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Do Council mergers ever increase scout membership?

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I don't have any data' date=' but my guess is it would have zero, or negative impact on membership. The Total Available Youth (TAY) for the gegraphic area, and you would have fewer professionals (DEs) out there going after them. The only reason for a merger is to reduce overhead costs.[/quote']


Questionable in this case. Both councils are in the black. A council office would have been sold so building operation costs cut, but the resulting merged council professional staff would have increased. A finance director, program director, and DE would have been added if the merger would have been approved. Office and camp staff would have decreased (less service to scouts)





Other reasons for a mergers:

- old fashion power play

- cash in assets and place money in endowment funds or other council expenses.

- pooled resources to increase membership ( something I doubt)


I hope both councils focus now on program but there may be more after tremors.


Rather surprised that wisdom of volunteers won out.

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In 1972, the two Orange County, California, councils recombined into a single council.


This action seems to have been stimulated by the decisions of the two councils to sell their respective camps and build larger camps in more remote locations.


The result of combining was a single super camp, surrounded by a National Wilderness Area, and a camp sinking fund that keeps getting bigger despite occasional "dividends" to the well-funded council's general fund.


It claimed 25,803 youth in traditional units in 2013. Cannot find more recent numbers.

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This merger study lasted 18 months - time and money! After this stunning merger rejection, some "spinning" is going on- "Well hrrrump, this study did identify areas where... and was hence worthwhile", but 90% of these issues were already known before the study.


May the pro's with just MERGER on the mind leave both councils.


For those pro's remaining, this paradox, Recruiting does not increase membership, program does. If we build it, they will come - quality units (not Excellence nonsense) and local camps both with cool scout adventure programs.


Another $0.02

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"For those pro's remaining, this paradox, Recruiting does not increase membership, program does. If we build it, they will come - quality units (not Excellence nonsense) and local camps both with cool scout adventure programs."



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Glad to see it was turned down. Sure the merged council may have saved money but would have less units, less FOS and more folks wishing they had never voted for the merge. If I was a betting man, merge talks aren't over yet and when the merge goes through there will be an SE, from one of the two, promoted to a larger council somewhere else

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I wondered if any Council mergers increased the number of Boy Scouts in the affected area in a year' date=' 3 years, 5 years?[/quote']

I think there are a lot of variables to such a situation.


It all depends on the reasons for the merger and the situations of each council. No two councils are the same, and no two mergers are the same. And they aren't frequent enough to draw any meaningful conclusions on trends or cause/effect.


So lets say Council A is fairly strong and has 10,000 members and Council B is struggling and has 2,000 members. The two merge (so on day #1 as the newly formed Council AB there are 12,000 members). What does that council look like in 3 years or 5 years? More Scouts? Less Scouts? The same?


Well five years later, Council AB may have grown and has 15,000 members...it may have shrunk and has 10,000 members. Or it may have stayed the same with 12,000 members.


But what would Council A and Council B look like if they hadn't merged. Both councils may have grown (to 12,000 and 3,000; a total of 15,000)... both may have shrunk (to 8,500 and 1,500; a total of 10,000).... Council A may have grown to 12,000 members (hooray!) but Council B decreased to 2,000, giving a net loss of 1,000 to the area of the two councils (boo!).


Membership could increase due to more efficiency within the council or better support and resources for what may have been a struggling council. For example: the DEs in the areas of the once struggling Council B may now have a burden lifted due to the merger and can focus on the program and recruitment instead of spending so much time on fundraising and balancing their budget. Or it can provide more support staff or volunteers within an expanded council for certain programs - rather than having two small committees working on recruitment for each separate council, you'll now have one big/strong committee working to serve the whole area. Or Council B, which never had their own camp, now has access to a home council camp. Or Council B had a weak OA lodge, and its members are now is part of a strong lodge. Or Council B never held a Cub Scout Day Camp due to no volunteers to organize it, now they have Day Camps.


Or it may decrease membership due to the growth and streamlining of operations. For example: the council registrar now has 50% more units to deal with and is more overworked and so the customer service performance drops. Or rather than having 6 DEs in Council A and 4 in Council B (a total of 10 DEs), the new council may reorganize and have 8 DEs serving the area. Some volunteers who liked being a "big fish in a small pond" could feel lost in a bigger council. Some traditions may be lost; culture clashes may occur over such things as OA traditions, camp properties, and "the way things should be done." Mergers can be tough.


And membership may decrease after a merger but it not be a "failure." If Council A and Council B had been seeing a combined drop of 10% in membership each year, after they merge they probably will still see membership drop... but maybe it will only by 5% (they lose 600 Scouts) which is much better than if they hadn't merged and had lost 1,200 Scouts in the area.


And membership may increase after a merger but it could be a "failure." If the new Council AB grows from 12,000 members to 15,000 members by 2017 that may seem good for the area... But if they hadn't merged perhaps they could have grown to 14,000 and 5,000 members (a combined 19,000). Who knows?


Two councils may merge and see growth or decrease in membership this is 100% unrelated to the merger.


There are councils that have handled mergers very well and have benefited from them (strengthening programs, increasing membership, etc.) And I'm sure there are councils who have managed them poorly and the areas are worse off as a result. I don't think there is a "one size fits all" answer to how a council merger will affect an area.


Long story short: it's complicated.

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Same state, Massachusetts, and another council, Annawon, is currently being pressured to merge. There is less transparency in this case, e.g., is National denying a charter to Annawon Council due to ...? Anyone have more info?


Annawon does have a symbiotic relationship with Narragansett Council regarding summer camps. Annawon runs a resident Cub Scout Camp Norse for both councils while Narragansett runs a boy scout camp for both. Seems practical but some pro's see it as a reason to merge. I don't necessarily agree.


Boston Minuteman gets into similar resource and activity relationships with neighboring councils and then a year or two later there are merger talks, e.g., Yankee Clipper Council. In my experience, merger talks seem an irresistible force that rarely meets any object (transparency and informed, engaged CO's), sort of like an IRS audit. Suddenly everything is about merger, resistance is futile, you will be absorbed. Meanwhile the program is sidelined and we have MBA-bobblehead talk - "establish a dialog with stakeholders to establish best practices..."




The Annawon Council finds itself facing an unforeseen situation, having been told by BSA National that we must merge with a nearby council. So far, the Annawon Council's Study Committee has met with both of our neighboring councils -- Narragansett Council to our south and Old Colony Council to our north. Each council presents a variety of opportunities for our scouts, staff, and volunteers. Both councils provide rich programs and training for youth and adults. Both councils have excellent facilities. Both councils have great leadership to continue the Scouting experience that we know and love. And we have much to offer them too.

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