Diagnosing Troop Attendance Problems

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Many troop struggle to get a decent percentage of their members out on weekend trips. If yours is one of them, what should you do?

Do some research. Sit down with your Scouts who are skipping outings and find out why—not in an accusatory manner but in an information-gathering manner. (Or, if you’re too close to the situation, recruit a troop committee member to do the interviews.)

What you’ll find should help you determine what action to take next. If you discover that your high-school-age Scouts don’t want to miss Friday night football games, consider starting fall outings on Saturday mornings and coming back later on Sunday. If you discover that Scouts aren’t hearing about outings until it’s too late to make plans, the problem is communications. If they’re skipping the challenging outings but not the lazy weekends—or vice versa—talk to the PLC about striking a better balance between challenge and relaxation.

The point is that you need to diagnose the problem before you can prescribe a cure. Just like your doctor asks you a dozen questions to determine what’s wrong with you, you need to ask a dozen questions to determine what’s wrong with your program.

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