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British Scouting changes oath

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JD, they're not MY stats -- they come directly from the article. But I agree that its hard to know the causation behind the correlation.


And it turns out that BSA has had similar losses over that time period:


1985: 4,845,040 (http://www.bsa14.org/history/1980.html)

2003: 3,200,218 (http://www.scouting.org/factsheets/02-501.html)


diff: 1,644,822 or 34%



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Fgoodwin, didn't mean to personalize it - sorry if I came on too strong.


Ed, can you take me a step further? I don't know enough about Buddhism to split this hair - I'm betting I'm not the only reader who's curious.



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JD: no offense taken -- if anyone should apologize, I should apologize to you. It was I who came on too strong, and I am sorry.


Being in a Scout Forum is no guarantee that I won't forget the Scout Oath and Law now and then . . .

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It would be very wrong of me to try and make it seem that I in any way represent or talk with any real authority when it comes to The Scout Association. I don't.

I still have some dealings with UK Scouting, mainly because of a Scout Headquarters that is worth a very large amount of money and being as there is no longer a Scouting unit there it is going back to the Scout Association. I am listed as a trustee of the building. I was up until about a year ago still listed as a member of the 17th Fulham (Pioneers). However when the Scout Group was no longer. I didn't remain a member.

I have been very happy to serve in what way I can, here in the USA for the last twenty years.

Where I live now is not a diverse area, in fact the HS that my son attends has less than ten African American students and I don't think it has any Hispanic, or Native American Students. But I live out in the sticks. The Council has very few scouts that would not fall under the heading of white.

Please don't get back to me with the correct terminology, I'm tired and it's been a long day!

Back home twenty years ago, the Troop I served as Scout Leader (Scoutmaster) was located in Southwest London. At our peak, before I split the Troop, we had 90 Scouts (11 -16 Year old) About 40% of these were white, the other 60% were from all over the globe. We had a lot of West Indians Scouts, most of their parents were from Jamaica, Barbados and that neck of the woods. We also had a lot of Asian Scouts, their parents came from India and Pakistan.

We had a couple of Jewish Scouts and the Religious believes were many.

Just like we have Harlem in New York, twenty years ago we had areas of London that became home to one race more than another. Where I lived at one time had been home to a lot of people from Ireland. I remember taking Her Who Must Be Obeyed to a bar in Hammersmith, where an Irish band was playing and some guys came around collecting money to support the IRA. Brixton, was home to a lot of West Indians. Ealing, where I went to college was home to a lot of Sheiks.

Some of these areas became the way they were because, the white people didn't want a person who was different living next door. My Father told me that when he first came to London in the 1940's employers would have help wanted signs or ads but it stated very clearly that "No Irish need apply. The same sign was on rental properties. My Mother loved our Pakistani Doctor, but used the term Darkies, for West Indians.

My Parents remained Irish all their lives. Citizenship was a little messed up, but that's a long and very boring story. I at present hold dual citizenship, both English and Irish.

In this forum not so long back there was a thread about what to do at a Hockey game when the Canadian National Anthem was played? I mentioned that when the Pledge of Allegiance is said at Scout meetings I stand quietly but do salute the American Flag. Some Forum members questioned my saluting the flag?

I did a little research and found out that it my choice.

The rules of the BSA were changed several years ago, and Non- Americans were allowed to become Leaders in the BSA.

I have heard but never seen talk about having people like me not say " and my country" and replace it with "and in the country in which I'm now living".

I view the USA as being mine, because I live here, I pay taxes here,My wife is a very proud American as is my son and chances are that I'm going to be here until the day that I die. I also love the USA and think that maybe one day I will understand some of the things that I still don't understand!!

With the UK being so diverse, I can see that some people would not be happy promising to do their duty to the Queen. I am not saying that I agree with them, but I can see it.

There were times when things happened in Northern Ireland, when I was very unhappy with what was being done there in the name of the Queen!!

As for the decline in membership in the UK, I have no idea what was going wrong. I could point the finger and say how the District I was in from age 8 till 28, had 19 Scout Troops, 21 Cub Scout packs and about half a dozen Venture Units and today there is no longer a District it has been merged with five other Districts, because there were only 8 Scouting units operating in the old District. This however doesn't tell the whole story. The real story has to do with the cost of property.

About 45 years ago my Father bought a house in the area, it was the first house on that street that sold for over 1,000 Pounds (The exchange rate really doesn't make any difference. I think the rate today is something like one pound UK buys about $1.85, but I haven't checked lately) Everyone said he was nuts and he would never get his money back. About 25 years ago I bought the house next door and paid 76,000 pounds. My Mother passed away a few years ago and the house that Dad paid a little over 1,000 was sold to settle the estate, it sold for 435,000 pounds. People are changing the what were family houses into apartments and they aren't having kids. Not only is there no room, but they can't afford them. Of course this isn't happening all over the UK.

I think that the Scout Association, seen the decline in membership about ten years ago. They spent a lot of time looking at what could be done.

They looked back at the last time the program was really changed back in 1969. They moved ahead with new programs (Which I think look very much like the pre-1969 programs, with different names) They changed the uniforms, in fact they made a lot of changes.

I don't live there so I don't know the mood of the people. I hear that Sir Elton John is waiting till after Christmas to get married to a man, the wait is because then it will be legal. Homosexuals do seem to be accepted in a more friendly light than over here in the USA. I don't know what the reason is or even if there is a reason.

Friends of mine that are Leaders over there seem to be getting used to the new programs, but only time will tell if the changes will help stop the decline in membership.

I like a lot of the ideas that they have come up with, but I don't have any idea if they would or could work over here.

I admire the fact that they seen that there was a problem and done what they thought would work for them, of course what might work for them doesn't necessarily mean it would work over here.

A very dear friend of mine is the Group Scout Leader of the 2nd Cuddington (Rowe) Scout Group, which is a litte way (A few miles from London.

They have a web site which does need a little updating but if you visit it, I think you will see a group of Scouts (OK a few are female!) having a good time doing very much the same things that our Scouts do over here.



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Interesting question...


In these times of declining membership, changing definitions of childhood, fewer volunteers putting in less time, smaller donations, etc., which kind of youth group will survive- those that change to reflect the current times or those that try to reflect the heyday of their movement?


You can find examples of both situations- and we must not forget that the BSA almost killed itself back in the dread 70's upheavals trying to 'modernize' the program.


Still... some Scouting literature used to state that a Cub unit could reasonably expect to enroll about 1 out of 4 eligible youth. Now, we are serving something like (263,469 Tiger Cubs in 2003, out of 2,109,868 eligible boys in 2000 [i could not find stats for the same years]). We are now serving about 1 in 9 or 10 boys with drop out rates of about 50% by Boy Scouts.


As things are right now, I think the BSA has shifted from a 'in the midst of our culture' group to a more outskirts organization. People today seem to know less about us than ever- unless, of course, something has kicked the name up in the media- usually bad stuff. (sigh).


It will be interesting to watch this phase of our evolution unfold!

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Eamonn, thanks for your post. You DO have a way with words. And thanks for the link; looks like kids having fun, just like kids everywhere.



I'd have to agree that on some issues of importance, BSA seems to be getting out of the mainstream. Some see that as a problem for BSA, while some wear it like a badge of honor. Personally, I don't think BSA can survive thinking that what worked in 1912 will work 100 years later in all cases. The trick is to retain the values that are truly "timeless", things like honesty and integrity, while discarding those values that were based on the views of the times. How you do that I'm not really sure.


Could you expand a little on what happened in the 70's with Scouting that you noted in your post?

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The numbers are falling but it depends on what numbers your looking at. (sorry about the alignment)


Year Cubs Scouts Venturers LFL Traditional Scout Total Youth Y2Y

1990 2,167,062 1,010,857 740,753 374,314 3,918,672 4,292,986

1991 2,145,870 988,270 367,262 648,257 3,501,402 4,149,659 -3.34%

1992 2,110,633 975,589 367,093 696,833 3,453,315 4,150,148 0.01%

1993 2,067,279 979,192 380,903 737,799 3,427,374 4,165,173 0.36%

1994 2,031,282 978,608 393,444 784,689 3,403,334 4,188,023 0.55%

1995 2,063,547 989,343 407,905 837,407 3,460,795 4,298,202 2.63%

1996 2,095,811 1,000,078 422,366 880,422 3,518,255 4,398,677 2.34%

1997 2,152,387 1,016,383 455,268 949,850 3,624,038 4,573,888 3.98%

1998 2,171,987 1,023,442 188,075 1,161,733 3,383,504 4,545,237 -0.63%

1999 2,181,013 1,028,353 202,486 1,373,615 3,411,852 4,785,467 5.29%

2000 2,114,420 1,003,691 233,858 1,589,988 3,351,969 4,941,957 3.27%

2001 2,043,478 1,005,592 276,434 1,697,701 3,325,504 5,023,205 1.64%

2002 2,000,000 1,000,000 315,296 1,721,957 3,315,296 5,037,253 0.28%

2003 1,914,425 997,398 288,395 1,555,226 3,200,218 4,755,444 -5.59%


Canada is really slipping


Year Cubs Scouts Venturers Rovers Leaders Total Youth

1990 78345 33326 6859 1658 43948 243,114

1991 75965 33122 7123 1660 43974 238,441

1992 73303 32651 7586 1770 43515 233,007

1993 70394 32724 7855 1646 42979 225,301

1994 67340 31428 7586 1507 41365 214,119

1995 64309 31583 8060 1612 39663 207,150

1996 65702 32817 8532 1641 40161 212,841

1997 64179 32932 8510 1693 39656 210,365

1998 59748 29716 8711 1670 37492 195,388

1999 57310 28904 8497 1783 35377 186,311

2000 53842 27674 8026 1627 32934 175,133

2001 49776 25452 7394 1487 133,884

2002 45202 23495 6594 1368 121,185

2003 38444 20478 5314 1116 103,510


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