Well, I guess I look at it a bit differently. If we have a program that really can change the world for the better, then we have an obligation to get as many people into it as we can. If it isn't growing, that means one of two things: Either the program isn't that great after all, or the stewards and guides of the program over the years broke it. We can't blame the evolution of society for membership decline. The job of stewards and guides is to maintain the fundamental operating principles of the program while keeping it current and relevant to the changing needs and preferences of our target market.
Once, our troop was back-packing in mid-October in the mountains of western Pennsylvania on a narrow, slanting trial above a steep slope that went down several hundred rocky feet to a cold reservoir. Freezing rain began - instant ice. The issue was whether to go back to the cars at the trail-head, four miles back, or to push on the the campsite twice as far down the trail, located in a steep bowl. The two adults, not commissioned Scouters - parents, insisted that the troop go on. The SPL decided to return to the cars, and all the Scouts accompanied him as the adults loudly questioned his judgment and courage ("wimp"). That SPL was remarkable. I suspect that a more typical SPL , even at sixteen, would have been intimidated onto going on. Neither adult was his parent. We made sure in the future that they were never alone with the Scouts absent commissioned Scouters, although they had attended a unit of training that stressed that Scouts were not a commando unit and safety came first. He was probably aided by the strong Troop culture that the SPL was the leader of the Troop at Troop activities.
The Troop took almost two full days to get home from the parking lot, instead of six hours, due to the many trees, utility poles, and utility wires down across the roads. The U.S. Forest Rangers and state and local authorities had to rescue several thousand hikers, backpackers, and campers from that area due to the ice. There were broken bones due to falls. Not our SPL's troop.
A Scout patrol is to be a largely self-selected team. Adult's may influence, but the decision should be by the team members collectively.
Even-sized patrols is an adult fascination unrelated to kids.
The Troop Guide is a coach/adviser/resource, not the Patrol leader, who is, of course, elected by the patrol members and no one else whatsoever.
If patrol members are not going on campouts, the program is not likely attractive to those "customers." One might ask them why. Will the PLC agree to what they want? Can the patrol or troop supply what they expect? Once we reached 2/3 of all Scout-age boys at least for some time. Now, it's under 5%. Only so much can be done. However, if we fail, it would be nice if we at least tried Scouting. Few troops do these days.
If they are not interested in Scouting, as can be the case, they are not customers. Was it their idea to join or the parents? If the latter, the odds were always against active participation for very long, if ever. (They WILL escape if it's not their idea: "Dad, I'd like to go but I have math homework I really, really need to do.")
Adults'primary responsibility, beyond safety, is training youth to lead. Get outside help if, as is often the case given average tenure, you need it. The Patrol Leaders are critical to keeping the patrol teams together. If a PL is a total disaster after trying everything available to help him or her do better, the PLC should be counselled to consider a new election. Election of a leader is not a mutual suicide pact.
Plaintiffs' lawyers are after money. That is their only objective for the most part. If the BSA gets "destroyed," they could not care less. The more they say, "It's not about money," the more it's about the money. For the victims, money can be secondary.
Let's look at a few of the comments and negatively weighted parts of this article.
First: Any of us that have been around for any length of time likely agree with the statement about inflated pay. It has been a thorn in our sides for years. But, it has gotten far better in the last decade or so. Also, it seems to me that most of the statements about pay do include the pension benefits and medical, so the total figure is skewed a bit. Still, in this area, it seems to be legitimate to challenge the system even more going forward. The comment about people standing in line likely refers to pension benefits I would think, and that is why they are there.
2nd: Isn't it time for the BSA and others that do not feel misleading journalism is right or fair challenge the terminology that the press has labeled the "Ineligible volunteer fils" with? They were never called the perversion files except by the yellow journalists. Similar to the "Obama Care" and "Affordable Care Act". By calling them perversion files, and intimating that BSA called them that as well, they put the worst meaning on them. But, many of the files had nothing to do with child abuse, but other things that would make someone not acceptible. Of course, I have no idea how to fight that, as that is what the sensationalist journalists (?) count on.
3rd: Why are these stories never complete with all the details. For example, how is BSA overall over say the past 3-4 decades in comparison to YMCA, Schools, Sports programs. I think the figures indicate that BSA percentage wise is the lowest, or almost the lowest, even though they are the largest group. Also, why do the stories seldom mention that the perpetrator was also in other positions that allowed them to be in youth contact, such as teaching, sports, church, or even law enforcement? Why is only the BSA being sued if the perpetrator also was part of these organizations?
4th: Explain to me, all you experts and finger pointers and so on how destroying BSA serves anybody's best interests, when the overall good over the past century plus of such magnitude, and continues to overall fulfill its aims? And why do the "ambulance chasers" think they should be able to bend the norm and drag parts of the organization into the melee? I truly have no idea what it is about destroying one of the better parts of our society that serves any positive purpose, other than more money in the lawyer's pocket. Our legal system truly needs some serious overhauling, not just because of this, but as see constantly in absolutely insane sawsuits and weird judgements that do not take actual personal responsibility into play.
5th: Is there really anyone making all the accusations and demands for compensation who actually thinks that that will solve the problem of evil people that prey on the weak and helpless, or will somehow make up for mistakes from decades ago? A few of the actual lawyers have suggested they and their clients only want the BSA to do better. Well, in the past twenty years BSA has developed the model YP plan, one that is a template for other groups. They have already been offering counseling and other help to past victims, before the lawsuits. And they continue to search for ways to improve that. Also, note that decades ago, the IEV files were something nobody else even had, nor made a broad effort to combat the bad actors. Some of the files note that family members and authorities chose to NOT do anything, for whatever reason. We are dragging problems of society from decades before, ones that were met with different methods then, into today's society and trying to somehow turn back the clock.
Finally: If you have read the report by the Doctor of psychology that investigate the IEV files in depth, you know that she notes that there is NO absolute way to stop these actions by sick, misguided individuals other than vigilance and tight rules. But the psychologists cannot absolutely determine who might perpetuate these crimes.