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  • #16
    So after 39% voted against the membership changes, we see only a 6% drop in membership? Sounds encouraging to me.

    Comment


    • #17
      It National was a car dealer, their strategy could be summed up thusly:

      Take the most popular, dependable, high-selling cars, and hide them in the back of the lot. When those are gone, don't order more. Instead, promote a lot of shiny but under-powered, undesirable cars. Act surprised when sales drop. But do nothing to bring back that popular car.

      Outdoor adventure, whether it's a day hike on Saturday or a Philmont trek, is the key to recruiting and retaining scouts. Just as true today as it was a century ago.

      Successful units/councils get that, and the results prove it.

      Sustainability merit badge won't get it done.

      Comment


      • Horizon
        Horizon commented
        Editing a comment
        It wasn't on purpose, but we realized that we had some pretty cool campout themes (shooting, rock climbing, skiing, beach). Some of my middle schoolers used it to recruit friends come along. For some trips, guests were allowed. For others, like shooting, I insisted on registration. Worked out pretty well. First time I did it, picked up 4 new youth. 2 stuck it out, and one Eagled. Those two are still active in the Crew as well.

      • Hal_Crawford
        Hal_Crawford commented
        Editing a comment
        I don't think anyone is trying to make scouting all about STEM. The campouts are still the main draw and always will be. But there is nothing wrong with merit badges such as Sustainability--which gives scouts and alternative to Envi Sci which has been required for a long time.

        I remember a few years ago I was on a high adventure trek with a group of scouts. As we backpacked up and down hills there were two scouts that talked incessantly about processors, operating systems and programs. The occasionally would stop to observe wildlife or a great view but the tech talk was what kept them going.

        They are Eagles and aged out now. It should come as no surprise that they are engineering students. Some scouts are drawn to STEM and some are not. It is good to have the options.

      • EmberMike
        EmberMike commented
        Editing a comment
        The BSA has always had adventure to offer kids, they just package it terribly and deliver it equally poorly. They've always tried too hard to seem "cool", bringing skateboards and BMX into jambos and designing marketing materials to try and look modern and hip. But kids know when they're being sold something fake. And they're really turned off when they show up at jambo looking for adventure and have to wait in line all day to do anything.

        Back-to-basics works. Offer kids simple outdoor adventures and they'll give it a try. It doesn't have to include the action sport of the moment or slick marketing hype, just authentic adventure and outdoor activities, preferably stuff in the woods.

    • #18
      On the other hand the number of Eagles keeps increasing…hmmmm

      Comment


      • RememberSchiff
        RememberSchiff commented
        Editing a comment
        Decreasing membership, increasing Eagles. I wonder what the equilibrium point will be? Maybe a boy scout membership 4x the annual number of Eagles earned?

      • Hal_Crawford
        Hal_Crawford commented
        Editing a comment
        Declining membership and increasing Eagles probably indicates diminished recruitment and improved retention. Not as many boys are choosing to join but those that do are more likely to remain active and earn the Eagle award. When I was young, almost every boy joined scouts but many of us dropped out long before earning Eagle--I do not remember any Eagles in our troop.

        When my son joined scouts there was a a 50% attrition the first year but after that most stayed and a large proportion of those became Eagles.

      • perdidochas
        perdidochas commented
        Editing a comment
        As part of that the average age of Eagle is also increasing. I think the percentage of Scouts who stay in Scouting has probably increased. I seem to remember that when I was a Scout, most of us only stayed in for a year or two.

    • #19
      Your correct Huzzar sorry about that. Either way who would have excepted him of being a pedophilia? He had children and a wife he was a good family man who helped out in his community. The question is if he was a pedophilia who can you trust? That is the real danger and threat to the boys not some openly gay adult leader.

      Comment


      • Huzzar
        Huzzar commented
        Editing a comment
        If you don't know the meaning of a word then don't use it.

        ob·tuse adjective \äb-ˈtüs, əb-, -ˈtyüs\
        : stupid or unintelligent : not able to think clearly or to understand what is obvious or simple

      • Merlyn_LeRoy
        Merlyn_LeRoy commented
        Editing a comment
        Huzzar, you might want to know that words can mean more than one thing:
        b : difficult to comprehend : not clear or precise in thought or expression

      • Huzzar
        Huzzar commented
        Editing a comment
        How does b apply in the context of this discussion? We disagree on why Sandusky got a pass, nothing more. I think I've been pretty darn clear it's because of his association with PSU, not that he was beyond suspicion because he was a married man with kids. And once more for the record, the police were called over 15 years ago because he diddled a 10 year old in the shower. PSU chose not to revoke his showering with kiddies privileges back then and Louise Freeh says it was because they were more concerned with PSU Football's reputation than the kid's safety.

    • #20
      The gay issue is a red herring of membership woes. There are no gay cubscouts, they haven't hit puberty yet. Until a Boy Scout hits puberty he can't be gay. Once the boy realizes he does not like girls he is about 14-15. None of his friends (fellow scouts that he has been camping with for years) will care that he is gay. The scouts don't care. There is nothing sexual about rock climbing, cycling, hiking, archery, guns, or camping. Scouts don't sleep in tents with leaders but with their friends. The gay issue is irrelevant. Scouting membership has declined because most troops and packs do not have activities outside of the meeting room. When they do it's not fun. I am in a dysfunctional pack and a heathy active troop. The difference in programs is that the boy scout parents get out of the way and let the kids have fun. Most scouts enjoy getting away from home one weekend a month, being independent, sitting around a camp fire, playing with knifes, bows, and guns. The program had it right a 100 yrs ago. Let's not try to square the wheel.

      Comment


      • perdidochas
        perdidochas commented
        Editing a comment
        I'm of two opinions about some of those badges. First, I hear my now Eagle talking about them, and he'd like to earn some for his palms.Second, Scouting should be about outings.

        I don't think the choice of merit badges is an important issue. I think a more important issue is the risk aversion of National, and the way that inhibits adventure. For example, a few months ago, we were camping by this little river, and I brought my two kayaks. We would shuttle the boys up two miles to a launch, and let boys without adult supervision kayak those two miles. I realize in hindsight that we broke the rules. However, I still feel the boys were safe. Every group had two kayaks (buddy boats) and every kayak had two boys. Myself and another adult made the first run, to kind of scout it out. All boys involved had their swimming merit badge (one on every trip had lifesaving MB), and I had personally seen them all swim in a troop done Swim test. Most were First Class and above. It was a good adventure, that IMHO, wouldn't have been as much of an adventure if two adults had been on every trip.

        In my short scout career in the 1970s, it wasn't uncommon for a group of boys led by senior boys to do things like that. I wish it were still that way.

      • Sentinel947
        Sentinel947 commented
        Editing a comment
        Perdidochas, where did you find the in guide to safe Scouting that what you did was wrong. At least as far as hiking or backpacking goes, what ya'll did is completely ok. Is there different rules for water activities?

      • perdidochas
        perdidochas commented
        Editing a comment
        From Safety Afloat in g2ss.
        Qualified Supervision
        All activity afloat must be supervised by a mature and conscientious adult age 21 or older who understands and knowingly accepts responsibility for the wellbeing and safety of those in his or her care and who is trained in and committed to compliance with the nine points of BSA Safety Afloat.

    • #21
      The who gay thing has nothing to do with this issue, just as the policy change had no real impact on any Boy Scout or Cub Scout. The three key elements that have caused our decline have been clearly identified in this thread:

      1. Our program became outdated, and the attempt to update it went sideways (BSA needs to admit this and go back to the basics, and build a better update, not patch the broken one).
      2. Our only true selling point, to the scouts, is real life adventure ... something you can't get behind a controller and keyboard, and fear of liability has watered down this element so far that our founders would be ashamed.
      3. Many adults think this is their program. This is a program of youth, by youth, for youth; as long as no laws a broken, and no one is going to get hurt, adults need to sit down and shut up. (I am an adult BTW)

      Comment


      • perdidochas
        perdidochas commented
        Editing a comment
        I pretty much agree. That said, my local council had a 12% loss of scouts. Part of that is that we have plenty of units that are in disrepair, and I don't think the gay policy and the increase in dues helped any. My troop is in good shape, but I fear for the council.

      • EmberMike
        EmberMike commented
        Editing a comment
        #2 is spot on the money. It is pure insanity to me that the BSA prefers to bring technology into the program instead of emphasizing the real thing, not the technological attempt at adventure. Instead of the gaming merit badge, where was the marketing push to say, "Like adventure video games? We've got REAL adventure."

        You're right, what's left of the adventure component of the BSA is so watered down it's barely a reflection of what once was.

    • #22
      Free market..........

      The boys and families don't want Citizenship, Religion, Duty or Responsibility in their lives. They want face book candy crush and ipads for immediate gratification.........


      So maybe I will see the end of the BSA in my life time....... Maybe that white elephant in West Virginia will kill it. $250 for 4 days at the summit.....really.......might be small potatos for some folks but that is 25% more than I pay for 6 days of summer camp.

      Comment


      • #23
        When I was a scout, I didn't want citizenship or religion either. In isolation, most kids don't want to spend their time off on that. I wanted adventure and fun.

        I was very gung-ho to start. I tolerated those things because I recognized that were necessary to advance. I wanted to advance because I enjoyed scouting and wanted to move along in it. Being Star or Life was the goal - not earning Citizenship in the Community. Eventually, I ran out of steam on Scouting itself. I became disillusioned with the silly rules and structure. Once I did, advancement became meaningless to me. I ended up taking time off, but went back a year or two later. I didn't last.

        That was 30 years ago.

        The challenge I see is that we've not collectively figured out what makes scouting fun. As such, you've got a mixed message that is muddled. So, you get a very uneven program.
        Last edited by ParkMan; 02-24-2014, 05:57 PM. Reason: Edited for clarity

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        • #24
          A big problem is how our society has become very risk-adverse and litigious. It's not just boy scouts. Remember the chemistry sets we had as kids? Try to buy one now (sets today basically are chemical free). Want to fly model rockets? Think again (here in California at least it's difficult, though not impossible - it requires a permit and most parks ban them even with a permit). Buy some sparklers for the 4th? Not here at least. Want to climb a tree? Not without a safety harness! (My parents had a huge camphor tree in the front yard. I fondly remember spending hours in that tree with half the neighbor hood kids playing tag, sailing ships, swinging on ropes - it was the best climbing tree I've ever seen. I cried when it died of sudden oak death and they had to cut it down. It's trunk was eight feet wide.).

          Today it's all about minimize risk, cover your butt, assume the worst, that looks scary, don't do that, don't forget the paperwork. It makes adventure and challenge hard to do. That is why outdoor challengers are often replaced with book challenges, those are easier to do.

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          • #25
            Locally we are down 12%.

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