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Everything posted by ianwilkins

  1. That is your pool of future leaders right there. keep fishing, keep baiting the hook, and you should be able to reel the odd one in.
  2. ianwilkins

    What if the Boy Scouts went coed?

    Ok, I have figures split by gender since 2007.... 2007 Census 2014 Census Increase 2007-14 % Increase 2007-14 Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Male Female Total Beavers 89,455 9,420 98,875 104,173 18,472 122,645 11,697 7,610 19,307 13.08% 80.79% 19.53% Cubs 120,901 12,952 133,890 128,721 24,654 153,375 7,011 9,961 16,935 5.80% 76.91% 12.65% Scouts 87,767 14,775 102,542 97,848 26,866 124,714 9,214 10,723 19,937 10.50% 72.58% 19.44% Explorers 21,634 7,023 28,657 30,461 12,582 43,043 7,235 4,598 11,833 33.44% 65.47% 41.29% Network 1,164 594 1,758 1,586 789 2,375 300 116 416 25.77% 19.53% 23.66% The percentage change looks large for girls, as they were only allowed into all sections some time between 2002 and 2007 if memory serves. Explorers/Network started as mixed sections, replacing Venture Scouts (which was also mixed). It's pretty clear though, that the number of boys involved has increased, though at a much slower rate than the increase in the number of girls involved. Of course, the unknowable/unanswerable question is whether the number of boys joining would have increased at a faster rate, or, indeed, decreased, had there been no girls involved. Ian P.s. formatting...best this bear of very little brain can do.
  3. ianwilkins

    What if the Boy Scouts went coed?

    Your points in a random order... And, are they really growing? Who knows. As it happens, I know about the UK, have kept up to date a spreadsheet of census figures for the last few years. All sections have been growing every year since 2007. It's not massive growth, between 2% and 4%, but that's better than the 5% annual drops we were seeing for the 10 years previous. I think the crux of the issue is that actually you're right, if you're going co-ed to boost numbers, you're starting off on the wrong foot. I don't remember that scouts in the UK went fully co-ed to boost numbers, they changed the sections and the uniform and the programme at the same time, more or less, so it's all mixed up together. My personal opinion is that scouting in the UK had got a bit staid, was doing the same things in the same way, and wasn't appealing to as many boys, who didn't want to wear shorts and grey socks with garter tabs and a cap. Scouting had moved from becoming something loads of kids did in the 50s, something normal to a bit odd maybe. Those that enjoyed it enjoyed it, but many dropped out due to peer pressure, and that got worse as it got less cool. I think whether girls do it or not is almost irrelevant. If you want scouting to grow in the US, and you want it to grow because you believe that the skills and values scouting teaches are still important, then you need it to appeal to more kids, and their parents. I think that's the lesson you can take from the UK. Reading that back it seems obvious, but that's the nub of it. I run an Explorer Scout Unit in the UK, (aged 14-17) we went on summer camp, and most of the 23 were hammocking, gender becomes irrelevant really, the chance to wake up overlooking a creek, go sailing, poke fires with sticks, cook for themselves, kayak, hike, swim, lie on the jetty and watch for shooting stars, have fun together, that's what appeals. Yes, we've had couples on camp before, chats are had, boundary lines are drawn, and we get on with the fun stuff. That they can mix without the pressure of, say, a school disco, or somewhere else where it's all about coupling up and dating. Idle random thoughts from me. Ian
  4. ianwilkins

    Alternative to Fundraising.

    True story. I know a leader who, fed up with lack of support for any fundraising, turned round and said to the parents, you have a choice, join in, or we put the fees up by £30 ($45 ish) a year, or maybe more, and scrap fundraising. They unanimously voted to be chequebook parents. In a way, the leader was deeply saddened at the parents missing the point somewhat, then he thought about all the spare time he'd just made to go do his own hobbies...
  5. As someone British, running one of the older sections, since you asked, I'll answer.... Firstly, the age ranges, scouts is 10-14, explorers 14-18, Network 18-25. I run an explorer unit hands on, and am a manager for the leaders in the other two units in the area, I also know quite a few other explorer leaders. I would say it's a broad church. Some units successfully have the explorers running more or less every weekly meeting. I don't, I can't quite manage it somehow, the time taken to encourage them to be running something, and them to organise it, is time we could be doing something. Wrong and short term of me I know. Also, what do they want to do? What do they think they can do? Stuff they've done before. Then at some point in the future, they complain about things being repetitive. I also have close contact with the local network, and as their nominated old codger is often busy, he often just acts as a key holder, letting them into the hall, and watching what unfolds that the network have already planned. So they are very much self led. The age of leaders for the Explorer section? Well, in our case, I think all of us are over 40, or very close to it, some over 50. I did have one 20 year old who was at the local university for a couple of years, she was great, and I know other units have a younger leadership team, two of my ex-explorer scouts, and queens scouts, have moved away and are now leaders in other explorer units, one's 26, ones 28. As for parents helping? Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn't, one of the other leaders had all three of his kids through the unit, another unit in our district all three leaders have kids in the unit, while another, none of the leaders have kids in the unit. It clearly wouldn't work if the kid has a poor relationship with parents, or is rebelling, or something teenagery - some will spend the whole evening chatting happily to me, then grunt when mum picks them up and says "have a good evening?", having her helping for the evening would cramp their style somewhat I reckon. Your comment about do-ers and followers is very true, the more do-ers you have, the more self led evenings can be run, though sometimes if you only have one do-er, they will get fed up with always being the one that does stuff, my usual response is "welcome to my world". We've had good times when we've had more do-ers, and other times when everyone seems to be waiting for me to do everything. I need to work out how to turn more followers into do-ers! Ian
  6. Forgive me if I'm misunderstanding, but your local council were telling individual scouts they would have to pay seventeen *thousand* dollars to attend the Japan Jamboree? If that's the case...(a) how on earth did they justify that? and (b) no, that doesn't sound like a good value trip at that price at all. Cruel to make it that much for something that they'll only have one chance to go on as a participant.
  7. Are you saying the individual fee for participants is $17,000? How on earth does it get so high? We in the UK were charged about $4500, as a top tier country our Jamboree fees help those from poorer countries go. I'd guess USA is a top tier country too. Yes, I have my doubts about the Jamboree too, a lot of effort for the few, when we should be providing for the many. On the other hand, it still looks amazing, and I wish I'd gone to the Japan one, and I hope the three we sent had a ball. Ian
  8. ianwilkins

    Hi From The Uk

    You should see people's faces when the bus pulls up and there's 36 kids/leaders queued up to get on. Only had one grumpy sourpuss (that I noticed) that moved rather than listen to any more of my explorers endless inane chatter, and it wasn't me. Being in our scarves seemed to be a conversation starter if anything. Met some nice people. It's not something we've done before, but it's certainly something to consider for the future.
  9. ianwilkins

    Hi From The Uk

    Hi folks, Ok, I've posted a few times already, so I'd better introduce myself. Hi, I'm Ian, and I'm an Explorer Scout Leader in Surrey, England. Explorer scouts is a mixed gender section for 14-17 year olds. I'm in overall charge of three units of Explorers in our local town (official title "District Explorer Scout Commissioner", but that feels a bit grandiose for little old me), and double up as a leader in one of the units because I don't want to be one of those manager admin people that never sees any kids, I like running things with the kids. I've been a leader since I aged out of the oldest section, *ahem* some time ago *cough*, with a break for a year or two when I started a family. As well as being a manager and a leader, I help run an annual national camp for Explorer Scouts which, I admit, isn't the most scouty thing in the world, Theme Park Camp http://themeparkcamp.uk, which does what it says on the tin, with added disco and fire. It brings scouts together from different places, and shows scouting is bigger than their unit, and they love it very much indeed. Does that all fill my time? Oh yes, but just for kicks I also run Jambowlree http://www.jambowlree.org, the World Scout Ten Pin Bowling Championship. An online unofficial annual competition open to all sections from all countries, that, thanks to this here internet, seems to have taken off somewhat, it seems Australians go bowling to escape the heat, and Canadians to get away from the cold. I'll no doubt mention it properly in another thread somewhere else, and maybe get a few US scouts involved too. Not just here to advertise stuff mind you, hoping to be able to chip my 2p in when I can. Ian
  10. ianwilkins

    Hi From The Uk

    Sorry for the slow replies. Been on scout camp. It's now an independent campsite for youth groups generally rather than scouting specifically. It got sold off by HQ and in order to get enough grant money to buy it they had to open it up a bit. I go to a few county meetings there. Road noise is probably worse than when you were last there. We, and when I say we, I mean, my explorers, rather than speaking for the UK or anything. We never have separate events for boys and girls. How does having it mixed go? Interesting. Actually, I'd say 99% of the time they're just rubbing along as friends, i.e. they're all just explorer scouts, and gender doesn't really come into it. Occasionally some of the boys show off to impress, usually they get cut down to size by a put down from one of the girls, or another boy. We have had the odd relationship develop, not usually on camp, and that makes future camps when they both go more interesting, but we have just set out some ground rules, and it usually passes by pretty smoothly. I'm generally dealing with sensible intelligent kids so if I treat them sensibly and they seem to respond. And yes, rarely, but sometimes, you do have to lay down the law about exactly what is and what isn't acceptable behaviour. Your mind is possibly filling in more blanks than their are to be filled here. It's tricky to explain. I treat mine like adults, and 99% of adults don't jump into bed and start making babies as soon as look at each other either. Personally, getting the explorers planning evenings is where I struggle. They don't seem to remember much specifics, so seem to suggest the same things over and over that they've only just done, and then complain that we're doing the same things. Or they enjoyed canoeing last term, so they want to do it again, only it's dark in the winter evenings (and even I'm not crazy enough to go canoeing in the dark). So often it's the leaders organising stuff, and the explorers being part of it. I could do better, and some do do better. Cost? My unit is £105 (about $150 I think) all camps are on top of that, with weekend camps varying from $30 to $80, and summer camp this year was $375. Our summer camp this year was not "high adventure", that landscape is a fair distance from where we live. It went as follows: Saturday, travel by train, train, ferry, bus, bus, short walk, arrive on site and set up Sunday, scout skills, swimming in a saltwater creek, canoeing Monday, sailing Tuesday, seaside and lifeboat (coastguard) station visit Wednesday, fossil hunt, swimming in the creek Thursday, day hike Friday, games, packing, swim/mud fight Saturday, travel home. We have got a weekend mountain walking in the autumn, we've also got another weekend where there's discos and a theme park visit (yes yes, Baden Powell spinning in his grave I know), and possibly another staying in a recreated iron age hut, all mud walls wooden beams and thatched roof. A lot of my kids have done multi day hikes with their schools, and seem to have been put off a bit, so if we do do them, they tend to be shorter more lightweight one. Other units may vary. Not sure if that answers all your questions, but there you go. Ian
  11. ianwilkins

    Hi From The Uk

    We are too also mostly volunteers with day jobs. The "chain of command" is all volunteer too. So my "scout boss" is a volunteer, the District Commissioner, in charge of all the scouts in the district (about 800 inc leaders in our case, this varies hugely). His "scout boss" is a volunteer, the County Commissioner (about 6000 inc leaders, again, varies hugely by county), and so on. The chief commissioner of the UK is a volunteer (basically the boring bits the chief scout used to do until they went down the celeb route), mind you, I've no idea when he actually does any of a day job, if he has one, seems to be scouting full time more or less. We do have paid employees, our county has a secretary to do admin stuff, and our campsite has staff too, I expect that's common to most counties, depending on size. There is a paid HQ team that do all sorts of things, inc running a phone helpline. I would say that if you exclude campsite staff, there's probably not more than 500-600 people employed over all. So, yes, I'm a volunteer, and it's my vocation, but it doesn't pay well, so I'm a java programmer in my other life. Ian
  12. ianwilkins

    Hi From The Uk

    I'll "do my best" as they say. Ian
  13. For a little international perspective, in the UK we have "Scouts" which is mixed, but it wasn't ever thus, and "GirlGuiding", which is girls only. The change to mixed scouting, well Ventures (15-21) were mixed from the mid 1970's. If memory serves they made it a local decision (sound familiar?) to go mixed in other sections in the early 2000's, then making it more or less compulsory around 2010. I was a leader of a Venture Unit at the time other sections went mixed, and there was resistance from some who feared they would have to "girlify" their programme. As far as I know, this hasn't happened, and membership has grown every year since 2002. GirlGuiding doesn't seem to be withering on the vine either, that seems as popular as ever. Ian
  14. ianwilkins

    San Diego Cub Scout hike through nude beach

    Yes and no. In the UK for example, there's no rules that say boys and girls can't share a tent. Mostly though, it doesn't happen. I've put Explorer Scouts (aged 14-17) in a large tent together, so there's 8 or so in one tent. I know some scout troops who do patrol camping, they all go in together, but most tie themselves in knots with separate tents for girls. Usually I do camp boys and girls separate. Sometimes on hikes I've put the one girl in a team into a tent with two boys, mum said "more fool them (the boys) if they try anything". A fellow leader went to Sweden in the 80s with Venture Scouts (15-21) and that was all mixed, and normal. We hosted some portuguese scouts last year, and they wanted separate tents for boys and girls, and one night we were on a ship, they wanted the female leaders in with the female explorers. Ian