Working with older Scouts between the ages of 14-18 …
… is both challenging and rewarding. What interests keep them involved? Simply turning up the ‘wow’ factor doesn’t do much to keep them engaged, because they are looking for much more than fun. Respecting and understanding what older Scouts need takes patient observation and an open dialogue.
Our expectations of older Scouts are often very different than what they are looking for. Older Scouts continue to need direction, but they want independence. They strive to win our trust and confidence while they develop decision making skills. They need us to be responsible, caring, and fair adults. Their interest in Scouting is still strong, but it is different than younger Scouts. Scouting can be a refuge from some of the expectations and pressures that push and pull on young people at this age.
When Scouters act like bosses, drill sergeants, or teachers older Scouts walk away. When Scouters join their journey towards responsible adulthood they will remain involved. If we remain accepting and optimistic we’ll see the contributions they are making to their family, their community, and their fellow Scouts
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