The Life and Eagle Scouts had a very productive meeting yesterday where the importance of older Scouts was discussed, and the level of involvement by older Scouts was recognized as an opportunity for improvement. I will highlight some of the strategies that were discussed below.
When I reviewed the notes from last night (thank you Jacob Story), it was easy to divide your solutions into three categories: Training, Responsibility, and Adventure.
Training would include leadership training, more advanced skill training (CPR, Wilderness First Aid, etc.), and other skills. The skills and lessons learned could then be taught to the younger Scouts by the older Scouts.
A new position of Responsibility that was recommended by Dr. Williams was Junior Assistant Scoutmaster. The Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is a Scout at least 16 years of age who has shown outstanding leadership skills. He is appointed by the Senior Patrol Leader with the advice and consent of the Scoutmaster. A Junior Assistant Scoutmaster follows the guidance of the Scoutmaster in providing support and supervision to the other boy leaders in the troop. Upon his 18th birthday, a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster is eligible to become an assistant Scoutmaster. It was also suggested that Junior Assistant Scoutmasters (JASM) could “apprentice” under different Assistant Scoutmasters. For example, a JASM could shadow Mr. Routon and gain a wealth of knowledge in budgeting, balancing, and finance.
Most of the Scouts also expressed a desire for more Adventure. The general consensus seemed to be that this would involve more high-adventure type activities that would be both mentally and physically challenging. Service could also be incorporated into the adventures. The Varsity Scout materials could be used to facilitate an introduction to and learning about high adventure topics.
To close out the discussion, it was suggested that we form an Older Scout Patrol (OSP) as a framework to implement your solutions to keep older Scouts involved. In the past, in other troops, OSPs have been referred to as “Leadership Corps” or “Venture Patrols.” Members of the OSP have been recognized by wearing red berets (Leadership Corps), or by wearing a “VENTURE” strip patch on their uniform, either of which would be a great way to recognize these leaders in Troop 370.
- The nomenclature for the Older Scout Patrol, e.g. Venture Patrol, Leadership Corps, Older Scout Patrol, or something unique to 370
- The criteria for induction into the the Older Scout Patrol (age? rank? involvement?)
- Nominations and elections of OSP leadership (PL, APL, QM, CA, etc.)
- Jr. Assistant Scoutmasters
Finally, let’s plan on discussing the first OSP activity. That might be CPR training, or a backpacking campout, or hosting a mini-NYLT for the younger Scouts; the choice up to you.
You all are an incredible group of Scouts, and I can hardly wait to see what exciting ideas that you come up with.
Yours in Scouting,