I recently had an interesting email discussion with a reader about whether adult leaders should conduct Scoutmaster conferences for their own sons. I pointed out that there’s no prohibition against this practice in the Guide to Advancement but that the sons of Scoutmasters would benefit from building relationships with other adults in the troop.
So what did I find in my local newspaper the very next morning? A story entitled “Study: To raise graduation rates, increase number of adults in community.” You can read the story online, but here’s the upshot: Research from America’s Promise Alliance suggests that improving the ratio of adults to school-age children improves graduation rates. In fact for every seven adults a neighborhood adds, one fewer child will quit school.
This research focused on school, not Scouting, but it seems to me that our Scouts also benefit from having more adults around. In fact, that’s the whole point of the adult association method, one of the eight methods of Boy Scouting.
Unfortunately, some Scouters see this method as being in competition with the youth leadership method, arguing that adults should stay in the corner drinking coffee instead of interacting with Scouts. While we shouldn’t do things to undermine our youth leaders, that doesn’t mean we should be absentee adults. After all, our Scouts’ futures are at stake.