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The older scouts in our troop are getting bored with our troop meetings. These are really middle age scouts (age 13 and 14 with rank of Star). They feel on the fringe of the older scouts (15 and above) and know all the basis scout skills that are usually the crux of the meeting programs and are getting bored with doing knots and first aid again and again. The 15 and older scouts are in the senior leadership positions so the 13 and 14 year olds don't feel like there is room for them to be teachers to the younger scouts as we have plenty of 15 and older scouts who cover that need. The issue I am looking for help on at this point is what kind of programs are available for the older scouts who are not yet leaders but already know the basics? We are looking to cater to their needs in the short term while we address the long term changes that are needed as far as planning, etc.

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Welcome to the forum.


If they're bored with the basics, then for the skills portion of the meeting, go beyond the basics, do the advanced stuff. New scouts need the basics, and the older scouts can move beyond that. There's no reason everyone has to cover the exact same stuff. If you look in the troop program resources, skill instruction is usually broken up into different levels depending on the age/experience of the scouts.



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  • 2 months later...

My troop has a similar problem with a twist. The older boys "say" they already know all their basic scout skills, yet many cannot tie the most basic knots on request. They cannot teach younger scouts b/c they can't do it themselves. We have a new SM and it appears that the former SM allowed them to be signed off for "trying" the new skills instead of actually learning them. That said, these boys don't want to interact with the younger ones (probably b/c they can't actually DO the tasks assigned), they don't work on anything else, and basically they arrive, go to a corner and visit. That's pretty much all there is to it. They, then, fuss about being bored and not having anything for THEM. We've tried to talk with them about what they want to do, and they say they want to do X and Y. We have them plan it, but they either never finish it or they don't show up to the activity and it's done with the younger boys only. We have no middle of the road age boys, so it's older boys and younger boys only. We have a wonderful troop guide who works hard with the younger ones, comes, participates, and then is disrespected by the older peers for "being a kid" at meetings. It's a mess that I'm starting to feel was started long before the current SM came on the scene. My thought is that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him plan an event or attend an event. Thoughts to help this out????




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Some suggestions to try if you haven't already:


Have the PLC run a skills based competition during the inter-patrol competition portion of each meeting. Younger scouts will take pride in beating older scouts that never learned the skills well, and losing to younger scouts can motivate the older ones to practice again. (from your post, I am reading between the lines that your patrols are divided mainly on age).


Ask the oldest level scouts to plan some major activity for the next campout, thereby creating an opportunity for the mid age scouts to teach the younger (question - do you have teaching assigned to scouts with the position of Instructor?) For instance, have oldest scouts plan a disaster scenario such as a car running into a group of pedestrians, which they will set up and run at the next campout. The remainder of the troop spends those same troop meetings learning and practicing first aid skills. Older scouts can be learning about moulage, making fake blood, learning how to make skin appear burnt, etc.


Agree with SWScouter on differing levels of instruction.


OGE & jr56 are correct in having the scouts be responsible for their own plan and list of things they want to do. I would add the comment that if they have become complacent to the point that they come to meetings and sit in the corner and kibbitz, you may have a difficult time getting them to come up with any other ideas that gets them out of that habit. You may need to through down the gauntlet of a challenge: "I heard that Troop X scouts went on a 100 mile bike ride. If you can do exceed that by June, the troop committee will have everyone over for homemade pizza" or something similar.

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My SPL is 14. He runs the troop and is PL of the honor's patrol. All members of the honor's patrol hold Pos of Resp including instructor and guide. The older boys are all working on their Eagle projects and advising the 14-16 year olds.


If your oldest boys don't know their stuff, Star ranked 14 year olds who do know their stuff, take over in the leadership positions. Boys are in those positions because they can or are willing to do them, not because they are older than the next guy. Age is not relevant in our Troop. I have a Tenderfoot Patrol Leader with Star/Life ranked boys in his patrol.

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Hold them more responsible for providing themselves with a more challnging program at the same time keeping the younger scouts up to speed on skills and leadership assessment.

Then throttle back the adults who are siphoning off the "spirit of scouting"

Its the adult gumming that kills off thge older scout every time.


observatiuons over the years, may vary from troop to troop but not much





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