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Stosh

Adult vs. Youth

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Eagledad mentioned something in another thread that sparked my curiosity. He commented that the boys tend to be more resilient than adults when it comes to rugged activities. At 63 I would totally agree with him on that point.

 

So then this is where my thread points: The boys are in it for the challenge and the adventure. Because adults are less capable of what the boys are, do we as adults tend to hold the boys back from some really good adventures? If the boys wanted to go to Philmont at 63, I'm not interested, but I would work my darnedest to find younger adults to take them or put them into another trek with younger adults who could handle the rigors of Philmont.

 

What do we hold the boys back on? Do we think they can't do it so we call it off? What kind of limits are we putting on these boys?

 

Stosh

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Although I'm 10 years younger than you Stosh, I'm in the same boat and highly agree with your choice. I did Philmont for my 9th and last time in 2008 at age 48. My troop is gonna apply for a 2015 expedition and I said I'd make sure the planning got done but that I wasn't going on another expedition. Other, younger adults should be going.

 

I didn't have any issues in 2008, in fact I out-hiked a couple of my youth on that trip. Not bragging, just a fact. But here's another fact: the same wouldn't happen at age 55. In 2008, we were on our way up Shaefer's Pass from the north side and had stopped for lunch. All of a sudden several "young guns" from another crew came past us moving pretty quickly. 15 minutes later came their late-50s (+) adults ambling along. Wrong. 15 minutes is as much as a half-mile. What would happen if one of those adults sprained an ankle or fell and hit his head? More importantly perhaps, these adults were holding back their Scouts. They were keeping them from achieving all they could have done at Philmont. How many programs did they miss or had shortened because the adults were 15 minutes or more behind and they had to wait on them? What compromises were made to accommodate the adults' physical limitations, in both the planning and execution of that expedition?

 

When I saw that I resolved then and there not to be that 15-minute-behind adult. Therefore I won't be going to Philmont in 2015 if (big "if") our troop gets a slot.

 

Another thought. Philmont has a wide variety of itineraries ranging in difficulty. Most of those are within the physical reach of most Scouts of the age to attend (barring "Tubby-Timmy" or a "backpack with legs"). The same cannot be said for most 50-60+ year olds, and maybe even most 40+ year olds. Therefore, if one falls in that category, one is limiting the choices of the Scouts -- another reason I'm not going.

 

Full disclosure: I'm very slim, no health issues other than age. :) I might be able to condition myself for a lower difficulty itinerary but there's no way for one of the gonzo ones I did as a young man. Again -- I'd be limiting my Scouts' choices, and I will not be responsible for "holding them back."

 

And yeah, if we do get a slot and go, I'll really miss not being along. Really, really miss it. :)

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Stosh and Builder, I salute you both and respect your spirit!

 

Even if the years and miles catch up with us, we can always instill the spirit of outdoor adventure throughout the BSA.

 

On the other hand, there are scouters that don't like the outdoors. You can see first hand how their sedentary mindset impacts programming...and it's not for the good of scouting.

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The age thing is affecting our unit directly, and very seriously. Currently, I have no adults that can actively do real back packing or more advanced camping. While I can do the drive ins still, and day hikes are generally within my "eventual" capabilities, the more serious things we did at one time have fallen by the wayside. And frankly, that is not helping with the unit getting real growth. Summer camp had myself at 69, a 67 year old grandfather, and a 53 year old parent about 150 pounds overweight. We all survived, but that was summer camp. We went on a day hike last week of a few miles on an easy botanical trail above town. I had one 40 something with the boys, as I had to wait for a late scout, and the other two older adults stayed with me. We reached a point where there are a series of steps up the steeper hillside, made from ties, and the other two adults with me, both younger, chose (correctly) to not take the challenge. I fortunately was still able; but I had to rest three or four times. Last trip to Philmont in 1990 I was in my mid forties, and it was definitely much harder on me than the one in 1979, even though the itinerary was shorter and less strenuous.

 

I keep trying to find some younger adults to get the outdoor program back on track; but it is Catch 22 of course. Once the program slides backwards, it is just much harder to find someone to step in when they know that they are going to be given much more than they may wish to take on. If it was not for the history of the unit, we are over 90 years old, I probably would have let it go by now. But, being a historian and feeling that the program is still worthwhile, even at the level at which we are currently working, I cannot yet do that. My two best prospects from the unit moved on, as is to be expected, though not out of scouting, just out of the area. Am in contact with many of my past scouts and still hope I may yet get one or two back into the unit.

 

Have three young boys coming in soon, and may see something develop with one of their parents. Can only keep working it I guess.

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The age thing is affecting our unit directly, and very seriously. Currently, I have no adults that can actively do real back packing or more advanced camping. While I can do the drive ins still, and day hikes are generally within my "eventual" capabilities, the more serious things we did at one time have fallen by the wayside. And frankly, that is not helping with the unit getting real growth. Summer camp had myself at 69, a 67 year old grandfather, and a 53 year old parent about 150 pounds overweight. We all survived, but that was summer camp. We went on a day hike last week of a few miles on an easy botanical trail above town. I had one 40 something with the boys, as I had to wait for a late scout, and the other two older adults stayed with me. We reached a point where there are a series of steps up the steeper hillside, made from ties, and the other two adults with me, both younger, chose (correctly) to not take the challenge. I fortunately was still able; but I had to rest three or four times. Last trip to Philmont in 1990 I was in my mid forties, and it was definitely much harder on me than the one in 1979, even though the itinerary was shorter and less strenuous.

 

I keep trying to find some younger adults to get the outdoor program back on track; but it is Catch 22 of course. Once the program slides backwards, it is just much harder to find someone to step in when they know that they are going to be given much more than they may wish to take on. If it was not for the history of the unit, we are over 90 years old, I probably would have let it go by now. But, being a historian and feeling that the program is still worthwhile, even at the level at which we are currently working, I cannot yet do that. My two best prospects from the unit moved on, as is to be expected, though not out of scouting, just out of the area. Am in contact with many of my past scouts and still hope I may yet get one or two back into the unit.

 

Have three young boys coming in soon, and may see something develop with one of their parents. Can only keep working it I guess.

This is how I became SM. At a mere 50. The 70 year old lifetime troop members are too old for the outdoor program.

 

I have asked this before so where are the 30 and 40 year old Moms and Dads??????

 

I did a survey of adult troop leadership at summer camp.....It was frightening.....While there were some 40 year old leaders....Most were in their late fifties and sixties.

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I have never rejected a program idea, Well I did reject the paintball guns in the fellowship hall, but not because I wasn't physically able to do it.

 

My knees ache and creak, after a long day of hiking or canoeing I am sore and stiff. I have posted this before, I will continue to take the boys out as long as I am physically able.

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I have never rejected a program idea, Well I did reject the paintball guns in the fellowship hall, but not because I wasn't physically able to do it.

 

My knees ache and creak, after a long day of hiking or canoeing I am sore and stiff. I have posted this before, I will continue to take the boys out as long as I am physically able.

Me too; but backpacking, which was a staple for a quarter century for me, is no longer viable at anything but easy and short (very) due to back and leg issues. What is a bit frightening though is that I am in better shape than a lot of others in our area. We do have the super troops of course that do it all. One or two locally which makes it harder yet for me, as those that want that would rather go where they have it still established and just step in where they find time, rather than risk suddenly being in the lead.

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This is how I'm solving the problem ... I encourage qualified youth to hike and camp with a small group of buddies independent of adults. That way, from when they are in their twenties, they will have built the confidence they need to lead other youth through serious terrain for days on end. That way, when my flesh diminishes (in just a few decades :( ) there will be a massive movement of youth to carry on, while I sit back with the BSA perpetual new scout patrols and show them how to use a hatchet to fabricate tent pegs. I might even market the concept (how does "Qwazse contingent" sound?).

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I can comment on a Cub level. In May we planned a short(5mi) hike on the AT and loop back into camp. The blaze was poorly marked and we missed it. We ended up hiking 13 miles, one Cub out of 19 complained, the parents on the other and were pitching a fit.

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I can comment on a Cub level. In May we planned a short(5mi) hike on the AT and loop back into camp. The blaze was poorly marked and we missed it. We ended up hiking 13 miles, one Cub out of 19 complained, the parents on the other and were pitching a fit.
Yeah, but the boys will all remember the adventure they had. :)

 

Don't cha just hate the politics that wreck it for the boys? A few sore feet and memories of a lifetime, that's what Scouting is all about.

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I can comment on a Cub level. In May we planned a short(5mi) hike on the AT and loop back into camp. The blaze was poorly marked and we missed it. We ended up hiking 13 miles, one Cub out of 19 complained, the parents on the other and were pitching a fit.
This warms my heart on so many levels!

 

Let me point out that our Czech counterparts would have zero adults (maybe one SM, but unlikely) on such a hike. The 17-19 y.o. den leaders (at least one young man and one young lady -- remember the organization is co-ed from grade-school up) would be guiding the cubs. They will have submitted their plan to their SPL equivalent, who in turn would have asked the SM to review it. The SM may suggest other scouts be at key points on the trail and/or contact him if anyone misses check-in times.

 

At least that's what I've inferred from the description of a couple of boys (expat Yanks) who were brought up in that program. Now I'm not entirely sure if the CR has anything comparable to the AT, and a six mile overshoot is on the high side but easy enough to do. (I let our crew do just that at Dolly Sods last year. My avatar is a NASA composite of our location that evening -- our site was one dark 1/2 pixel south of our target dark pixel. :o ) But, I'm saying that adults' nitpicking is controlled because THEY AREN'T THERE TO COMPLAIN ABOUT EVERY FOIBLE.

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I think it is an issue. I am 50+ and it is tough. I know the 15+ year old boys can hike rings around me. I know we hold them back. We just got some aged out Eagles who are ASM's. I am hoping they will take the tougher boys on outings more. Mostly my purpose is to shame the slower boys--I am not the Tampa Turtle for nothing.

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When I was in the UK this summer I came across units from UK, Denmark, Netherlands, etc. I noticed their leaders all looked like they were College age.

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Although I'm 10 years younger than you Stosh, I'm in the same boat and highly agree with your choice. I did Philmont for my 9th and last time in 2008 at age 48. My troop is gonna apply for a 2015 expedition and I said I'd make sure the planning got done but that I wasn't going on another expedition. Other, younger adults should be going.

 

I didn't have any issues in 2008, in fact I out-hiked a couple of my youth on that trip. Not bragging, just a fact. But here's another fact: the same wouldn't happen at age 55. In 2008, we were on our way up Shaefer's Pass from the north side and had stopped for lunch. All of a sudden several "young guns" from another crew came past us moving pretty quickly. 15 minutes later came their late-50s (+) adults ambling along. Wrong. 15 minutes is as much as a half-mile. What would happen if one of those adults sprained an ankle or fell and hit his head? More importantly perhaps, these adults were holding back their Scouts. They were keeping them from achieving all they could have done at Philmont. How many programs did they miss or had shortened because the adults were 15 minutes or more behind and they had to wait on them? What compromises were made to accommodate the adults' physical limitations, in both the planning and execution of that expedition?

 

When I saw that I resolved then and there not to be that 15-minute-behind adult. Therefore I won't be going to Philmont in 2015 if (big "if") our troop gets a slot.

 

Another thought. Philmont has a wide variety of itineraries ranging in difficulty. Most of those are within the physical reach of most Scouts of the age to attend (barring "Tubby-Timmy" or a "backpack with legs"). The same cannot be said for most 50-60+ year olds, and maybe even most 40+ year olds. Therefore, if one falls in that category, one is limiting the choices of the Scouts -- another reason I'm not going.

 

Full disclosure: I'm very slim, no health issues other than age. :) I might be able to condition myself for a lower difficulty itinerary but there's no way for one of the gonzo ones I did as a young man. Again -- I'd be limiting my Scouts' choices, and I will not be responsible for "holding them back."

 

And yeah, if we do get a slot and go, I'll really miss not being along. Really, really miss it. :)

Folks are hinting at it below but I suppose the question is would those young guns have been there at all if the 50+ year olds hadn't agreed to go on the trek? Is it better to deny opportunity than to hold back a little? I'm not smart enough to know the answer.

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To some extent you can address that problem by letting your go-getters set their own pace in getting to a predetermined spot for the day. When they get there early they can do their own thing.

 

That's not feasible with every destination and itinerary I suppose.

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