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Is 16 1/2 too old to start?

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  • Is 16 1/2 too old to start?

    Hello everyone, I have a step son who is 16 1/2 years old and going into the 10th grade. He is a good kid but, I feel he needs to get into something with both feet. I loved scouting when I was a cub and I am willing to volunteer if he would go for it. I was wondering if he was a little too old to start.

    Thanks for your help.

    JBOGGS

  • #2
    At that age I would look at signing him up for a Venturing crew or a Sea Scout ship, the teens would be closer to his age, he can stay a member through age 20, and even earn advancements catered to the older teens interests. IMHO that is the way to go here.

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    • #3

      I agree, if you have a Venturing Crew near by that may be your best bet. If not though, no its never to late to join scouts. Shop around for a Troop that offers a good program for the older scouts. It's not all about advancement. If your son is looking for some great fun and learning, and if you can find the right troop, he could love it. Good luck, and let usknow what happens.

      YIS

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      • #4
        I looked into venturing, closest one is two hours away. I think I will look for a active Troop and speak to the SM.

        What will be the hardest part for someone 16 1/2 joining a troop?

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        • #5
          Well it depends on your son. Some things I can think of off hand are the fact that he may not know anyone in the troop he is joining. Are any of his friends scouts? When you go looking at different troops bring him with you. See how he interacts with the scouts and how they react to him. If they are friendly as scouts should be he will be fine.

          Many Scouts are competitive when it comes to rank. Since he wil be joining at 16 1/2 he will be entering as the rank of Scout and working towards tenderfoot if he chooses to advance. Boys normally work on tenderfoot at the age range of 12-13. If your son is self-conscious that may be an issue for him.

          Again it depends on your son and the troop you find. Has he shown interest in scouting? What are his hobbies etc..? If he wants to join scouting to make eagle scout it may not work for him. If he is joinging to learn scout skills and have some fun it could be perfect for him. Troops always need older boys with drive and motivation, if he's got that fitting in will not be an issue.

          Keep us posted.

          YIS

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          • #6
            I echo BadenP and VentureScoutNY.
            Trying to find a Troop with Scouts that age might be hard!!
            My fear would be that he would just see the stuff needed to advance as being a little silly (It's not, but selling it to a Lad going on 17 is a tough sell.)
            If he decides that advancement really isn't his cup of tea. He could still have a good time and enjoy himself.
            But to be very honest my son lost interest in the Troop when he was 16. If it hadn't been for the OA and now Sea Scouting he'd be long gone.
            Of course the $64,000 question is what does he want to do?
            Eamonn.

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            • #7
              J BOGGS,

              To be honest with you Eamonn's last post hits the nail on the head as to why joining a troop for the first time at almost 17 probably won't work. Your son may be placed in a new scout patrol with 11 & 12 year olds, a receipe for disaster. If there are no venturing or sea scout programs in your area call your council office and have your DE get one started, thats what they do. Find out what areas your son is interested in, he would be one of the founding members of that crew/ship with teens his own age who would all be at the same starting point as him. You could also help out as a committee member or associate advisor.

              IMHO, this is the only realistic solution, if you force him into a troop with mostly younger boys Eamonn is right on when he says your son will probably lose interest very quickly, and he could develop a very negative image of scouting.

              Four years ago myself and five other adults started a coed Venturing crew with 10 teens today we have over 40 youth members and are still growing. Of these 40 less than 1/4 of them had ever been in scouts before and they love the program and are dedicated to it. I am here to tell you from personal experience this is not that hard to do, but it takes a personal committment from the adults and youth, then the sky is the limit. Good Luck.

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              • #8
                I want to thank everyone for the advice. I am starting to agree with most that he is just to old to suggest a troop.

                The good news is I have a 6 year old that brought home a Tiger Cub flyer!

                thanks again.

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                • #9
                  Welcome to the forum. I wouldn't dismiss the scouting idea entirely. When I was a youth, there was a 16 year old that joined my troop for a year or so. He bonded with a couple of other older scouts in the troop and they had a good time.
                  Visit a troop, or call a few scoutmasters and explain the situation. You just might get lucky and find a troop with the right age mix of boys, and it may work out after all.

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                  • #10
                    Yes, it depends on the boy and the Troop and the SM. But...

                    If he looks to be into rough and ready stuff, get him interested in Summer Camp, but maybe not the Patrol cook your own type. If he can enjoy the SC, he's in. Find a Troop that NEEDS a Venture crew, help'm start it!

                    Oh, and is 57 too old to be in Scouts?

                    YiS

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                    • #11
                      If he is interested you could wait until he is 18 and look at joining a Troop as an assistant Scoutmaster.

                      I echo everyone else in saying that Venturing would be the best bet and to look at starting one up.

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                      • #12
                        I'll be the contrarian on this one.

                        If there's no Venture crew around (and starting one isn't in the cards), I say to go ahead and interview for a troop that can take on a new, but old, Scout.

                        Not every Troop uses the New Scout Patrol method. (Mine, for example.) So, it's not a forgone conclusion that he'll be hanging with 10 & 11 year olds. The thing to look for is a Troop with a SM and at least one older Scout willing to give your stepson an accelerated program. No reason why he can't "age out" as a Star or Life. Eagle's not realistic, but the vast majority of Scouts don't make that anyway.

                        There's still a whole lot of growth and experience your stepson can get out of a Troop.

                        - Oren(This message has been edited by orennoah)

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                        • #13
                          It is, but if he's interested, and you can find a troop that you think can work, I'd go for it.

                          It would be best if he moved up in rank quickly. Most SM don't like to see a boy being pushed, but in this case facilitating his advancement by mentoring him on what he needs to do might be a good idea. I know if you leave it to the scout, it can take awhile for them to "get" what they need to do to advance.

                          My son changed troops at 17, and a Star scout. He finished up Life, and is the Troop Guide to the new scout patrol 3 months later. It is actually a good match, because it's leadership, without being in the race for Senior Patrol Leader. Also the newest Scouts don't really see him as a Newbie, because they are too!

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                          • #14
                            If he wants to join, he's not too old. He'll need an older scout and ASM his age to mentor him along. When he joins, he should do as much as he wants at the pace he wants, Star is certainly achievable.

                            Best of luck,
                            Gonzo1

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                            • #15
                              I see a lot of comments about advancement issues with joining at 16 1/2. I will offer that to a 16 1/2 year old, advancement would not be one of the methods that will be useful with a 16 1/2 year old. I would downplay that method. Rather, I would look instead towards a strong use of the patrol method (look for a troop with other scouts his age), the outdoors method (try to build interest in outdoors with age appropriate activities on outings, teach outdoor skills without regard to the TF-2nd-1st class requirements), and the adult association method (an adult or two that takes personal interest in him that supports and encourages him as a person. At 16 1/2, his interests will be more common with others his age than with 11 - 14 year olds. Depending on his personality, look for a troop that will help him move into a JASM type role with a stron adult mentor. He will pick up outdoor skills quickly if he finds camping interesting.

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