? Scouts (Boy/Girl) Question on Lack of Adult Participation

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2002
? Scouts (Boy/Girl) Question on Lack of Adult Participation
8
Thu, 10-04-2012 - 12:40pm

My mind wanders a lot and I've been recently thinking about why it is so difficult for us to get adults to fill positions in scouts.  And when Cheryl recently said a parent asked her why she isn't leading the Wolf den (when Cheryl doesn't even have a 2nd grader) I started thinking again.

Do you think it has anything to do with the fact that many of the programs we have kids in after school are led by people we pay- dance, music, gymnastics, even some sports.  Or by teachers after school (either paid or volunteer).  And that parents are of the mindset that these activities exist because someone is already appointed to be doing them with the child when they go to sign up the child.

And do you think that the lack of adult help comes from the fact that there are so many things out there as options that parents are overwhelmed and spread thin- either by trying to get multiple kids to things at the same time or by even a single kid being able to participate in a lot of different activities- so parents don't feel the need to step up because if something isn't working they won't miss it and there's something else to fill the gap (including just plain time at home).

-Jen

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-02-2004
Well, I think there are a lot of reasons. I don't think the paid part is a biggie though.

Here are reasons I see for why parents are not more involved:
1. They work. Either both parents have a job, or the single parent may have more than one job. Parents want their kids to have the experience, but don't have time to do more than drop and run.
2. They have more than one kid to get to places and do things with. I have three. If they all were in scouts, in my area they probably would be in different groups that meet the same day. different places. We do 4-H because they take multi-ages. Although it used to be 4-H was a drop and go thing, it is now becoming parent there is mandatory, which I think is sad as parents are running things instead of the kids like it was when I was in 4-H.
3. Parents are trying to have their kids do it all, and are scheduled for more things than they can actually handle.
4. Location. Schools and scouts used to be for small areas, in towns, where kids could walk. Now we have lots of suburbs and schools have kids from far away. This means more travel time, less face time. If this is after work, parents are having to hurry supper, which may mean fast food instead of a good meal, and given the push to eat healthy, parents do want to do that, which takes time.

I suspect the economy has something to do with it as well - more people taking work home because they want to be sure they are the "good" employee when it comes time for cuts. Also, more 2 parent working families because one parent had to take a lower paying job or such.
Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
I think that you might be surprised how thin people are stretched. I know I work part time out of the house, and dh should be working full time (electrician, so this economy is killing him). He has an hour and half commute to this job site, not unusual for his line of work. We both are scout leaders (well, I am done this year as my girls graduated HS this past school year). I help out with his troop, now more than ever. So, at church, I don't volunteer much or some of the other things at the high school, because scouting takes up my time. But, the person in football parents' group or the band parents' group will not know how our time is already in short supply. I do help out in bigger events, but stay out of anything that involves more meetings!

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-28-2000
I think most families are over scheduled.

I think that many moms will not volunteer to help a boy group because they think the dad should do it & lots of the dads are intimidated to work with the little guys unless it is sports related. (I imagine it th the opposite for the girls)

I think many parents want scouting for their child, but they want their child to be dropped and picked up without anything coming home. Not many kids finish things that are sent home ie charting chores. I don't know how many times a kid tells me he didn't bring his chart back because didn't do it, but the parent emails that he did.

I think the cub program in my area would be overflowing if we had all of the meetings afterschool in the gym / cafeteria and didn't require any parents in attendance. Typcially any of the after school programs are filled to overflowing - even the expensive ones.
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Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
I don't know if people are not stretched and don't feel that can't get another thing on the plate. In our case, dh and I are scout leaders, but we are also being asked to help music parent's groups, sports groups, Boosters, CARES (parents against drunk driving, gives parental lectures on parenting teens, runs post prom, etc...) and church stuff. This is just for ds in high school. We only have one kid at home now, the other is away at school and there is a parental group for that and I am sure there is another if she makes the lax team. I need a break. I know my kids are busy, but I don't need to be more busy than they are!!

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2002

I'm just trying to get some perspective and ideas.

I really want to make my son's cub scout group continue to function, but I am just not getting the most adults to do anything- yet each one says they want their child to continue in this group and not switch to a different one.

And my Girl Scout mom's who used to be pretty responsive are just not responding at all anymore.  It's a bit frustrating.

-Jen

Community Leader
Registered: 12-16-2003
Hold parents' meetings, when the kids are finishing up projects with a sign up calendar. Let them know when you need help, don't just expect them to just jump in. I know I don't jump in, but if there is a sign up, I am happy to pick a few things to help with.

Ramona  Mom to 2 great kids and wife to one wonderful hubby since 1990!

iVillage Member
Registered: 04-26-2002
I think the problem with the girls is that they are now older- so less parent face to face for pick up times and such. And pretty much nothing is working for the Cubs right now. But yes... I think I'm going to have to be face to face- and find them with they don't show up and just say- here's 3 activities we want to have the kids do- pick which one you would like to plan for us (with our guidance/help). That being said- I was just advised of the date we will be doing our police station tour! I'm so happy- I didn't have to do anything!!!!!!!!!!!!