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What's the time commitment like for our son?
St. Thomas runs a very active program in order to meet the needs of boys age 11 to 18. That means there's an almost daunting array of activities. Each boy chooses activities and outings according to his interests and needs at the time. There’s plenty to keep a 6th or 7th grader busy, and there will be plenty more available when he needs new challenges as a 9th or 10th grader.
The middle school program runs one campout a month and one meeting a week, while the high school program runs two longer expeditions each year with pre-trips leading up to each. As a rule of thumb, most boys participate in about 2/3 to 3/4 of the activities available to them. Going below 50% will put them behind their peers in skills and usually lead to them dropping out after a year or so. The more they participate, of course, the more they get out of the program!
We recommend that boys try to do at least one of the longer-term outings each year (like summer camp), because these tend to be real "bonding" experiences for their friends and patrol mates.