There are many Boy Scout troops in the Twin Cities. How do boys and parents decide which one is best for them? Here are some things to consider:
Scouts generally live relatively close to their troop. Living too far away can make it difficult to attend the weekly troop meetings.
Strong adult leaders of excellent character should be available to teach the new scouts outdoor skills and help the boys successfully run the program and learn to become effective leaders. Explore troops with adult leaders that have been with the Troop for many years, as consistent adult leadership is a sign of a strong program.
Your troop's outdoor programs should match your interests. Some Troops camp only in the summer. Others have a robust twelve-month program with both winter and summer adventures. A quality troop might have an outdoor program for younger scouts and a more challenging "high adventure" program for boys 14 and over. High Adventure campouts are not for new Scouts, but they are an important part of scouting and provide new adventures so your son will continue to be challenged and develop. High Adventure trips may include Florida Sea Base, Philmont Scout Ranch, Northern Tier in the Boundary Waters Canoe Area. [links for these locations]
Some kids prefer a smaller troops, and other kids like larger troops. An important factor is how many Scouts stick with the program over the years, also called the "retention rate".
SCOUT RETENTION RATE
Some troops are able to recruit many kids, but are then unable to provide a program that keeps them coming back week after week. The retention rate is how many scouts make it all the way through the program. For many troops, this means making it to Eagle.
After attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, scouts often continue with scouting, usually as an adult leader for the troop. Look for troops with some adult leaders in their 20's, who can be amazing role models for your new Scout. Because they recently finished the program and know what new scouts will need help with, they can be positive mentors in ways that parents might not be able to be.