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Is the Show worth the Price of Admission?

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It is often said that boys join (and stay in )Scouts because of the "program". If the Pack/Troop has a good "program", it will attract and keep boys.

The "program" is more often described as the outdoors, fun, exciting stuff. Yeah, Cubs get the toned down, less dangerous stuff, but there it is: hiking, camping, canoeing, learning to use sharp pointy things. You go places and do things and learn about things in Scouts that other kids don't have the opportunity to, at least that's the ideal I hear about.

So what do we ask them to "pay " for all this pazzazz? I don't mean the money. That's what the PARENTS pay, at least nowaday. I mean what do we ask the BOY to pay? What is the BOY expected to do or pay in exchange?

I see the boy being asked to make a promise, or maybe make a series of promises, and then we ask him to KEEP those promises thruout his life. We try to show him that these promises are good things to model a life after, to keep in front of one as an ideal.

As Scouters, if we are doing our (highly paid) job, the boy gets an example to follow, some practice at being a citizen in a small community, some practice in being a community leader, some practice in developing projects small and larger, some practice in cooperating with others in accomplishing those projects, and along the way gets some feedback or counseling in how to do it better the next time. He gets a chance to make mistakes and own up to being responsible for those mistakes. Along the way, he builds strength and stamina, does some mildly challeging stuff and has some fun with his buddies. Along the way, he might learn to overcome his fear of the untried and finds out that even if he gets dirty or bruised, he can get clean , pick himself up and be well again.

It is the making and keeping of those promises that I see as the price of admission to the show of Scouting. If the boy cannot see the value of his Scout unit's program as equalling or exceeding the effort to keep those promises, he will not stay.

Bad language, manipulative behavior, bullying, all argue against keeping those promises. Choosing the football team over Scouts may be in keeping with the promises, depending on the coach's vision, but ultimately the boy must see the promise as being sufficient price to pay for the program offered. The program will not keep him, if he cannot see the worth of keeping the promises.

If our efforts in role modeling, in encouraging participation, in reminding the Scout of the promises' meanings, in "being there" are not sufficient to his need, then no matter how fantastic a program there is, the Scout may not stay.

On the other hand, if the program is wonderfully challenging and fun, if the Scouts are given full participation and ownership of the program, the promises they make MAY begin to make sense to them and seem like a good thing to remember.


But first we REQUIRE that they memorize them. That is the price we require for admission to the program.

Is the show worth the price of admission?



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Our country's values are changing.



When reference in movies to Boy Scouting are mostly negative..."Oh don't be such a Boy Scout."


Boy Scout youth members are made fun of in school by their peers.


The organization is being attacked by more and more main stream organizations. The anti religion and homosexual agenda.


The disappearance of the middle class.


The rise of everyone gets a trophy sports leagues.


The rise of video games.


Scouting is a tough choice.


Expensive in all aspects, Physical, mental and financial. It is easy for a parent to go root for the soccer team for a couple of hours on a saturday morning vs driving the troop camping every month. Soccer lonely last for a couple of months, then it is on to baseball or football or??????... Scouting is cheaper than these sports.


I believe the price of admission is worth it......But are the values and beliefs we are teach in line with what is currently the social norm????

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If only we were more gay and less religious ....


Considering that the sodomites and godless want us to open the door to let them in, it must be worth something.

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"It is often said that boys join (and stay in) Scouts because of the "program"."


Hmmm...I'd say...


Some boys join because of the program.


Some boys join because of friends.


Most boys join because of parents.


Probably the same for the reasons they stay in.


My Scout is bored silly with Scouting ... Mom is having to guilt him into every meeting, every camp out, Summer Camp and Eagle project. Yep, she's pushing...nope...can't do a thing about it.



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That is because too many troops are adult run, too many troops offer little in the way of learning and experiencing outdoor skills first hand, too many troops have corrupted their program to a "classroom" experience making model rockets and robots and taking field trips to Microsoft stores. I have former boy scout teens in my Venturing crew who have told me they have NEVER had the opportunities for the kind of outdoor activities we do in their old troops, and some of them are Eagle Scouts. It is not the boys fault but rather the lackluster program that most troops offer them these days. Too many SM's would rather be sitting their fat butts on an easy chair at home drinking beer than giving their scouts an exciting and challenging program.


The program is BROKEN and only a handful of SM's seem to even give a dam* anymore. Part of it is Nationals fault for the totally inadequate training of troop leaders, and the radical shift in the focus of the program. Part of the fault lies with the troop adult leaders who do the minimum required of them and then are so amazed and angry when the boys in their troop follow their own example.(This message has been edited by BadenP)

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"Part of the fault lies with the troop adult leaders who do the minimum required of them and then are so amazed and angry when the boys in their troop follow their own example."


I don't know one SM who does the minimum required (whatever that is).

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In my district alone over half the troops are on their way to extinction. At the last RT many of those SM's were there, all of them were over 250 lbs some topping 300 and all they did was complain about all the work they had to do as a SM, and all the camping the boys wanted to do but they were holding down to a minimum the outings because "We aren't 21 anymore". IMO those guys are robbing their boys of the true scouting experience, and all of them should be replaced. At the last council board meeting the issue of diminishing troops councilwide was a topic of grave concern to the SE, I happened to mention my RT experience and the board voted to have the DE and DComm for each district do a study and some visits to each troop, especially those troops in trouble, in their districts then do an assessment of the quality of the program being offered. The SE and Council president both felt that if necessary they would personally meet with the IH and COR of each of these troubled troops and suggest some changes to improve their boy scout program.


Time will tell if this will really work. I sure hope so for those boys sake if nothing else. Some of my good friends in other councils have told me that this problem is very common in their councils as well, I sure hope that this is not becoming a trend nationally.

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Baden, would you agree, then, that the "price of admission" asked of the Scouts in those Troops was more than the value of the program offered?And they voted with their feet?



Another thing:


I recently availed myself of a discount offer I received in my email. Buy the coupon, receive a service at a substantial reduction in the usual price. This is obviously a means to introduce new folks to the business' service. Nice for everybody. Printed out the coupon, and wow, the fine print on the coupon didn't agree with the original offer. Added expenses...and therefore no real discount. Why bother, then?

So. I spent about 20 minutes contacting a human being and asking about this. I will be getting a refund.

Does THIS apply to our Scouts? Are they victims of an "expectation" NOT being MET? Should they read the (unwritten) fine print? "Camping and adventure so long as the overweight SM can manage it?"



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>It is not the boys fault but rather the lackluster program that most troops offer >them these days. Too many SM's would rather be sitting their fat butts on an easy >chair at home drinking beer than giving their scouts an exciting and challenging >program.



I thought the boys were supposed to be planning fun and exciting programs with the support of the SM / ASM's / Troop committee to help them (the boys) make it happen.


Perhaps the problem is expecting that a SM will be "giving their scouts an exciting and challenging program." Perhaps rather than expecting the SM to be doing all the giving, expectations need to be changed to expecting boys to plan an exciting and challenging program, with the support and encouragement of not only the SM, but also of every parent of every scout.


If an exciting and challenging program, week after week, month after month, every meeting, every campout, is laid on the shoulders of one individual, then I wouldn't blame him/her should he/she prefer to spend some time at home. With or without a beer.



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IMO, the problem is that in too many troops they just want a live body in the SM spot and in this day and age most people have little to no time to volunteer or will not even consider being a SM. The result is there are many less than stellar candidates in the position of SM and the boys are the ones who suffer, enduring poor quality programs, eagle mills, etc. In my own crew there are four 14 year old boys who left their troop and literally begged us to join our crew because they were doing little to no camping in the troop, and because the SM felt that twice a year was enough experience in the outdoors. These guys are finishing their Life ranks and working towards Eagle. At the same time are also working on their Venturing Ranger award. The last thing I want to see is the crew become an alternative boy scout troop, which it will not.


I had coffee with the COR of the troop these guys belonged to and he told me they just could not find any real quality candidates to be the SM, the guy they have now was the only one to volunteer. The CO is aware of their dropping numbers but are stuck for a solution short of shutting down the troop. I told him that would be tragic and the boys deserve better. Three of our crew adult leaders have agreed to be willing to temporarily volunteer some of their time to make sure the troop gets a better quality outdoor program as long as the CO starts making a much more concerted effort to find a SM replacement very soon. The COR thanked us very much.


My gripe is why does the council not do more to make sure these troubled troops have quality leaders giving quality programs and not wait until it reaches a crisis before taking any action like they are now, but IMO it is too little too late.

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I see your point, though I think that it would be the parents of the scouts that would step up and support year round camping rather than expecting that a SM will do all the work for them. A unit commissioner (or DE when a UC is not available) should be advising the committee and CO as needed, but it is still the parents of the scouts and the CO that need to provide the support needed for a year round program.

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While I do agree with you however the SM is still the rudder of the ship, the boys can plan the events, the parents can provide backup as needed and the committee give their support, but if the SM is too burnt out, out of shape, and too lazy to make sure the program stays on course and is delivered in a way that gives the boys the adventure they deserve then the boys will walk, which is happening here.



The tenure of these troubled SM's vary between 5 to 10 years. The love the "power and prestige" their position gives them but don't want to do anything and IMO could care less about the boys. They are not about to look for a replacement and don't want to share their "power". In the final analysis I am willing to bet in the end the SE and Council Pres. will recommend replacing these guys to the IH's & COR's.

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