are using and Lord knows I think at times some people just don't get Advancement and where it fits in.

But being able to see how many nights at camp a Lad has does for me show a lot.

Kids vote with their feet. If the program was a stinker? I bet they would stay home and not attend the events.

Both you and the Turtle need to take a minute and give yourselves a big pat on the back for all your doing for the kids in the areas where you live.



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I had a hard time with two scouts that were the same age to the point that one of the scout couldn't public speak or recite the Oath or Law if the other scout was there. (later I was to learn it was a case of jock versus non-jock that was carrying over into our Troop) I worked on that giving the fearful Scout opportunities to public speak either with script or in another environment where applaud would come back to him. To me that was a measure of progress in building his confidence.

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I think Deaf Scouter has the right idea - progress will be measured differently for different boys. Each of them needs growth in a different area.


Of course, I understand what you are looking for, but I thing 24-30 nights of camping and 45-50 miles hiking is great.

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"Of course, I understand what you are looking for"

Finding a way, system? Call it what you will that measures Troop success is not easy.

For the people who work with the individual Scouts, they see and can experience the things that might seem small or of no consequence. - The great joy a little fellow has when he masters a skill, that warm fuzzy feeling after a night sitting around the embers of a dying camp fire.

Others want to see membership. - How many Scouts in the Troop as the yard stick.

For others it's the Badge count.

As District Chairman and as District Commissioner, I, most of the time didn't know what was happening in a Troop or a Pack.

I did get reports that showed Unit Growth and Advancement reports.

While most of the time these reports were of little real interest, they did at times signal if things were not going that well.


One of the most difficult things that most unit leaders fail to grasp is that they are the stewards for the unit. While of course we live day by day and hope that we make a positive impact on the Scouts we have today. The role of a unit leader is also to ensure that the unit will be around long after he or she is gone and will have the same impact on kids that he or she has yet to met, may never meet and maybe aren't even born yet.


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I think it's useful to judge a Troop's Program by two (2) metrics:


1) A rank advancement program for the Cub Scout survivors who hate camping and long for the day when they can earn their Indoor Eagle Award and leave: Lots of what our Chief Scout Executive promotes as soccer and "Sitting indoors, side by side with adults of good character."


2) A separate outdoor program for your "Real" Patrols.


Why torture indoor and outdoor boys with each other's program? :)


Yours at 300 feet,





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You do not have to reinvent the wheel here. National has done the work for you. I suggest that you use the Journey to Excellence program. If you achieve silver you are doing pretty good. If you acheive gold you are doing really good.


You can also use the Unit Self Assessment form to help you in your journey.

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To be honest, I'm disliking the pressure that the JTE puts on one especially when one is trying to revitalize a Troop that doesn't want to fold because they've been around since 1938.


Kudo.. You had me cracking up at your funny reminder... *laughing


I use TroopMaster . It has is limitation in setting one up for always looking at advancement because that is basically what its used for, recordkeeping. I'm really tempted to go back to the old fashioned way, paper and pen and give it to the scout.. *grins


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I'll be honest, I like JTE to a degree because it is more program oriented than previous programs. And I think the goals are a good measurement, but the pressure to meet them makes it a bit overboard.


Some of my personal guides as to a a good troop.


1) Are they a "Camping and Hiking Troop?" How often are doing the outdoor, fun stuff that are the very foundation, even more so than the Patrol Method IMHO, and is what keeps the Scouts involved and interested? As GBB said, "Outing is three-fourths of ScOuting." I would like at least 10 camp outs and/or hikes a year and 1 summer camp week.


2) Are they youth led? Does the PLC do the planning, and run the meetings and camp outs? Is the SPL really in charge or is he a mouthpiece for the SM? Yes I think the Patrol Method is second to the outdoors (Sorry Kudu, but that is me.)BUT it is a foundation of scouting as the patrol is the foundation of a troop. It is with the patrol that scouts work and grow together physically, mentally, and morally. It is with the patrol that Scouts learn about the importance of working together. It is withthe patrol that they select their Patrol Leaders to represent them at the PLC to select and organize troop activities. It is with the patrol that they learn to do things on their own and with their patrol mates without adult interference. It is with the patrol that they will screw up, and sometimes screw up royally ;), that will provide the absolute best memories and learning experiences.


3) Do the scouts really know their skills or are they a "one and done" unit? Can I trust these scouts with my life if things hit the fan in the back country? Trust me it happened once to me, and my patrol mates on the trip, as well as a few scouts from my home troop, were the ones who took care of me and my canoe partner.


4) Are the meetings "organized chaos" with different groups working on different things? Or are the meeting nothing but MBs and lectures that bore the scouts?


5)Is the unit keeping the older scouts or is the unit losing them after getting Eagle? I know of units that not only have Eagles in their ranks still active, but also that number of ASMs in the 18-21 range. Heck one troop had more 18-20 yo ASMs than Scouts at one point. A unit that loses Eagles as soon as they get it worry me.


6) Is the unit sustaining members and/or growing? A unit that evens out the aged out members with new members, and especially one that is growing, is a good sign.

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Thanks for the comments, John -- I didn't think yours were harsh. Trying to find something beside advancement, MB, and eagle production. I guess camping nights and retention may be good.


We have a pretty big Troop so the one on one progress issues is kinda limited. Wanted some other ammo if committee discussions to keep us on track.

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You have neglected "Character and Leadership." How about "Total hours sitting indoors, side by side with adults of character"? :)


"You can teach a kid about character and leadership using aerospace and computers. The secret is to get them side by side with adults of character" (Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca).






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TroopMaster now allows you to track that by Scout and Scouter and by left and right side. (Reports>Advancement>Individual Report>click box for SSBS index. Pull down menu for left, right, or both)I find that the ones that sit by my right side, and in air conditioning, seem to develop better character and leadership.

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TT, it sounds like you have the right metrics. By the numbers, your second-years beat ours!


Don't shrug off reporting advancement as well. IMHO each quarter, you should be able to describe your troop as # of scouts:

On trail to first class (of those, how many joined that quarter),

First class (of those, how many completed FC BOR that quarter),

Eagle (of those, how many completed E-BOR that quarter).


This is stuff that should get summarized at a committee meeting, then you should ask the committee, "So, from the BOR's was there any feedback from the boys that would give us an idea about how we should be supporting the program?"


Right now, we're a little top-heavy. (Majority of boys FC+.) Recruitment is rightly a big concern. But on the flip side, we have boys who are very articulate about what they want out of the program.


The boy-led stuff is harder to measure, that would be things like tour plans filled out by your SPL/PL's requiring only your signature. Scouts comfortable calling adults and asking about being a resource (driver, trainer, chaperone, activity/fundraiser, consultant). SPL attending troop committee meetings, etc ...


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