Saturday, October 6, 2012

Troop Trailer Round-Up 2012

This past fall was our third Troop Trailer Round-Up and our best attended yet, with 10 troops participating. Not every troop had a trailer, but everyone showed off how they transport gear to campouts and other events.
Roundtable Scouters visiting ten troop trailers in the parking lot.
So much can fit into this van.
Troop supplies
Trailer storage and drop-down door
Patrol boxes, shared propane, tents
Patrol boxes have a spray finish to increase friction
Gear for multiple patrols to share one large propane tank
Extra storage at the end of the tent cabinet.
Extra storage in the side door.
Troop logo and double swinging doors
A web of bungie cord holds items in place but moves aside for easy removal.
White board to check out numbered tents and tarps.
A web of bungie cord holds items in place but moves aside for easy removal.
Troop trailer with double swinging doors.
Trailer storage.
Yes, this troop trailer has a freezer chest.  A spare tire is also a good idea.
Troop logo
This trailer includes a four-drawer filing cabinet
One of the drawers holds important files, others hold a number of small items.
Troop logo and drop down door
Side door access
Rear door access
Troop storage with double swinging doors
Troop logo and double swinging doors
Troop storage and double swinging doors
Side door access and again, a spare tire is important.
Trailer storage
Bungies hold back tables.
Pick-up truck with a topper

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Webelos on Troop Visits

In order to earn the Arrow of Light, a Webelos Scout must visit with Boy Scout troop:
4. With your Webelos den, visit at least
  • one Boy Scout troop meeting and
  • one Boy Scout-oriented outdoor activity.
(If you have already done this when you earned your Outdoorsman activity badge, you may not use the same outing to fulfill requirements for your Arrow of Light Award.)
6. After you have completed all five of the above requirements, and after a talk with your Webelos den leader, arrange to visit, with your parent or guardian, a meeting of a Boy Scout troop you think you might like to join. Have a conference with the Scoutmaster. 
It is best for all involved if the boy can visit more than one troop.  Many small towns can only support one troop, and many leaders in both Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts believe in "feeder Packs."  This is not the Boy Scout way.  It is certainly convenient if a charter organization hosts both a Pack and a Troop, but boys need to know that they have options and can make their own choice.

Every troop has its own culture, its own strengths and weaknesses.  What is a great fit for one boy would be uncomfortable for another.  

My own son wanted a smaller troop - there were around nine boys when we joined.  He liked the activities that he did on a campout with them.  He didn't like the "talk-talk-talk" he encountered with a different troop.  He didn't like the "you can do this... once you turn 13" speech from a troop of most older boys.

My own Webelos den visited three troops. One Scoutmaster recruited our den.  Another troop was where one of our Webelos had cousins already involved.  Our "feeder" Troop Scoutmaster never answered my calls for when we could visit.

My own den of six Webelos had them joining three different troops across the city.  One dropped right away. One moved away after a few years.  Two had sports demands that wouldn't work with Scouts.  Two stay with it until high school.  One of them didn't advance beyond Second Class, but he told me about how much fun they have.  And one is working on finishing his requirements to earn his Eagle rank.

Another factor is friends and older brothers.  If a family already has one son in a troop, it's a strong pull for the younger one to join too.  Then, if his buddies want to stay with him, they join as well.  My own den had no older brother Scouts to contend with.

Parents also need to fell a connection with the troop.  Even if the troop doesn't currently need adult leaders, parents need to consider driving time and how well the troop communicates with parents outside of the weekly meeting.

Below are links to some evaluation tools for both the boy and his parents to capture their first impressions of each troop.

National's timeline for troops seeking Webelos:

Guidelines and sample questions for evaluating troops: 

A Parent's Guide, created by the Potawatomi Area Council and the Longs Peak Council.

Another parent's guide:

Checklists to use during troop visits:

Forum discussion about seeking a troop: