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Eagle94-A1

Balancing Act Revisited

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My task this next week or so is to personally contact every boy that DID NOT CROSS OVER.  I got a copy of the "dropped" Webelos boys from each of the packs.  If nothing else, I'm going to learn why the dropout rate at this point is so high.

Contacting the scouts isn't enough. If you really want an true assessment, talk to the parents and leaders. That is what I did and they fill in the picture much better. Example: The Scout says that he is more interested in sports. The parent says the son felt the boring meetings were a waste of time. The Leader says she/he didn't want to be a den leader, but only took the responsibility because nobody else would.

 

Sports?

 

Barry

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Contacting the scouts isn't enough. If you really want an true assessment, talk to the parents and leaders. That is what I did and they fill in the picture much better.  ...

Like the old evangelist said: "Ain't nobody has the sense to knock on doors anymore."

Or, in modern management speak "That 360 evaluation is the gold standard, if you can get it."

 

Truth is, it's very hard to get that kind of thing. It's a rare day when Mom, Dad, the youth, and their former leader will be in the vicinity at the same time. In our community, the best bet is to spend evenings at the community pool in the summer. That seems to be when you'll cross paths with a Webelos' entire family.

 

The closest I got to complete coverage efficiently was when two of our scouts visited the webelos den, after introductions, the boys talked to the youth, and the scouts' dad and I talked to the parents. Scouts and I compared notes afterword. Both parents and Webelos were on the same wavelength about our program. That den all crossed over ... TO THE OTHER TROOP!!!! But, it was still productive IMHO. It allowed us, and our boys, to see that a merger was the most sensible thing to do, no matter how hard it would be.

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@@qwazse

 

Well, I "talked" to the three leaders.

 

1) There was no Webelos den leader, the pack did one pack meeting and one activity per month.  That was it.  I picked up 4 scouts from this anyway.  Never saw a pack that poorly run.

 

2) The leader was burned out, dropped out of the program and took her son with her.  The boy was super gung ho on Boy Scouts but when mom left so did the boy.  I picked up 4 scouts from this anyway.

 

3) The leader was set on going to another troop.  5 of 15 followed him.  Other 10 are on my list.

 

Half of the boys had a poor experience in Cubs.  That's a hurdle I have to overcome.  The reason I did pick up 8 boys is because I went back, became an ad hoc WDL and worked with the boys that wanted to come to get their AOL.  All but 2 stayed with the program and crossed over.

Edited by Stosh

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...

 

Half of the boys had a poor experience in Cubs.  That's a hurdle I have to overcome.  The reason I did pick up 8 boys is because I went back, became an ad hoc WDL and worked with the boys that wanted to come to get their AOL.  All but 2 stayed with the program and crossed over.

So, let's say talking to the leaders gets you 120 degrees of the story. And I think it's very true that disengaged leaders give boys zero reason to crossover.

You still have 240 degrees of story for each boy who didn't cross-over. That's a lot of work!

 

I think E94 is in a similar position. Only, his biggest wedge is from the boys via his sons! Then he gets the leaders' views, but I'm wondering if they aren't particularly candid about why they can't trust the patrols to operate more independently. It would take a lot more time to crack those nuts! Then, there's the parents.Getting that 360 view's a lot of work!

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It's not easy finding the real causes for scouts dropping out. I remember when our Council made an effort to call each Webelos who dropped, sports and karate were the number one reasons. After I got finished with my research, sports wasn't even on the radar. Kids will do what is fun and rewarding no matter how busy their schedule. 2/3s of the scouts in our pack and troop are in sports, so I know that isn't a cause. 

 

Scout age boys don't like to be cold called for answers to why they quit. First off most don't really know the exact answer, they just don't want to continue scouting. Second, adults asking scouts why they don't like something is intimidating for boys this age because they think somebody is going to be in trouble. Sports, Karate, music, and etc. is easy because nobody is in trouble.

 

Parents may not know exactly why their son doesn't like scouts, but they do know when that started happening because their son started whining about going to meetings. Parents being parents want their son to finish what they started, so they push their son to the meetings. Many scouts quit after Webelos because that is the end their parent are willing to concede. Going to a troop is like starting a whole new program and that is just the break the family is looking for to get out of scouting.

 

The problem that for us is we really don't know when the Cub Scout started disliking scouting. It could have been at the Wolf age, but since most parents push their sons to finish what they started, or they feel the scouting is a good program for their son, they stick it out until the end of Cubs. I was surprise to learn that Bear and 1st year Webelos drop increased around 2005. The only reason I could find for that was families were frustrated with all the national gay publicity and just wanted to get away from it. But I couldn't find enough data points to verify that. And that was a national trend, it wasn't a trend locally. So it still a mystery. 

 

Finding the truth is a lot of work and most people aren't willing to put out the effort. But it does paint a picture of the problem. Scoutmasters are in the the best position to learn because they get to talk with the scouts, parents and cub leaders. They just need to learn now to ask the right questions and listen carefully to the accumulated answers. Attacking the problem is a whole different discussion. 

 

Barry

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I've talked with a few of the parents already and gotten a variety of different "reasons" (i.e. excuses) for their boy not going into Boy Scouts.  Some of them have identified valid issues, increase in time commitment, location change, added expenses, etc.  After contacting everyone, I can make better judgments on how to approach the families a second time to address more of their concerns.

 

The 10 families that had no contact with our troop other than an invite to the AOL classes are of primary concern because they just might have dropped because of the unit, the leaders and the fact that they didn't want to go where their WDL went.  They will be some of the first ones I contact.

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"Generally speakin', I think a Patrol-Method, youth-led troop needs a lot more time spent on Patrol Leader / Youth Leader training than what da modern BSA materials call for. "

 

Amen !  Officially speaking ("speakin' ") B.S.A. offers troop-level training by the SM (average tenure 9 mos.) - the horribly titled "Introduction to leadership Skills for Troops" (IT'S THE PATROL METHOD, LESS-THAN-KNOWLEDGEABLE PERSON.).  Other than that weak reed, B.S.A. offers only N.Y.L.T.  or  even more expensive and seldom used courses (NAYLE for example).  The district-level training went away fifteen years ago, and the promised "new" district-level syllabus ceased to be promised at least nine years ago.  

 

This paucity of  youth training materials is no problem for the savvy SM.  They will access the training of decades past, but such critters are a distinct minority.   I mentioned Bill Hillcourt in the course of a session at BPI in March and a SM's hand shot up: "Bill who?"

 

B.S.A. sometimes says training youth leaders is Job One - second only to safety, but the training support from National belies that claimed priority.  But, then, someone(s) at B.S.A. thinks: "Patrols are one component of what we call youth-run, or youth-led, troop."  Yup.  The good ol'  Youth-run troop method.

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Is the an official BSA policy on boys recruiting boys?  Seems like most of this discussion is about Adults recruiting boys...

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Is the an official BSA policy on boys recruiting boys?  Seems like most of this discussion is about Adults recruiting boys...

 

Official policy?  Nothing that I'm aware of, aside from the 1st Class rank requirement:

 

10. Tell someone who is eligible to join Boy Scouts, or an inactive Boy Scout, about your Scouting activities. Invite him to an outing, activity, service project, or meeting. Tell him how to join, or encourage the inactive Boy Scout to become active. Share your efforts with your Scoutmaster or other adult leader. 

 

Haven't seen anything stating boys can't do #10 more than once.

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Recruiter Strip   http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Awards_Central/RecruiterStrip.aspx

 

http://www.scouting.org/filestore/Recruitment/Badge_of_Honor/English/peertopeer/310-395_BoyScout_PeerCards.pdf

 

No reason Scouts could not lead at least some of these activities:  

http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/Membership/Youth_Recruitment/Events.aspx

http://seattlebsa.org/Membership/Troop-Recruiting-Efforts

 

 

Don't you find that a troop and patrol program that is truly exciting for boys is the best recruiting tool for troops?

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"No. 2: Boy-to-Boy Recruiting

The most effective recruiter is an excited, enthusiastic Scout who has just completed the challenge of his lifetime (so far!) with his troop. Scouts should be encouraged to invite their friends to join the troop and become a member of their patrol.

A First Class rank requirement states that a Scout must invite a friend to a troop activity. To help the Scout meet this requirement, a fun, easy-to-use e-card tool is available at http://www.thescoutzone.org. Click on "Tell a Friend" and follow the instructions to select images and music, then send!

Consider having a recruitment campaign within the troop. Offer incentives to each Scout who brings in a friend, as well as an overall prize for the top recruiter."

 

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Experience in Boy Led:

Life Scout (SM's son)  is presenting his proposed project to the Troop Committee for comment/approval.   It is a good project, to convert a  courtyard in the church into a meditation garden. It would convert a concrete gravel path into  a low maintenance,  bench lined , natural setting .  SM (dad) is sitting in the background. Scout has nice pictures, list of materials, everything is in good shape. Committee asks questions , seems pleased.

I ask, " whose project is this again?  "...  hesitation....

Scout: "  I guess it's mine  ?"

"And  when there is a problem, who makes the decision about what to do?"

Scout looks over to his dad.   "I will?"

(To the SM, who is usually a get in there and make things happen sort of guy):)  "Steve?  You good with that?"

He smiles, says " absolutely". 

 

Project goes off well.  Eagle awarded last month. 

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Well the entire situation at the moment is so frustrating, I believe it is now causing the health issues I'm having. I could be wrong on that, and will await the results of the tests when they come in.

 

SPL has been in charge for a month, but the closest to anyone helping him is me suggesting things to do. No PLC has been conducted, and he has not planned a meeting yet. Adults have done it. And I admit I'm just as guilty as I suggested to the SPL a topic and choices of Scouts to do it. Then I had to help that Scout out a bit. Prior to that it was the SM lecturing, and last week's meeting was essentially the venture patrol's topic, but done with the entire troop. SPL didn't have any plans for tomorrow made until my son, the troop QM asked if he could have the two regular patrols inventory their patrol boxes since there are no records of who has what.

 

Again, I don't want to step on toes, and I do not want to tell the SPL what to do and how to do it. But this is driving me nuts.

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Again, I don't want to step on toes, and I do not want to tell the SPL what to do and how to do it. But this is driving me nuts.

 

 

Maybe reach out to counsel and have them find someone to do training for the boys.  It seems like nobody in your troop is trained - adults or scouts.  

 

Heck, if you are located within 2 1/2 hours of Princeton, NJ or are willing to have the leadership do a weekend campout at a location somewhere in that range, I'd be glad to come out and do leadership training for both the Scouts and Adults (not SM Specific).  I"m currently (I mean moments before I checked in) working on a program to be done during a two night campout.

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Adults are to train the leaders in their jobs and act as resources (suggestions/ideas/information).  But if the adults are either untrained, refuse to train the Scouts, or refuse to let the Scouts lead, you don;lt get Boy Scouting.

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