Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
ps56k

how to handle older scouts

Recommended Posts

I'm sure everyone has this problem....

What to do with the older (14+) scouts.

Very few want to act as SPL, guides, or mentors to the younger scouts - it's too much work and they would rather just hang out. They don't attend Troop meetings, rarely go on campouts, and if they do - they don't help. They may go to summer camp to get some MB's, but that's it.

So - the previous Troop staff created a Venture Patrol to go off and do "exciting things"... but that was not enough, so they created a Crew... and now there are maybe 25 listed scouts in the Crew and maybe 3 show up to the monthly Crew meetings. They plan trips, rafting, skiing, sporting events trips, etc - but mostly get cancelled - so I guess the "exciting stuff" wasn't really the answer.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Your troop and charter organization dug the well to hold the water before they checked to see if a spring existed to fill it. Just starting a unit does not create its success. The need has to exist first and these scouts didn't need a new name they needed a program that interested them. Taking a bunch of bored scouts and putting them in their own room just gives you a room full of bored scouts.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Much as I hate to be a kill joy. No not everyone has that problem.

My son is 16, loves being the SPL. He only ever misses a Troop meeting when there is something going on at school or for school.

While all Scouts promise to help other people at all times, if when they attend a troop meeting all that is expected of them or from them is to work with the younger Scouts- Is it a wonder that they want to stay away.

Scouting is supposed to offer fun and adventure.

Collecting the older Lads and calling them a Venture Patrol is not what being a member of a Venture Patrol is about. Allowing them to meet as a Patrol and having their Patrol leader present their ideas to the PLC and then having an adult follow through supporting them and their ideas will go a long way to keeping these older Lads active in the troop.

These older Scouts do have a lot more things going on than the younger Scouts. Planning needs to done well in advance, communication needs to be open and very clear. At this age you are dealing with the boy not his parents, sure they are still around but the boy is now deciding what he wants to do or not do.

The big thing that most adults have got to learn to do with this age group is listen and listen and listen some more. They really hate to be preached at. They are very trustworthy and expect the same from everyone.

They will help the younger Scouts out from time to time. But the main complaint that I hear from older Scouts is that they want to do things away from the younger Scouts.

From the tone of your posting it would seem that you have a very big down on these Lads. Maybe if you lighten up a little and try thinking about Fun and Adventure dealing with them will be a lot easier for you and better for them.

Eamonn.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tnx for the long reply.... it is a tough situation that has been evolving for several years, and we came into it in the middle. There is no "template" for us to follow, as these The Troop has drifted as a group for the last 6 years or so since the last quality SM. Each SM takes the role for about 2 yrs. So, we are on our 3rd SM who has been trying to turn things around. I can see the "progression" from a Scouting patrol, to a Venture patrol, to a Venture Crew - but obviously, that did not satisfy the "hunger" they were looking for...

They have gone river rafting, up to BWC canoeing, on an inland sailboat, skiing, baseball games, basketball games, etc. But none want to be a leader in the troop, as that requires more time for PLC meetings, and not having fun on campouts. Out of the 25 or so dual registered in the Troop & Crew, maybe 25% attend... So, that is 25% attendance in the Crew activities, and maybe 10% attendance in various Troop activities. Now the 14yr old scouts don't see their older role models around, so they will tend to follow in their footsteps... and this is the chain of events we are trying to break. Otherwise, you don't really have an ongoing Troop, but rather a group of Webelos 3rd & 4th yr scouts.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

While 99.9% of the time I agree with the stuff that comes from National. I do think that allowing Scouts to also be members of a Crew is not such a good idea. Both Venturing and Boy Scouting are good programs.However to date no one has been able to put forward a good enough argument that will convince me that allowing this multiple registration serves any good.

Reading your original posting I have to admit that when you said older Scouts (14+) I was surprised that had 14 year olds in the older Scout category. Most people who say that they are having problems with older Scouts say it is with the 16+ Scouts.

I think that I can understand how a group that has had frequent changes of leadership will feel let down and fall into bad habits. The job of sorting this mess out can be a real chore. Still someone must have done something right in order to keep the membership as strong as it is.

It does sound to me that the Troop and the Crew are working too closely. I see the relationship between a Troop and a Crew as being much the same as the relationship as that a Pack has with a Troop.The pack offers their program, with its' own leadership and it has its own committee.While there may be the odd occasion when the pack invites the troop to participate in a cub event or help with a Webelos Scout outing. It for the most part does it's own thing, while the troop does its own thing.

I would hope that once a year the SM and the PLC would meet to plan the annual program. They would do this for the troop. They need to make this plan for the Scouts that are in the troop, recognizing that the troop has boys of all age groups. The Troop is an independent unit. Just as the pack does not take the troop program into account when they make their annual plan.

The troop should not take what the Crew is doing when they make the annual plan.

The same should hold true for the Crew.

The Crew holds its election of officers and they plan what they are going to do. Regardless of what the troop is doing.

If you are a leader in the troop, that is where you work - With the troop.

There are Leaders that wear both a Troop hat and a Crew hat, just as there are Boy Scout Leaders who are in the pack. They need to remember that Venturing and the Troop are two different programs and not allow the two to become some tie-dye mix of both.

If I were the Scoutmaster, I would of course wish the local Crew or the Crew that had the same chartered partner as the troop all the best will in the world. I would had them to my list of resources. Sure if they had some sort of expertize in some area I would want the boys in the Troop to participate in this if the PLC said that there was an interest. If I was the Crew Adviser,I would welcome the idea of helping the troop and use this opportunity to show off how great the Crew is. If the Officers in the Crew gave it the green light.

As you in your posting mentioned Scouts, I think that you are with the Troop. You don't list what your position is?

If you are the SM. I think if you have not already done so you need to meet with the PLC.Tell them that the next meeting will be the Annual Planning Meeting. Ask them to go back to their Patrols and brain storm. The Patrols are to work on "Making Troop 123 the best show in town. Explain how a brain storming meeting works. You need to get hold of all the School Calenders, District and Council Calenders, dates of community events anything that might lead to a conflict in the plan that you are going to make. You might ask the Patrol Leaders to check and see if there are any other dates that are not on the calendars. Arm yourself with as much information about all the places you think that they might to go. Meet with the SPL, explain to him that he is in charge of the meeting. You will be there for support and will help if asked.

Let the PLC make the plan. They should examine all the ideas that came from the Patrols. Your job is to try and do as little as possible.

This can be really hard.

The other week a friend of mine in the UK said that he was looking for a Crew that might be interested in forming an exchange type program. They would be willing to put up a crew from the USA and then the group from the UK would come over here. I thought that this was a great idea I had a crew all picked out and spoke to the Crew Adviser. He agreed it was a great idea and said that he would ask his officers. There I was like a bull in a china shop and there he was doing this the way that they should be done.

You say about the troop camping at the same old place. You may well be right, but did they choose to go to this new site? If they didn't can you really be disappointed when they didn't buy into going there.

Eamonn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

14+ & Co-ed. Sea Scouts. Sailboats. Shooting Sports, Skiing, SCUBA, Boating Safety. Small Boat Handler. Qualified Seaman. Apprentice, Ordinary, Able, Quartermaster. Quarterdeck Training. SEAL Training.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My son's troop has the same problem. They have a huge group of 15- 17-year-old Life scouts, the den of new boy who crossed over this year and only a few in between.

 

Of the older boys who come to meetings, most just hang out and do nothing. I'm responsible for the FYFC program and have asked them to help teach the younger boys but with poor results. No planning, no preparation, but they'll sit and talk about first aid or what ever subject off the top of their head. Makes for a really bad program for the younger boys.

 

Our guys seem to have plenty of ideas, they just don't want to work at anything. Our three big trips for the fall were rock climbing, hiking a section of the AT and deepsea fishing. The SM is into rock climbing and did a good job teaching the basics over a span of three weekly meetings. But when it came time for the trip, only four boys attended, three of my new Scouts and one of the middle boys.

 

The back packing trip promises more of the same. The PLC insists they want this to be a really challenging trip, and are limiting it to First Class and up. So far, I think only four guys are signed up to go -- the four who are into backpacking and have hiked the section before. But there is no planning or preparation going on.

 

The fishing trip is also floundering (sorry). One mom called for info on chartering a fishing boat and found out the cost. That put a damper on that trip as no one was interested in paying the fee or organizing any kind of fundraiser to cover it. There was some talk of going to the Outer Banks and going surf fishing, but when it really comes down to it, I think what the boys really have in mind is just going to the beach and hanging out down there. In all three cases, they're just hanging around waiting for someone to spoon-feed something "fun" to them. If it requires much more effort on their part than operating a TV remote, they're not really that interested.

 

IMHO this relates to A)the level of leadership training the boys have had and B) the fact that a couple of them are just lazy and tend to spoil things for the rest. There are a couple of good leaders in the troop who do a good job of leading those who are willing to be led. To work off BW's analogy, if putting all the bored boys in one room meant that the remaining one were interested and engaged, that may not be a bad trade off.

 

Attaining Eagle is apparently something one does as a lone quest, away from the troop and other Scouts. I've been in the troop for nearly a year and am constantly surprised at the number of unfamiliar boys with wispy facial hair who show up at their first troop meeting in a year for help with their Eagle application or project. Perhaps things have changed in 30 years, but back in the day participated in troop activities while working on our Eagle.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Older scouts do not need to be handled. They need to be understood and served a program appropriate to their interests and abilities.

 

The answer is program. If they have not been given a program that meets their needs it will be difficult to convince them they will suddenly get one now. Use the older scouts that do come to develop an active program that they enjoy. That will help to lure the others back.

 

"Do not expect scouts to come to any meeting or outing if you are not the BEST show in town."

William (Green Bar Bill) Hillcourt

 

 

BW(This message has been edited by Bob White)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

If helping the younger Scout reach First Class is the best program that we can come up with for the older Scouts? - Reruns of Fear Factor seems to take on new meaning.

I feel sure that we can do better.

Eamonn

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I don't disagree with you, E. But since my primary responsibility is as the Cubmaster to a pack with well over 100 boys and since working with the FYFC guys is as much of a commitment to the troop as I'm willing to make, I'm not in a position to do a whole lot about it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

tnx for the discussion....

BTW -

(1) Is there a way to reply with quoting a previous msg text ? (other than manual cut/paste)

(2) Is there a way to reply to a previous msg, or are all the posts just added/appended at the end, which makes it hard to read & reply to specific intervening posts ?

 

To the comment about 14yr old vs your 16yr old group. It basically comes from the previous lure of the Crew.... come join us for more fun and frolic, with none of that lame Scouting stuff -

So - once they hit 14, they jumped over to the Crew and are never seen again at a Troop meeting.

They may chase a MB at summer camp, or when offered as a group at a Troop meeting or a District MB Clinic, but that's about it.

Also - the Crew has no Committe or any other real supporting structure. I believe it was established to go on certain "official" trips that were not sanctioned by the Venture Patrol guidelines. So, they are "dual registered" and we see a Crew member every so often for Scouting advancement BOR... having never seen them for several years.

 

That's the situation - they reach First Class, and then 14, and maybe H.S. at the same time, and then they are Scouting ghosts...

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Whats the Crew program like? For any of the requirements for any of the Bronze Awards that I know of an educational presentation of the material is required and the troop would be the perfect spot for that.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
Sign in to follow this  

×