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Young District/Council Volunteers

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Every council I have Scouted in always had someone looking for impressive young people to help with training - of leaders and of adults.


The good course directors of SM  training "get" that some adults will only see youth as capable of assuming responsibility when they see youth exercising responsibility.  


They also know that youth being trained are far more impressed with the sharp 19-year-old on NYLT staff than the 65-year-old.


Many veteran SMs are beyond challenging outdoor program and need younger SAs to get adventure back in their unit's program.  One such found a job in his company for a young man to keep him in collage locally to the end that he could then be his SA.

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As a young adult (18-20) I wasn't too involved outside of my OA and camp staff roles, but there were a few times I ran up against the "You're just a kid and don't know what you're doing" mentality of some of the more seasoned volunteers.  But because of the skills and fun experiences I had as an OA officer and camp staffer, I knew I wanted to keep coming back.


After graduation I was given the opportunity to serve as a professional scouter a couple states away.  While I'm sure some volunteers in my district questioned my age and experience at first, over time I believe I had a great working relationship with most of the folks in my area.  It was frustrating in some cases to have to "prove myself" to a few individuals, but by and large it was a fantastic experience.


Flash forward to my late twenties and after a career change I'm back in my hometown and it's been a mixed bag of getting involved as a "relatively young" adult.  There are some scouters that have difficulty seeing past the 15-year old me who ran an OA election for their troop years ago, but there are others who I have stronger relationships with that have more appreciation for what I can bring to the table.  


Bottom line is I would not still be involved if it wasn't for those experiences I had while in the (18-20) zone.  That's when I started working on Camp staff and when my enthusiasm and energy were at their peek. Any way you can harness folks in that range to keep them coming back is definitely worth it.

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It often surprises me how ineffective any group can be by writing off those of younger years.  While the old codgers are complaining about not having the energy to do what they want to do, they would rather burn out than use their leadership and experience to coach younger scouters.  We see these same old farts whining about their older boys not wanting to instruct and interact with younger boys, while at the same time demonstrate to them that they in fact can't do it themselves.


I found out a long time ago that if one wishes to seek out new adventures to keep from burning out in any program, whether it be one's career, their families or the groups they volunteer for, unless one is training someone to take over for you, you'll be forever stuck in that place.  If one finds themselves standing in the middle of a bad situation there's only three recourses one can make.  Either 1) stay where you are at and suffer, 2) train someone with more energy and stamina to take over, or 3) abandon ship and let it sink.  


I always feel sorry for those old experienced scouters who aren't wise enough to see this and the only ones that suffers are the boys.  Too often the myopic vision of older scouters is to only teach leadership to the boys when in fact he/she needs to be teaching it everyone around them. 

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