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Youth soccer participation has fallen significantly - report

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We had a camp out this weekend. I'm still fairly new to this troop and I did scope it out early before signing up, but I'm still very happy when I see them do things in ways I think are right. 

First of all, the scout's set their own schedule. It included some instruction time on things the new-boys and some of the other scouts needed practice upon. They chose it. It was fun to watch from the adult's sitting area. (flag ceremony stuff)

Secondly they did everything on their own with very minimal adult interaction. Mostly safety things like "How many scouts are supposed to be in the axe yard?" and a few things like "Did you guys take our tomatoes?" (yes, they did, but they thought the tomatoes were theirs because they forgot where they put theirs.)

And thirdly it included one of my favorite things. Scouts playing and doing fun junk. Unstructured time where they played around. Not quite sure what they were doing, but they were having fun with something. 

We also were able to use the area pool since we had a BSA lifeguard. Fun for the scouts and the adults. And it highlighted a strong need for some adults and scouts to get better at throwing a football. Also that we adults probably should pay attention to the need for sunscreen. 

 

p.s.  we also worked on our tick collecting skills.  Some won more than others.  The camp's mower was broken, so the grass was rather tall in the camp site. 

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4 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

I agree, Perdidochas, excellent point.  I wandered by the pit/court a few times each day.  Just passing through, listening and observing without being obvious.  The scouts picked their own teams, arbitrated as needed, laughed a lot, and went full speed to win everything.  From what I could tell, most of teams were a mix of scouts from several troops...teammates they had just met.  Rarely was the pit/court empty/quiet. 

ETA:  Many of these scouts were playing all hours of the day, it seemed. 

Unfortunately, your former ASM's MO is more common today than in years previous--the belief that all scouts, regardless of age, should be treated as cubs.  The scouts never get a chance to grow up, lead, have fun, or solve problems if there is always "adult supervision."  Then they go to college or join the military--culture shock!

Well, a few months after that he quit.  He was kind of angry that we didn't listen to him about absolutely everything.  I was happy to be rid of him, and the boys more so.  My own sons were probably his worst critics (but then again, they were some of the older boys that the ASMs trusted to run things).  We were the family's third troop......

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4 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

The gaga ball pit (sort of like Thunderdome...many enter but only one is left) is a great time.   Lot's of need for scouts to work things out.   One of the camps we attend asks that a leader be nearby and is responsible to check the ball in/out.  Also haul away the injured.  I was sitting there at a table maybe 50 ft away enjoying the afternoon and a tasty treat and was asked to mediate some point of the game, my response was "work it out".  The group asked a couple of times, I responded the same each time the same and they stopped asking and (shocked face) they worked it out

I did dutifully turn the ball in and luckily mended no scouts.  The afternoon progressed nicely

I was unfamiliar with Gaga Ball - it looks like a safer version of dodgeball to me - foam balls, no throwing, target is below the knees.  What I'm reading is that the Scouts playing Gaga Ball are having a lot of fun with it (even if it is a safer version of Dodgeball).  I'm surprised no one has complained that the BSA is taking all the fun out of dodgeball by doing Gaga Ball instead.

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3 hours ago, CalicoPenn said:

I was unfamiliar with Gaga Ball - it looks like a safer version of dodgeball to me - foam balls, no throwing, target is below the knees.  What I'm reading is that the Scouts playing Gaga Ball are having a lot of fun with it (even if it is a safer version of Dodgeball).  I'm surprised no one has complained that the BSA is taking all the fun out of dodgeball by doing Gaga Ball instead.

Way more than you may want to know

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ga-ga

https://www.gagacenter.com/nyc/about/what-is-gaga/

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Gaga ball is cropping up all over.  It was very popular at the last Jamboree, and it’s super busy at our local summer camp.

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Coming late to this discussion, but I am surprised the NYT article did not mention one of the main reasons U.S. soccer lost so many kids in particular.

In 2016, U.S. Youth Soccer changed the age determinations for play from school year to calendar year to bring U.S. clubs and players more in line with elite international clubs. So, kids who played together as a team suddenly couldn't play with half their friends. It broke up a lot of teams in our region and caused a lot of kids to drop out. It would be like scouts suddenly splitting cub dens up by calendar age on January 1. 

 

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