Steve Tobin (srtobin@MMM.COM)
Wed, 17 Nov 1993 11:27:50 -0600
I am new to this list, and am struck by the concern over issues that
have been troubling me, my troop leaders, and other leaders in my
district. The most disturbing is the trend to establish policies and
programs based on the numbers game, and not on the basis of what is
best for the scouts.
Prime example is the "1st Class in the first year" emphasis. I did this
the first 2 years I was scoutmaster, and was very unhappy with the results.
Even though the requirements have been reduced for the various ranks, it
was a real push to do it. The result was a very poor mastery of the
outdoor skills (retention), and a limited appreciation for the ideals of
scouting supposedly instilled during the process of attaining 1st Class.
And after it was all over, there was still a 50% + drop-out rate. After
several years of observation, and discussion with other troops, the
primary factor controlling retention (assuming a resonably decent program)
is parental support. The troop can jump through hoops for these boys, but
if there is no support from home to stay with it, getting to meetings and
other activities, the boy is going to drop out. A small percentage
of drops is due to conficts with other activities and the decision to
go with them (again, due to parental emphasis usually), but the vast
majority is just a slow withering of involvment.
I also see an increasing investment in Cub Scouting, both in dollars
and support. This is again, I think, due to the fact that this is where
the big numbers are. Lots of boys sign up for Cub Scouts, have a great
time, and then wonder why there are no comparable facilites for
Boy Scouts; i.e. swimming pools, dining halls, bunk houses, etc. Both
area councils are building million dollar cub facilities, while my
local council is investing nothing in the Boy Scout camps. Exploring
is virtually non-existant.
There is more, but this is too long already. Am I out of touch, or have
others noted these trends.
Steve Tobin, SM Eagle class of '65
Troop 39, Cannon Falls, MN
Cannon River District, Gamehaven Council
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City