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Is 16 1/2 too old to start?

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  • #16
    I agree w/ Venividi regarding advancement. That's probably not going to be the primary motivation for a boy who is joining for the first time at 16 1/2. Sure, he can advance and nobody should discourage him, but I doubt that'll hook him on the program. It's the experiences that he will probably want to find out about. What fun things does the troop do that he doesn't/can't already do on his own?

    And by the way, there are troops with good older boy programs out there. My son's troop right now has 19 boys (50% of the troop) age 14+ and about 7 or 8 of those are 16-17. About 1/3 of our 18-20 year olds stay on as ASMs too, and many more come back for visits when they're on college break or home from military service. Must be something fun about the program... And no SM in their right mind would put a 16 1/2 year old new scout into a patrol with all 10-12 year olds. (At least I hope not!) Even those troops with "new scout" patrols, which are typically young boys, are likely to see the need for a little flexibility in terms of patrol membership in this case. So it would be worth asking about what type of patrol he'd be put in, but this wouldn't be a major worry to me.



    • #17
      I meant to say that he should be paired up with an older scout his age and an ASM. He may not have the skills necessary to be JASM, at least not yet.

      Advancement is how this gent can learn the skills and and have some fun. C'mon, join and be Tenderfoot in about 6 weeks (gotta do improvement for 30 days in push-ups, etc.) and then second class and first class, he learns basic skills, has fun and will do well.

      Put him with older boys,


      • #18
        No, perhaps not ready for JASM, which is why I said "JASM like" role. Something that speaks loudly that he is not being considered the same as the typical new scout, but rather as a maturing young man. Perhaps an informal position, but one where he is treated like an adult, and not like a boy.

        I recall 30 some years ago joining FFA (Future Farmers of America) my sophomore year of high school. Everyone else my age had joined the year before as freshmen. FFA had "ranks" starting with "greenhorn". Even though I was only one year older than the other new freshman "greenhorns", I had to stand up and be recognized with them, but I did not want to be classified with them. I had thought the activities needed to get to the next rank were silly - I had already had had somewhat similar experiences on my own, (probably more, since I was an active worker on our family farm. I didn't want to be made to stand up and be recognized for "accomplishing" things that I thought were easy and trivial. So my personal experience in FFA was that recognition of advancement itself as an older member was embarrassing, because it made me feel inferior.

        If the young man has been active in the outdoors, or tries it and finds it fun, he will be able to quickly catch up with his peers in ability to camp, backpack, canoe, etc.

        I do agree with Gonzo1 that teaming him with an ASM and another scout his age as mentors to help him integrate into his age group, and become an important part of shaping the troop. But I wouldn't push or promote TF through 1st class. Let him decide to do that, or not. My bet is that he would not.


        • #19
          Give him several options that are similar to his expressed interests. The options should be varied but not extensive. Go with him to visit an example of each kind of program. Let him make his choice. If he does not like any of the options, then expand the list. Scouting may or may not be on the initial list. FB


          • #20
            It should be more his choice than anything else, I know scouting has a been a great thing for my son overcoming school issues.

            Most troops have a First Year Emphasis program that all the new Scouts are put into. Its a great program for getting them to first class.

            Your son though my feel out of place being with the younger kids in that plan. But talk to the SM (or ASM) and see what they can suggest. It might also help if your son borrows a book before joining to get a head start on the Oath and Law.

            Because he is older and more mature he might earn some of the ranks quicker. But he would still learn some valuable life skills even in a short time.


            • #21
              If there is an Explorer Post close by that may be an option. The focus of an EP is around a career choice/profession instead of outdoor skills. They operate quite differently from a Troop/Crew.