Re: Eagle candidate losing scout spirit (motivating older Scouts)
Amick Robert (amick@SPOT.COLORADO.EDU)
Thu, 21 Aug 1997 18:15:51 -0600
I would like to suggest a possible alternative solution. Without knowing
the specific background on the situation, or the individual Scout's age,
interests, etc., this is only
a "shot in the dark" but may be a consideration for the entire troop.
Sometimes we lean toward negative reinforcement which almost never works
(remember the old cartoon about business management?..."the beatings won't
stop until morale improves around here..." *grin*).
I will therefore make an assumption that the Scout is older (14-18).
Older Scouts lose interest for a variety of reasons. Many of these are
external to the Troop such as school, sports, other interests (gasoline
and perfume), peer pressure, family, etc.
However, If we as leaders are not affording them opportunities to keep
their interest, we may be inappropriately finding fault with the Scout for
this situation. Certainly the Scout has an obligation to fufill
requirements of leadership and Scout Spirit, but development of Scout
Spirit is dependent on opportunities available to the Scout to stimulate
his interest, and provide him a venue in which to enjoy and grow with the
program. So it is important to critically examine the troop program and
analyze whether such needs are or can be met.
Unfortunately this tends to be a pervasive problem for older Scouts 14-18,
and unless the troop is providing complementary opportunities for older
Scouts (e.g., Venture Crew, Explorer Post, High Adventure, Jamboree, etc.)
they may be at higher risk for losing the older Scouts to competing
interests; and there are far more than there used to be, so Scouting
really has to "gear up" to make "an offer they can't refuse.."
It is ironic that in earlier years, this dilemma was recognized by forming
Senior Scout Patrols, Leadership Corps, and Explorer Crews, and providing
older Scouts to participate in challenging activities with other Scouts of
the same age group. More recently, it appears that this concept has
diminished, yet leaders sometimes expect older Scouts to remain
interested and involved exclusively in the same activities enjoyed by the
younger Scouts. The fact is the older guys have "been there, done that"
and need to move on to new territory.
As I have mentioned in earlier posts, the advantage of providing an
Explorer Post or Venture Crew adjunct for the older Scouts can pay off in
retaining the older Scouts and their experience and leadership for the
Thus, I would strongly encourage forming a venture crew,
or a high adventure/outdoor Explorer Post; or at least try to
get the Scout involved in an existing Post or crew even if with another
unit. If the Scout is involved in one of these programs, he may not be
forever lost to Scouting without obtaining
his Eagle; And, he will probably be around to help
the younger Scouts as a Troop Guide, JASM, or whatever
role he is interested in and needed for.
Many of us have seen remarkable changes in Scouts who participate in a
single high adventure activity such as Philmont, SeaBase, National or
World Jamborees, working on summer camp staff as a CIT, etc..
I often think of the mom who remarked of her son
upon his return from Philmont..."He looks the same, but he sure doesn't
act the same..." This particular Scout had to be cajoled into going to
Philmont, and was singularly unmotivated to finish his Eagle or to be
active in leadership...but all that changed upon his return, and wild
horses couldn't slow him down...So it does work.
Bob Amick, Explorer Advisor, High Adventure Explorer Post 72, Boulder, CO
Longs Peak Council Exploring Training Chair
On Thu, 21 Aug 1997, John Tudor wrote:
> At 09:19 AM 8/21/97 -0400, Donato, Bruce babbled:
> >I have a Life scout who has completed virtually all of his requirements
> >for eagle except his project. He has served actively for 6 months in a
> >leadership position (SPL) and did it well. After his term as SPL was up
> >he stopped being a regular at our meetings and when he does come he is
> >disruptive and has not made one meeting without being scolded.
> >I don't want to add any requirements to ANY scout and wanted your
> >opinion on whether or not scout spirit should be held over his head to
> >get him to straighten out?
> I would indeed hold the Scout spirit over his head. I would have a talk
> with him ASAP, and tell him that if his Scout Spirit does not improve, that
> he will not get it signed off on his eagle advancement.
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City