I stuck around until age 27. I was monthly camping with a troop through age 25.
I got Eagle almost 13 years before I left.
Ways to keep youth around-
Encourage them to join the Summer Camp Staff. This could be the overight all summer camp or working at a week at Day Camp.
Encourage taking on an OA chapter or lodge responsibility. Serve in a position at induction events.
Come up with Eagle only activities that recognize their maturity. They made the effort, they will want to benefit from it.
No chairs with backs before you’re an Eagle
Get a meal cooked by the adults once a year. (you do this at your first campout with new Scouts joining, the adults cook while they supervise this group cooking, it all interconnects)
Host a Venturing Crew that meets the same place/night. If they’re bored with the program, they just move on over. Changing to a new night makes it easier to quit, they already have your current meeting night in their schedule.
There should be 15-17 different activities every year where some are only or specifically for age 13/14+. There’s nothing wrong with part of your campout having an age rule and you do two different things.
The idea is they’ll stick around if you provide a program they feel is worthy of their time and maturity.
COPE every 2-3 years
Climbing, I’ve done both walls and climbed up rock faces in Northern Arkansas
As a youth our annual canoe trip was the most popular of the year, it was always between football camp ending and before football games began.
Take the older Scouts to repair a building at your summer camp. If proximity works take them to play laser tag or such afterwards or borrow equipment and play it at camp.
One of my favorite involved taking a circling four seater plane ride from a municipal airport after visiting the Hutchinson, KS space museum (better than the smithsonian air and space museum, it’s the same collection but only space)
Another good one was the first night going caving (crawling around, not walking tour), spend the night in the cave and then canoeing a nearby river the next day
A four day one was a day of target shooting at a range, a college football game and then biking a rail to trail route.
Ride on Amtrak somewhere, location dependent of course.
Have someone who proactively gets with every new 13/14 year old in the Troop and get high adventure interest, what they would like to do. Plan a 1.5 year fundraising plan for the activityt. Then if you can go to Philmont or Sea Base or the like, do so. But if you can’t charter your own trip, like section hike the appalachian trail. Don’t wait on a slot at a national program to open up.
Open high adventure up to > age 18 where interested. I went to boundary waters at 22. This kind of flexible thinking enables a parent to not go and you’re directly saying you trust someone around that age to be an adult. When the Scouts see this respect to a 22 year old it does what you want, they see they’ll be respected if they stick around.
Push Jamboree every four years, youth can go on their own.