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Basementdweller

Troop hopping

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I get about two a year on average looking and I get about 1/2 of those as transfers, usually from Troops that have changed Adult leadership,

(most often a new SM but a couple of times a new ASM) and the Scout(or Parent) does not (for what ever reason) like the change.

 

To date, every Scout we have had come over from another Troop has finished at Life or Eagle.

 

So, to answer the posed questions:

Change within the previous Troop causing enough discomfort they left their buddies.

Yes and Yes.

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Every year we may get one or two. It often is "friend driven"! But boys can also be very aware of the emphasis on the different methods.

 

Going to an Eagle CoH of a boy who transferred quite a few years ago. Since his SMC, we had a chance to reflect as to why on several occasions. His older brother's troop was extremely adult led. As a result, they did some neat things (e.g., massive gateways to the troop site at summer camp), but also demanded a lot of compliance from the boys. (I could see this kid having huge issues with that.) He really appreciated how we put the boys at the center of the decision-making process. He felt the adults had his best interest at heart - even when we were coming down on him for some misdeed.

 

It wasn't so important that the program didn't match his interests entirely (e.g., we backpacked a lot, he didn't).

 

Now I'm not sure how much his parents were involved in the decision, but they were willing to adapt to the way we did things. It wasn't a matter of "no matter where you go, there you are." So I don't think it was for any adult disagreement. They saw their boy wasn't fitting in, so they helped him find a troop that he liked.

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BD - What did Beavah write that had anything to do with troop hopping?

 

Anyway.. We were the hoppies, rather then the recipients of hoppers.. I have to be honest, the choice to move out.. Parents idea, the choice of new troop was up to scout (although we previewed a few, then allowed him to select out or 3 or 4 choices..)..

 

First time, program was too harsh.. They chose their favorites and did everything in their power to let those unwanted know they were unwanted and would never get fair treatment if they stayed.. Second time the first SM was ok, but not great.. Then he left after 3 or 4 months of us being in the troop. and gave position to a new SM who chose to run the troop for his son, and since son wanted nothing to do with the patrol method, scout skills, or advancement they were tossed out of the program.. First SM I was beginning to catch on he too was for his sons.. So when we came in, the troop worked on scout skills, but I was beginning to pick up if his sons had the skill already signed off, it was not going to be worked on again for newer scouts.

 

So what does that state.. Both were bad programs, First one wasn't change in Adult leadership, Second one sort of was.. Both though were just bad programs..

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We had a couple scouts leave because they were looking for a fast track Eagle program. Yes I hated to see them go, they were good scouts.

 

We got two types of transfers: First were older scouts looking for more adventure and independence. The other were awkward or handicap scouts who didn't fit in other troops.

 

Barry

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They come and go for all sorts of reasons.

 

Thinking back on the ones I can remember

 

Incoming --

#1 Had basically dropped out of another troop and a friend convinced him to join us where he served as SPL and made Eagle.

 

#2 Went to Philmont with our crew and discovered he really liked our program.

 

#3 & #4 Old troop was having leadership problems and being run like a Webelos III den. They wanted a more traditional program. (One has since left, the other is one of my strongest Scouts and will make Eagle soon.)

 

#5 Came to us because many of his friends were in our troop.

 

Outgoing --

#1 Left because our old SM and COR explained that he wasn't going to be an Eagle in our troop before age 13. This is the same Scout as #2 above. He left, found the grass wasn't really greener and came back.

 

#2 As a young Scout, this kid was really goofy and somewhat a discipline problem. As he matured, he really tried to turn things around, but had been labeled the troop "goat" by a number of the Scouts. He really needed a fresh start and transferred and has since made Eagle at his new troop. This was a situation where I really felt transferring was a good move for the Scout.

 

#3 Was one of two boys I've worked with who were simply too immature for Boy Scouts. He moved to a much more adult-led troop that does a lot of hand holding, merit badge classes every week, etc. I don't think he was there too long, either.

 

#4 Family issues which would take pages to explain.... Made Eagle.

 

#5 & #6 Discipline issues. They read the writing on the wall and decided to leave before being asked to. Don't let the door catch you in the butt....

 

#7 The brother of #6.

 

#8 Purely and simply shopped for an easy Eagle and found one.

 

I can't really say how much was Scout driven vs. parent driven. Obviously parents are involved in a decision to change troops, but I really can't say to what extent. I do think it safe to say it's never 100% one or the other.

 

If I were to draw conclusion from this list, I would say there are two types of transfers -- 1) those who are simply looking for a better fitting program. They were pretty good Scouts in their first troop and tend to do very well in the second. And 2) kids who just aren't into it and are looking for an easier road. They don't tend to do any better at the second troop. This applies to both the incoming and outgoing Scouts.

 

Kinda like everything else in the world, huh?

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Spun it from Beavah because he wrote about conflict avoiding adults.

 

Troop hopping is a result of someone putting their foot down.

 

 

Had a scout come take a look at us a couple of weeks ago. He had a bad BOR they said he did not fulfill his POR duties and would not pass him. His first question to us was if he could get his next rank based on the POR he held in the other troop. SM said No he would need to do the required work in our unit for him to sign off on with confidence. Never saw him again.

 

 

Lost one to an ugly family situation and the COR refusing to allow new Man in moms life to join as a leader because of moral concerns.

 

Lost another to Parental merit badge fraud.

 

Lost another to a parent Lying about a swimming test....kid failed it at camp when SM forced a retest at summer camp.

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Several years ago a neighboring troop started a venture crew. The active and driving adults of the troop left to form the venture crew. The adults left behind floundered. The troop floundered. We picked up several scouts from that troop.

 

We have had a couple of scouts leave the troop because there was too much language and typical teenage boy discussions in the tents at night. They wanted the adults to intervene and control the conversations of scouts in the tents after lights out. SM has a policy that "officers do not go below decks to the enlisted quarters". Adults stay out of the scouts tents. The scouts need to police themselves. Discussions were held with the other tent mates to explain that a scout follows all of the 12 points of the scout law. Saw one 6 months later and he found a troop he was more happy with. Happy that he could stay in scouting

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Basement writes: "Troop hopping is a result of someone putting their foot down. "

 

Yeah, basement, and sometimes that "someone" is the scout, putting his foot down on adult silliness!

 

 

Generally, I see about the same four groups mentioned by others:

 

1. Boys unhappy with the program being offered (too much adult direction, too much hand holding, not enough adventure, etc.)

 

2. Parents unhappy with behavioral norms in the troop (language, nastiness/hostility, treatment of younger guys, fighting, etc.)

 

3. Boys and Parents unhappy with standards for advancement (too easy/too hard) which might also be another way to say: differing values, especially when combined with #2

 

4. Behavior problems or immaturity on the part of a specific boy

 

In my son's former troop we lost a good number of crossovers each year. I was generally sorry to see most go, as they fell into the 2nd and 4th (immaturity, not behavior) categories. With a strong youth leadership and trust in adults to provide a caring but challenging environment, I think immaturity can be overcome. But not if parents of younger boys don't believe the older boys and adults have the best interest of their kid in mind, and not if parents or boys think the role modeling and behaviors of the older boys are offensive.

 

Some parents do take this a bit too far, but when you have numerous parents coming to you after their boys have left the troop, saying "here's why we don't want our boy around the older guys in your troop..." you should recognize that you have a problem. Similarly, when older boys who had been your youth leaders are leaving the troop and providing detailed reasons why, then adult leadership should pay some attention.

 

In my time involved with boy scouting, there are two boys I was glad to see the back of. One was in the habit of bringing weed to campouts. He eventually dropped out of high school and ended up in prison, charged with dealing. Nice kid, actually, but not the role model I wanted my son to be around and other adult leaders seemed to either be oblivious or were turning a blind eye on purpose. The other one chucked a hammer at my kid's head, out of the clear blue (even he admitted there was no reason for it, it was the first time he'd ever camped with my son and nothing had happened between them). He had some emotional issues that had a tendency to erupt in random violence like that. Always made me nervous.

 

There were a couple of others I'd like to have seen the back of, but they stayed.

 

 

I've written about this before so folks here may know that my son "hopped" troops about 2 years ago, after sticking with his former troop for 5+ years. At the time, I told him I would support him staying or going (I really didn't want him to quit, but I'd have let him), but if he stayed he needed to be able to not be miserable about it. He chose to leave. It was the right choice. Since then, he has said many times "I wish I'd moved sooner." On the other hand, he was telling me the other day about some outdoor skills where he thinks his former troop had the edge. So you learn different things from different experiences, and that's valuable to realize, too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Let's see; had a group of Life scouts join because their troop folded, for want of a scoutmaster.

Had a boy transfer in from out of state. His parents joined the church in support of the troop.

Had a boy transfer in because his mother can't play nice with other adults.

Had a boy leave because his dad got upset that his son wasn't the focal point with the other new scouts,

Had one leave because he was called out as a bully.

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I only know of two cases, related to our troop. One night, a new Scout showed up with his mom, to check things out. While the Scout was off with the rest of the troop, I had a chat with mom. Turns out he was kind of unhappy in his other troop, and wanted to see if this might be a better fit. I didn't really put on the full sales job, so to speak. I just told her about the third troop in town, and that they may want to check out that one too.

 

The next weekend, I saw the other troop's SM at a training function. He didn't really know me, so I introduced myself, and told him about the visit, and that I wasn't really trying to recruit out of his troop. He said, "I know, turns out there was some kind of misunderstanding, and we've cleared things up." I think being direct and honest with him was the start of a long and cordial friendship.

 

The other case -- we had a Scout show up that hadn't been around in a couple of years (since his Life BoR), and it appeared he was working on his Eagle application, wanting signatures. Our new SM suggested that he needed to really be an active part of the troop, and hold a real PoR, if he wanted a signature. Scout took umbrage ("but the [former] SPL signed it off in my book!", even though neither of them had been seen in two years), and went to check out this other troop. He told them the situation, and they checked with us, and ultimately decided to tell the Scout that he probably should work things out with us. Turns out they have an actual attendance standard for advancement and didn't like the idea of a Scout joining them just to finish Eagle. I think we've patched things up with this Scout, although we've still only seen him at a couple of meetings, and on no outings (for the last year).

 

Guy

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We get one every few years. It's usually 1 of 2 things:

 

1. Troop isn't active enough; scout looking for more outings/activities. No problem, we are active.

 

2. Some other alleged behavioral issue in the troop(poor communication, lack of opportunity for advancement, scout doesn't get along with others). These issues that they blame on the old troop almost always repeat themselves in our troop, as the problem isn't the troop, it's the scout or parent. It's easier to blame the troop than take personal responsibility.

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We lost boys because of how we chose to handle discipline issues. Their parents dragged them to a more adult-led spin-off. I really don't consider it to be troop hopping. It was more a parting of ways. Mostly adult inspired.

 

However, a couple of those boys would like to come back to our troop. Talked to one boy and his mom about it last week. He asked if it would be okay if he would transfer back. I replied "Are you a bad kid?"

He said "No sir."

I said "I'm sorry, you otta know we only take bad kids."

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