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

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Forgive me, Mr. Boyce, but you're not thinking like a kid.


Do you think that a kid will join Tiger Cubs because there is a one in a trillion chance that he'll win a scholarship? Not on your life.


Now if there was a chance to win a part in a Disney or Nickelodeon show, that's another matter.


And if there were a show on one or both of those channels that showed Scouting in a favorable and exciting light frequently, big impact.


But I contrast ESPN that shows the Little League World Series cover to cover on basic cable with the recent Scouting based show on the Ourdoor Life channel. In my community, Outdoor Life is super-premium channel. You have to take the very expensive package to get it. Thanks a lot!


I believe, for example, that is Sacha Obama were to join the Brownies and be seen several times in a Brownie uniform, GSUSA would pick up 100,000 members in a heartbeat.


Think like kids, think like kids. Not like adults.

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Our troop had a relatively young SM who instituted a policy that if a boy had to miss too many meetings for other activities, he could not hold a POR. He didn't make a big deal about the policy but he did enforce it. Under his leadership, the troop grew and attendance improved. He did not say that boys couldn't be in the troop if not attending. Rather, he made the point that leaders need to be present to lead. Many sports have an off season and he would work with the boys to have a POR in their off season in order to advance. He would also say that scouting is just as important as band or sports. The only sport in our area that seems to preclude scouting is soccer which never seems to have an off season. We only had a single boy play varsity soccer and stay in scouting. This policy and attitude will work. Be sure to be supportive of the boys and show your interest in their advancement.

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your junior leadership program may not be strong enough. teens like to be with others their own age or slightly older; this happens in school sports & band. if service to Scouting is not the real reason to have the position, then being around a bunch of little kids is always going to be third-best

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I'm always impressed by the large number of parents who get their kids involved in sports, in order to win a college scholarship. This would not matter much to a 12 year-old, but would to a 14 year-old, especially if his father kept citing the importance of it.


One great advantage the HS sports people have is simply that it's a seamless web: just walk out of the classroom, go over to the gym and changeout for your sport.


To be fair, we should note that only a few sports get really substantial attention, and a lot of sports do not. Curiously, more teens are involved in the latter than the former.

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This has been cited above, and is a real factor:


Kids, even older teens, have the opportunity to fantasize about being a professional. . . and all the gobs of money and adulation this brings.


This fanciful thinking really can infect youth. Heck, anyone can be beguiled by beautiful visions rather than schlepp through the daily grind of school.

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My son went through juggling sports and scouting since he was six and now he is an Eagle Scout. I remember when he was elected SPL and he was picked for the middle school baseball team. He asked his coach if he could miss the first practice because he needed to go on a trip and he had a responsibility to the troop. He was scared to ask because most coaches don't care or understand but his coach said that it was fine. I wish more coaches understood the importance of Scouting.


We have had multi sports boys and band members in our troop. We recently had 5 boys that started Cub Scouts together make Eagle. 2 played High School football and baseball, 2 were band members, one was on the track team and was a trainer. It can be done, you just have to learn how to manage your time.


A lot of has to do with the parents, you can't do everything but you can find time for what is important. I've carried my son to several campouts after a football or baseball game. He loves sports and Scouting and I love to spend time with him.



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Being a sophomore in high school i see this problem all the time.


This may sound rude to some people, but PLEASE do not take any offense to this.


Kids join teams, bands, clubs, or whatever else, and strive to be the best. Only a select few of those get into college for it. Lets take football for example. A kid joins football in junior high, he's second or even first string. His team is good and so is he. Goes to highschool, still on first string, plays well. College time. Colleges want the best of the best. Yes he may be a good player, but more often then not, they aren't good enough to make the cut. Same thing goes for band. BUT!!! Even if they make it into college on a scholarship and play, that DOES NOT mean that is what they will be doing the rest of their life. Recently, there have been many NCAA commercials about athletes going pro in something else other than sports, which is true to about 95% of the people.


Now, lets judge that against scouting.


Kid joins cubs. Has fun going to camps and everything. Gets to Webelos, gets arrow of light, and is crossing over into boy scouting. Crosses over into a good boy led troop. Now, kids make fun of him, discourage him from being a scout, but he perseveres and makes it to first class. He then gets the ability to run for patrol leader, then ASPl, then SPL. Through those times earning merit badges, getting leadership time, doing service projects, yet still made fun of. Still he perseveres on getting to life, then reaching eagle.


What does that have to do with anything? This: Scholarship application, what looks better, football player, or Eagle. Job application, Football or Eagle.


Yes you may learn good things from sports, but being in high school in this day and age. You can pick a scout out from a crowd, you can trust them, you know they are clean minded and bodied. Though scouting is looked down upon by kids outside of it, the kids that are in it can laugh at the others when they go further in life, excel, succeed.


The Question comes to this: What's more important, fun and MAYBE glory; or learning about life, how to take it on, and how to lead people to success.



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Thank you. That was very well put, and by someone so young with wisdom beyond his years. I wish more teens, and their parents could see it this way. Unfortunately, like you have stated, they are blinded by the dream of trying to achieve that which is usually the unachievable.


Bear12, I agree. As I have stated in one of my earlier posts, if they are counseled correctly, and have the desire, yes they can learn to manage their time appropriately to pursue both their sport and scouting interests, and be successful at both. But these scouts are rare. They definitely have to be go-getters.(This message has been edited by ASM915)

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what you say is true.


The nasty little secret here is that coaches DON'T want to tell the truth about the fall-out rate in sports!


And they propagate myths about there being tons of scholarships out there for sports, when in reality this is not true.


And the big myth? that manliness is only built through the (few) major sports.

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I would say that more than half the guys in our troop are athletes. Some play major sports (baseball/basketball/football). Most, though, play sports that don't even really have a professional life and they certainly don't do it with starry-eyed dreams of scholarships and the lifestyle of a pro football player in mind. Lacrosse. Swimming/Diving. Track. Ski team. Particularly at the JV level, many are just looking to try out a sport and have fun. Nothing wrong with that! Especially with some lesser-known sports, it can be the first time in some kids' lives where they have much success with a sport. For the kid who is never going to make the football team because he's not big enough, that's a big deal. And by the way, most private schools around here mandate that their students will be in some sport (as well as service obligations and of course academic requirements).


Now, the kid who is on the travel soccer team fall/spring and the travel baseball team spring/summer/fall, I am not even sure what he looks like and I don't know why his dad is so insistent that he be in scouting because he's only there once in a blue moon. But he's an oddity. Most of our athlete/scouts are only absent occasionally, or only during one season. And a few of them even take the opportunity to work on merit badges related to sports and conditioning during their sports season.

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Well said, J-dawg. And there's another factor that you didn't mention.


With unpleasant frequency, people playing sports get hurt. And someone can be a fantastic athlete with incredible promise and then have an incident and just not quite be what he or she was before and have that ruin any pro and probably any serious college potential. It can happen in a heartbeat.


Contrast that with Scouting. It is only one anecdote, but the gentleman who is now the volunteer National Vice Chairman of the OA for training a number of years ago had a severe traumatic brain injury. He recovered completely and then was running a jewelry shop. In a holdup, a gunshot severed his spinal cord and he is a paraplegic confined to a wheelchair for life. But an active Scouter? You bet. And a fantastic speaker. He also, by the way, is a National level wheelchair tennis player. Very, very tough guy.


In addition to all the other things that can happen in sports, injuries can ruin everything in an instant.

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As Neil states in his last post, and I mentioned earlier, It can be gone with the blink of an eye.


Our present SM played in the Minor Leagues, He was even called up to the Majors for a few with the Indians. While in a Minor League game, he caught his ankle in a drain great going for a fly ball. Tore up the leg, career gone. Unfortunately, he still places more emphasize on sports.

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Some feel that other activities trump scouting but I feel that other activities are in a way part of scouting. We tell Scouts that they need to experience interaction with other adults. Don't they get the opportunity to do that when they are on a sports team or in the band. Don't we want Scouts to learn some level of proficiency in an area through merit badges. So if a Scout is involved in the band or sports shouldn't we encourage them to do so and point them toward the merit badge(s) that will be easily earned while taking part in that activity.


Our Troop's philosophy is that we are willing to flex around what is going on in the Scouts lives. In the fall we have many Scouts that are in the band and have to attend the Friday night games. We have others that just are really big football fans. We leave on Friday evenings for campouts for the few who could care less about football and are not in the band. We make arrangements for the others to come out Saturday morning by coordinating the parents to drive them.


When we have our planning session we build out campout weekends around the major sports and band events as well as distict, community and school events.


When a Scout comes to me and says he is playing football or baseball so I will not be here for the next several weeks. I tell them that it's great hear, physical fitness is 1/3 of what Scouting is about and being on sports team is great for that. Then I tell them thanks for letting me know, have a great time, I hope your team does well and see you in a few weeks. I also tell them to take a look at personal fitness, athletics and sports merit badges.


You know what some of them show up 20 or 30 minutes late to meetings during the season because that is as soon as they can make it to the meetings after practice. I never even mentioned coming. They want to be there and they know it is okay to be late. I always thank them for making the extra effort.


If the Scout is First Class, Star or Life I ask them if the would like a leadership project to do for the troop since having a POR will be difficult with their sports schedule.


We have had PL's join sports teams in the middle of their tenure. We don't remove them from their position. We have them do their jobs through their APLs and other members of their patrol. Being a patrol leader does not necessarily mean being present at every meeting and event. It means making sure your patrol is ready for the meeting or event. Delegating to the others you trust is a good leadership skill, is it not.


The aims of scouting include character development, citizenship training and personal fitness. How better to learn how to be a good citizen than participate in the community? How better to promote fitness than exercise four to five times a week. How better to develop character than to show a Scout how to work around a problem?


Other activities are not taking away from Scouting they are opportunities to meet the Aims of Scouting. I think it is a matter of perspective. Do other activity "trumps" scouting or does it helps do what we are trying to do?(This message has been edited by ASM 411)

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