Mine too, since "67. Although there were breaks of a few years when the kinder were infants and getting enough sleep was but a fond memory. Right now I'm looking at life after scouting and wondering what to do with it. Half the stuff in the garage is camping gear and OA regalia. Even when I go for a walk in the woods I find myself looking at shed snake skins or cast deer antlers and thinking " That would be a good thing to take back and show the sco.... never mind"
The next four years will be interesting to watch. The BSA looses around 50% (give or take) of Scouts crossing over to troops. Actually I believe it’s slightly more with crossovers who join troops but never show up. Those numbers don’t count as dropouts until next rechartering.
Anyway, the main cause of the large drop out is a boring program. But the girls, and parents of the girls, have a different motivation for crossing over. I have said for many years that parents have a lot of say in their kids staying in scouting. More so at the cub ages, but a significant amount at the troop age as well. If you want to keep the youth, build a program that appeals to parents.
We have seen even on this forum a lot of adult energy for girls in the program, so I don’t see a boring program holding them back.
Eventually the passion and energy of the new program will settle down and balance back to the quality of program content. I’m curious how the numbers will fall. I believe family scouting will change the present troop program a lot. Not so much in written program structure, but more of how the adults will interrupt implementating the program structure. Personally, I believe the troop program will morph closer to a Webelos III. But, if that style of program keeps the parents more energized, then a Webelos III may not be bad when National’s main objective is maintaining BSA numbers.
We’ll see.(I need a popcorn eating emoji)
Thank you for the ideas. Here is our plan, but as Russell Ziskey said, Custer had a plan.
We're doing a troop backpacking trip in September. We'll make it flexible based on abilities and camping in a primitive campground site that can handle our not so big troop.
The Philmont shakedowns will be just for the Philmont crew, but if there's room on a trip, younger, capable scouts can join. So it won't be separate patrols. We don't have enough age eligible scouts to even completely fill a 12 person crew, including adults.
I joined Potomac Appalachian Trail Club to rent one of their cabins for one of our hikes with this crew just to mix things up. They'll get the hiking in on that one, if not the full backpacking thing. The rest will be true backpacking.
That is true, but the vast number of packs that I am aware of do major recruiting drives in Aug - Oct. In addition, very few Packs were early adopters and that group ended with ~7k girls.
At my District Meeting, most of the Packs decided to include girls. My pack was the only early adopter in the District. I would expect the 10k to increase substantially by October.
As far as Troops, I do expect that DEs will be expected to ensure all girls have Scout units to transition to. They will have to act fast given the age of the girls. One interesting note from District Meeting was that some of the very anti girl SMs have decided to create linked units. I talked with one who is a very active scouter and wants to make sure it is done right.
I agree the true early impact won’t be fully know until recharter. The 2018 annual report should tell us more.
Philmont bound? Welcome to the "hike a month" club!
There is precious little that is more fulfilling than sitting on a rock some distance from your crew and watching them, after an arduous treck through a land of rocks and bogs, settle on a poncho between two large hemlocks and break out the deck of cards for a game of spoons (sporks?). A ten point buck who had not yet dropped his antlers for summer wandered in to check out their shenanigans.
On last year's wilderness hike, the boys built a "fort" with parachord and tarps on night 1, and waded in a stream until they found a pool where we could set up a safe swim area on night 2.
Most wilderness areas require contingents no greater than 10, so have your SPL work with each patrol to make a hike plan where they wil have different insertions and trails and a common rendevous. Try to find a big field for your destination and have the adults on one corner and ech patrol 100 yards from the adults and each other. Big field = wide games.
At night, I may join the older scouts at their campfire and help them identify constellations. (Most of our have lived under light pollution so the galaxy is a stranger to them.) In the morning, the SM may try to call in turkey. Scouts making hen clucks are a riot!
Some sites are only a few miles in, so after setting up camp, we plan a day hike along a trail that may have an old-growth destination, berry fields, or geocaches, or a good spring/seep for water collection. Scouts can take their pick. Or, if we are by a nice stream, they might try to niggle a few trout on some bail or twine.
For a couple of scouts who just like to slum at camp, you might want to teach them to play mumbly peg. Carving walking sticks or fallen antlers is always fun. (Pro tip: certain scouts will need to know where the first aid kit is packed.) Some other scouts would like to engineer a campfire circle (including lounge chairs) or build a fish trap. Other scouts will want to bake cookies after rigging a reflector oven with foil and cardboard.
That's the fun in backpacking, with just the stuff they're carrying, each scout learns how he can contribute something fun to the larger group.