Seascout-Net Mail Archive for May of 1999: Re: Attendance
Wed, 19 May 1999 15:05:04 EDT
A few thoughts-
1. Sunday is a tough meeting date since you are in competition with
everything in the world, part-time jobs, family engagements, driving school,
SAT courses, social events, and dates, too. We meet on a weekday night (for
a short sail in the summer and meetings ashore in the winter) and sail once a
weekend in the summer on alternating for the most part either Saturday or
Sunday. Attendance is always less at the weekend sails -- except if they are
overnights -- because of jobs and the rest. Meetings after working hours --
remember teenage jobs tend to be weekend jobs -- work better. Conflicts with
jobs rob you of your older youth leaders. Older youth leaders are worth
their weight in gold as leaders and great maintainers of attendance (they
have charisma). I try to find my kids jobs and subtlely hint that payback is
staying with the program that helped them.
2. Second, even if we could sail at every meeting I still wouldn't. Your
Sea Scouts need variety and the sense that if they miss a meeting they might
have missed something important. If every meeting entails the same thing
(small boat sailing) so what if you missed it? You'll do the same next week.
As an adult we can focus on a task like tending sails for days on end. Most
teenagers can't. As I recall your unit does not have advancement, so what
is the loss (they think) if their attendance is erratic. We have a Ship in
this squadron that does the exact same thing with the same
results...lackluster attendance. Have a first aid class, have a guest
instructor or lecturer, go on a big boat, visit a merchant ship, visit a
fishing boats, participate in a race. Give them something with bragging
rights. They are simply looking for experiences, happenings. Everyone goes
daysailing on Sunday afternoon...even civilians.
3. Third and finally you took input from your Sea Scouts and they let you
down. Now they have bad habits to boot. They have lost their big chance.
You set the time you think best and fashion the program to the people you'd
like to recruit with good attendance... and they will come.
Our meeting attendance is about 90% for 16 Sea Scouts of which 5 are
girls...I have 3 additional who have stated they wish to sign on next month
(as a Beowulf scholar I wonder if I may be inviting bad luck with hubris?)
Now all my opinions could change next month or the month after or after the
next wind shift. And there are others who have been at this longer than I.
Sea Scout Ship 101 Viking
"We sail to the ends of the earth."
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