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Why one boy wants to quit

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That's what my son says. It is not fun. We do nothing in meetings but listen to somebody talk. We never play any games even while camping. All the boys just want to sit around in the evenings.


Troop meetings consist of announcements, talk of the campout that just happened or the campout that is about to happen, somebody trying to teach a merit badge that a lot of the boys have no interest in.


What happened to that fun that we saw on the troop visits? The games they played, the patrol competitions.


My son also remembers boys from another troop that used to be at some Cub Scout campouts with their families, these kids always played. They loved free time. Always a game of manhunt, capture the flag, some form of touch football, whatever.


He has a few other minor compliants but I think those are just annoynances compared to NO FUN.


Numerous people have talked to my son about this -- scouters and non-scouters. Nothing seems to really stand out except for it's not fun.


Remember Webelos? Yes, we had "work" but we had a hands on activity (even if it was just learning setting up the tent and sitting in it) at every meeting. There were things to build, not just crafts but electrical circuits and rockets and catapults. Campouts were fun even when there was nothing planned, just being outside was fun.


He's not interested in the badges. He wants to learn new, neat stuff and have fun.


The other nearby troop he is not interested in because he knows the kids there and doesn't get along with them very well. Also, the time we visited their troop meeting it was also a lot of talking and nothing else.


I understand how easy it is to get into the trap of focusing on badges and requirements, but I think they are losing a lot of boys over it.


The adults in the troop are willing to listen to any suggestions I have, but will it change quickly? How hard do I push for change? Can it happen quickly enough to save the new scouts that crossed over this year?



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Who runs the troop? The boys or the parents? Are the boys the ones fixated on advancement or are the parents?


Why not have games that involve scouting skills? Rescue relays, knot tying races, tracking games like "hare and hound" It seems that once taught, most scouting skills can be honed and tested in games. They may not be tag or capture the flag but they are games.


On campouts you can do things like night time hikes, night time hide and seek.


Kids today seem to need guidance when it comes to having fun. My son and a friend rececntly spent the day at another friend's house. The third fellow's family rents a house on a 400 acre farm with barns, pond, woods, etc.. Can you believe these kids were bored all day because the father wouldn't let them stay inside and play computer games. They couldn't think of anything to do. Pretty sad, isn't it.



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Has your son approached his patrol leader? If the patrol leader is on the ball and being coached, he should bring the lack of fun to the PLC every week. Chances are he is not the only one but doesn't realize that his patrol has the power to control some of it. Talk to the patrol leader about helping him plan a meeting for the patrol outside the troop structure which will include the type of things that the boys really want to do(get their input). This lets the boys know that they have some control over what they do in scouting. If your patrol leader is experienced he could plan it himself with the help of the Patrol Leaders handbook and input from the patrol. Sounds like the troop is in a rut and the SPL needs to be encouraged to liven up the program or risk losing current and incoming scouts.




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The patrol leader and troop guides are at a loss too. They just do what has always been done. I think a lot of the boys are there because they just don't want to fight the parents about it. They figure it's just easier to go with the flow, earn the Eagle and fight other battles at home.


At this point my son refuses to go to any meetings. For 6 weeks now I have been going round and round with him about this, offering suggestions, etc. Some weeks we actually make it to the meeting place then he stops in the parking lot and goes back to the car. He acted interested in patrol activities that I suggested but I can't get him into the building!


None of us feel that any big bad thing has happened to him. He has been questioned numerous times and ways about that.


I'm tempted to keep going to meetings myself and he can sit in the car or outside the building if he wants. Then if I am successful in getting some outdoor fun going, he will see it and want to join in.


Again, these are good people at the troop but everyone is in a rut.


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I see the same things as Yaworski and he's dead on target on all counts.


It's the hands on stuff that boys want and it will happen as fast as you can push to make it happen.


Here's a suggestion.

Offer to run meeting yourself, preferably as soon as possible.


Get the SPL and his ASPL (and any other junior leaders you might need too) together and get them to help you teach a skill. Let's say primitive fire building. Bow drill, hand drill and flint and steel. Each one of you take a patrol and work on a method. Later you can have races to see what patrol can do each method fastest in a string burn competition. Heck you can even have the patrols build their own kits.


You can buy ready made kits from http://www.hollowtop.com/hopsstore_html/bowdrill.htm

Or you can just make them yourself.


I'm doing that this month, I'll let you know how it goes.


Another suggestion.

The most successful meeting in recent memory was when we buildt pepsi can alcohol stoves at a meeting.

Click on my profile and go to our troop site. On the links page under gear there is a link to the plans we used.


Break out a dutch oven and bake a cake at a meeting.


Just do stuff and they will be interested.

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The troop program features books are a collection of meeting plans, each ending in a big event. The Troop Program Resources book (#33588) contains (among other things) over 50 pages of games that can be done as part of a troop meeting or at a campout.

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Check out this link for games:


We always use the last 15 minutes of our meeting for a game choosen by the PLC. The SPL has copies of all the material and the PLC plans everything on a monthly basis. Use the "Troop Meeting Plan" sheets. The section marked "Inter-Patrol Activity" can be a skills contest, display or demonstration or game for all Patrols. These sheets really help keep the meeting on track. Good luck : Steve

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What class is your son at?

Does the troop do exciting high adventures? Can you talk up some of the trips that they have taken, for something for him to look forward to?

Can he become more of a leader than a follower? If memory serves me correctly he has been in for one year, is there new scouts that will be joining that he can help guide?

My sons still loves it after a year and a half, but I am hearing from other fathers that their son is bored with scouting, but they still love the campouts.

Could you point out a merit badge that he would love to work on?(This message has been edited by dan)

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He crossed over in March. Has 2 physical fitness requirements to prove, SM conf & BOR to get Tenderfoot. He will have a hold up on 2nd class and 1st class because of swimming.


There are about 15 scouts that joined at the same time. There are a lot of scouts reaching Eagle (about 14/15 years old). And not much in between.


He isn't as loud and rowdy as most of the other boys, but given half a chance would be a leader type.


I have talked up merit badges, campouts (he likes the activities but gets really worn out so doesn't want to spend the night), day activities, the stuff he learned at summer camp.


I'm really wondering if even if it was the perfect troop would he get anything out of it. He would at least not be bored and saying "no fun" but is it worth it. He's very active about playing outside and building things without being in scouts. He does more scout-like things on his own than he does IN scouts!


I mentioned making a cardboard box oven and he reminded me that I never did show him how during Cubs and he still wants to learn that. He likes things like that -- some odd way of doing things.


So, I guess over the next week or so, I need to decide how much effort am I willing to put into trying to change the troop. Most of the troops around here about the same. Do I spend my time and energy trying to fight this battle or do something else?


Anybody got a crystal ball so they can answer that for me??????


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My son was the same way 6 months ago. He just decided that he didn't want to go to scouts any more. When I asked him why not he said it wasn't fun and he didn't like what they do. What they would do is sit in a room and talk camping trip, merit badge. It the boys in charge didn't have anything planned yhe would go outside and do PE.


This last Monday night he surprised me and asked to go to the meeting. Got there they did the same old thing, noting was planned so ourside they went. There is a camping trip this weekend.


Now my son have a very hard decision to make. Last night a man came by that I know and asked my son and myself if we would be interested in transfering to a new troop that they are starting up closer to home than the troop we are going to now. He has been asked to be the SPL as he would be the oldest one and with experience. This troop would be made up of kids coming from the pack that is already going.


So more decisions to be made at my house.


Hopefully your son will do like mine and shortly want to go back.

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Encourage fun things that help in advancement. Possible patrol activities (used in my troop):


Visit the state capitol.


Go swimming. Get the pool to give you ten-pound bricks and a ring buoy.


Go skiing (probably easier in Wisconsin than it is in Georgia).


Do an edible plants hike (always an impressive thing...if you need a book go with Peterson's Field Guide to Edible Wild Plants


My troop owns a large, 6-ft diameter ball. It is a great team-building exercise to play a sort of soccer with the ball.


Go on a SCUBA test run (We got a local SCUBA outfitter to show us the equipment in a local pool, then the boys got to use it for a few minutes).


Hold a troop/patrol track meet. Ideas for events include the Foxtail hammer throw, Frisbee discus, Funnoodle javelin, hundred yard dash, field goal kick, etc.


Ask a local photo shop if they will let you inside the darkroom for a night. Take some pictures and develop them.


The possibilities are endless.....

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Sounds like your troop is turning into a factory for merit badges. Which is reasonable doses is not a bad thing. However scouts spend all day in a classroom being taught things while they sit. Troop meetings should not be a repeat of the same thing. Granted, when they are all sitting, scouts are easier to control and monitor but that is NOT they way to do it. Scouts need to be up and moving. Recently one of our older scouts came up to me and said that they new scouts were not being taught what he was --survival, cooking, high adventure skills, advanced first aid etc.-- and were turning into "soft" scouts. The trick is to include training (classes) that allow them to do other things--spelunking, sailing, cycling, aviation--these are things that are being done in the troop now. It is my responsibility to start including the other skills that scouts need. I am currently planning an emergency rescue and first aid situation at the meeting that the boys know nothing about. Adult fell off ladder with hot wires visible and various injuries that need tending. Wish me luck.

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I have noticed in my troop that this "its not fun" happens for about 6 months when the boys are 13.5 to 14 years old.

But I also talked to some of my newer scouts fresh out of the new scout patrol. And they said that they were afraid at first because they didn't think they could do all the stuff we do. Or that the older boys would think they were wimps. After about 2 camp outs with the oldest scout in our patrol assigned to the youngest scout as his buddy. They seem to get over it. Until they turn 13.5 and then they don't want to do anything.

for your son Scoutmom it sounds like your son doesn't feel like he fits in. A friend would be the best cure. But us parents can not create those.

Another alternative is to let the patrol leader know that he needs to feel needed. Have the patrol leader give him a job to do.


I don't know your son so I don't know what his hot buttons are.

Perhaps he can show the scouts how to cook in a box. (you and he could prepare to teach it.) and maybe the other scouts will think that he is special because he taught them. Success in front of your peers is very motivating.


That is my 2


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