The Top 10 Greatest Challenges Facing Today’s Boy Scout Troops

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Minutes from the November Meeting of the Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable

We assembled at the Krieg Road LDS as usual on the cool evening of Thursday, November 4, 2010. The room filled quickly and after a series of 482033_90209043_mountain_climber_challenge_stock_xchng_royalty_free_300announcements, we divided ourselves into five patrol of 4-5 Scouters. Each patrol selected their names as follows: “Old Goats” (guess their average age); “Patrol #1” (guess their estimated self-worth); “Five Guys” (which, ironically, included four woman and one guy); “Mentally Challenged” (which pretty much tells you how much effort they put into the process); and “Knot” (signifying the contrapositive effort of the previous patrol).

It is duly noted here “Five Guys” took the unsolicited liberty of designing their own patrol logo. For going above and beyond the call of duty, each member of the entire patrol received one extra Roundtable Buck. It is also dutifully reported the whole assembly voted “Old Goats” as the “Best” (or, perhaps, “most appropriate”) Patrol Name and, in recognition of this outstanding feat, each member of that aged patrol found themselves richer by one Roundtable Buck.

For our troop activity, we spent the bulk of the meeting identifying the “Top 10 Greatest Challenges” our units face. After much deliberation, several really bad puns and a diversionary diatribe on the cultural significance of the 1984 cult classic The Adventures of Buckeroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (including the One Guy reading a rather impressive cast list from his Blackberry), we determined, in the usual David Letterman style, the Top 10 Greatest Challenges Facing Today’s Boy Scout Troops:

10. Communication back and forth between parents
9. Hover Parents
8. The Scouts’ attitudes towards and taking responsibility for their own fundraising
7. Getting everyone up to speed
6. Dealing with the great diversity of ages and recruitment – it’s lumpy and changes over time
5. Boy Leaders who have great qualifications on paper but lack the wherewithal for leadership
4. Recruiting new scouts
2T. Getting more adult leaders
2T. Getting parents to actively participate in activities

…and the number one greatest challenge facing today’s boy scout troops is…

(drum roll)

1. Keeping the scouts interested

(cymbal crash!)

We invite any reader to comment on what their units have done to address any of these challenges. Also, if you’ve got a program idea that relates to any of the top 5, let us know.

We closed the meeting asking each of our patrols to submit the most unique activities their constituent units accomplished over the last six months. Here’s what we came up with:

  • One troop recruited 21 new scouts, representing a 110% increase in membership!
  • A troop sent 34 scout/scouters to Jamboree
  • Another troop enjoyed the experience of an Adirondack Backpacking/Whitewater Rafting
  • We had a troop that participated in a 50 mile Canoe Trip
  • A troop Canoed/Biked/Drove to Centennial Camporee
  • One of our troops shared a Massaweppie Campsite with a troop from Fort Drum
  • Another troop had a lot of fun volunteering for and getting involved with the Rope Bridge at Council Activity
  • At least one troop lofted pumpkins with lashed catapults
  • One person’s troop biked the Oregon coast – but we didn’t know if we should count that because she just moved from Oregon.

But the activity voted most unique by those in attendance was Troop 207’s “Canadian Exchange.” What’s the “Canadian Exchange”? Well it isn’t trading our scouts for their scouts. No, Troop 207 regularly visits and hosts a troop from Canada. This sounded so cool the Roundtable Commissioner could do no other thing than award each attending member of Troop 207 with a Roundtable Buck – contingent on Adult Leadership sharing news of their honor with the troop’s boys.

As we officially ended the meeting, someone asked if we could invite all Towpath SPLs to meet during the Roundtable. What do you think? Would you’re SPL be interested in sharing experiences with other Towpath SPLs (or ASPLs as a back-up) once a month at Roundtable? Let us know by writing a comment below.


  1. Spectacular old goat says

    Yes, SPLs should have occasional access to the Roundtables. Just this year our troop begain inviting the SPL to our monthly uniformed leaders meeting. The SPL is the key Scout in the troop and benefits from the direct transfer of information and ideas. It increases his selfworth and (often) he learns more about leadership skills.

  2. To me challenge number 5 is the greatest. It is often quite difficult to have leaders with both training and leadership wherewithal. In many cases, I see leaders with some tangible training accomplishment but without leadership abilities. Hence, their troops end up biased.

  3. Keeping Scouts engaged going on better campouts my first campout was going to Big Bend National Park and my favorite is wilderness survival; Having scouts go to classmates and try getting them interested in scouts; Also having a den chief who does that as his role of responsibility.

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