New Scout Troop

Ideas, approaches, material, etc. to develop our senior youth into leaders of the movement.
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aging
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New Scout Troop

Post by aging » Tue Aug 25, 2009 2:35 pm

In a few weeks, another scouter and I are forming a new troop. We are only expecting 2-5 kids. Obviously, many challenges lie ahead for us and neither of us have been a troop leader before. We have both taken our WB1 in troop. So, my question is: how do we form a good patrol and implement the court of honor. All the kids will be first year scouts. Some have only cub experience, some both beavers and cubs.

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Liam Morland
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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by Liam Morland » Thu Aug 27, 2009 8:54 pm

Aging, unfortunately, you have huge challenge ahead of you, but read on, because there is a solution.

So much of what is important in Scouting cannot be done with only 5 Scouts (and that is your best case). Patrol competitions and most wide games are impossible. Less obvious is the fact that smaller troops lack a feeling of vibrancy. Think about how it would feel to be at an NHL game if there were only five people in the stands. Young people are group-sensitive: If it feels like only five people are interested in Scouts, how can it be cool? This will effect your retention even if the Scouts say they are enjoying Scouts.

Establishing patrol leadership is another huge challenge. New Scouts need experienced PLs to look up to and to learn from. Three years from now, you may have some third-year Scouts to be PLs, but they won't have grown up with older Scouts as role models. It takes six years minimum before you can have a PL who went through Scouts with third-year role models.

Without experienced Scouts to train the new Scouts in their skills, Scouting activities end up being far more adult-driven than they should be at the troop level. The Scouts get accustomed to this and it is difficult to train them to take responsibility for themselves. Most skill training should be Scout to Scout.

I know it is difficult when you are the only troop in your city. However, New Hamburg is close enough to KW that you can partner with an existing troop. There are many ways to do this and some will work better than others. With only a handful of Scouts, all new, I suggest fully integrating yourself with the other troop. Continue to partner until you have at least 12 Scouts in New Hamburg.

My troop is on the western side of Waterloo and you would be welcome to partner with us. Please contact me if you are interested. There may also be suitable troops in western Kitchener.

I hope you won't be offended by what I am writing. I want Scouting to be successful. No amount skill or hard work can make up for just not having enough people.
Liam Morland, Scoutmaster
21st Waterloo Scout Troop
CSA 1990, QVA 1994, WB2-T 1995

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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by aging » Fri Aug 28, 2009 12:46 am

Thanks Liam. I appreciate the honest feedback. We have some meetings/events planned with a Brantford troop but I would love to also partner up with another group. We want the new scouts to get all they can out of a troop and we realize we have many limitations. One of the big reasons we even started troop was for the boys (we don't have any girls in any sction) who were leaving cubs. We knew they wanted to continue and had no where else to go unless their parents drove them to Kitchener or Stratford. We hope to get off to an amazing start so that hopefully they will tell their friends to join, as we do with all sections. I will speak to the other leader and see what his thoughts are about joining your group for a couple meetings and get in touch with you with the answer.

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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by BalooTwo » Fri Aug 28, 2009 8:39 am

Partnering is a great idea. We had 3 groups of about 6 Scouts and the problem was one or two leaders in the groups. Partnering up created 3 solid patrols and a pile of leaders. We rotated around to keep the parents happy (no more than 10 minute driveway to any location). Learned alot, taught alot. PLs, APLs, Court of Honour, full age range of youth, side-groups, etc. It was Scouting as per the book. We ran into two problems that let the experiment lasted only 1 year. the parents didn't want to drive 10 minutes (that was the excuse), and some leader egos roared up. All the groups managed to leader-up to the minimum and it ended.

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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by kelisseou » Tue Sep 01, 2009 6:48 am

I don't know if this sounds redundant of not...

As for youth input, I wouldn't bother with a Court of Honour at all. I would call it what it is... a Patrol in Council, with an eye on forming a new patrol in the future (with another Patrol in Council), and starting your Court of Honor later on from that.

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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by Akela25th » Wed Oct 21, 2009 3:38 pm

Aging,

How is your scout troop? I hope you stuck with it even with a small number. My husband ressurrected our troop in Red Deer 3 years ago with just 3 boys - we now have 8 with 3 leaders! The first year he formed them into 1 patrol, they focused on the team building aspect of Scouting and it was a great hit! And just so you know it was my husbands first year ever in scouting so he really had to put in the effort for some events. For things like camps and outings the Scouts piggybacked onto my Cub camps. We also found this was a great bridging tool and so far all our 3rd year cubs have gone on to Scouts. They also took part in every area event which helps add that larger group component.

Just so you know it can be done and it will grow! Remember the first Scout experiment was only a few boys in England and now look at us!

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Liam Morland
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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by Liam Morland » Wed Oct 21, 2009 5:06 pm

Akela25th wrote:Remember the first Scout experiment was only a few boys in England and now look at us!
Brownsea Island camp: 20 Scouts, 4 patrols; enough critical mass to start something amazing.
Liam Morland, Scoutmaster
21st Waterloo Scout Troop
CSA 1990, QVA 1994, WB2-T 1995

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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by aging » Thu Oct 22, 2009 2:26 am

Our scout troop has 6 boys currently; one has already quit which was surprising since I seen him achieving his Chief Scout award. We've had some growing pains but are slowly working them out. At our last meeting we had a parent meeting to squash some rumours and clear up a few issues and it went really well. We've done some twinning and a camp with 2nd Brantford troop and we all learned alot. The boys are slowly adjusting to the differences between cubs and scouts. All in all, things are going good. Thanks for asking! :D

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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by scoutleader101 » Thu Oct 22, 2009 11:09 am

Have you spoken with the scout who left? That would be key. Perhaps there are some issues that could be cleared up.
I just hate it when I hear about a youth leaving. What did we miss? What aren't we providing?

Garth
Alberta

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Re: New Scout Troop

Post by aging » Thu Oct 22, 2009 1:52 pm

We did speak to the parents at length, more than once. The main reason, according to them, was he didn't like the cold and wasn't very interested in winter outdoor activities. We tried to reassure them and even told them, it was his choice whether to participate in those activities or not but we weren't very successful. I still suspect there is more to it than that but what can I do? I was extremely surprised he left because he was one of the boys who begged us to start a troop. Two of his best friends are still in the troop and I am hoping at some point he will consider coming back. I know he has taken on other activities.

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