One Reason why a Troop should not Exceed Thirty-two

from Chapter 55 of Aids to Scoutmastership

I have said in Scouting for Boys that so far as my own experience went I could not train individually more than sixteen boys — but allowing for my having only half the capacity of the experienced boy-worker, the Scoutmaster, I allowed for his taking on thirty-two.

Men talk of having fine Troops of 60 or even 100 — Cadet Companies even run to 120 — and their officers tell me that their boys are equally well trained as in smaller Troops. I express admiration (“admiration” literally translated means “surprise”), and I don’t believe them.

Why worry about individual training? they ask. Because it is the only way by which you can educate. You can instruct any number of boys, a thousand at a time if you have a loud voice and attractive methods or disciplinary means. But that is not training — it is not education.

Education is the thing that counts in building character and in making men.

The incentive to perfect himself, when properly instilled into the individual, brings about his active effort on the line most suitable to his temperament and powers.