High adventure (loosely defined) is one of the most important parts of retaining older scouts along with true youth leadership of the troop through use of the Patrol Method. If the older scout feels he is needed and wanted while having fun and challenging himself, his biggest enemy to continued scouting is his 18th birthday.
Many troops and crews struggle to run effective high adventure programs. There are many impediments: youth participants’ interest, adult participants’ availability, costs, logistics, program availability, etc.
For troops and crews that do make it through the planning stages and schedule a high adventure trip, they sometimes struggle to fill a contingent (that is the group that will do the high adventure activity together, usually 6-12 scouts depending on the activity). Some of our troops field multiple contingents on any one trip. This offers many savings in economies of scale, especially with travel and lodging.
For others, the biggest problem is having enough scouts to fill out a complete contingent.
The District is making an effort to help fill contingents. We already have several troops with plans for 2016. If all goes well, all scheduled scouts will attend. However, life happens and vacancies may occur for a variety of reasons. The trip is most likely to achieve its goals of adventure and citizenship development if the contingents are full. To help overcome obstacles, the District is working as a clearing house at Roundtables to discuss where units have vacancies on existing contingents that already have scheduled departure dates.
If your troop or crew has a known vacancy or is willing to accept names for a waiting list, please contact District Commissioner Jeff Heck or your assigned Unit Commissioner. Similarly if your unit has an eager scout who wants to go but cannot find the right trip for him, contact the Commissioners so that we can help place your scout(s).
In a future article we will look at some opportunities for District to offer high adventure trips, including Order of the Arrow contingents, that might help units who have struggled to make high adventure a part of their program.