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Getting Older Boys Back Into Scouting

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  • #16
    According to the thread title: Getting Older Boys Back Into Scouting, it assumes the boy was once in Scouting. Yes, the thread has addressed new boys coming in at a later age with no Scouting background.

    But I would like to ask the question: Why did the boy leave in the first place? It is always harder to get a boy to return than it is to pick them up in the first place. What is happening in the program to cause high attrition rates? And even then, how many of them come back in only for the Eagle badge and/or college/employment application check box? It's almost like an unpleasant "task" one has to swallow in order to gain the life advancement potentials.

    One has to go after the cause, not the symptoms of a problem in order to correct it. Bandaids aren't going to work in this case.

    How many SM's, DL's, etc. out there actually do an exit interview on their drop out scouts? No data is being collected to determine what the cause of the problem really is. If that data is known and used to correct the problem, returning boys might be re-interested in Scouting, and those in the program might not leave in the first place.

    Stosh

    (This message has been edited by jblake47)

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    • #17
      Some background.

      Boy was in cub scouts for a short while, got bored, and left. Dad is kind of down on scouts (despite being a former and helping his older son in a Troop)and is exiting the picture.

      Mom is looking for a positive male role model environment. Boy likes hiking and camping. Saw Movie and got excited.

      I have a growing experience through working with the 13-14 year old scouts who were cross-overs and their need for more adventure, etc. But I was wondering what experience folks had in dealing with a 13 aged newbie.

      So that is why I wanted to stimulate some discussion.

      We had a boy join at 15 and it was pretty funny to see him with the 11 year olds at the Mountain Man program at Summer Camp. He had zero camping experience but was a quick study. You could tell he felt a bit silly at times. Now he is 17 and a Star and one of our better Patrol leaders. But beyond that I really haven't seen that many 'late bloomers' who stayed after after a few months.

      I admit this boy will be a 'project'. I am such a sucker.

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      • #18
        Good for you!

        But your job would have been a lot easier if the boy didn't get bored in CS and the uphill battle with Dad. Sounds like Mom is looking for a male role model and that implies there was a divorce in the situation.

        Yes, we must all struggle with the occasional returning boy, usually highly motivated, but that struggle would have been a lot less had the boy been motivated all along.

        Why was he bored? Anyone ever ask?

        Why was Dad anti-Scouting? Anyone ever ask?

        Etc.

        One can never solve a problem they don't know how to define. One cannot define a problem unless they have repeatedly asked the question why and collected up the information necessary to make those corrections.

        Stosh

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        • #19
          Sorry for all that I am a bit of a fuzzy thinker. Gotta a big trip this weekend and my mind is elsewhere.

          Folks are all family friends.

          I think the marriage is in a bit of an alcohol fueled disintegration. Might recover if Dad gets his act together but in any case Boy is being neglected and he always had issues.

          Dad is a bit of a non-conformist so Scouting seems pretty un-cool to him. Plus I guess Dad would feel insulted if he knew the boy needed a "good male influence".

          Boy joined CS thinking it would be more like Boy Scouts but it was mostly arts and crafts. Found it boring.

          Boy likes canoeing. hiking, camping, fishing. So good fit there--depending on Troop. Needs to get away from stress at home sometimes in a more structured setting.

          I sent Mom a list of my most new parent questions (aside from gear and rules) and gave her the place and times of several good Troops and suggested she visit. One was mine. I have friends in the other so either way IF he joins someone will keep an eye on him.

          Really not much else to do but repeat an invitation sometime.

          I have been in the middle of the mom-dad scouts divorce battle before. Hope Dad will stay neutral.

          I mention the movie connection because it is funny as heck.

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          • #20
            Doesn't sound like a problem unique to your situation. I'm thinking there are a lot of SM's out there that are trying to handle similar situations. Knowing all the history isn't as important as finding out the details of what went wrong so a good solution can be tried.

            My step son has a father that dumped on CS/BSA but the boy joined my Venturing Crew for a year and I tried hard to get him into Scouts. With dad's influence and I was only just dating his mother, it was difficult. However, he didn't join and in recent years came to me and told me he wished he would have listened to me instead of his dad. Can't win them all, but we all have to try.

            Good thread.

            Stosh

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            • #21
              When I was a DL I guess I was in the middle of the mom-dad wars. It is a shame when Scouts gets used as a club to the detriment of the boys.

              I have learned to be more careful of my "male role model" position as once I had a mom assume I would fulfill some *ahem* husbandly roles as well. Must have been the uniform.

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              • #22
                I'm sure the boy will never know the Trustworthy, Loyalty and Honesty issues you demonstrated.

                Stosh

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                • #23
                  And she was a very pretty young mom. (sigh)

                  Yes those scout values and a deep seated fear of Mrs Turtle with a butcher knife.

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                  • #24
                    Yeah, well that too.

                    LOL!

                    Stosh

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                    • #25
                      . . . on integrating them into troop activities and the advancement with younger Scouts.

                      That's the rub. Go look at boys in school, the athletic field, gangs, neighborhood, etc. - not too many 14-17 year-old boys choose to hang with 10-13 year-old boys. Don't force it. Let the boys choose their patrols and invariably, the vast majority will gravitate toward age based/peer based patrol. There is nothing wrong with that.

                      Yes, they are still members of the troop but having a stronger patrol identity, nothing wrong with that.

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