Older Scout Retention

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Older Scout Retention

Postby scoutersteve » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:16 pm

I'm working on an Older Scout Retention Framework (It's a Wood Badge ticket) that can be used by any Boy Scout, Venturing or Varsity unit to help keep older Scouts engaged and active. I'm wondering what suggestions you have to keep older Scouts from leaving the unit.

There are many reasons older boys (and girls) leave. Please take the time to list a couple of the more common ones you have heard and what you did, attempted to do or wish you had done to try and keep them engaged.

Steve
Troop 100 Garland, TX
Wood Badge 107
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Re: Older Scout Retention

Postby Bill Pitcher » Wed Dec 31, 2014 2:33 pm

Try older scout only adventures. We have taken them ice climbing in the Hudson Valley's Catskill Mtns. of NY, white water rafting, the car races at Watkins Glen, hiking on parts of the Appalachian Trail and leadership corps only canoe trip in the Adirondack Mtns. near Lake Placid. We also do a Historical Trail hike every year for the troop, but the older boys select the location and of course plan it! Hope this helps.
Eagle '63, ASM, Council Advancement Comm.(Eagle advisor),OA VIGIL member,NESA, council training staff,
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Re: Older Scout Retention

Postby jr56 » Tue Jan 27, 2015 4:27 pm

Try forming a Venture Crew. The older boys in the troop can belong to both units, girls can also belong (sisters of older scouts in the troop usually jump at the chance). There are lots of programs that Venturing opens up that are not available to boy scout troop members.
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Re: Older Scout Retention

Postby BartHumphries » Fri Mar 20, 2015 8:06 pm

People will generally go towards whatever activity best satisfies their personal needs/desires. For kids between 13/14 and 17/18, there's a lot of stuff competing for their time and attention. Personal relationships, school (regular and "additional" activities like sports or more classes), work, family, just plain goofing off, there's a lot of stuff going on.

Give kids the ability to plan out their own fun activities (as they define it) and they'll choose Scouting. That doesn't mean toss them a notepad and tell them to plan everything. Sometimes they need help, sometimes they need training. Think of how planning meetings can be improved and go from there. Most of a planning meeting can likely be done via various forms of social media. Sitting around a table while one person talks and occasionally a few people brainstorm while most people remain silent? That's a recipe for boredom and disconnection. Chat about activities via Facebook messenger, texts, Google Drive for documents, that'll get people's attention. Then how to plan an activity? What do they need? Maybe some leading questions need to be asked like, "What are you going to eat?" if they've never planned something like that out, then perhaps they need some sample menus to choose from. Perhaps they need to be pointed at additional resources.
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Re: Older Scout Retention

Postby Fred Johnson » Tue Jul 07, 2015 7:51 pm

This is an extremely relevant topic for us. We started helping the scouts have one together unstructured evening a month. It has been a huge success. Movies. Games. Laptops. As long as they are polite and friendly to all.

Success is simply defined as keeping their bonds of friendship strong. Those strong friendships keep the troop strong.
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