The solution to this is really simple.
If you want youth to support unit led activities instead of council driven events, then you have to have unit led activities that youth want to support so they don’t go to council driven events.
I can’t speak to any activities on any individual unit such as David’s (the original poster). I can speak to what we have cooking and are experiencing: we are finding a tremendous hunger from youth to do all kinds of stuff in scouting: merit badges, Nova, advancement… just to name a few.
There is no football game or track meet. No band concert. No debate tournament. No chess club meeting. No church youth group.
Right now SCOUTING is pretty much the only choice nationwide for youth, and youth are craving what we have to offer. I would love it if individual units would step up and provide this program, but largely they are not.
As an example at roundtable just a few weeks ago, I was greeted by about 30 scoutmasters who are looking for something to do, a program for their youth, something to keep their interest… they’ve already done two virtual campouts and are out of ideas at that point. I then pulled out my list of what all we had going on and asked for their help.
Try these on for size:
- Virtual aviation ground school, Explorer Post 8000
- HAM radio license classes, Ship 9
- Venturing/Sea Scout Nova Classes, Ship 7007
- ILSS training, National Capital Area Council Quarterdeck
What programs are you offering your youth?
Please recognize that our youth WANT your leadership and WANT your program input. As a key indicator, just this month we chartered a new Sea Scout Ship in Wichita, Kansas. During a pandemic. In Wichita.
New Sea Scout Ship. in Wichita. During a pandemic.
We have another ready to go in Des Moines, already meeting and having a solid program. We’re further looking to add ships in central Kansas, southern Missouri, and Kearney, Nebraska.
So back to the question: How come everyone’s going to all these programs over there? The answer probably lies in your program calendar. Do you have something exciting?
So let me challenge you: Start a program. Do a course. Encourage your youth. Pick a merit badge and go to town!
Here’s a place to get started: https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2020/03/20/merit-badges-for-social-distancing/