Attitude is the problem and simply accepting that younger ones will have a different point of view. Less serious I hope. Club where I live tore itself apart, however did manage to survive although a bit dubious for 2 or 3 years.
Sometimes what happens is a person, for want of a better phrase, gets in, does the chairman role fairly well but clubs follow what they want. Maybe should adopt the US President approach and limit the time someone can be chairman of a club. 5 years and you HAVE to step down.
Where I go the young ones are encouraged, young means 4 and above. Will say 2 years olds are harder to work with, have tried, suspect I failed. Explained to a parent last week: If they the parent didn't see whatever that was their fault, they are grown up. If their children didn't then we have to put in effort so they do. We ask each one what they saw and get them to describe it.
Mercury transit I ended up with thumb prints on the 12mm eyepiece lens - not my prints. One or five of the little ones. About 8 months back I asked about optical window for a Panoptic 41mm - we had thumbs inside it as they held on to something, eyepiece eyecup in this case, for support. One hand either side with thumbs inside seemed optimum to them . Got told they shouldn't be allowed near such an eyepiece by many here. We didn't have a choice, tried to explain, I don't think I was understood - No choice, none. If their thumbs went inside then they went inside. After about number 12 or 15 set of prints we gave up. If one had tried to eat the eyepiece we would have had to think carefully about how to stop them. Strongly suspect the answer would have been to go find the other eyepiece, while they ate.
One person PM'd me asking me to explain, when I did they suggested I put the same explanation in the thread. I didn't. Simply didn't think it would get through.
But the place gets 60-80 kids each time, each week, this is year after year. Will bet that some buy scopes and that some go on to study astronomy.
I have been laid on damp grass getting a 7 year olds scope to work. Who else has, bet not many. It was cold grass also. Last I saw of him was running off to find parents yelling "I can see the moon". Gave him a 20mm plossl.
One outreach a lad wanted to see Minitak (no idea why) so I gave him the handset and explained how to select Minitak from in the menu tree. Then I had him put the scope back on M45. Look at it this way. They may have learnt that there are Solar System Objects and Deep Sky Objects, then catagories of Stars (named and Numbered) and Messier objects. Also that M45 was The Pleiades. As each target was chosen I had them read the brief data on it to verify correct target. All from using a handset.
Would say that unless that is adopted the influx will be minimal.
We get lots of parents, the children drag them along.
Big impressive scopes - kids don't care. Honestly anything keeps them happy.
Modern technology most can use a touch screen on a smart phone. PC control is for them to be expected.
To them a wire is a bit of a novelty, isn't it all wifi now?
Last week it was cloudy but the dome was open, 3 of the kids took it in turn to move the dome round by the ropes and pulleys and thought that was great.
Tried a night of Astronomy for the Kids?
Literally 100% for them.
Answer everything they ask - sensibly and accurately, they are not stupid. Buy lens tissues - you will need them, make sure they do see the objects, no time limits. One young lady was looking then telling me then looking and telling me again and to be sure having another look. She was HAPPY. I don't think anyone had just taken the time with her. Had I tried to move her on I would likely have been the one told off.
But that is what you have to do. Throw the "rules" away. Expect questions, expect them to spend 3 times as long, expect fingers and thumbs (maybe worse if really unlucky). Expect 2 to want to look at the same time especially if brothers/sisters.
Biggest problem we usually have is that it is dark, they cannot see the eyepiece, so a nice dim red light helps. Otherwise them feel around for the eyepiece and guess where the fingers go .