WHAT TO LOOK FOR IN A GOOD TROOP
The following are taken from BSA Publication No. 18-251,
1995 Printing entitled Are You Delivering The Promise.
- Troop has earned Quality Unit Award
- Scoutmaster has completed basic training.
- Troop follows traditional troop-meeting pattern, standard troop-meeting
plan with two or more skills training groups)
- Troop has a high ratio of active adults to youth.
- Leaders regularly attend roundtable.
- Troop meetings are planned at Patrol Leaders' Council meetings.
- Woods Wisdom is used in planning Troop program.
- A patrol for new Scouts exists, with a Troop Guide and Assistant
- Troop adds at least ten Scouts each year.
- Troop an an annual minimum of twenty-five days and nights of camping.
- Troop attends a council long-term camp.
- Leaders are proficient in outdoor skills.
- Troop has at least twenty-one Scouts.
- Troop has a program for older Scouts.
Other volunteers based on experience have suggested that the above not be applied rigidly as a test for a good Troop, noting that it is possible to find a Troop that meets all of the above criteria, but still fails use the patrol method. Others have noted that in rural and some urban settings adding 10 new Scouts in a year may not be realistic for a particular unit and not a valid criteria. Still others have suggested the following things to consider:
- Convenience of the day and location of weekly troop meetings, and
- Which troop a boy's best friends are going to join or already belong to.
- Is the troop run by the boys or the adults?
- Is there good scout skills instruction for newer scouts?
- Is there strong patrol activity or inter-patrol activity, like
competitions or games?
- Are the boys just sitting around or are they busy most of the time?
- How often does the troop go on outings of some sort?
- Is it a back packing/hiking troop or car camping troop?
- Is there a diversity of ranks throughout the troop? All Second Class
and Tenderfoot ranks will tell you it's a pretty new troop with no
maturity in leadership. All Life and Eagle scouts means it's a troop
about to graduate and disappear on you, and a troop full of leaders with
- Is there sufficient adult help around for the size of the troop?
- Have any of these Troops contacted you, or did you contact them? This
means are they actively recruiting?
- Troop Meeting run by Youth - The troop is a real life opportunity for Scouts
to learn leadership through participation. It is unfortunately a well kept
secret that the Scout program is a leadership training program with the
outdoors as a laboratory.
- Patrol Method Used - The Patrol Method gives Scouts an experience in group
living and participating in leadership activities. The patrols determine
troop activities through their elected representatives.
- Trained Youth & Adults - Understanding the concepts of leadership helps each
person accept the leadership roles of others and guides them toward the
citizenship aim of Scouting.
- Uniformed Youth & Adults - The uniform makes the Scout troop visible as a
group. It shows each Youth and Adult's commitment to the aims and purposes of
- Troop Meetings Planned by Youth - Patrol Leaders' Council of the Troop should
plan the Troop meetings, campouts and activities. It is an important part of
the leadership experience.
- Troop Calendar Planned by Youth - Ask who planned the calendar. It should be
planned by the Patrol Leaders' Council and approved by the Troop Committee.
- Troop Calendar Published - It needs to be planned and published or it does
- Troop Roster Published - Look and see if you find someone you know and then
call them. Ask them about the program, leaders and activities.
- Troop Monthly Mailings - Even the best calendar needs updating.
- Troop Program Explained During Visit - Each Scout program should plan
programs that work towards the three aims of Scouting.
- Dues and Fees Explained - You should know how the Troop program is financed
and what the money you are paying is used for. Find out what the campouts and
- Troop Fundraising Assists Youth - We believe the purpose of fund raising is
to help you and your son participate in Scouting. Most of the profits go to
items that benefit the Scouts.
- Enthusiasm of Youth & Adults - If the youth and adults are not excited by
their program, why should you join!
- Were you asked to Join - Not only should you be made to feel welcome at the
- How does your Son Feel - What was your son's impression of the visit. When he
joins a program, you also become a part of it.
There probably isn't a single test that fits all units and certainly no one checklist will be best for making your decision about which Boy Scout Troop to join. The best advice may be to spend some time with the Troop you are thinking about joining and seeing whether it is a good fit between the new boys and boys already in the Troop. Does the Troop offer all the things you think your Cub Scout will need? Will he have fun? Sit down and make up your own checklist and visit several Troops. Pick the one that is best for you.