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A Program For Our College Age Youth?

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I attended an Eagle Scout COH earlier today (Saturday).

Great kid from a super nice family.

He completed his Eagle BOR back in the spring.(I sat on the BOR.)

The summer has been kinda busy. He graduated from High School. Worked at summer camp, so this was the first real opportunity for the COH.

The ceremony was held in the sanctuary of the church that he attends with a reception downstairs in the church hall.

When he gave his little "Thank You" speech, I was a little surprised when he thanked his girl friend for all her help and support. This was a new one for me!

After the meal and as most of the people had or were leaving I went to the spot where someone (Mom?) had laid out all of his Scouting stuff and history.

I love looking at this stuff, seeing how a little Lad grows and changes. There was a great photo of him wearing the bright orange Tiger Cub Shirt, with the paws on, I was in the photo presenting him with something. The shirt looks about five sizes too big!

As I was looking at the photos a small group of kids, most who I know seemed to gather and we made fun of his haircuts over the years and commented about this and that.

Most of this group are soon going to be going off to college.

One girl said how there is a Pittsburgh Steeler living in "Her" room at Saint Vincent!

Another said he was going to Pitt.


At times I'm not the sharpest knife in the drawer. I've only lived where I live for the past 24 years. In that time I have never really given much thought to the fact that we have a lot of colleges close by. ( I can count five colleges. While the kids for the most part do live away from home they are less than an hours drive away!)

I have accepted that older kids go off to college and when they do they stop being active in Scouting programs.

Some do stay on the charters but many if not most are there just in name.

This got me thinking.

What if...

What if we could come up with a program of say ten or twelve events that they could participate in?

As yet this is still in the idea phase. - That is, I haven't worked out any of the details.

So far I'm thinking.

Pick one weekend -The same weekend of each month. - Maybe the second weekend of each month and just do something.

While I suppose this would be called a Venturing Unit? I don't see at least at the start any real youth leadership or planning, with some luck this might fall into place later.

The idea is just to talk to a handful of these kids and come up with a list of things that they want to do and can afford to do, have them sign up as Venturers and just offer a year of planned activities.

Hopefully they will in time invite other youth who are at college with them to tag along.

One event would be a summer super activity lasting a week. Or maybe a Spring Break or Christmas Break activity?

The drawbacks? As I see it.

They are very busy and if they are like OJ never seem to know what they are doing from one day to the next. So to make events worth while a lot of youth would need to be involved. Having a small number and only having 25% show up would kill the idea before it ever got off the ground!

I'm thinking something like 30 -50 youth on the books, so that when an activity does happen about a dozen are there.

Everything would have to be self-supporting. There would be no fund raising or that sort of thing. They would need all of the gear that would be needed to do whatever activity they wanted to do or was planned.

Parents would be kept on the back burner! (Not in the dark)

Not all events would need to be "Big".

I think they just at times might enjoy just getting together to shoot the breeze and eat pizza (this could be used to plan the next or some other activity.)

As I say this is still just an idea.

I welcome any ideas or thoughts - Pros or cons.


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With your obvious know-how and connections, you of all people could get something like this off the ground.

From what I have observed of my college son and his peers, they are time constrained beyond belief. Between college organizations, frat and sorority, sports(or music or theatre etc..) part-time jobs, and yes, schoolwork, they seem to pass themselves coming and going. I appears that their main time for socializing is between the hours of 10pm and 3am.

The college boys I know that staff our camps year after year, are very faithful when it comes to summer camp, but are not very active in Troop or Crew activities. I think if you were to ask them about it, they would say they would very much like to but have no time.

Not trying to squash your idea. Like I said, a guy like you could probably get it flying. Your biggest obstacle(obvious to you I'm sure), is working around their overwhelmed schedule. Working something into the "breaks" would be a good place to start.

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I think the kids already have an avenue for this, called "Alpha Phi Omega". As I recall it emerged from the "Knights of Dunamis", and became an independent (of BSA) organization and now anyone can join, just like any other fraternity/sorority. I'm guessing that the only difference from your idea is that they are not registered BSA members. Perhaps WildernessStudent or Hops can fill in details.

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I've seen Crews of college aged youth succeed until the whole group passed the 21 year old age cut off. At most college campuses you will find a certain fraternity has a large number of former Scouts involved. Often times a small group will join and then it grows from there.


At some colleges the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity has closer ties to the Scouting program than others. I've seen Alpha Phi Omegea chapters put on huge merit badge weekends, sponsor monthly outdoor activities, and provide the leadership for Scout Reach units.





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I really don't know very much about the Alpha Phi Omega Fraternity, I have read a few articles.

But that's about it.


Because of where we are located, we are very close to a lot of colleges.

While of course I have seen some of the Sea Scouts take off to attend schools in far away places. The norm does seem that most of "Our" youth go to schools that allow them to come home at weekends.

More and more of our local kids seem to be opting to attend local community colleges and then transferring to other schools.

This idea is about having something "Back Home" which will hopefully allow them to keep their toe in the door and remain active in the local goings on rather than just being involved with what the school has to offer.


OJ, My little darling is now 20!! (Boy does that make me feel old!!) He is attending a local community college and will transfer to Saint Vincents, sometime soon.

Like a good many young people his age he is finding that the step from being a kid to becoming an adult is not as easy as he had thought. He has gone through some really tough life lessons. He always seems to be broke, in part because he never really seemed to understand the real value of a dollar! (My fault??) He has had his heart broken, when he got dumped. (Not my fault!!) He works almost full time at a local Cracker Barrel Restaurant.

He has got involved with the local volunteer fire-service. While the firemen do a lot of good and are very much needed, it does seem that the fire-station is a place to hang out with his pals almost like a bar with no booze!!

He can and does make time for the things he wants to do. He still makes time to attend the OA weekends. But as the youth in the OA change he is starting to feel more and more not a part of the "In Crowd". Where he was once one of the movers and grovers, he is fast becoming more and more of a visitor. Again I think he likes going up to camp to catch up with what the other guys who were active when he was active are doing and up to.

I might be way off base but I do tend to think we all make time to do the things that we want to do. Maybe not as much as we once did, but at a level that we can and are happy with.


Long term, it does seem that more and more people (At least in the area where I live.) Are not moving away from the area once they graduate from college, they are living at home longer and getting jobs in the area.

If we can find a way of not losing these young people, maybe just maybe? They will stick around and offer to help in the future.

I'm going to host a Bar-B-Que, inviting about 40 or 50 young people that I know were heavily involved in the program and see what they think.

If nothing else it will be great to see them and find out what they are up to.


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"I think the kids already have an avenue for this, called "Alpha Phi Omega". As I recall it emerged from the "Knights of Dunamis", and became an independent (of BSA) organization and now anyone can join, just like any other fraternity/sorority. I'm guessing that the only difference from your idea is that they are not registered BSA members."


Very incorrect.


APO was always formed independently of the BSA, tho with BSA approval.


Knights of Dunamis started as a society for Eagle Scouts and later became part of the BSA and renamed the National Eagle Scout Association.


For more info on APO, why not visit our national website: www.apo.org


APO was formed by a group of Scouters and former scouts at a college in PA in 1925. The only requirement to join was you had to be a former scout (any level, any WOSM-member association). The intent was to form a college organization of former scouts that would strengthn their ties of Brotherhood and help them become better leaders and to do service. We dropped the scouting requirement in 1967 and went co-ed in 1976. ANY college student may join us.


APO was approved by the BSA formally around 1932 or so, and for awhile received a charter from the BSA. We've had a representative of the BSA on our National Board from that time on, and we have a rep on the National Relationships Committee. The BSA lists APO in its literature (BSHB, SMHB, OAHB, etc) since that time, as a group they encourage scouts to join when they go to college.


But we have ALWAYS been independent organizations.


APO has info booths at major scouting events such as the National Jamboree, NOAC, National Meetings, etc. We will have an APO Service Corps at the next National Jamboree (like we did in the 50s and 60s). We will have a special week of Philbreak next spring. As noted, many of our chapters do a lot of scouting service work, and will charter as Venturing Crews, sponsor troops or packs, run merit badge universities on campus and the like. Because we are co-ed, we have many former boy scouts, venturers (male and female), girl scouts, and camp fire girls in our org.


The Herbert G Horton APO Service to Youth Award is an approved BSA Community Organization Award, so if you are a BSA volunteer and receive it, you can wear the Community Organization Award knot on your uniform. There is a requirement in the TRUST Award written with APO in mind.


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One thing that has kept me and friends active while in college was OA. Because the events are mostly weekends, we had a lot come in. Also one thing my old troop did was start a Venturing Crew for the older Scouts and younger leaders. For those that were active with the troop, they acted more as an old Leadership Corps or Venture patrol, but were registed as a crew and worked their own venturing advancement. 4 times a year, usually around the college and HS holidays, the venture crew did their own thing.

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