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Keeping Older Scouts

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29 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

I think the key to attracting and retaining high school age youth is, as you say, to let them just hang out in the outdoors with like minded individuals. I'm not sure about the "without any agenda" because advanced skill training could be an enticing carrot to offer them, and advance planning is fundamental to safety in the outdoors as well as to respect for the outdoors (it's an LNT principle...)

 

Quite right. What I meant by agenda is a program created specifically to keep older scouts around. I believe 80% of Venturing Crews are created to keep older scouts in the program, not to add an additional adventure opportunity. That motivation drives toward the wrong kind of program and eventually looses most of the scouts.

Older scouts still need the responsibilities of running a troop program, but the program should be designed so that scouts don't feel forced or trapped into responsibilities and activities. Some older scouts are good leaders, most are not. The rest of the older scouts are still part of a team and they should be expected to be good team members that support a common agenda. Those 10 adults that go on our camp outs were more than ready and willing to help at what ever was expected or asked of them because the effort in those task were trivial to their motivation of spending time with like minded friends. 

Barry 

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On 1/28/2019 at 10:47 AM, Eagledad said:

...Some older scouts are good leaders, most are not.

Yeah.  As adult scouters, we always hope to have one of the good leaders in charge of the troop so we can hang out with other adults and do nothing.

But that's not always a good thing.

Sometimes, it's the scouts who are not natural leaders who most need the opportunity in order to ever find out whether or not they are or are not "leaders".  I saw one kid who always struck me as a quiet introvert and an absolute "follower" of others stick up his hand to run for SPL. He won and he ended up doing a great job. Things were expected of him....and so he did them. He had to delegate, so he learned to "voluntell" his scouts. He showed dedication to his role, showing up at every meeting and campout even as many of the "older" scouts found excuses to skip meetings and to avoid any real responsibilities. The SPL visibly grew into a strong leader. By the end of his term, he communicated more strongly, and he'd earned the loyalty and respect of his fellow scouts.  If it weren't for the troop taking a chance on the "not so great leader", they'd have never discovered one of their best leaders ever.

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16 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

The SPL visibly grew into a strong leader. By the end of his term, he communicated more strongly, and he'd earned the loyalty and respect of his fellow scouts.  If it weren't for the troop taking a chance on the "not so great leader", they'd have never discovered one of their best leaders ever.

Exactly right. We also had a shy stuttering scout who turned out to be a great SPL. 

What most adults don't understand about boys is that puberty changes everything in their human nature. You really don't know what a scout is capable of until after puberty. We had several young scouts who were a pain the rear as young scouts, then fantastic mature leaders after puberty.

That is why older scout role models are so important. 90% of the skills older scouts use after the age 14 were learned when they were young scouts watching older scouts role models. We had one older scout transfer that was terrified to take a leadership position in our troop because so much was expected compared of them to his previous troop. It was no big deal for our scouts because that was all they knew. 

Quality of a troop program is measure by the performance of the older scouts because that is the highest level of skilled performance. That scares the troop leaders that can't hold on to their older scouts.

Barry

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