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CricketEagle

Path To Save Bsa?

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What could happen ...

Some churches leave, and without their support, the BSA gets MUCH smaller, but not to the point of disappearing.  More council mergers, less national staff, districts might even disapper entirely for smaller councils.  Lots of summer camp sales and closures - forcing the Troops to provide more of their own advancement programs.  But I do not think that the size gets so small that a critical mass necessary to produce Scouts books, uniforms, and awards does not exist. Self Insuring may no longer be possible, and the cost per scout also goes up, further reducing membership.

 

I'd be curious to hear what membership level you believe is the critical mass point.  I've only done a cursory review of the financial reports that were posted here somewhere so I haven't formed an opinion yet.

 

One possibility of some recovery is that the National Organization takes the Franchise model one step further and allows the Churches take full posession of their Scouting program, paying a single license fee for use of Books, awards, uniforms; but where the BSA is otherwise totally hands off on their operations.  Maybe, like we briefly did with AHG, the leader training and/or camps are opened up and available for the new groups' use.

 

Another is moving to the GSUSA model where the units belong to the council.  Although it seems like it would change the liability model greatly (would the council 501c3's now be liable for primary insurance on everything?) I think that model would be easier to manage for the National Council.

 

These are really good questions.

 

As for critical mass, I am not sure what the National number of scouts would be, but I expect with even as few as a couple hundred thousand or even less, there would be firms willing to produce the uniforms, patches, etc.  Heck, I was a member of an explorer post in the 80's when they discontinued makeing the olive green shirts, we just started ordering green work shirts from either Sears or JC Pennys, other than the embroidered "Boy Scouts of America" it was hard to tell the difference.

 

As for making books, requirements, etc.; the cost of printing has come down so much that that is not really the issue, and there are many would would probably even volunteer to be "section authors", so we'd really only have to pay for an editorial staff, typesetting and maybe illustrations or photography (or pay royalties to those providing such).

 

Training becomes a bigger issue, at some point trying to put on a IOSL, Woodbadge, or University of Scouting is no longer worth the instructor's time, if there are too few people to train, or not worth the scouter's time to travel is they are too few and far between.

 

Finally, Summer camps are probably the most at risk, the drop in attendance will force some camps to close, but those that remain may pick up the slack.  This is not my greatest fear.  While I was program director for a camp, due to poor support from our council (that really wanted to find a way to sell the camp), we actually feel from 3 weeks of campers (3-4 being typical for the prior decade), to two weeks, before we finally turned it around and got back to 3 ( I believe they were back up to 4 a couple years later, I'm not sure where they are now - the camp is still there, but the council merged.)

 

The GSUSA model might also work, getting rid of the CO system; but that would probably increase costs as more professionals (and less volunteers) now have to do the jobs of recruiting, activities, financial management, leader vetting, etc.

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But you posted something abhorrent and hateful from a VERY extreme person exposing killing someone. NO ONE here has posted ANYTHING remotely similar about those supporting gay rights. Yours was overkill no matter how much you try to window dress it.

 

The fact you are even trying to defend it with this lame excuse make even more sad.

I had no intention of offending anyone when I made that post, nor did I try and imply that anyone here would agree with it (I actually though here was something we all could agree on - that guy is a complete wacko). However, obviously I blew it and it wasn't taken that way. For that, I apologize.

 

While some of us strongly disagree on this issue, I have no doubt that everyone involved with this discussion here are scouters of good character. It's just that we are passionate about this because we all really care.

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There are those on this forum who would find direct quotes from the Bible offensive as would others who would find the writings of other religions offensive.  It goes with the territory.

 

Whereas this is a faith based discussion, one cannot show evidence of the basis of one's faith for fear of ithe ntolerance of others.  On the other hand BSA accepts the faith teachings of those who do adhere to that which would be banned on this forum.

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These are really good questions.

 

As for critical mass, I am not sure what the National number of scouts would be, but I expect with even as few as a couple hundred thousand or even less, there would be firms willing to produce the uniforms, patches, etc.  Heck, I was a member of an explorer post in the 80's when they discontinued makeing the olive green shirts, we just started ordering green work shirts from either Sears or JC Pennys, other than the embroidered "Boy Scouts of America" it was hard to tell the difference.

 

As for making books, requirements, etc.; the cost of printing has come down so much that that is not really the issue, and there are many would would probably even volunteer to be "section authors", so we'd really only have to pay for an editorial staff, typesetting and maybe illustrations or photography (or pay royalties to those providing such).

 

Training becomes a bigger issue, at some point trying to put on a IOSL, Woodbadge, or University of Scouting is no longer worth the instructor's time, if there are too few people to train, or not worth the scouter's time to travel is they are too few and far between.

 

Finally, Summer camps are probably the most at risk, the drop in attendance will force some camps to close, but those that remain may pick up the slack.  This is not my greatest fear.  While I was program director for a camp, due to poor support from our council (that really wanted to find a way to sell the camp), we actually feel from 3 weeks of campers (3-4 being typical for the prior decade), to two weeks, before we finally turned it around and got back to 3 ( I believe they were back up to 4 a couple years later, I'm not sure where they are now - the camp is still there, but the council merged.)

 

The GSUSA model might also work, getting rid of the CO system; but that would probably increase costs as more professionals (and less volunteers) now have to do the jobs of recruiting, activities, financial management, leader vetting, etc.

Thanks for the thoughts.  When I was thinking about critical mass I was thinking more about the membership level necessary to keep the fixed costs afloat.  In theory one could raise prices on all the variable stuff (clothing, gear, activities, etc.) although I suspect the demand would be very elastic.  Then again I suspect that would also hold for an increase in charter renewal fees and annual membership fees.

 

It does seem like getting a unit off the ground in the council ownership model would take much longer.  I don't know the GSUSA model.  I assumed they had the concept of a local committee as well as local leaders.  If that was the case once the committee for a unit was running wouldn't they pick up all the same things the current committees handle?  Finances get trickier I suppose.

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The question assumes that something needs to happen to save the BSA. This is not at all apparent. There are many organizations that are much much smaller than BSA and survive just fine.

 

Besides, given the societal trends towards acceptance of gays, it seems to me that the BSA was in much more danger if they did not adapt. Younger people are much more accepting than older people, and all groups have been growing more accepting over time.

 

http://www.pewforum.org/2015/07/29/graphics-slideshow-changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/

 

The BSA was going to have to do one of two things: either accept gay leaders, or else declare themselves a fully Christian organization along the lines of Royal Rangers or Trail Life. There was no way they were going to choose the purely Christian route, so this decision was inevitable.

 

Change is sweeping over the country on this topic - from the liberal states to the more conservative states, from liberal civic groups to more conservative civic groups, finally reaching the U.S. military and the Boy Scouts, and it is going to move through the religious organizations as well, from the more liberal groups through at least some of the more conservative ones.

 

Adapt and surf the wave of change, or build sand castles against the rising tide.  BSA is adapting and any other decision would have been doomed.

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The trouble is, BSA has been a very slowly sinking ship for most of the last several decades. The recent changes may have accelerated that sinking, but the trend line was downwards in any case.

 

I don't think anyone honestly believes the recent changes will save the organization, nor totally kill it.

 

So, that brings up the question, is the BSA getting smaller year on year, indefinitely, an acceptable thing?

 

Can BSA's decline be reversed? Should it be?

 

What strategies might be able to turn things around? Would it still be Scouting after those strategies were implemented?

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The trouble is, BSA has been a very slowly sinking ship for most of the last several decades. The recent changes may have accelerated that sinking, but the trend line was downwards in any case.

 

I don't think anyone honestly believes the recent changes will save the organization, nor totally kill it.

 

So, that brings up the question, is the BSA getting smaller year on year, indefinitely, an acceptable thing?

 

Can BSA's decline be reversed? Should it be?

 

What strategies might be able to turn things around? Would it still be Scouting after those strategies were implemented?

 

Before 2013 (1994-2012) the organization averaged 3% year-on-year membership drops.

 

After 2013 the organization has averaged 6-7% year-on-year membership drops.

 

We shall see what 2015 brings. My bet is doubel-digit drops.

 

When my canoe has a hole in it, I don't punch a larger hole in it to make it sink faster. I patch it and get to dry land.

Edited by Bad Wolf

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Nope, making the hole bigger is a really stupid idea, @.  Everyone in the BSA knows that you simply make another hole on the other side of the canoe so the water can run out.

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@@Scouter Matt, just my view but:

 

1) Get over the idea that anyone will change anyone's mind on anything related to gays. I have yet to see anyone say "you know, you're right, I think I've had this all wrong." Accept that a bunch of people will leave, wish them luck. For those that struggle with this and stay, listen to what their units want and help them out.

 

2) Get back to the outdoors. That's what we do best and that's the best way to teach kids to make good decisions. Figure it out with your buddies while having fun.

 

3) Look at British Scouting as they are growing. Yes, they allow girls but it's only 20% that are interested. Skip and Ian may be scratching their heads while watching this site but they belong to a group that is growing.

 

4) Start looking for a silver lining. National will have to cut the bloat if half the scouts leave. If Trail Life grows then maybe the competition will force the BSA to improve. I know this is a long shot but maybe summer camps will be forced to get out of the MB mill model and into the summer camp model.

 

5) Maybe this will help both the churches and scout units. The churches might have to drop out or go all in. My troop is obviously mixed religiously and so there is little I can do that will help the religious upbringing of my scouts. The fact that my CO is a church has nothing to do with my program. For those units that want their program closely aligned to their religion  they should go all in and limit their scouts to their religion. Everyone would be happier and more respectful of each other. The only problem I see is the LDS as, for some reason I don't understand, TL won't take them. So, they're likely gone but then they can make a program they like. If they take all the money they give to the BSA they could make what they really want for their boys.

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When doing the Oath/Promise, just skip the part where you pledge your honor to one's duty towards God.  Just take a big breath there and when the time comes to do the morally straight part, take another long breath.  That way one doesn't need to answer to God why one would need to participate in a program that really doesn't take those things as seriously as you do.

 

I'm thinking that just might work for me.

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Just heard three units in council are disbanding. Their CO (church of Christ) has dropped them. Leaders have no time to find a new CO so they are sending those interested in continuing to other units. Their reported % going to the other units? 30%.

 

DEs running around trying to put their finger in the dyke.

Off topic. What happens to that units equipment? Can they donate it to another unit? Does the church keep it? Does it go to national?

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Off topic. What happens to that units equipment? Can they donate it to another unit? Does the church keep it? Does it go to national?

Equipment belongs to the CO, so it's their decision how they use or dispose of it. Edited by qwazse

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http://www.scouting.org/filestore/mission/pdf/Fiscal_Policies_Procedures_BSA_Units.pdf. this doc suggests the co keeps the gear or turns it over to council.

 

Seems to say that the CO or council hold the money and gear in trust until it can be used for BSA programs. No mention that the CO owns the unit gear or money.

 

From the above link.

 

What happens to the unit funds and equipment should the unit dissolve?

In the event of the dissolution of a unit or the revocation or lapse of its charter, the unit committee shall apply unit funds and property to the payment of unit obligations and shall turn over the surplus, if any, to the local council. In the case of a chartered organization, any funds or equipment that may have been secured as property of the unit shall be held in trust by the chartered organization or the council, as may be agreed upon, pending reorganization of the unit or for the promotion of the program of the Boy Scouts of America

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@@RememberSchiff except that in that circular its says in another paragraph that "Your unit “belongs†to your chartered organization, not to your local council."

 

I read that as the CO has right of first refusal on the money and gear.

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