Is it ever time to say, ‘Sorry, our troop’s full’?

Quality trumps quantity when it comes to Scouting. A well-run unit of 15 to 20 boys or girls beats a dysfunctional unit of 80 to 100 Scouts every time. (Many larger troops thrive, but only through careful planning and strong leadership.)

What happens when your unit reaches that magic number where adding any more Scouts means a drop in program quality — overcrowded meeting space, leaders stretched too thin or other growing pains?

Do you turn Scouts away, sending them to another nearby unit? Or do you squeeze them in?

That question was posted to a Scout message board earlier this week: 

Our troop has grown in recent years, and we’re outgrowing our meeting space. We’re looking at options: one that I have not brought up with other leaders would be to restrict membership. I hate to turn anyone away. It’s against my nature. I’d love for every young man to have a great time in Scouts. But it’s also important to maintain a quality program and I fear that growing too large, our troop program will suffer.

I was wondering if any troop had limitations or restrictions on who could join, and if so, what impact that had on the troop? And if so, how was putting limits on who could join perceived in your district by other troops and packs?



What do you think?

Have you experienced the need to limit membership? If so, what did you do? And what’s the magic number for unit size anyway? Let’s discuss this in the comments.

Related post

Should you compete against other units for Scouts? If so, how?

(Thanks to my first Scoutmaster, Patrick Adams, for the blog post idea)

About Bryan Wendell 3281 Articles
Bryan Wendell, an Eagle Scout, is the founder of Bryan on Scouting and a contributing writer.