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Thread: Review of Scouts and Explorers age ranges

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    Review of Scouts and Explorers age ranges

    Is now the time to review the age ranges of the Scout and Explorer sections? Ever since the introduction of the new sections, I have been constantly frustrated that just as Scouts are becoming useful within the troop, they have to move on to Explorers. Particularly in a rural area, the fact that they are supposed to run as District units has proved problematic for a number of reasons not the least being transport issues. My thinking at the time of the age changes was that these were brought in as a response to an urban problem which didn't occur in more rural areas where we didn't have issues with retaining members in Scouts. We also ran a very successful Venture unit.

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    just as Scouts are becoming useful within the troop, they have to move on to Explorers.
    < young leaders? helps retain the old 'PLs' but lets the ones who used to leave move on. that is the best of both worlds for me and i love it.

    the fact that they are supposed to run as District units has proved problematic for a number of reasons not the least being transport issues.
    < that is not what it says anywhere. You can have a unit based in every group and should do so if the demand is there

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    Quote Originally Posted by tyke53 View Post
    Is now the time to review the age ranges of the Scout and Explorer sections? Ever since the introduction of the new sections, I have been constantly frustrated that just as Scouts are becoming useful within the troop, they have to move on to Explorers.
    But that's not the point - they aren't Leaders, they aren't there to "become useful", they are there as beneficiaries.

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    We very rarely see YL in the Scout section, and the YLs in the group with the Cubs and Beavers are usually there due to DofE through a School that starts them on DofE bronze volunteering at 12 years old in some cases

    Any link to this review??

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    But that's not the point - they aren't Leaders, they aren't there to "become useful", they are there as beneficiaries.
    Is not one of the key objectives of Scouting to develop leadership. The ideal situation is that the Scouts are growing into patrol leaders and subsequently running most of the program.

    Allan.

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    Short answer? Yes.

    They're not in any of the sections (except Explorers) for long enough. And there's an unintended 'squeeze' which I think might be going on. I'd be interested to know if it's happening elsewhere.

    Firstly. It doesn't bother me, because we hold on to scouts at the other end anyway. But when you account for the 6 months either way on kids moving up sections, and maybe moving kids up in clumps - we often don't see new scouts up from cubs till they're 11. That's a year lopped off. If they then leave at 13.5 (or just leave as some do), then we only have them for a couple of years.

    All things being equal, we'd have Scouts disappearing at the other end as young as 13.5.

    It's all unintended, but since Explorers (arguably) hasn't been the panacea in terms of keeping young people involved till 18, it means the section in which most YP spend most of their time, is being squeezed a fair bit. If you see what I mean. (I might be wrong entirely about the numbers right enough...)

    I also agree that we see Scouts disappear just when they're coming into their own in terms of confidence. (Or would, you know... If there was a unit to go to.)

    Mind you. I have no idea what I'd change it to.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Richard T View Post
    We very rarely see YL in the Scout section, and the YLs in the group with the Cubs and Beavers are usually there due to DofE through a School that starts them on DofE bronze volunteering at 12 years old in some cases
    If those from the school are under 14 they shouldn’t be helping out as a “YL” in any section. Any non scout doing volunteering for DofE has to be 14 at least and any scouting member will have to be at least 13.5 and be an explorer ( even if it is only being a member of the Young Leader unit).

    I’m not sure how the school manages to start anyone at age twelve when the dofe guidance talks about being in the year they/ their peer group turn 14.
    Last edited by Big George; 07-05-2020 at 05:29 PM.

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    Those under 14 wanting to be YL's via DofE have been turned away and told to try in a few years time.
    As for the age ranges, in Ireland they have:
    Beavers age 6, 7, 8, 9
    Cubs age 9,10,11
    Scouts age 12,13,14,15
    Venture Scouts 15,16,17
    Rover Scouts upto 25

    Another issue with Scouts is that at the bottom end of the age range they can sometimes still have the Junior school mentality mixing in with the older Secondary school age Scouts

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    We're here for the young people not the benefit of the troop.

    Quite simply we have a much greater number of children of ages 14 to 18 in the movement - proportionally at any rate - since explorers so I can't support them missing out because we want to keep the older ones in Scouts. That alone is enough for me - the older age group is harder for us to engage and serve and keeping them interested and in the movement is the most important thing to me.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    We're here for the young people not the benefit of the troop.

    Quite simply we have a much greater number of children of ages 14 to 18 in the movement - proportionally at any rate - since explorers so I can't support them missing out because we want to keep the older ones in Scouts. That alone is enough for me - the older age group is harder for us to engage and serve and keeping them interested and in the movement is the most important thing to me.
    You've contradicted yourself there. The Unit is no more or less important than the troop (or the pack or the colony). This isn't about sections, it's about young folk getting the most out of their time at Scouts.

    According to a quick Google, there is over 113,000 scouts and 31,000 Explorers, not sure where any proportionality comes in. While I'm not saying Explorers should suffer so Scouts can prosper. What I am suggesting is, Scouts suffers from a bit of a squeeze between Cubs and Explorers.

    There are those who say Scouts is now an extension of Cubs. Lopping off the older kids out of Scouts definitely changed the hue of the section. More generally speaking, we no longer do the kind of heavy activities we used to, (no marquee hires, no heavy weight summer camps), because we don't have the heavy weights that we used to. (Also, for some reason, young folk just aren't as hands on these days, or we're not attracting them for what ever reason.)

    If I had to pick age ranges. I'd make Cubs 8-11 and Scouts 11 to 15. Explorers would be 15 to 18. Mind you, what would probably happen is, in reality, everything would shift around again any.

    Maybe just leave it as it is.

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    Theres been a huge amount of fcus on bringin in a new youngeer section - seengly at the expense of the older sections lately.
    One thing that could work would be for an in between peroid , or a longer transition period between Scouts and Explorers - would it also work to bring explorers into groups as oposed to it just being a district provision ( with the district provision also being available)?

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post

    If I had to pick age ranges. I'd make Cubs 8-11 and Scouts 11 to 15. Explorers would be 15 to 18. Mind you, what would probably happen is, in reality, everything would shift around again any.

    Maybe just leave it as it is.
    That would have them joining explorers as they start into the run up to GCSEs. I think we’d loose a significant number of that was the change over age.

    That said I don’t think there will ever be a “right” age to change from scouts to explorers. Any age point will have it’s advantages and disadvantages. My experience as an explorers leader is that it takes them time to settle in. We run both DofE and Platinum/Diamond awards. The first year gives us time to get to know them before they start on the more challenging awards.

    Another thing missed by many in this debate is that for half of their time in explorers they are involved in exams that will impact their future. If we can’t “hook” them early (young) the temptation to drop scouts could be high.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Big George View Post
    That would have them joining explorers as they start into the run up to GCSEs.
    FWIW we were losing them in masses at 14. Whatever the theory, most 15 year olds don't want to hang out with 11 year olds.

    It was absolutely the right move, much as there are negatives they are definitely outweighed by the positives of more YP enjoying a Scouting more suited to them.

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    Mmm what a well roasted old chestnut!

    We found as a group we were getting more 14 year olds wanting to stay with the group as YLs than we had space for... we even ended up with a rolling programme where they started at Beavers or Cubs for the first few years as a YL and those who we thought would be capable of handling the older age group were invited, at about 16 or 17, to help at Scouts. (That's not to say helping at Scouts is any more important or a senior role... just that it's important to maintain an age gap between the section and it's YLs.

    We had very few go to Explorers... it met in a different part of the district for a start, and didn't run any camps.

    The YLs in the group asked if we could have an explorer unit at the group. We approached district... myself and the ASL offered to take on the extra leadership roles to run it for a year initially. District said No because the existing unit wasn't full. So districts view was that it was better to have one failing unit and lose these kids, than to let us open a second unit with an eager group of kids, and do regular joint activities.

    In the end districts nose was put even more out of joint when we invited all the groups YLs to scout summer camp, letting them camp separately as a patrol with a Rota to volunteer as YLs. We were told not to do it again... So the young people miss out to keep district feeling self satisfied.

    Age ranges? It took a long time to settle after the last change but has finally just about settled down. Let's not mess it up again.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Neil Williams View Post
    FWIW we were losing them in masses at 14. Whatever the theory, most 15 year olds don't want to hang out with 11 year olds.

    It was absolutely the right move, much as there are negatives they are definitely outweighed by the positives of more YP enjoying a Scouting more suited to them.
    Spot on. What happened is that a few keen scouts stayed on until 15, far more left before then, and of course fewer went to ventures and scout leaders probably moaned that they left just as they were useful and preferred the days when they went on until 18! The point remain that more 14 to 18 year olds are in the movement with the current age ranges and that matters and that the argument for them staying seem selfish from the point of view of the leaders rather than the benefit of the children.

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