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Stosh

Just wonderin'

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Is it just me or is there something about the notion of "girls, cars, and jobs" that doesn't ring true in the debate of attendance?

 

Sports don't seem to suffer from such affects......

 

School extra curricular activities don't seem to suffer from such affects.....

 

Families are a bit hit and miss, but generally family trumps the situation....

 

Karate doesn't seem to suffer from such affects....

 

LAN parties that last all weekend long don't seem to suffer from such affects....

 

So what do they know that BSA hasn't figured out in today's culture?

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I'd guess that for at least a few of those--sports, extra-curriculars like band, etc.--if you don't show up you get benched or kicked out.

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I've called BS on all of that.

Girls? I made a crew, bring them along. In fact, the current SM in the troop is quite easy going about that stuff. Girlfriends help on Eagle projects.

Cars? Scouts use them to drive to meetings, camp, instructors, etc ...

Jobs? They pay for camp, uniforms, the cars to get to camp, their family's needs, and a tithe at church.

 

Or all of that stuff can get a guy some beers and bad romance.

 

It's about priorities, and I have not met a coach (acting, band, or sports) who was bothered of a youth dedicated to scouting.

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I'd guess that for at least a few of those--sports, extra-curriculars like band, etc.--if you don't show up you get benched or kicked out.

 

The net effect of getting kicked out or quitting is the same. 

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Add in "Grade." We had quite a few scouts not able to go on one trip b/c of a school concert. Miss it and fail the music class.  I do not know where it's allowed, or even if it is still allowed where I grew up, but I know the schools arranged PE classes by sports teams. Long story short, PE was used as a study hall during the season, and their class was the practice/game.

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Frankly, the BSA comes across as "needy."  

 

We'll take adult volunteers on the minimum qualifications of being willing to help and pass a background check.  Two important factors, yes, but rarely do inquire about their outdoor experience, or willingness to learn how to lead outdoor adventure.   We'll put up with toxic leaders, lazy leaders, etc., simply to keep the name on the charter and the unit viable--on paper.

 

This trickles down to the program that is offered for the scouts.  Or lack thereof.

 

Who else is going to do it?

 

Scouts who aren't active, or constantly act like fools, etc., are allowed to stay in the unit.  Because we need the numbers.

 

Recruits take a look and politely pass.

 

So the BSA often comes across as an organization that really isn't serious about its mission. 

 

It wasn't always this way.   Units had pride and standards.   And still had the flexibility to accommodate kids who were active in church and sports and other clubs. 

 

Not so much any more.

Edited by desertrat77
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Do any of the units out there plan their annual calendar with the school calendar in hand?  Surely it's no secret what the sports program schedules are.  It used to be one night a week was set aside for religious instruction and Sunday mornings were off limits, but in recent years that has gone by the wayside as well.

 

As mentioned, it's priorities, and one of the troop's priorities is to work around the excuses offered up be scouts being in other programs. 

 

As far as priorities are concerned, I own a 1974 Nova that has had plenty of prom nights out with Eagle Scouts who have stayed the course.  :)  When one has a car like that, competition with the "fumes" seems to be a bit of a challenge for them to skip scouts.

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Do any of the units out there plan their annual calendar with the school calendar in hand? 

 

In my troop, the Scouts attend 10 different schools, including 4 different high schools. And that doesn't even count the two we have that are homeschooled. Kinda hard to plan around a school calendar when there are so many of them.

 

It might be easier in Cub Scouts, where all the Scouts are in elementary school, but in Boy Scouts, you could have Scouts in any mix of elementary, middle, junior high and high schools.

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Jobs can be an issue but rarely. The fumes thing is a farce. The points above about how other activities have strict attendance is very true in my area. It's why we've made attendance requirements for ranks above and beyond.

 

But more likely it's the impact of puberty, and I don't mean girls. There seems to be a gap between childhood and adulthood, roughly 14- to 16++, where boys' brains are just mush. My theory is they're starting to see the size of the world and trying to figure out how they fit in. Consequently they struggle making decisions and commitments. If I can get them to stay until they are close to 17 then suddenly everything gels and they are incredibly fun, capable, and they really get it. They can more easily self motivate. Then they graduate and move away and I start over. That's why I like the idea of raising the age to 21 for boy scouts.

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... That's why I like the idea of raising the age to 21 for boy scouts.

Won't help. War or college come calling on 18 year olds. If they haven't learned pass on high school activities, they won't be able to as adults.

 

If scouts is a priority, boys will learn to call coaches on the carpet. If the boy is all that, seas will part. If not, it might be good to know it's time to occupy oneself elsewhere.

Jambo conflicted with my senior year of band camp. Explaining that to the director, he said if I'm not at camp I can't march. I shook his hand and said, "No problem, I understand."

I promptly went to the guidance counselor to change my schedule, and he asked why. (I don't even think I discussed this with my parents, because as far as I was concerned it had nothing to do with them.) I explained that it wouldn't be fair to the band, etc ...

Something must have happened behind close doors, because the next day the director gave me an out and said he'd hold my spot. (Literally, there were photos of camp of with a gap in my section where I was supposed to be.) I didn't thank my counselor directly, but I did ask him to speak at my Eagle CoH.

 

We are trying to solve the different school thing by getting patrols to schedule some activities on their own. Their problem is that a lot of boys pick their patrols for to be with their friends who they don't see in school all the time. So we haven't cracked that code.

 

Bottom line: none of these extracurricular balancing acts are easy, but we shouldn't back down on what we expect from boys. Especially if over the years they've told us their goals, and we have picked up a sense of what it takes to achieve them.

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We all set priorities, we all make choices.

 

I went out for golf in high school.  Was a pretty good golfer.  Made the team, but my English teacher told me I had to do a make up test after school.  I knew I had taken the test, but he insisted.  Told the coach what happened, he explained I had a choice to make.  To avoid a zero on a test score, I took the test, got 100% (I knew all the answers, duh!) and spent the rest of the season in study hall instead of golfing,  Went golfing with my buddies after school was out.

 

Sometimes life just isn't fair.

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In my troop, the Scouts attend 10 different schools, including 4 different high schools. And that doesn't even count the two we have that are homeschooled. Kinda hard to plan around a school calendar when there are so many of them.

 

 

 

 

Been there, done that. We had folks in 14 different private schools, and 3 different public schools. One thing that helped us out was one SPL studied the troop's calendar for the previous 3 years and the attendance for the events. He noticed pattern where schools will schedule certain events XYZ weekends. We were able to schedule a little better with that info. Still could not get 100% attendance, but it did improve.

 

Cleaveland

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Won't help. War or college come calling on 18 year olds. If they haven't learned pass on high school activities, they won't be able to as adults.

 

 

That could be true. I was just thinking of the scouts that can get Eagle by 18, they could be good leaders. And not adult leaders. Look at the UK model and it seems that they go to 21 and it's those older scouts that do a lot with the younger scouts. Yes, college and life does make scouts move but that could be a nice way to mix up some experience. The adults would have to get used to it but that's okay.

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"girls, cars, and jobs"

 

Not seeing that. What I see is College, College, College.

  • Many weekends of test preparation and taking (usually multiple times). Nearly all are tutored for tests (AP's, SAT's, ACT), even the BSA had a discount from one company.  Does it help? From our experience - YES!
  • Summer pre-college weeks for high school students! I strongly encourage my scouts to explore those opportunities.
  • Usually we have two or more scouts "dual enrolled" in high school and a local community college. Those seeking to graduate from both, need to fulfill the requirements of both and so become no-show scouts.
  • Fall college visits, spring college visits.
  • Saving for college once meant getting a job but more it is about cutting expenses not directly contributing to college - goodbye $$$ treks.

 

But surely sports? IMO, if colleges did not offer sports scholarships, high school football would be gone as school districts could not justify the expense. Look at the high commitment programs - sports, band,  FIRST robotics, they all have a big scholarship carrot in common.

 

Should the BSA promote and extend their scholarship offerings? Should BSA restore the value of Eagle in college admission?

 

My $0.02

Edited by RememberSchiff
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More and more extracurriculars like music, drama and sports are requiring 100% attendance with contracts etc... Scouts for the most part tries to not compete and work around the other options. Even in this thread are suggestions how to work around. The other extracurriculars do not attempt to work around scouts or anything else. Sure priorities come into play, but when two activities conflict and one of them is lenient on participation and the other has zero tolerance for non-participation, unfortunately the boy's priorities have been chosen for him. This is not just for older HS boys, but even middle schoolers are "required" to participate in the other practices, etc...

 

So what are possible solutions?

1. Participation requirements for scouts and compete directly with the other activities.

2. Continue to try to schedule scouting activities which do not conflict with the others during the school year.

3. Schedule scouting almost exclusively during school breaks like over the summer.

4. Focus on a unique, specialized outdoor based, patrol method adventure program which boys would choose instead of the other extracurriculars (not in addition to).

5. Do nothing.

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