Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

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Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby Hubert » Sun Mar 15, 2009 11:43 pm

Ok, I am having some MAJOR trouble with my troop. The commettie split the troop into two patrols, older and younger. At first, this sounded ok, but now, the outcome is devistating. The older boys just stand around and talk, the younger try to do things, but fight and argue too much. This was done to see if the older boys would help the younger ones, but it has not. Now, two boys are leaving the troop due to inactivity. I am just an ASM, I have no vote on commettie. the troop is very small, but needs to do somethings. I have suggested so many things to do, bike rides, bowling, basketball, SOMETHING other than meeting every Monday night, and sitting around wasting time. Advancement is slow, and the younger boys all want to do things but just cant seem to agree. I want to keep this troop going, I was one of the ones who helped revive it. This troop was folded many years ago, and now it seems we are doomed for the same outcome. But I dont want this to happen, but do not know how to get it going. I dont want to see youth quit scouting. The other night, I did one of the hardest things I have ever done, and that was to refer a boy to another troop. But I talked to him and told him I would rather see you transfer troops, than quit scouting. I had that same issue. I had a problem with a troop I was in, transfered troops, and have done great things. However, that troop I transfered too, is failing and I dont know what to do. Anyone got any ideas?

Ok, I think I have vented well enough now...lol. :oops:
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby Cowboy » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:51 am

I know that many people think that the patrols should be younger/older. I strongly disagree! Put it to the Committee this way: Boy Scouts is suppose to be boy led. A) The SPL should actually be the one assigning patrols (with SM guidance), not the Committee. B) The ideal is to have the "older" boys training the "younger" ones. This can not happen when the patrols are based on age. A good mix of older and younger will help the patrols work together. Older boys train the younger ones. Additionally, School sports are run by age/grade, until High School. If you have all of your older guys in one patrol and the younger in another, when a sports event comes along you lose most of a patrol, leaving just one or two boys. That is not a patrol.
We have had similar issues in our Troop. It usually boiled down to the Committee getting too involved or the adult leaders forgetting that the Boys are suppose to be running things. That means teaching each other not just advancing the flags. Sometimes we do have to put a halt on things, but for the most part we can let them make the decisions. Our most recent struggle came when we went from a Troop of 14 to 25. 5 of our older Scouts were sitting around and watching, two actually working to make things fly, and the rest "lost" newer guys. When we had the in influx of new guys they were all either Webelos or from a Troop where there was no movement. Star Scouts (1 yr) who had not held a POR yet, etc.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby Mrw » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:33 am

Our tropp has 6 patrols at this point and they are all age based. This started when we were very small and then had a full patrol worth of new cross-overs join. The new kids were one patrol and the other kids were the troop leaders. The next year, with the next group of new ones, the kids preferred to keep their existing patrols and start a new patrol for the new kids. We have combined a patrol as needed when attrition has reduced numbers.

The boys in the oldest two patrols are the troop leaders - SPL,ASPLs, Troop Guides and Instructors. They really don't do much as a patrol anymore because they are running the troop or are assigned to the younger patrols as guides and instructor where they are doing the teaching function you are needing.

This is working pretty well for us. We have 54 boys on the roster right now. We will probably drop 11 at re-charter time next month, half due to aging out and half due to dropping out. At the same time, we have 14 new boy crossing over this month. So the troop seems to have stabilized with numbers in the low 50's. We seem to drop 3-4 of the very newest boys within their first few months and so the seemingly over-sized patrol becomes a manageable size on its own.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby kwildman » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:55 am

BSAs model for troop organization is an older venture patrol, several mixed patrols, and a new scout patrol. Granted not everyone has a large enough troop to make this work. When our troop was smaller we mixed the older and younger. Now we have a new scout patrol with an ASM assigned specifically to that patrol. The advantage is that the new scouts need more "adult" help and they are focused on getting T21 finished their first year. These activities don't mesh well with the program for older scouts. The SPL and ASPL are also tasked with helping or providing help for the new scout patrol when they are working on scout fundamentals.

Merely separating the kids into patrols isn't enough you need to make them work independently. Part of being boy led is that you need to let them fail sometimes and then hopefully they can learn from their mistakes. SM conferences are good tool to use to re-motivate youth. The troop committee should also be getting feedback from the youth on what they want. Has your youth leadership done the troop leadership training? TLT is a great program if it is incorporated into your program and routinely used.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby alex gregory » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:56 am

The young patrol needs a Troop Guide. Select an older scout that can work well with the younger guys to teach them what they need to know without being bossy. Remind that scount that being a Troop Guide is an honor and counts toward advancement. An ASM responsible for the younger patrol would probably also help a lot.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Mar 17, 2009 11:59 am

kwildman wrote:BSAs model for troop organization is an older venture patrol, several mixed patrols, and a new scout patrol. Granted not everyone has a large enough troop to make this work. When our troop was smaller we mixed the older and younger. Now we have a new scout patrol with an ASM assigned specifically to that patrol. The advantage is that the new scouts need more "adult" help and they are focused on getting T21 finished their first year. These activities don't mesh well with the program for older scouts. The SPL and ASPL are also tasked with helping or providing help for the new scout patrol when they are working on scout fundamentals.

Merely separating the kids into patrols isn't enough you need to make them work independently. Part of being boy led is that you need to let them fail sometimes and then hopefully they can learn from their mistakes. SM conferences are good tool to use to re-motivate youth. The troop committee should also be getting feedback from the youth on what they want. Has your youth leadership done the troop leadership training? TLT is a great program if it is incorporated into your program and routinely used.

Remember this is not a Crew and has none of the advantages of being in a crew
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby smtroop168 » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:19 pm

kwildman wrote:BSAs model for troop organization is an older venture patrol


Probably should change the name back to "Senior" patrol to eliminate confusion.

What? Eliminate Confusion...we live and breathe confusion on the forum. :lol: :lol:
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Mar 17, 2009 12:28 pm

I did the NLE course on line and In Boy Scouting they are not mentioning a Venture Patrol that I recall. I think it will be a slow withdrawal of the term But we all know ther are Leaders out there that will continue using it an doing Venturing Activities. A Venture patrol can only do activities that any other BSA Patrol can do. No HP Rifles,No Hunting,No Pistols, even Air Gun Pistols,No Advancement past 18.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby kwildman » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:19 pm

Thanks for clarifying it for the others but I did use the right term. The Troop Leadership Training curriculum states that there are 3 types of patrols; regular patrols, new scout patrols, and venture patrols. Crews and the Venturing program are a completely different animal.

Another can of worms for discussion? A Troops Venture Patrol can visit an activity sponsored by a Venturing Crew and participate with the Crew provided that they meet the age requirements and that there is adequate and qualified supervision present. :)
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby FrankJ » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:20 pm

Can they shoot the low power 30-06s at Philmont? : :D :?
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:38 pm

Philmont has there own rules that sometimes go against BSA's other policies.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby FrankJ » Tue Mar 17, 2009 1:57 pm

wagionvigil wrote:Philmont has there own rules that sometimes go against BSA's other policies.


Strangely, I am OK with that.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Mar 17, 2009 2:35 pm

The COPE courses at the NJ won't pass a camp inspection but will pass a ropes course inspection is another twist. I like the idea of the Venture patrol visiting a crew and taking part as long as they take applications with them and they only do it once. I was at a Venrturing/ Girl Scout event a couple of weeks ago and all the GSUSA troops there ended up Getting registered as Crews. :D
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby kwildman » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:31 pm

wagionvigil wrote:The COPE courses at the NJ won't pass a camp inspection but will pass a ropes course inspection is another twist. I like the idea of the Venture patrol visiting a crew and taking part as long as they take applications with them and they only do it once. I was at a Venrturing/ Girl Scout event a couple of weeks ago and all the GUSA troops there ended up Getting registered as Crews. :D


Darn it... thought I might get you to step into that one. :D Had that discussion with another leader and he told me know way that a group of boy scouts all 14+ could do venturing activities at a gun range. Had to straighten them out that it was a venturing activity and that same leader had no problem with youth that were not in a troop participating. Why would they punish a boy for being a scout? Turned out to be a great recruiting tool.

WV - Why limit to only once? Sometimes it may take a couple of times to really get your hooks in. Kids also want to be comfortable with the crew before signing up.

No surprise on the GUSA...their program is weak. :wink:
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:38 pm

The One reason I say once is that Leaders and Boys will take advantage of the fact that they can do that and actually have no intention of making the move.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby wagionvigil » Tue Mar 17, 2009 4:44 pm

We are planning an area wide Camporee in Late 2010. One of the things being planned is that there will be venturing only activities. Those activities will be strictly regulated to make sure only registered Crew members are taking part. They will hopefully go to a local climbinbg area to climb abd rappel the scouts will climb on a portable wall. The Crews will go Rafting on class 2/3 white water the Scouts will canoe on a lake. Get the Idea? Yes a 14 year old Crew member can go to the off site climbing area and a 17 year old BS cannot.
Our Plans are also to open this to Senior GSUSA Groups.
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Re: Trouble keeping boys active...please help!

Postby gwd-scouter » Sun Mar 22, 2009 6:02 am

Justin, what was the reasoning behind your Troop Committee forming the two patrols? Did you have two mixed-age patrols before the change? Were your older Scouts serving in PORs and actually doing their jobs? Several years ago our well-meaning adult leaders did a similar thing to our Troop. They found the older guys were losing interest so they formed a Venture Patrol. Sure, exciting at first, but that Venture Patrol never did anything and simply became the older guys hanging out, ignoring the younger guys - much like what you're experiencing. It was at that point that I became SM and changing the troop culture was very difficult. Older guys were used to the adults doing everything and didn't much like, actually resented, the move toward boy-led. It really took the aging out of those 'legacy' Scouts before our Troop turned around.

By the way, congratulations on earning Eagle. It's not long since you were a youth member in your Troop, so what type of leadership did you and your fellow older Scouts provide to the younger guys? Was your Troop more boy-led then?
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