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Why does sports/band/etc seem to trump Scouting?

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Until Scouts can tie grades and scholarships to attendance - the boys are put in terrible positions. Life is about choices, however, who can ask a boy to sacrafice a possible or probable scholarship -- and is that really a free choice. We have a boy who is being watched by baseball scouts and who maintains his grade point for academic scholarships his is waiting for his EBOR. I watched him grow from a cub to a fine young man. He is not happy about the choices he has had to make that sacrafice time with scouts but he will have money for college. I forgot he also works full time. Payed for his own vehicle and his insurance, gas etc....

He has done the distance withall the choices -- I personally commend every scout who does the same.

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>>And really, does scouting really give most boys that much "better direction for the rest of their lives"? Some of this is wishful thinking on our parts; a perception not necessarily shared by many scouts or their parents.

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This is a great question. Scouts often place a higher importance on the other activities because the Parents do. Any activity that is from the school usually is the one given precedence over the others, especially from a parents point of view.


Now with my own son, band concerts are two times a year. It's part of his grade. For two nights a year, he can miss that Scout meeting if there is a conflict.


Sports practice, usually is before school (swimming) or right after. Practice rarely affects attendance at a Scout meeting, unless the Scout had a lot of homework to do that night. The actual sports games may conflict with the scout meeting.


My personal opinion is that Scouting is an outdoor program. I'd rather a Scout miss a few meetings if they have to, but really try and make it to the outdoor activities. When I was a Scout, we had Track or Football on Friday nights. We just went to the campout either late on Friday or early on Saturday morning. My Scoutmaster encouraged us to do our best in our sport, give it our all, then show up a little late, and do our best at the outdoor event.


This is one reason I don't like year long POR. I never thought of this before, but I wonder if POR voting should in some way coincide with school sports calendars? Being in these other activities allows the Scout to be more rounded and more challenged as an individual.





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I have been a youth coach and Scout leader for years. One point no one has mentioned is that most sports have a finite amount of time to them... You start soccer in August - have a few practices and then 8 or so games. That's it - season is over.


Scouting is year round. So I think people tend to put priority on sports because Scouts will be there next week, next month, etc..

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I firmly believe a Scoutmaster should have a SM Conference with every Scout seeking a POR. You should have standards and expectations, as well as a willingness to train or to provide training.


Now, the next question is what form of activity we're talking about? If we're talking a competing extra-curricular activity, such as Pop Warner, American Legion baseball, AAU/TAC gymnastics, university sponsored HS symphony orchestra ... whatever: The Scout concerned has to learn to make choices and hard calls: If you are not helping him learn to make those choice, shame on you, Mr Scoutmaster.


Being a pedant about attendance at Scouts will turn his tough call into an easy one: You may well lose the boy. Are you prepared for that second order effect consequence?


Now that we've talked about other extra-curriculars, let's talk about classes at the high school. Where does band fit into a young person's life? Well, first, it's a fine art, and fine arts credits are usually mandatory to get out of high school. As others have mentioned, marching band can be counted by some schools as physical education. Performances (games and concerts) are part of the grade plan. At EagleSon's HS, each peformance was 10% of his grade ... that means a full letter grade. Call time on Friday night was typically 5PM for a 7PM kickoff ... and that's hugely better than it will be at the college level!


Here's the kicker: There is real money tied to marching band at the university level. EagleSon is now a freshman at a Big 12 University. Here's the cash value that marching band brought to him this past semester:


- Travel/pep band polos: $20

- Meals on activity days (game, special concert, etc): $90

- Tuition scholarship for Music 9999 (marching band): $250 (yes, the University picked up the tab for the 1 credit hour course that Marching band is)

- Student Season ticket to football games: $200

- Supplies (flip folder, gloves): $10

- Off-campus travel to games: $90

- BOWL GAME PACKAGE (transporation, hotel, meals): $500

- RETENTION SCHOLARSHIP: $400 (he was invited back for the 09-10 School Year)


Total cash value to EagleSon: $1560, of which $650 was SCHOLARSHIP MONEY. In a public school, that's between 2 and 3 credit hours.


Scouting gave him the discipline and the basic physical fitness. Scouting, because he's a camp staffer, and because our Council has a substantial camp staff scholarship endowment, brought him $500 in scholarships this year.


How many Councils have real money tied off to post K-12 education and training, sufficient that every camp staff member who applies gets something? Not many. I'm glad we live on the west side of Missouri!


A Scout is Thrifty. When a Scout has an opportunity to help earn his education, he should go for it. If that means he has to do something else over attend a unit meeting, we Scouters have the obligation to help the Scout learn to make hard choices.


My thoughts.(This message has been edited by John-in-KC)

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One point no one has mentioned is that most sports have a finite amount of time to them... You start soccer in August - have a few practices and then 8 or so games.


Yah, we wish! Around here, by middle school soccer, hockey, swimming, etc. are year-round sports, eh? Summer trainin' camp to fall season to winter indoor soccer to spring season and back. The high schools violate state athletic association rules pretty universally, with not-quite-mandatory-but-everyone-knows-it-is off-season training and practices.


I fault da school officials for not reignin' this stuff in. Band programs too, eh? The class is an in-school curricular activity. Marchin' or playin' a concert is an extracurricular. Anything else puts kids from less well-off families at a real disadvantage.


I think the real reason sports/band/etc. trump scouting is because the folks who run those programs care about what they do enough to establish standards and expectations. By and large, most troops don't.


Truth is, I've always found that when yeh establish high expectations and are willing to force a few kids to choose (and maybe opt out), yeh end up with a bigger, more successful troop. That's because when yeh set high expectations, the boys live up to 'em, and they experience more satisfaction and their parents see more growth. That attracts more lads, who want to be part of such a "successful" program.




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I'm sorry, Barry, but this kind of value judgment is not something I would make: "Scouting prospectively has the most potential to have a positive effect on all the other activities."


I'm saying that as a band geek, a Scout, and someone who did pretty well academically and participated in a couple of special programs for advanced math/science students. I suppose if I had excelled at team sports, I would have participated more there too.


I think it's all part of the package: for example, I don't think I can qualify it by saying "I am who I am primarily because I was a Scout" (or a musician, or whatever). I am who I am because I did all of that (and it wasn't easy to balance everything!). Would my life have been better or would I be better off now if I had concentrated solely on Scouts? I can't say that either.


It's been pointed out before, but a common trait among Eagle Scouts is they are usually well-rounded young men. But I think of it in terms like this: is a young man well-rounded because of all the activities he participates in, or does he participate in all sorts of activities because of how well-rounded he is?


As a Scouter, I personally would not want to make a Scout's choices more difficult by placing constraints.


This is all kind of being hammered home for me because of a University of Scouting event this last weekend; our CC attended a session on boards of review. Afterward, he said to me "did you know that some troops have mandatory attendance rates and uniform inspections?". This is going on right now, in our council. In one of the sessions I attended I got the "but our troop has much higher standards than that" line.


As a side note: both my 2C son and my W2 son are playing basketball this season, and our town usually has a pretty serious approach to kid sports. This coming weekend, my 2C son is attending the local Klondike Derby, but he's missing a Saturday basketball game. On the other hand, he could sort of accommodate both: the game is at 6pm on Saturday, and I could pick him up for the game and return him afterward, with the effect of missing dinner with his troop. He decided to skip the game. I don't mind so much because two of his coaches, and their sons, were out last weekend for a ski trip, and another coach and his son are missing the games this weekend because of a ski trip. It's a pretty clear message that family trips trump sports in those families. My son's PL, who plays in a different league (same town), is missing the Klondike Derby because on his team if you miss practice, you ride the bench in games.



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There's one other reason HS activities trump Scouting: They have the weight of governmental regulatory process behind them.


I went and looked at the guidelines in my school district. Public performance is a specified requirement; it inter-relates to a state department of education standard. That the performance can be outside the established school hours is immaterial to the requirement.


That happened to EagleSon last year: He took Debate/Forensics 1. Included in the coursework were requirements to participate in at least one regional tournament outside his building, and support one regional tournament held inside his building. How does the Scoutmaster and the parent deal with something which is in a Board-of-Education approved policy document (short of voting for other folk at the next election cycle)??


When you look at the program materials furnished by the National Council, BSA is competing with, and losing, the battle of the educational bureaucrats.


How do you reconcile A Scout is Obedient in honoring law and regulation of the Government to the demand of a Scoutmaster "Be there or else?"

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I suspect that folks are discussing the choices based on the troop that they are most familiar with, and extrapolating that experience across all others. So I would like to add into this discussion that much depends on the particulars of each individual troop.


Considering a troop that has a culture of high expectations for achievement, and offers REAL challenges in POR's, and significant mentoring, such that a young man learns and feels good about himself for what he has accomplished, and feels recognized as a peer by the adults, many will rise to the challenge and make time to be active in scouts in addition to band, sports, science club, etc.


At the other end, considering a troop where adults view is that scouts are so busy with band, sports and other activities once they reach high school that expectations are lowered to the point where the scouts feel no pressure or compulsion to be active contributors to the troop, then it should be no surprise when boys dont make time to fit scouting into their schedule.


Granted, it isnt as tidy as this - there may be a program that overlaps 100% with troop meetings for part or even all of the school year. And even with the heghest quality troop, there will be young men that choose to devote their time to other endevours because it it more meaningful to them.

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Many boys that are in band at school have no choice to miss scout meetings, because band events are a grade. Some of them sure, could be avoided. But sports are by choice. I think the boys are looking for a place to fit in and feel that sense of belonging.

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I think the boys are looking for a place to fit in and feel that sense of belonging.


Yah, they sure are! I think this is one of the best insights posted here, eh?


Now, how do they get that feelin'? They get that feelin' when they get good at something, and are recognized for their skill. Which takes regular practice and play.


They get that feelin' when they share tough adventures and tough times with other guys. I've always said that the epic disaster campouts are the best at buildin' Scout Spirit and strong patrols. Those tales last and are shared forever. Even decades later former scouts are "belonging" to that group that survived the death march. :) Which takes active, regular involvement so as to be present for those moments.


They get that feelin' when they share routines and become a skilled team that works together - that does the best meals, that can face the harder challenges. Which takes active, regular commitment to each other.


High adventure trips often do that for lads, eh? And I reckon everyone demands preparation and skill development for such events. Becoming strong, achieving something hard builds that feelin'. And that demands regular work.


I've never really seen many lads get that special belonging feeling to drop-in activities. But I've seen a lot of what Eagledad describes, eh? Lads who make commitments to each other in Scouting, and build real skills, and want to tackle bigger adventures get annoyed by havin' lads around who just drop in. Left to themselves, the culture that they build by social pressure is one of commitment.


Yah, I do know a lot of drop-in troops, eh, and I support some. They run fine activities. But they never quite get that "belonging" feelin' that the troops with strong patrol method do.


The band and sports programs get it, eh? They mandate participation so the lads have the best shot at gettin' that belonging feeling.



(This message has been edited by Beavah)

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I'm faced with this at my pack at the cub age so can imagine it gets worse as they move onto boy scouts. At that age it's not just once a week game/rehearsals, it's practicing every day, along with home work and games or evetns on both days of the weekend. I think think that they still continue to participate in scouts with everything else out there and peer pressure too should be aplauded.

However- I emphasize that you need to fulfill your commitments so I guess this is the age the decision is made- can you do both and still give your best or do you need to make a decision? Now is when they need to do that balancing act or step to one side of the scale.

That scouting continues to thrive with all that's out there I believe to be a good thing (or at least hope it's thriving).

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And some people never get it. Our present SM played minor league ball. He actually was called up and played some pro games. Long story short, he blew his ankle. Checkmate, game over. He's SM. Never involved in scouting until his son joined. But where do you think his priorities lie? Sports. You would think he would have enough sense to push scouting instead.


How many HS athletes really pull scholarships? And what happens if they get injured and are out for the rest of college?


Do any of you ever think of promoting scholarships for scouts? How many of you know what Scholarships are out there, or which universities or colleges offer them?


Maybe if we emphasized what leadership programs (local, regional and national in DC), travel opportunities (national and international), job experiences (national and international), scholarships, financial gain (2 E levels in the military for Eagles) are available to our scouts and parents, then maybe they might take a look at our SCOUTING program and what it has to offer over sports and band.


Hey, the scout could go to Jambo as a band member for half the cost. Some of our athletes can travel to Europe and participate in the Scouting Winter Olymics. YES THIS IS A REAL THING!!! Maybe they have to be skiers or play hockey.


THE PROGRAMING IS THERE. WE NEED TO PROMOTE IT. Otherwise no one knows it is there.

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