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New Troop without SPL

Not being snarky here, where in the requirements does it say that any Webolos should visit more than one troop?
It’s fun if you you can get your den invited in outings with different troops, but this year is not great for that sort of thing.
After watching a lot of really great dens, on average about half of the classes of crossovers stick together and move on to the same troop. The years that they split up, we sometimes get the one or two odd ones and sometimes get the majority of the den. Honestly, it’s just as easy if a scout joins our troop then a year or two later transfers to another troop for whatever reason.
We shouldn’t put it on den leaders to “sample every chocolate in the store.” It’s a big country, and there can be a hundred reasons why for a given den, that would be a bad idea.


visiting multiple troop is not in reqs. BUT it is in Statistics - 50% of Webs crossing over quit in the first year. If they can find a troop that fits them, that number is reduced.


It’s not in the requirements for the scouts to visit more than one, but it is good practice for den leaders to help scouts find the right fit for them instead of shoveling them all toward the troop at their CO. If the den leader provides the info about other troops and they all end up their anyway, that’s fine. I wouldn’t be surprised since that’s the troop they likely have the most familiarity with.

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I’m taking @Qwazse side on this one. I think parents need to take some initiative to do their own vetting instead of a Den Leader. If a Pack has a good relationship with a Troop I see no need for the Webelos Leader to make any recommendations to look around unless a parent asks. Most Cub Scouts have formed a bond with each other if they’ve been with the program since Tiger or Wolf and they probably want to stay together.

What’s the old saying about the rules? Don’t do any more or any less…


Our den/pack meetings were on a different night from the meeting of our charter’s affiliated troop. So, when my Webelos started to get towards bridging, we did a tour of a couple of troops. In the end, everyone who continued immediately after cubs went to our affiliated troop. I don’t think that I had an obligation to coordinate multiple tours, per se, but at the same time I felt like it was a relatively easy thing to do (at the time) because I had the contacts as a leader to open that door.

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You are technically correct the requirements read narrowing require only visiting one troop.

Scouting Adventure 1: Visit a troop meeting with your parent or guardian…
Scouting Adventure 4: With your Webelos den leader, parent, or guardian, participate in a troop’s campout or other outdoor activity.

That said, when I was a den leader, I absolutely made sure that my den visited our (small) troop, but ALSO that they had the option to visit medium AND large size troops.

I felt it was important that they at least had that option (I only attended the small and medium troops) because not every troop is the right fit for every scout. So I let parents know that these were three troops in the area, here were three AoL nights coming up, and that they were welcome to go to any of them or all of them as they saw the need (but that they needed at least 1 for the requirement).

I dislike the presumption that if they went to the Pack they MUST go to the affiliated Troop. That’s presumptuous and it is NOT the right fit for every scout. So my den went in different directions and they went to the troops that made sense for them.

I think it’s important to set rank GUIDELINES as you want to have experienced scouters planning WHERE POSSIBLE (inexperienced scouts planning and teaching ax safety = no bueno). Now, OBVIOUSLY that isn’t a possibility here, which is where your guidelines come in.

“Unless waived by the Scoutmaster at least a week prior to elections, the SPL should be a scout who is 1st Class in rank or higher.”

This gives you the flexibility to transition from waived to non-waived without changing your rules. I would shy away from age requirements as well. Nothing done in Scouts BSA for positions is based on age.

I think it would be good form for the Troops to reach out to the Dens and invite them rather than the Dens seeking out the Troops. Using our Troop as an example, we put welcoming AOL Den Scouts top priority starting last November. We communicate with the Den leaders to see how they are progressing and copying them on all emails. Their Den has an open invitation to participate in Troop events. Our SPL and the PLC schedules meetings to help teach the AOL Scouts their remaining requirements which helps our Scouts needing EDGE training. The Den Leaders love being able to sit back see how a Scout led event works. This meetings and events has also allowed us the time to visit with the parents of the AOL Scouts several times to make them feel welcomed and to make them feel comfortable.

By the time they Crossover, they already feel like they are part of the Troop and really helps the transition.

Word of mouth is the strongest recruiting tool

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That’s a good point. We have in our Troop handbook, a description of each position and its expected duties/responsibilities. Also in this section, we have some requirements and some recommendations for the different positions.

  • Example requirement: OA Unit Rep must be an active member of the OA.
  • Example recommendation: NYLT is encouraged for SPL and ASPL candidates.

Also, for some positions, the Scoutmaster approves the slate of candidates (Instructor and Troop Guide) or appoints the position (JASM only).

Yep. We have a local Pack that we team with for several activities every year (it used to be a couple of Packs, pre-Covid), including several camp-outs with day activities specifically designed for the Webelos to come out for the day to work on their requirements with our Scouts.

Our District also has a pretty good “Webelos Road Show” every fall, where most Troops have a presence and Scouts/Cubmasters can talk to a bunch of the units in one evening and get some contact info and fall calendars from the troops.

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@StephenHenley, do you have a source for your quote?

On the question of age/rank requirements, BSA leaves that entirely in the discretion of the unit.

For example, here’s the language regarding SPLs.

Rank and age requirements to be a senior patrol leader are determined by each troop, as is the schedule of elections


See WilliamsburgScouter’s remarks/link

We’ll set rank and requirement guidelines when we get more experience. Right now, we only have Scout-ranks and one Tenderfoot Scout.

Correct, it’s presumptuous to expect that all of them crossover. It’s just that I’ve worked with them since they are Tigers. You begin to be family friends and the Scouts become like your children. The main reason we founded a new Troop is because a lot of the kids stop their Scouting journey after they get their AOL. They cross over to other existing Troops. The closest one to our town is 25 minutes away so eventually, they just drop off. I should still encourage them to check out other Troops, though. I’ll do that for sure.


With the next closest one 25 minutes away, most would never visit another troop if you paid them to. So, it’s reasonable to think you have a pretty good chance of them moving to the troop with you or nowhere at all.

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We’re about 20 minutes away from our meeting place. It was inconvenient but that’s where Son #1’s friends were. It did make for a lot of quality time on the trips to/from meetings.
The bigger issue is assistance from your district in the form of a unit commissioner and continuing training for your scoutmaster and other adults in the form of district roundtable.
Advice from strangers on the internet only get you so far.

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Do what you feel you must! There are many ways to “skin this cat”

I’m sure the troop will do great!

Likewise, you might want to reach out to some of the local Boy Troops to help teach basic camping and outdoor skills

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Started new boy and girl troops in February 2018 (linked). We did have a few older scouts transfer in from a venturing crew and other troops, but did not have a single scout at 1st class or above, and most either had no previous scouting experience or were AOL scouts. In spite of the lack of experience and advanced ranks, we selected SPL’s and ASPL’s for both troops and PL’s for each patrol and required them from the start to lead the troop meetings. This was critical as it was important to make sure we were setting up the troops to be scout led. Yes, it took a lot of effort from our adult leaders to teach/train the leadership team and there were a few stumbles along the way, but patience and persistence in creating a scout lead program has worked out well. One of our first campouts was a “leadership” camp out for the PLC at which our scoutmasters focused on teaching them the basics of being a leader and team development. From the start we have intentionally used a cooperative leadership model in which leaders from both troops collaborate closely and as much as possible. Putting in place a leadership team also allowed us to do annual planning with the scouts.

Our focus with new scouts has always been on getting them to first class rank before expecting them to step up into a leadership role, but we have never said they can not serve in leadership until they reach a specific rank. Because we were small starting out, we chose not to do POR’s that first year and instead focus on rank advancement and basic scout skills instruction. But as we have grown in numbers and the scouts have grown in confidence and ability, everyone now has a POR. We do elections every 6 months for all leadership positions and change POR’s at the same time.

As the troops continue to grow in numbers and mature, the plan is to eventually expect scouts to be at least 1st class rank before becoming an SPL and we are really pushing for scouts who want to be an SPL to attend NYLT. Three of our founders have completed NYLT and have been SPL’s, and I can’t stress enough how helpful it is to have scouts participate in formal leadership training programs like NYLT.

Troop meetings should be weekly, with patrol time built in. We also do a weekly joint PLC meeting before each troop meeting to allow leaders to make sure they have a good meeting plan in place and are fully prepared for the meeting.


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