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Scouting on the way out??

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  • #16
    About 10 years ago, our troop was made up of mostly High School athletes. We moved the troop meetings to Sunday nights (no games/practices), and the PLC planned their annual calendar to include the greatest number of Scouts. A little extra work, but it CAN be done!

    Editing to add: Unfortunately, we couldn't come up with a strategy to compete with the video games.
    Last edited by FrankScout; 04-28-2014, 07:48 PM.

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    • #17
      Scouting just needs to remain relevant and youthful in order to compete. I appreciate the knowledge of the old Scouters, but if some of them came up to me when I was young, I think I'd be turned off. When I was in Young Life in high school, the leader seemed old to me, but he was probably only in his mid to late 20's. However, he was also assistant football coach at my high school and had his finger on the pulse of the culture at the school. He made it a point to not only recruit those who could really benefit from the program, but also those you would consider the "cool" kids. And he made it fun. That's what kept the kids coming back every week. I think our recruitment could benefit from a strategy like that.

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      • #18
        Personally ... I think it would help to move meetings to Sunday night. Gives a whole weekend to complete homework before the scout meeting and removes the parents that hold their kids back because of homework. Sports conflicts are mostly gone too. So are school conflicts. Plus, scouting is a social event. Sunday night does seem appropriate and the least conflicts. Plus, scouting does have a reverent side. Sunday seems appropriate from that aspect too. I'd let me sons join a troop that met Sunday nights.

        The issue that is in my mind more and more is about "scouting being for losers". Scouting has earned the loser tag. Trying to be everything to everyone. Parents using scouting as their therapy program for their anti-social kids. I feel like I'm becoming insensitive, but I've got to protect my troop. I'm comfortable now telling parents that scouting has certain boundaries and if your son can't behave within those boundaries, you should try something else. Perhaps go try baseball or soccer.

        Scouting has also earned it from the aspect that scouting starts so young now that high school kids just don't know what it's about. I've seen more than one time kids are playing cards in the evening under a shelter during a torrential down pour. It's a great story for them to tell later and takes character. But kids that drop out in 1st through 5th grade just don't really know what scouting is about. So it's viewed as a little kid program. It really does need a strong marking campaign.

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        • #19
          I can’t see scouting dying anywhere in the world. At the end of the day kids today or not that different to 100 years ago and won’t change that much in the next 100 years. There always has and always been will be great fun in getting out into the great outdoors with your friends, cooking something on a fire, sleeping under the stars and telling scary stories.

          Similarly there is a basic human need to belong which is particularly strong among teenagers. The patrol and troop system and the uniform help provide that sense of being part of something.

          What might vary, at any given time, is the popularity. Scouting has to adapt to the wants and needs of young people at any given time. I don’t think it’s any surprise that the one time numbers nose dived in the UK, during the late 90s, was following 25 years of no significant changes to the programme, uniform, age ranges etc. Prior to the mid 70s things were regularly tweeked and adapted. And as soon as there was a revamp in the early 2000s numbers took off again.

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          • #20
            Originally posted by RememberSchiff View Post
            Do you think that Scouting will exist in next 50 years? Considering that the scouts of today will be my age in 50 years, that can be a scary thought .
            ...and our Scoutmasters were thinking the same thing 35 years ago about us...now look at us. We spend what is left of our free time chatting about the topic over a medium that was solely for geeks 35 years ago. Time moves on, geeks don't.

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            • #21
              Originally posted by fred johnson View Post
              Personally ... I think it would help to move meetings to Sunday night. Gives a whole weekend to complete homework before the scout meeting and removes the parents that hold their kids back because of homework. Sports conflicts are mostly gone too. So are school conflicts. Plus, scouting is a social event. Sunday night does seem appropriate and the least conflicts. Plus, scouting does have a reverent side. Sunday seems appropriate from that aspect too. I'd let me sons join a troop that met Sunday nights.

              The issue that is in my mind more and more is about "scouting being for losers". Scouting has earned the loser tag. Trying to be everything to everyone. Parents using scouting as their therapy program for their anti-social kids. I feel like I'm becoming insensitive, but I've got to protect my troop. I'm comfortable now telling parents that scouting has certain boundaries and if your son can't behave within those boundaries, you should try something else. Perhaps go try baseball or soccer.

              Scouting has also earned it from the aspect that scouting starts so young now that high school kids just don't know what it's about. I've seen more than one time kids are playing cards in the evening under a shelter during a torrential down pour. It's a great story for them to tell later and takes character. But kids that drop out in 1st through 5th grade just don't really know what scouting is about. So it's viewed as a little kid program. It really does need a strong marking campaign.
              Sunday night wouldn't work for many in my troop. Also, our CO wouldn't approve. Sunday night is when they have their high school youth group. My sons, for instance, couldn't do both.

              Scouting is for those who want to be scouts. No losers, no cool kids, none of that applies to scouts, IMHO.

              I do think that the long time in Cub Scouts is a dual edged sword. The first is that Cub Scouting is very different than Boy Scouting. I think some of the boys we recruit into Cubs thinking it was Boy Scouts quickly get turned off, and we lose them forever. Some would enjoy Boy Scouts, but don't like Cub Scouts. The second is that most boys who really like Cub Scouts are instant recruits for boy scouts. I think G2SS hurts us a lot, especially with Cub Scouts. I know there are reasons for those restrictions, but they are almost to the point of bubble wrapping.

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              • #22
                Originally posted by RandyPrice View Post

                Our Troop has some boys that are talented playing sports and are looking at scholarship potential, so choosing between the two is a no brainer.
                Your troop has a few boys talented in playing sports and they are still in scouts. Hmm, Randy, you ask a question but don't seem to like the answers. You keep supporting my point. Boys go where the fun is. If the BSA is losing scouts, it needs to look into its program to fix the problem.

                I admit the gay issue has taken the BSA down to its knees. That should have been no surprise, it has been said many times over the years that youth scouting organizations in North America that changed their admission policies to accept gays have never had the numbers they had before the policy change. And the PC activist aren't through, just ask Merlin. But at some point when all the political correctness chaff is separated and the BSA is beat down to where program determines its membership numbers, National will have to hold itself accountable. Families will go where they have the most fun.

                Barry
                Last edited by Eagledad; 04-29-2014, 11:21 AM.

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                • #23
                  Originally posted by perdidochas View Post

                  Sunday night wouldn't work for many in my troop. Also, our CO wouldn't approve. Sunday night is when they have their high school youth group. My sons, for instance, couldn't do both.

                  Scouting is for those who want to be scouts. No losers, no cool kids, none of that applies to scouts, IMHO.
                  Sunday night - I am sure it won't work for some. let them do Monday or another night. But I see many many empty churches on Sunday night. And it would work well for me and my family.

                  Agreed that "cool" and "loser" does not necessarily apply to scouting. I'm just saying that I'm very comfortable now suggesting that scouts either are able to work within the boundaries or suggesting they explore other options. Both behavior issues and diagnosed issues.

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