This section is from the book "Scouting For Rural Boys. A Manual For Leaders", by Boy scouts of America. See also: Outdoor Adventure Manual: Essential Scouting Skills for the Great Outdoors.
After a recent series of council visits, the Director of Rural Scouting reported on the 8 counties of a mid-western area council. The area had some 50 towns where new Troops may be formed and sponsored on a town or institutional basis. The council area also includes 157 small villages, ranging in population from 25 to 485. In these smaller villages there are not enough boys of Scout age for a Troop (or enough boys of Cub age for a Pack)-there are, however, enough to start a Neighborhood Patrol of Scouts or a Neighborhood Den of Cubs-usually both, depending on conditions. In this one council, 157 Neighborhood Patrols could be organized, once a few interested District and Field Commissioners were recruited and trained for the job. The survey further showed that there were in the 8 counties an average of over 100 boys of Scout age in each county who could (and would) take Scouting opportunities on a Lone Scout and District Tribe basis. Here in this one council were over 2,000 boys of Scout age in rural places asking for and awaiting chances to be Scouts. The council had about 1,600 Scouts at the time. The council had some 440 Cubs in its towns and cities but also had in its rural places over 2,000 boys of Cub ages ready to be reached and served.
Certainly there is no logic in denying these boys the benefits of Scout training, just because they do not live in a town big enough to support a Troop.
This council had already made a fine start with 36 Lone Scouts and with 5 Neighborhood Patrols-but, what is yet more significant, groups of rural leaders in the various districts accepted the challenge to reach these rural boys in their own territory.
The question of how to sponsor these groups is therefore a very important question-fortunately, it is a very simple process. Back of all Scouting and Cubbing, there are interested adults who can and will help reach the rural Scouting goal, when they understand the processes essential to its success.
The Rural Troop (or Pack) sponsorship parallels closely that of the urban. Some institution, or group of citizens, constitutes the sponsors, responsible for the leadership, for camping for Scouts, for securing a meeting place, general oversight and readiness to aid the Scoutmaster (or Cubmaster) as needed.
In the rural community one of these institutions sponsoring a Troop (or Pack) may be a rural village school. The "consolidated" type of rural school, with its bus transportation, is especially suited to rural Troop sponsorship, with Neighborhood Patrols or a Lone Scout Tribe formed perhaps along the bus lines operated by the school. This affords Patrol or Tribe contacts on busses going to and from school. Here the sponsoring committee may be members of the Board of Education of the consolidated township or district school. Members of the teaching staff are on the Troop Committee in some places, but it is believed that parents of Scouts (or Cubs) are preferable, as they are relatively more permanent in the community than teachers employed from year to year. It is desirable in the Consolidated School for the Board of Education and the School Superintendent to function as the sponsoring institution, appointing the Troop (or Pack) Committee officially-and thus tying the Troop (or Pack) to the interest of the school authorities as something of their very own, which it is-a part of their own total school opportunity.
THE ROAD "HOME"-IN OREGON
The small one or two-room rural school, which might have from two to eight boys of Scout age in its group of students, can also serve as sponsor in the same general way for a Neighborhood Patrol or even help boys to be Lone Scouts, the opportunity being given under their general oversight. Another plan is to organize all Scouts on bus line routes into a School District Tribe of Lone Scouts, this with the Troop formed in town where school is located may both be sponsored by the same committee.
The rural church, whether of some one denomination, or whether it is a community church (or "consolidated"), should serve as the sponsoring body through action on the part of its Trustees, or governing Board, or authority. This body should officially appoint the Tribe, Troop (or Pack) Committee and, as in the case of the school, should regard the Scouting and Cubbing as one branch of the work of the church in dealing with its young people. In small places, where there may be two or three small churches, no one large enough for its own Troop or Pack, it is not difficult to have each one furnish a constituent Patrol (or Den) and each one provide one or more members of the sponsoring committee. Then this committee can arrange for the Troop (or Pack) to meet at some location acceptable to all concerned. Here again each Church Board may officially support its Patrol and appoint its Committeemen and cooperate with the others.
The sponsoring of rural Scout Troops, Tribes, Neighborhood Patrols or Cub groups by a Grange should involve formal action of its Executive Committee and its 13 elected officers, including their appointing of the sponsoring committee to represent them in the conduct of the organized group of Scouts or Cubs.
AGRICULTURAL COLLEGE STRAWBERRY EXPERIMENT NEW JERSEY
Since the principle is identical, all other rural sponsors may be grouped together here, whether they be:
The Volunteer Fire Company
The Rural Mail Carriers
A Service Club or Luncheon Club
A Rural Parent-Teachers' Association
A Farmers' Cooperative
A Mothers' Home Economics Club (but only men may serve on its sponsoring committee) A Farm Bureau or the Junior Bureau Or a group of interested citizens.