A Good Problem Solved

Illustration by Darren Thompson

Is your troop growing too fast? These Scouters give you first-hand tips on meeting the challenge.

Scoutmaster G.P.'s troop has doubled in size over the past few years. As a result, the troop is facing growing pains, and he is looking for tips to manage rapid growth.

Have every parent fill out a troop resource survey, then hold a special meeting with the parents and ask them to fill positions that are desperately needed. Have assistant Scoutmasters mentor youth leaders so that they know their job and can get past the storming and norming stages of team development and start to perform. Have the youth leaders draw up a process and have them keep a three-ring binder with all of the information in it so that they can pass it on to the next person in their position.

Assistant Scoutmaster M.P.
Fuquay-Varina, N.C.

Split the troop into two sub-troops and manage their needs separately. Designate an assistant Scoutmaster to be the “first-year Scoutmaster” and an assistant senior patrol leader to be the “first-year senior patrol leader.” As the first-year Scouts obtain the First Class rank, fold them into the main body of the troop.

Committee Chairman S.L.
Dallas, Tex.

A few years ago, our 30-boy troop was blessed with 25 Webelos Scout crossovers. We created three new-Scout patrols, each with its own troop guide. The three troop guides—along with a fourth “floater” troop guide—reported to a junior assistant Scoutmaster who coordinated the training the patrols received. This year, we again have a large number of crossovers, and we’re using the same model.

Committee Chairman E.M.
West Chester, Ohio

Get your patrol leaders council together and give the question to them. See what solutions they can imagine. Adults should be the “reality check,” but Scouts with ownership and leadership usually thrive. And they may come up with an obvious solution that never occurred to anyone.

Growth means the opportunity for you to get more help and reduce the number of jobs each leader needs to do. Every unit has parents looking in from outside who want to help but don’t know how or are too shy to ask. Reach out to them and find a way for them to help the troop that benefits everyone.

Assistant Scoutmaster H.D.
Maine, N.Y.

Make sure the patrols are working. If they are, it is easier to scale from two patrols to four patrols. If the Scoutmaster and senior patrol leader are doing everything, you’re in trouble. Also, make sure every family volunteers, or you will end up with the same small set of adults. And they’ll get burned out.

Scoutmaster W.U.
Palo Alto, Calif..

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