Recently I was asked by my District to fill out an autumn Census for the county. It was just to see how we are doing with numbers, both gaining and loosing young people in our group.
We haven’t been struggling with numbers, infact we had a pretty healthy number in our Scout Troop at the beginning of the year. Fast forward 10 months and we have just seen nearly a quater of the troop leave. But why? Was it the programme we have been running? Was is the parents? Who knows!!
I started to question as to why we had so many of our Scouts leave in such a short amount of time. I would say maybe a handful of those Scouts just didn’t enjoy Scouting, it just wasn’t for them, I know 5 of the Scouts who left, had to leave as they reached the maximum age you cn be a Scout – that age being 14 here in the UK. I also know for a fact 1 of our girl scouts left due to her Dancing commitments that she was doing on another night during the week, but now she’s progressed up her dancing ladder, her next class clashed with Scouts–sadly she choose dancing over Scouts, this meant that her female buddy decided she would leave at the same time as she didn’t want to be left with the other girls in the troop who she didn’t have the same friendship with.
2 of the boys when questioned just shrugged their shoulders and made a weird “huff” noise when I asked them why they are leaving Scouts. What does that huff noise mean?
Sometimes We are left to figure out just what happened ourselves. Sometimes the reasons make sense:
As I write this post it’s 2018, let’s look back to when I was of Scout age, the 1990’s( admittedly I wasn’t a Scout) my weekly commitment was on a thursday night for Cadets at St. John Ambulance and that was it. I never had any other clubs. There wasn’t that many clubs around back in the 90’s. Maybe scouts, St John ambulance and the local football club down the park.
Now a days our Young People have such a fully booked week with after school clubs, most of my scouts have commitments every day of the week including the weekends. This ranges from sports, church, music, language and dance.
Let’s also not forget when they move up to secondary schools. I’ve seen this in the last few years when the school’s require more attention to studies or homework.
We sometimes have to accept the loss, but we can also take some comfort in knowing that Scouting’s values have been imparted, and hopefully the young person is better off for his/her experience.
When my Scouts leave other than reaching 14 years old- (the maximum age for scouts here in the UK), I like to find out the real reason as to why they want to leave or have left Scouts. I don’t want the “because” or “it’s boring” answer, I want to know the real truth behide their reasons. Sometimes, we just can’t help it.
A chat with the scout and/or his parents may help you to find out their reasons. Quite often I even quiz the troop or patrol leaders that the person has been close to. The best way to stay on top of things is for the patrol leader to keep in touch with the Scout, and as using Scout forums can help aswell.
With all the distractions and alternative activities available to our youth, we need to make sure we are doing everything possible at the troop level to have a program that is fun, educational and still keeps the The Purpose of Scouting.
“Scouting exists to actively engage and support young people in their personal development, empowering them to make a positive contribution to society” – The Scout Association – UK
At the end of the Day. There are 100’s of clubs, activities, after school and weekend clubs that are available for our Young People of today. All we can do it’s try to keep our Scouting programme well balanced in all areas and make it so much fun that the scout doesn’t want to leave and miss out on fun, adventours experiences.