Homepage Forums Boy Scouts (Scouts BSA) Small Troop – Growing Pains

This topic contains 4 replies, has 1 voice, and was last updated by  q 4 years, 1 month ago.

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  • #30006 Reply

    Maria Rivas

    We were a relatively small and new troop of 12 boys (ages ranging in 16 to 10, mostly younger) and had a new group of Webelos join us and we grew to 30 boys overnight. Because we don’t have many older scouts, we are struggling with the leadership skills. We have patrol leaders who are only one year older than the new boys and can’t control them. The younger boys don’t listen and the older boys just get frustrated and give up. We as leaders try to help by giving them tools and ideas, but the younger ones see their leaders just only a year older and struggling to lead and don’t respect them. Any ideas?

  • #30009 Reply

    Rachel

    We had a similar issue-we had a group of 6th and 7th graders. The 8thgrade boys left to join another Troop. So, basically the patrols (2) were led by boys only a year apart. Very chaotic. The SPL and ASPL were 9 graders. When the 9th graders got their Eagle, they moved on. At this point, the SPL and ASPL are 8th graders and patrols are mostly 7th grade. No feeder CubScout pack. This was the crux -no older “mentor/adviser” Scouts to guide the current active Scouts AND nobody younger for the 7thgraders to teach.
    We worked on making connections with neighboring CubScout packs and trying to revive the original feeder pack. We made friends with a nearby Troop that has Scouts and leadership aging out (I.e. Lots of high school boys, 1st class to Life; they also lost their feeder pAck). We hosted Readyman events for Cub Scouts and invited the other Troop to social events Snd summer camp with us. Regarding the other troop-they had almost no merit badge counselors and sent boys to our meetings to participate and their summer camp of choice had closed a few years ago; we invited them to share our campsite (“SuperTroop”)we had a great week with the older boys mixing with our younger boys.
    The other Troop has included us in their weekend trips, as well. It is interesting, because our younger Troop have similar interests and mixing with the other Troop has introduced them to other options. Hopefully, you at least have a feeder Pack to sustain the Troop and give opportunities to your boys to teach the Webeloes

  • #30022 Reply

    Dan Kurtenbach

    Just as youth leaders need to be trained to be leaders, patrol members need to be trained to be followers.

    The patrol leader can’t do it — he is busy learning to lead. You may have other older boys in non-leadership roles to show the younger ones how to be patrol members and teammates. So you need an adult to do the followership training. You need an adult who is not the patrol leader’s parent, and who is good at controlling a boy’s excessive exuberance with a look, gesture, or whispered word. This followership trainer must thoroughly understand that his or her job is absolutely not to take over leadership of the patrol, and not even advise the patrol leader, but instead to act as loyal patrol member and big brother/big sister to the other patrol members. This trainer will sit in on patrol meetings and activities right there with the other members, being an example of how to sit quietly and pay attention and stay on task, policing the behavior of the other patrol members, and doing what the patrol leader asks the patrol members to do. The trainer will generally sit quietly while the other patrol members discuss things or are learning a skill, and will go sit under a tree when it is time for games and fun. But when it is time for the members to do work, like finding firewood, hauling gear, or washing dishes, the trainer is there demonstrating that a good patrol member jumps in to help his patrol mates get the work done quickly and cheerfully.

  • #30023 Reply

    rachel

    Definitely have non-parents interact with the squirrely (sp?) boys. Leadership training (camp, seminar, through the troop) is helpful, too.

  • #30031 Reply

    q

    Plan your campouts where there is a large area (field or farm) and the patrols have to camp at some distance apart (rule-of-thumb, 300 feet) from each other with the adults in the middle, and leadership corps (SPL, ASPL, JASM if you have one).

    The boys meet for flag, ceremonies, or challenges. But, otherwise, the boys are responsible for setting camp on their own, cooking meals in patrols, etc…

    They can count on being visited from time to time by the leadership corps. Who may come back with a prize for the tidiest campsite, best displayed flag, etc …

    After a couple of these, ask the boys if they want to have early patrol elections. Maybe your older boys weren’t ready to lead. Maybe your natural leader is one of the younger ones.

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