scouts-l Mail Archive for March of 2000: The appropriate age
Mon Mar 13 2000 - 11:10:20 CST
I'm sorry, I wasn't paying close enough attention and someone posted this:
> I am constantly amazed at how eager (some) folks can be to push boys
>into each level early. After all, BSA has done the homework
I am even MORE amazed at the people who want to hold on to the youth. Webelos
is designed to last 18 months. I remember because the first stage of the
change to the Webelos program had us moving from Lion after six months to
Webelos for six months, then they later dropped Lion and added the first
"year" of Webelos (OK, abridged Cubbing History).
Why do people want to hold the boys LONGER just for a few pins that very few
of them will care about in a few months and even fewer will keep to
adulthood? Or to use them to show off their Arrow of Lights (hey, a month or
two of showing them with the highest award is enough, then *also show they
move on to the next program*).
Lest Cubbing think this is all for them, Boy Scouting is the same. If you
look at ALL the BS material it is written for kids ages 11-14. We may GIVE
them until 18 to finish Eagle, but they shouldn't all be requiring all that
time. And units that are PROUD of the kids hanging sround to 18 shows one of
either two things:
*They have an older youth program that probably should really be turned into
another unit in Venturing or a Varsity Team and do their council and district
*They are doing nothing to help the kids experience all Scouting has to offer
and try to keep them from moving on.
Isn't it interesting that we started Exploring - and now Venturing - right at
the age they are beyond the writing level of the publications?
I've heard a lot:
"Venturing will steal all of my troop leaders" -- I have news for you, the
littler kids can do it too. They may have a few more struggles for you to
help them with, but they'll do just as good a job.
"Venturing will steal all of my youth" -- If all you have are older youth
you're in trouble already. Besides which, every Troop that started a Crew in
my area was back at full strength by next recharter as long as they made a
big deal out of the other kids stepping up and taking over and everything
didn't just roll up and die when the older youth left.
"They shouldn't move on until they're Eagle" -- I'll admit it, I got tied up
into OA and officer positions and didn't finish by 14. Could have, just
didn't. Took a Marine OA Lodge Advisor to force me to do it, and I DO NOT use
the word force without a good reason.
But at the same time I was still finishing Eagle I was with a Troop as a
JASM, a Post with a Civil Defense group, a youth Rifle Team run by the Police
Department, Chapter Secretary then Lodge Secretary then Lodge Chief, Band and
Jazz Band, Wrestling, Weightlifting when I dumped Wrestling, and working at
the summer camp on staff.
And helped some girls start the first Ship in the council, taking part of one
of the summers I wasn't at camp to help rebuild an engine and put on a new
coat of paint and advise them of the best way to recruit guys.
And we say the kids are busy now. I would say they do about the same amount
of stuff, maybe a little more homework than I did (or maybe I just did more
My apologies, I'm babbling too much. The point is to make this a nice, even
flow, from Tigers to Cubs to Webelos to Scouts to Venturing/Varsity,
everything from age 7 to 21 in one nice, even flow. You push a kid ahead and
you're creating tension, you hold a kid back, you're causing the crack that
eventually makes him break away because he's behind everyont else.
At the Webelos to Boy Scout switch the length of time as a second year
Webelos is IDEALLY six months. And that counts summers, just because YOUR
unit doesn't do anything doesn't mean those months don't occur and add up as
tenure. If you want to keep the AOL's around a little you are looking at AOL
by Christmas and Crossover by February. For all of them who meet the
requirements. That gives the youth at least 6 months to learn to camp and
schedule a trip to summer camp for a week, and be ready for it.
And going to that first summer camp and breaking away is the thing that a
youth needs to develop. Kids who do that have a higher liklihood of
continuing in the program, whether they make Eagle or not.
AND CONTINUING IN THE PROGRAM, at the age-appropriate level, is the goal.