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Boys "Eagle Out" of troop


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#21 Chadamus

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:00 PM

@qwazse good point there that got me thinking which would disappoint me more: a 15 year old Eagle that quits or a 15 year old 2nd Class Scout? In both instances the program isn't offering enough of whatever it is the boy is looking for. One isn't worse than the other.

To answer the question Cubmaster Pete, other than on this forum, I've never heard the term "Eagle out."

Edited by Chadamus, 31 January 2017 - 09:02 PM.

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#22 Stosh

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:18 PM

I always harp on the OATH when it comes to this issue.  Listed in order of priority, duty to God, duty to Country, helping other people at all times, and myself physically able, mentally prepared, and morally able to do that.

 

Paper eagles seem to reverse that when one hears them talk about MY eagle and during THEIR ECOH never expressing one word of appreciation for all the scouts ahead of him who helped get him there or the many scouts behind him who did so as well.

 

One of the principles (not aims, not methods, but principles) I emphasize is:  Scouting isn't just for you, that's why we have patrols and that's why we have leadership.  Other people need to be following you in order for you to be a leader.  If you're only in it for yourself, you're in the wrong program.  EVERY SMC I do has some variation of this included.

 

There's absolutely no way a scout can be following the Scout Oath if he's only interested in himself and the accolades he garners for himself.


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#23 bsaggcmom

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 09:30 PM

Yup I've heard of Eagling out. Trying to keep son from doing it.

Darling son will be 17 in a couple of months, he got his Eagle just before his 15th birthday as a high school freshman. He is the troop's only Eagle. He has stuck around his troop and earned 6 palms with enough badges for 1 more. It has been a struggle to keep him and 2 other HS juniors and 2 HS seniors engaged in the program we have or should I say don't have at this time. The seniors and 1 of the juniors are Eagle bound, 2 should make it one probably not.

When son joined his current troop as an incoming freshman it was about to fold with only 3 paper scouts on the rolls. We joined and so did 20 others, we're down to about 13 active scouts and a couple more on paper only. We've lost 6 scouts in the past year due to our lack of program. We are boy led and the PLC has not planned anything that the older boys are interested in. When the PLC actually plans a meeting it is based on the advancement of the younger scouts or a merit badge the younger guys want to do. In most cases the badges are ones the older guys have and the teaching that needs to be done is by one of the middle guys needing to teach for rank advancement. The older guys have no real place in the troop, not PLC presence, and no need to be there.

No older boys are not allowed to be on the PLC because they have their time in for rank and others need it. Currently we have 11 boys between FC and Life. All need PoRs, so if you are Life and have your 6 months in your out of a PoR. Weekend camps are based on the middle school calendar no consideration for the high schooolers. Last camp was weekend before finals at the HS. So keeping older boys especially Eagles engaged here is tough, really tough.

Son loves scouts, but his main reason for hanging around is to be on camp staff at a local cub resident camp. The troop goes to a merit badge mill summer camp (kids get 6-9 badges in a week), so no desire to go there again. Did it once, and that was enough. He went to NYLT but isn't allowed to demonstrate the skills he learned since he isn't on the PLC. The age gap is starting to effect our troop. 5 juniors/seniors (seniors age out in 6 weeks) and 10-12 middle schoolers or lower. No common ground, no common focus. Don't now how much longer son will stay around. He hasn't Eagled and run, but he's lacing up the sneakers.

I really feel we need to make scouts from grades 5-8 and Venturing from grades 9-12. 17 year olds have nothing in common with a not yet 11 year old. With limited leadership opportunities and program options, like our troop, it is no wonder boys Eagle and run.
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#24 Cubmaster Pete

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Posted 31 January 2017 - 10:27 PM

Excellent responses, thank you.

 

The leadership of this troop came from the pack I am running now. They kept the pack running (barely) and it was not great. Have had to do some changes and program building to turn it around, but I feel like its growing and I am happy with the direction we are moving.

 

So they last of these leaders kids are crossing over next month, and they are going to be involved in the troop. My best guess is that a similar fate awaits the troop and that things will degrade and there may be nothing left. And here I am to build another program from scratch. Which I will do, but not that I am looking forward to it.

 

That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?


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#25 David CO

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 12:30 AM

I don't think so.

 

My CO is a middle school.  Most of my scouts begin to lose interest in the unit as they move on from 8th grade to high school.  Those who stay on past their middle school years usually do so only until they "eagle-out" of our unit.

 

I don't mind.  We are primarily a middle school unit.  I don't think the boys who "eagle-out" do any harm to our program.  We can sustain our unit just with the middle school boys.


Edited by David CO, 01 February 2017 - 12:42 AM.

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#26 qwazse

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:31 AM

Time to put on the Ill-tempered SM hat ...

That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?

That is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

Units who don't provide fellowship and service opportunities suitable for 15+ year olds (Eagle or otherwise) are worthy of their demise.
Units who dole out positions based on "need for rank" rather than desire to serve and approval of the boys are worthy of their demise.
Units who don't make serving as Librarian as demanding as SPL are worthy of their demise.
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#27 Eagledad

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:38 AM

That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?

No, it's just indicative of the way the program is ran.  The troop I was speaking about has averaged between 150 to 180 scouts ever since I can remember.

 

Barry


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#28 Stosh

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 09:06 AM

The question I always pose as UC when dealing with the lack of boys at the higher ages is what is the troop doing for them? 

 

No 17 year old scout wants to do the things most troops are focused on doing, new scouts, S->FC skills, leadership for the 12-14 year olds and ..... well nothing much beyond that.  Are we short changing our older boys by not letting them do what they want when it comes to real adventure?

 

So here's the options available.

 

1) Let the numbers dwindle and rave how great your program is because you have produced 1 or 2 eagles now for the past 20 years.  Of course those eagles either got them at 15 years old and left or they left and came back at the last minute to get their eagle on their credentials.

 

2) Send the boys over to Venturing where maybe hanging out with girls might keep them interested.

 

3)  Use the patrol method and have the older boys patrol up and do challenging outings that aren't the same old, same old the troops been doing every year for the past 10 years.

 

4) Quit making excuses for the boys and find solutions.  If the program was worthwhile to them, they won't be looking around for something else more exciting to do.

 

Sorry, but if the unit is not going to provide the adventure that was promised, then quit whining when the boys leave.


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#29 Col. Flagg

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:02 AM

That all being said, could one say that boys who "eagle out" contribute to the demise of a unit?

 

I am going to disagree slightly with a few previous posts.

 

While I agree that the unit has to develop a program to keep the older boys interested, exactly WHO should do that in a group we call BOY SCOUTS? The adults? No! It's the BOYS!!!

 

So YES, if these kids leave after Eagle-at-15 and don't do their part to 1) develop a program worthwhile for a 15+ Scout, 2) don't exhibit enough leadership to help design, develop and run such an older Scout program, and 3) don't stick around long enough to fine-tune said program, then THEY ARE TO BLAME.

 

Oh, and Venturing? Who does ALL the planning and execution for that? The kids!! So, if they can do it in a Venturing Crew, why can't they do it in a Troop? Because there's so many middle schoolers around? That's just an excuse. I might buy the coed angle or the slightly wider array of things a Crew can do that a Venture Patrol cannot, but Venturing is not the panacea for keeping older Scouts involved. Don't get me wrong. I love Venturing. But if the goal is retention in the Troop of 15+ Scouts, running off to Venturing is not the answer.

 

What's the adults' role in all of this? For my money, they do what they always do: Advise the older Scouts how to build and run an effective program. Eagle Scouts -- if they actually earned the badge they have -- should be MORE than capable of taking the bull by the horns and working with the SM to develop a good program for the 15+ plus crowd.


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#30 blw2

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:39 AM

As we speak right now, how many Eagle ranked scouts are active in your council?  In all my years of association with this council, I know of only 2 maybe 3 boys that stayed active in the troop that Eagled prior to their 17th birthday.  Most of the scouts attained Life, abandoned the troop for a year or two and then came back made a major push and got their paper eagle at the last minute before turning 18.  That process I have seen repeated over and over again in many troops.  Otherwise the the younger boys simply "eagle out" and the ECOH is their AOL equivalent graduation from the program.  The term is used a lot in our neck of the woods.

exactly what I was wondering Stosh!  As I think about it I have seen only a very few scouts wearing an eagle rank.... ever.

 

We had a scout pass his eagle BOR yesterday evening.  I have not seen this scout in my year with the troop, save for about a handful or two of meetings.  I think he's got a couple more years till 18, so there might be hope though.  We've got a couple other scouts on track I think to get theirs "early" too I think.   Might be good.....

 

I am going to disagree slightly with a few previous posts.

 

While I agree that the unit has to develop a program to keep the older boys interested, exactly WHO should do that in a group we call BOY SCOUTS? The adults? No! It's the BOYS!!!

 

So YES, if these kids leave after Eagle-at-15 and don't do their part to 1) develop a program worthwhile for a 15+ Scout, 2) don't exhibit enough leadership to help design, develop and run such an older Scout program, and 3) don't stick around long enough to fine-tune said program, then THEY ARE TO BLAME.

 

Oh, and Venturing? Who does ALL the planning and execution for that? The kids!! So, if they can do it in a Venturing Crew, why can't they do it in a Troop? Because there's so many middle schoolers around? That's just an excuse. I might buy the coed angle or the slightly wider array of things a Crew can do that a Venture Patrol cannot, but Venturing is not the panacea for keeping older Scouts involved. Don't get me wrong. I love Venturing. But if the goal is retention in the Troop of 15+ Scouts, running off to Venturing is not the answer.

 

What's the adults' role in all of this? For my money, they do what they always do: Advise the older Scouts how to build and run an effective program. Eagle Scouts -- if they actually earned the badge they have -- should be MORE than capable of taking the bull by the horns and working with the SM to develop a good program for the 15+ plus crowd.

I want to agree Colonel (love the username, btw)

but can't completely.  

Without adults at the helm that foster it, it's not very realistic I think in man cases to think a scout is going to have what it takes to make significant change in his short time with a troop.

I'm 50 years old, but as MC I'm nearly powerless on my own to stave off the adult onslaught against the patrol method.  What's a young scout to do?  I'm starting to realize that It's a big ship for one person to turn, if he's not one of the "key 3"


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#31 Col. Flagg

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 11:52 AM

I want to agree Colonel (love the username, btw)

but can't completely.  

Without adults at the helm that foster it, it's not very realistic I think in man cases to think a scout is going to have what it takes to make significant change in his short time with a troop.

I'm 50 years old, but as MC I'm nearly powerless on my own to stave off the adult onslaught against the patrol method.  What's a young scout to do?  I'm starting to realize that It's a big ship for one person to turn, if he's not one of the "key 3"

 

I totally agree.

 

Adults must help foster the program for the older boys, and galvanize them around designing, developing and executing such a program. I had wanted to make that clear in my original post. Sorry if I didn't.

 

I replied to your plight in the other thread you created. I think the very least you can do is sit down with the SM and discuss what you see. Often, if they have been in the role a while, they won't see what you do or may dismiss it altogether. Take keeping Scouts together in patrols. The best advice I ever got was "never break up friends UNLESS they are a detriment to the patrol or unit." BSA did a few studies a few year back that showed that kids that crossover with friends and stay in patrols together stay in Scouting longer. That's a fact. Unless they already have friends in that patrol, they will struggle to integrate.

 

Back to the role of early Eagles, if more of them took time to act as stewards to the younger Scouts, they would have paid back what I believe they owe the unit. I am a firm believer in "stewardship". Eagling-out, or quitting, is just another narcissistic habit too many kids have formed in the last 20 years. It's more about "them" and what they got out of Scouting than giving back.

 

Long ago I had a soccer coach who was from Africa. He would always tell us how he grew up and how lucky he was to have had mentors in his life, both youth and adults. He likened learning to drawing water from a well. He said, "Every day you go to the well and draw water, just like you learn, learn learn every day." He said, "If you continue to take from the well and don't help the men in the village dig the well deeper, then soon the well runs dry and no one else can drink from it." The obvious connection being that, if you continue to take without giving back, those who come behind you will have nothing.

 

It has been 40 years, but I still remember that man and that one training session where I first heard that story. I have never forgotten it and I challenge ALL our Scouts, not just the Eagles, to continue to give back what you have taken out of Scouting. And no, your Eagle project does not constitute your bill paid in full. That merely got you Eagle...you still have to give back.

 

My two cents for what it is worth.


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#32 CalicoPenn

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 01:17 PM

It's curious.  If our goal is develop character in the boys, why do we care where they practice it?  I can think of several examples where boys left at age 15 with their Eagle badge.  They went on to practice the leadership and personal development skills they learned in any number of other programs, school, sports, etc.  Why is that looked down on?  Seems to me that's exactly the kind of success we're looking for.  Putting some sort of life-long debt on a 15 or 16 year old boy sort of diminishes the good work we're supposed to be doing, no?  Good work, and watching a young man succeed in the world is its own reward, expecting a return on investment is a business deal.  

 

I understand the sentiment but it leads me to a question - if we decide it doesn't matter where a 15-year old Eagle Scout practices the leadership skills we hope they've gained, why even bother keeping the Boy Scout age at 17 - why not just change the program so that Boy Scouts is from 11-15 and Eagle Scout must be earned before a boys 16th birthday?


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#33 desertrat77

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 08:30 PM

As others have mentioned, it could be just as simple as the fact that the scouts are ready to do something different.   Move on to the next chapter in their life.

 

If they served honorably and worked hard while they were on the path to Eagle, thanks for your service and all the best

 

If they just filled squares to get Eagle and then rushed out the door, perhaps that's just as well.   Should their example be the one for younger scouts to emulate?

 

Either way, if they are worth their salt as an Eagle, they'll come back to the program, eventually.

 

PS.  Can't resist a bit of heresy.  As an Eagle scout, I think the whole "marked man" and all of the life-time commitment oaths are a bit much.  A true Eagle will give back, in one way or another, without the solemn oaths and such.


Edited by desertrat77, 01 February 2017 - 09:26 PM.

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#34 Deaf Scouter

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Posted 01 February 2017 - 10:06 PM

Yes, I've heard it but we address this in our district AT the EBOR if the Scout makes it.  We explain our expectations to stick around help teach younger scouts, provide leadership modeling and more.


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#35 Torchwood

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 08:56 AM

In our Troop, we have a much higher percentage of our Scouts earn Eagle than the national average, but we are hardly an Eagle Mill. Generally, the boys that earn Eagle Scout are 17 or almost, and our last two Eagles were within a month of their 18th birthday. The last young Eagle we had was just shy of 16, and remained active until he graduated from high school- he continued to be active, serving as SPL and then as an Instructor, and racking up a total of 55 Merit Badges. My son turned 15 in December and has completed all of the requirements for Eagle except for his project, which he has already pitched to the beneficiary. He will likely have his Board of Review before the end of the school year. He has absolutely no intention of leaving the Troop until his 18th birthday. We do remind our Scouts that they have a duty to the Troop to pay forward to the younger Scouts in their charge, as an older Scout paid forward to them when they were younger. That is the way it is supposed to work.


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#36 Stosh

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 09:21 AM

I understand the sentiment but it leads me to a question - if we decide it doesn't matter where a 15-year old Eagle Scout practices the leadership skills we hope they've gained, why even bother keeping the Boy Scout age at 17 - why not just change the program so that Boy Scouts is from 11-15 and Eagle Scout must be earned before a boys 16th birthday?

This somewhat falls into the idea that if the program goes with what some have suggested, one earns eagle before 14 so they can go on to Venturing hassle free.  That way the Boy Scout part of the 11-14 year olds will be guaranteed no eagles in the troop.


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#37 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 10:15 AM

I hear the term regularly. Most often attached to the question how to prevent it, and/or with a tone of disappointment.

 

As a UC my usual reply is a question. Why do you think it is happening. I am given all kinds of reasons, most having nothing to do with the program, which is usually very much the issue. 

 

 I have been am ASM with my troop for about a year and a half. All of the Eagles we have had in that time have Eagled just as they turn 18. I am the advisor for our older patrol and several of them, if they get their Eagle, will do so this coming year close to aging out.  The good thing is they are staying with the program. I would love to see the get their Eagle sooner and stay around as examples and mentors. 

 

But I tell them and their parents, it is not my goal to get them to Eagle. My goal is the Aims of Scouting and helping them achieve their goals. Getting Eagle should not be my goal or even their parents. It should be theirs if they choose. I discourage the "Wheels for Wings" concept and other such inducements. I do offer guidance, mentoring and any help I can provide for them to achieve their goals, and if Eagle is one of them great! They have my full support and any assistance I can provide. 

 

Those that "Eagle Out" long before their 18th birthday can be a sign of a program that does not meet their needs. But no always. I just barely got my Eagle despite 50 plus merit badges and getting Life at 15. But it was not because my troop program was not good. I had a good, active, troop. I managed to go to 2 high adventure bases and a Jamboree all after I achieved the rank of Life. But I was also active in multiple sports, academics, and other extracurricular activities, not to mention dating. And getting Eagle is not easy, my project took 5 months of solid work to complete. You mix in the 3 G's (Girls, Gas and Games) with other extracurricular programs and academics, available time becomes rare. Attending meetings is harder, weekend outings more so. The time needed for PoR also adds more time to Scouting and Eagle projects can be very difficult to fit in. 

 

All that said, it is a difficult task for boys to create a program that keeps all ages and ranks enthusiastic and engaged. As an adult leader I try to encourage our Scouts to work together to create programs that work for all of them, regardless of age or rank, and for older Scouts we may focus on more high adventure that suits their needs. That is no small task for them to do. 

 

While I do get disappointed in seeing Eagles withdraw, I also understand it. I do not begrudge their need and desire to other things besides Scouting, but I do try to help them make the most of their time while in Scouting, enjoy it and continue to learn from it. 


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#38 Stosh

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 02:32 PM

@HelpfulTracks As a UC I also face the same denial issues in our neck of the woods.  After many, many, many years I have never heard a SM tell me the reason the older boys are leaving is because he's/she's running a poor program for them.  I hear about the fumes, the sports, the jobs, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.  One day before I die I would love to have a SM tell me he/she is overwhelmed by the older boys, their need for ever increasing demands for more and more adventure, that they don't want to babysit 6th graders anymore but want to experience a scout opportunity they have been working on for the past 5 years, what can I do to help these boys???

 

Nope, never gonna hear that one.

 

Instead all I hear is how excuses absolve the SM's from having to step up and help the older boys with the same energy and determination they do with the younger boys.  110 miles on a Philmont or A/T hike?  250 miles of canoeing on the Yukon?  RAGBRAI? one of the days is always 100+ miles!!!  They look at me like I've lost my mind. 

 

I don't know if it's true or not but someone said that the first people to walk the A/T, even before it was completed was 4 Boy Scouts?  Or the 1936 World Jamboree where some Argentinian Scouts walked from Argentina to the US to participate?  Or "back in the day" when summer camp was summer camp, all summer long! 

 

I can see where girls may be a higher priority later on in the teen years.  Sports will always draw a few and cars can and often do drive the roads to campgrounds.  A job?  How can a job be a higher priority than scouts?  I held a job all the way through my scouting experience, made a lot of money and paid for my scout experience without ever competing with it. 

 

But alas, my troop was totally ill-equipped to handle older boys, I never knew of a boy who ever eagled in that troop.  So after 4 years of going nowhere (I was a 2nd Class scout), Civil Air Patrol, functional radio operation and navigation opportunities along with the potential of a glider's license came along, my buddies and I exited the program.  Girls were still there (it was co-ed), still got my driver's license, and still held down a job. 

 

It might do well to really find out why boys are leaving your troop's program instead of simply offering up speculative excuses that seem plausible to those around you.


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#39 Eagledad

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 03:03 PM

@HelpfulTracks As a UC I also face the same denial issues in our neck of the woods.  After many, many, many years I have never heard a SM tell me the reason the older boys are leaving is because he's/she's running a poor program for them.  I hear about the fumes, the sports, the jobs, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.  One day before I die I would love to have a SM tell me he/she is overwhelmed by the older boys, their need for ever increasing demands for more and more adventure, that they don't want to babysit 6th graders anymore but want to experience a scout opportunity they have been working on for the past 5 years, what can I do to help these boys???

 

 

I would like to say that keeping older scouts is a complicated problem, but part of the complexity is what the adults presume Scouts of this age want or need from the program. At the time I was a leader in our troop, it grew to 100 scouts strong with almost 50% of them 14 and older. Of those 50 scouts, only about 15 of them would tell you they wanted more adventure. And while a few of the scouts might say they didn't enjoy teaching, it wasn't about teaching the younger scouts they didn't like, it was just teaching in general. And I'm sure older scouts as well as adults don't like baby sitting younger scouts. But they very much enjoy being role models to the younger scouts. They are great at it.

 

What attracted older scouts to our troop is that the program respected their maturity as adults. They we allowed, actually expected, to make decisions that determined how the unit should be run. They we given the respect of adults. It is as simple as that.

 

The struggle in our program is the adults learning how to mold the program up to that mature level. It's not easy and the adults will make a lot, A LOT of mistakes getting there. But if the adults embrace the older scouts as part of the troop team in developing that program, the program will grow and the scouts will stay as long as they can because they like the kind of person they have become with they go there.

 

The quality of a Troop as a whole is reflective of the older scouts (role models). If the adults want a quality young scout program, they have to start with the oldest scouts first. Just ask the scouters in this discussion who say their older scouts are staying and aging out of their program. I'm sure they will pretty much agree.

 

Barry


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#40 HelpfulTracks

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Posted 02 February 2017 - 03:13 PM

@HelpfulTracks As a UC I also face the same denial issues in our neck of the woods.  After many, many, many years I have never heard a SM tell me the reason the older boys are leaving is because he's/she's running a poor program for them.  I hear about the fumes, the sports, the jobs, etc. etc. etc. ad nauseum.  One day before I die I would love to have a SM tell me he/she is overwhelmed by the older boys, their need for ever increasing demands for more and more adventure, that they don't want to babysit 6th graders anymore but want to experience a scout opportunity they have been working on for the past 5 years, what can I do to help these boys???

 

Nope, never gonna hear that one.

 

Instead all I hear is how excuses absolve the SM's from having to step up and help the older boys with the same energy and determination they do with the younger boys.  110 miles on a Philmont or A/T hike?  250 miles of canoeing on the Yukon?  RAGBRAI? one of the days is always 100+ miles!!!  They look at me like I've lost my mind. 

 

I don't know if it's true or not but someone said that the first people to walk the A/T, even before it was completed was 4 Boy Scouts?  Or the 1936 World Jamboree where some Argentinian Scouts walked from Argentina to the US to participate?  Or "back in the day" when summer camp was summer camp, all summer long! 

 

I can see where girls may be a higher priority later on in the teen years.  Sports will always draw a few and cars can and often do drive the roads to campgrounds.  A job?  How can a job be a higher priority than scouts?  I held a job all the way through my scouting experience, made a lot of money and paid for my scout experience without ever competing with it. 

 

But alas, my troop was totally ill-equipped to handle older boys, I never knew of a boy who ever eagled in that troop.  So after 4 years of going nowhere (I was a 2nd Class scout), Civil Air Patrol, functional radio operation and navigation opportunities along with the potential of a glider's license came along, my buddies and I exited the program.  Girls were still there (it was co-ed), still got my driver's license, and still held down a job. 

 

It might do well to really find out why boys are leaving your troop's program instead of simply offering up speculative excuses that seem plausible to those around you.

 

Ha Ha - I forgot about having a job back then. But that was only something I did so I could do the things I wanted to do! That and my father made sure I worked to understand the value of an education. He made sure I worked by requiring me to pay for those High Adventure Trips and Jamboree. 

 

You are correct, finding out why Scouts leave the program is critical. Sometimes it is for reason we choose to believe, such as the 3 G's, as often as not, or perhaps more often, it's because the program isn't meeting their needs. 

 

Hopefully leaving Helpful Tracks


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