March Roundtable Minutes – How to Keep Older Scouts Interested

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Once again we need to thank Kip Webster for providing these minutes. The March 2012 Towpath District Boy Scout Roundtable focused on older boy retention. It was a lively discussion. We need to thank Greg Wolber from Troop for putting together his thoughts for tonight’s program. Greg is one of a handful of “one-and-done” Roundtable staff members who have agreed to assemble one program during our Roundtable year. Before we get to the evenings exciting topic, we had these announcements:

  • Upcoming Woodbadge two spots available.  See application info on Council website. [editor’s note: the session is now compiling a wait list]
  • Feedback desired for MBU.   It was very successful.  Nearly 450 scouts showed up.  Feedback goes to Rob Hill at Next year we’re hoping to start registration earlier to support prerequisites.  There was a discussion on how to handle prerequisites.  The goal is to complete more MBs than merely starting MBs (or perhaps to work on MBs?).  Please provide your feedback.  Scout from New Jersey came to achieve his 102nd MB!
  • Bullying – issue with which weekend in April.  Should incorporate Boy Scout Program on bullying.  Don’t want a different message.  Cyber bulling is a first or second class requirement and we should focus on these requirements.  This is currently done in schools. There were a number of questions.  Held where?  Should use facilities at RIT, something with gaming?  Game night?
  • Minutes will be sent by Chris Carosa.  They might be on his blog.  [ed. Note: here they are!]
  • Tyler Breen was recognized in Boy’s Life (page 44) for the life-saving award.  A Pack 273 scout was recognized for a joke.
  • There were problems with charters for the following units: T209, T341, and T469.  See Dave Cheney.
  • Red Deer days at Cutler.  See dates on the calendar.  A good workday, good food, and good fellowship.
  • Pinewood Derby – March 24 at Eastview.
  • Scouting for Food – three bags.  This time including food, clothing, and electronics.

Main Topic: How to keep older scouts involved in Scouting?

  • Retain older scouts – clarify your intent… We we mean generally in Scouts or specifically in your Troop?
  • Venturing – Venture Crew vs. Venture Patrol. Venture Crew can include both boys and girls.  The theme for the crew is high adventure (including wilderness first aid).  Kids can remain involved through age 21.  The VC needs a sponsor (like a Troop).  Kids find out through the Troop, but have to be careful about removing needed leaders (older scouts) in the Boy Scout Troop.  If you have First Class rank, a scout can still pursue their Eagle rank.  You can also pursue Ranger rank too (a VC rank, quite prestigious to have both Eagle and Ranger).  Another Troop set up a Venture Patrol.  These boys became instructors for the Troop.  VCs are youth-run (higher expectation than youth-led).  There are five major focuses within VC, but are not limited to those areas (could be theatre, robotics, …).  Venture Patrol is part of Troop structure, limited to what Boy Scouts can do.  Be careful not to set up a separate patrol for these older scouts.  They can separate themselves and not help the Troop.  Better to have a part-time patrol, leaving the scouts in their ‘home’ patrol in the Troop.  Venture Crews are co-ed for those aged 14 – 21. Crews can do things that Boy Scouts can’t do. Achievement exists in Crews – learn it, teach it – its recognized as advancement. Crewmembers can teach back at the Troop.
  • Older / younger interaction happens.
  • Gives a goal for more exciting activities.
  • Could have Junior Assistant Scoutmaster – Eagle and mature scout.
  • Scouting is a game with a purpose.  Adults think about purpose, boys think about what is the game.  Scouting has to be fun for 17 ½ year old scouts.  We often lose scouts because it is no longer fun.
  • 17-Year-old scouts get positive feedback for worthwhile contributions = they stay.
  • Some modules / campouts are done every year.  The kids get bored with this due to repetition.  We should be planning something else for theses scouts that have seen / mastered repetitive modules.
  • Coming up with new activities / campouts keeps scouts interested.  Dentistry MB?  Animal husbandry?
  • Trophy Camporee leadership for older scouts.  Every adult and scout knows that the yellow hat is respected.
  • Punkin’ chunkin’.  First year was fun.  Second year – older scouts gather the pumpkins, 64 pumpkins were lots of fun to gather and nearly broke their truck!  Much fun and now there are other scouts that want to do it next year.
  • Winter camping – quinzhees, igloos – respect for the scouts that stay outside over night.
  • COPE campout.  Asked two older scouts to set up zip line and test it thoroughly.  Much fun!  Supervised by ASM.  Scouts felt trusted and they provided service.
  • Four-hour hike.  Younger boys will not be capable.  They carried lunch and water bottle.  Asked older boys (not full backpacking).  The adults will be doing full backpacking, you older boys can join us.  The older scouts cooked a hot meal, while the younger scouts had sandwiches.  Younger scouts though the older scouts were cool!
  • Book move at Rundell Library.  Across the street, using tunnel in basement.  Books are up on third floor (restricted area).  Must have a pass to enter these areas.  Oldest boys get the passes (exciting!).  moving books is ok, being respected for having a pass is great!
  • Challenge Trophy Camporee – has an area for VC.  Over 100 scouts in this area last year.  Staff subcamp can be a great place for older youth.
  • Pre-camp or post-camp for older youth. A bonus trip!
  • Order of the Arrow (OA) can be a great place for older youth.  Great training and fellowship.  NOAC was tremendous experience.  OA chapter meeting happened tonight.  Three reps showed up.  First weekend in June is Section Conclave at Babcock – Hovey.  OA members can have fellowship and provide service.  See the calendar for upcoming events.  See Kent Palmer for OA info.
  • Staffing a summer camp can be a great experience.  Philmont needs staff too.

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