Scouts-L Mail Archive for September of 1999: Re: Losing Scouts
Re: Losing Scouts
Wed, 8 Sep 1999 09:29:00 -0500
Alan, I can sympathize with your plight and Cooper summed it up very
well as to why some Scouts leave and some don't.
About all we can do is as Cooper states, "If you build it, they will
come", but as we sometimes find out, they don't stay. The dropout rate in
our District (Tomahawk in the Circle 10 Council).
I have seen boys drop out because the say, "It's boring!", or "I'm
doing Sports", which we do work with as I have two sons in Scouts AND HS
football and Little League Baseball, so it can be done.
The former bothers me in particular as our PLC has consistently come
up with some great campouts (overnighter on a retired carrier, caving trips,
climbing trips, AFB and Army Base trips, waterpark trips, Summer Camps in
Colorado and the Ozarks) as well as Troop meetings that strike a balance
between adavancement/training and games. Our Scouts run the meetings and us
adults don't talk until the announcement section towards the end of the
meeting. I tell these Scouts that, "Sorry, but Scouts is not like a 'Star
Wars' movie or a video game. We are here to help you learn and to grow.
We're not here to entertain."
I'm like you, I'm not sure what more we can do.
Especially upsetting to me was when my wife's Webelos crossed over
this past March. She had a GREAT Den with a lot of parental support and
participation. But once they crossed over, POOF, it has pretty much
disappeared. Now the four (out of 9) that dropped out were used to having
their parents do much of the work for them on campouts, despite my wife's
imploring to let the boys do it and learn. So now, no "Mom 'n' Dad" doing
everything for me, no Scouts. The four that have remained have eagerly taken
up the reins and love cooking and planning for campouts and are well on
their way to earning the BP Award. The other wanted to do Sports primarily,
which is OK. Parental support of the Program is essential to keeping them
involved, but they need to back off and let the Scouts grow. Some parents
and kids can handle it, some can't.
We are only a year and a half old and I've been the SM the whole
time. But, like you, I would like to keep 100% of them, get all of them to
each meeting, campout, and to Eagle, but I know this isn't realistic or
possible. I'm getting slowly better about accepting this fact. You can't put
a gun to their heads, but you just have to present the best Program you can
to the ones that are interested and the ones that are will attend and work
to advance. The others, oh well!
Thanks for letting me ramble and lean on y'all's shoulder.
SM - Troop 67
Associate Advisor - Venture 167
At 11:07 PM 9/7/99 -0500, you wrote:
>This is the second summer for our new troop, this summer and last summer we
>"lost" some scouts over the summer, they failed to attend meetings, did not
>go to camp and in the fall dropped out of the troop. Tonight, I had a
>patrol leader show up on football regalia (he never had a scout uniform)
>and handed me his Junior Leadership Book and Patrol Notebook saying that he
>was to busy and involved in sports, 4H and other activites and maybe he
>could come back next year. I have also lost 1 boy that has moved, another
>that has spent the summer away with his dad and is no longer interested and
>two others that are finding other things to do in school. I registered the
>troop in march with 15 boys and am now down to 8 "active" and 2
>"part-timers". I find this very discouraging and would like to know if
>this is a somewhat normal flucuation or cycle or do I have a problem.
>Scouting has taken a couple bad raps in this community in the past seveeral
>years because of troops starting up and fizzling out. I made a personal
>committment to do this for an extended period of time, with my personal
>goal of not letting it die a quick death.
>Perhaps I am getting burned out...