Re: Tigers & Retention (a little long)
Michael Smith (msmith@EMST-DC.PLANSYS.COM)
Tue, 31 Oct 1995 10:02:46 EST
I am the CC for a pack of about 80 boys. We currently have 30 tigers and
virtually no problem with boys leaving the pack. A nearby pack, however, had
serious problems with kids leaving after a couple years. Since both packs
are from the same area, we talked and compared each program to see if we
could determine the differences that might lead to scout retention. What we
found was this:
Both packs included tigers in most pack activities. Both packs were very
active with Cub Scout Day Camp and Webelos Summer Camp. However, the big
difference we found was that the other pack, at the pack level, pretty much
did the same thing year after year. Our pack, however, varied activities. We
only hold the Pinewood Derby once every three years. We alternate between
Pinewood, Rocket Derby and Raingutter. We started this because we found that
the boys were starting to get bored with making Pinewood cars after the first
year or too. Since we never sent anyone to the District Pinewood event
anyway, cycling the various activities only increased our scout's interest.
For functions like Blue & Gold, our committee works very hard to find
interesting (and very different) "entertainment" each year. The other pack
basically ran a Pot Luck dinner every year.
After this pow-wow session, the other pack started to make a big effort to
start to vary their the content of their "standard" events and to provide
other varied pack activities. This was two years ago, and now the other pack
has no problem with scouts dropping out.
While this is not a scientific study by any means, I think that when there is
a problem with scout retention, you really have to look at the program
itself, not how long a scout has been participating in the pack. You can see
from previous postings that there are packs that majorly include tigers and
have no retention problem, and packs that don't include tigers at all and
have a big problem. If you give the scouts something new each year, it
doesn't matter at what point they entered (IMHO). If you give them the same
thing each year, then including them as tigers just gets them bored with the
process 1 year earlier.
Committee Chairman, Pack 160, Herndon, VA.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City