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Travel Sports Coaches - rant

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Stosh,

 

Sorry about the confusion. The meds I'm back on are messing up my cognative ability. Can't wait to be off them for that aspect.

 

But it's great having NO pain whatsoever.

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Going on a tangent ... but I believe it's related because BSA is wrong to position scouts such that it competes with sports. 

 

BSA needs to market itself in a different way because BSA just can't compete head-on with sports for discipline, skills, etc.  

 

BSA needs to market itself on ...

  • outdoor experiences
  • building life-long friendships
  • leaders teaching values
  • taking scouts out of their comfort zone

IMHO, the direct effect is ...

  • Move Cub scouts to start in 2nd or 3rd grade.
    • Kindergarten and 1st graders are too young to develop those strong bonds outside their own families. 
    • Stop competing with other programs earlier and earlier to get scouts.  Even Tiger cub is too young to get the direct benefit of Cub Scouts.  
    • Recruiting too young forces an early choice between scouts and sports.  
      • ​The choices happens when sports experiences look challenging and disciplined and kindergarten and 1st grade cub scouts looks like unorganized mess.  
    • Starting too young burns out both the scout because the cub scout program is so repetitive.
    • Starting too young burns out the adults because cub scouts takes a lot of adult commitment.  three years is a stretch but doable.  Five+ or six+ years of Cub Scouts is just too too too long.   I've seen multiple dedicated families quit when one boy transitions up to boy scouts and the younger kids have already seen Cub Scouts for five plus years.  
      • Families get burned out keeping the cub scout program going.
    • Start Cub Scouts at the age when we can teach knives and fire and how to setup a tent.
  • Focus on what scouting is really about.  The patrol.  aka ... a set of close friends that want to do things together.
    • We restarted that focus recently and it is a huge hit.  Growing those friendships between the scouts is INVALUABLE. 
    • Plan times the scouts can just hang together to play games, watch movies or do what kids CURRENTLY want to do.  Heck, even Magic card tournaments is a good idea.  For scouts to succeed, the program needs to grow the strong friendships between our scouts. 
  • Teaching values
    • Scouts can't really compete on physical fitness or teaching discipline or teaming or reaching to do your best.  Sports is an excellent structure to do those things. We can value it and have it as a goal, but it's not a winning comparison with sports. 
    • Scouts competes on teaching character.  But we really need to think and develop HOW to teach character.  IMHO, so much of what I see defeats those lessons.  
    • By HOW, I think we need to consider other programs scouts should mimic.
      • Wrong comparison
        • Sports teams - We don't want leaders yelling at members and treating it as a competition.  Scouting is not competitive.  
        • ROTC - We don't want scouts being commanded.  Scouts choose to participate and can choose to not participate.  
      • Good comparison
        • Sunday school - Talking about values and beliefs.  Going out to do service and activities so members can practice values.  My experience is the best leadership in scouts is helpful and asking questions such as "How did that work for you?" 
    • To teach character, we need to almost continually talk about character.
    • To teach character, we can use the teaching of skills (knots, fire, first aid, etc) and how we teach those different things to communicate character lessons.  
    • To often we say scouting is about character, but we then try to compete where sports is strong.
  • Taking scouts out of their comfort zone
    • Repetitive programs are a killer.  No scout wants to do more than three district camporees.  
    • Heck, repetitive sports is a big negative too.
    • Keeping scouting fresh is important.  ... IMHO ... that's one reason cub scouts being 5+ years is really bad.
    •  
Edited by fred johnson
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I agree with Fred that the bsa focus and recruitment strategy is flawed. I agree that focusing on getting them younger and pushing eveything down to younger ages is counter productive. I disagree however with some of the other points. Marketing is non-existent, and the real focus is wrong headed as far as the boys are concerned. Fred doesnt address the lack of real marketing, and the focus on values/character will not appeal to the boys. While I agree that character is of high importance, it isnt a selling point to boys.

 

Long ago bsa used to market itself directly to boys selling the outdoor adventure. Boys life was full of tales of these adventures. Articles written by experts on how to make gear, ideas of how scouting skills were used in these adventures. The reading of others going on adventure was not limited to BL. Bsa also commissioned/published/allowed other books. These were fictional stories of patrols and their adventures and how they got started in scouting, etc... There was a strategy of saturation of the adventure narratives. Today this barely exists. With all of bsa's resources, why arent there countless youtube videos, vines, instagram, snapchat, etc... of scouting adventures? Since these do not exist except and unless they are done at the local level, I submit the bsa has zero marketing. The fact they talk about recruitment is case in point. They ask local areas to recruit because national doesnt market. Imagine if there were modern versions of the old bsa print publications ( modern videos) showcasing the fun and adventure of everyday scouting? The boys would come to us. Of course we would still have to deliver.

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... With all of bsa's resources, why arent there countless youtube videos, vines, instagram, snapchat, etc... of scouting adventures? .... Imagine if there were modern versions of the old bsa print publications ( modern videos) showcasing the fun and adventure of everyday scouting? The boys would come to us. Of course we would still have to deliver.

Backyard adventure doesn't sell Jamboree slots.

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    • Recruiting too young forces an early choice between scouts and sports.  

In the interest of time I'll comment on just this piece for now.  I disagree 100%.  If you wait the decision has already been made.  And it's not just sports, it could be any other potentially conflicting activity.  If a kid can't join scouts until say 3rd grade, the issue becomes "Johnny you can't do scouts because already have x, y, & z."  By recruiting early, you at least can get in the door with some you might not have otherwise seen if the start was later.

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Backyard adventure doesn't sell Jamboree slots.

 

Well, indirectly, it does.  Backyard adventure (or more specifically local adventure) can lead boys to become Scouts. If they aren't Scouts, there is no way they are going to Jamboree....

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Backyard adventure doesn't sell Jamboree slots.

Agreed. If that is the metric used by national, it is no wonder they suck at marketing.

 

Additionally, the scouts can and should move on to adventures farther and farther from their backyard.

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Rick, I would argue that injuries sustained by scouts on camping trips are just as severe, if not more so, than overuse injuries as well as injuries that they may encounter on the field.

 

Effective cross-training and responsible coaches and parents who do not drive their kids to the point at which they develop overuse injuries is the key to preventing them.

 

All of that said, and the greater issue though is that American youth are facing an epidemic of obesity. The level of physical conditioning, strength development and cardiovascular conditioning, that they gain through organized sports participation, whether participating at a recreational or travel level, is incredibly beneficial and necessary towards achieving optimal health.

 

Actually, my intent was not to say that youth or adults need to compete in sports in order to achieve optimal health. What I meant to indicate is that sports do offer a greater opportunity, than scouts, for youth to develop an exceptional degree of physical fitness and cardiovascular conditioning, which contributes tremendously towards achieving optimal health. 

 

One does not need to be a competitive athlete to achieve optimal health. Rather one must commit to leading a healthy lifestyle, i.e. abstinence from tobacco and smoking, minimal (if anything) alcohol use, maintaining a healthy diet and weight and exercising regularly. 

 

Granted as well there are certainly a number of unhealthy practices associated with some sports; e.g, tobacco chewing in baseball, steroid use and getting regularly pounded on in boxing, MMA or football all certainly detract from one's overall health.

 

Ultimately though, sports participation does offer youth a tremendous opportunity to improve their level of physical conditioning (improved heart rate/pulse, increased aerobic capacity, strength building and maintenance of a healthy weight).

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Actually, my intent was not to say that youth or adults need to compete in sports in order to achieve optimal health. What I meant to indicate is that sports do offer a greater opportunity, than scouts, for youth to develop an exceptional degree of physical fitness and cardiovascular conditioning, which contributes tremendously towards achieving optimal health. 

 

One does not need to be a competitive athlete to achieve optimal health. Rather one must commit to leading a healthy lifestyle, i.e. abstinence from tobacco and smoking, minimal (if anything) alcohol use, maintaining a healthy diet and weight and exercising regularly. 

 

Granted as well there are certainly a number of unhealthy practices associated with some sports; e.g, tobacco chewing in baseball, steroid use and getting regularly pounded on in boxing, MMA or football all certainly detract from one's overall health.

 

Ultimately though, sports participation does offer youth a tremendous opportunity to improve their level of physical conditioning (improved heart rate/pulse, increased aerobic capacity, strength building and maintenance of a healthy weight).

 

So does a treadmill and weight setup.  :)

 

Local gym memberships that people drive to are also an option.  :)

 

or one can just go out and walk, jog, run around the block if they are interested in that.

 

My daughter and her husband run about 12-15 miles every morning.  All that and they don't belong on any team or are involved in any organized sport program.

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Going on a tangent ... but I believe it's related because BSA is wrong to position scouts such that it competes with sports. 

 

BSA needs to market itself in a different way because BSA just can't compete head-on with sports for discipline, skills, etc.  

 

Yep, our troop average about 60% attendance during sport seasons, and 98% during off season. Boys want adventure as well as sports and don't want a hassle. There are a lot of troops that make sports a hassle. That being said, our PLC works hard, so scouts have to consider that when they are thinking about leadership.

 

Barry

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Five pages in and I don't recall seeing anyone mentioning one of the elephants in the room - The cost of higher education.  How many scholarships do colleges and universities give out for Scouting?  How many do they give out for Athletics?  Yes - it's going to be pretty unlikely that a High Schooler is going to get a scholarship for football or basketball but schools offer scholarships for a lot of sports other than football and basketball.  Hardly anyone pays any reall attention to soccer, or baseball, or swimming, or tennis, or lacrosse (etc., etc.) yet all of these sports have scholarships from most schools that offer these sports.

 

Had a tenant that offers elite volleyball training - their sales pitch to the kids is Olympics - their sales pitch to parents is Scholarships. 

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Five pages in and I don't recall seeing anyone mentioning one of the elephants in the room - The cost of higher education.  How many scholarships do colleges and universities give out for Scouting?  How many do they give out for Athletics?  Yes - it's going to be pretty unlikely that a High Schooler is going to get a scholarship for football or basketball but schools offer scholarships for a lot of sports other than football and basketball.  Hardly anyone pays any reall attention to soccer, or baseball, or swimming, or tennis, or lacrosse (etc., etc.) yet all of these sports have scholarships from most schools that offer these sports.

 

Had a tenant that offers elite volleyball training - their sales pitch to the kids is Olympics - their sales pitch to parents is Scholarships. 

There are scholarships for scouts. They are harder to find because they don't typically go looking for scouts. The scout must search for them, but they are out there. I know the Methodist Foundation used to give scholarships, I'm not sure they do anymore. 

 

Barry

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Five pages in and I don't recall seeing anyone mentioning one of the elephants in the room - The cost of higher education.  How many scholarships do colleges and universities give out for Scouting?  How many do they give out for Athletics?  Yes - it's going to be pretty unlikely that a High Schooler is going to get a scholarship for football or basketball but schools offer scholarships for a lot of sports other than football and basketball.  Hardly anyone pays any reall attention to soccer, or baseball, or swimming, or tennis, or lacrosse (etc., etc.) yet all of these sports have scholarships from most schools that offer these sports.

 

Had a tenant that offers elite volleyball training - their sales pitch to the kids is Olympics - their sales pitch to parents is Scholarships. 

I am as pro sports as it gets, but if you factor in any possibility of a sports scholarship into your justification for participating as a kid, you are as backwards as it it gets and part of the problems that are raised in this thread and in debates all across the country.

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Five pages in and I don't recall seeing anyone mentioning one of the elephants in the room - The cost of higher education.  How many scholarships do colleges and universities give out for Scouting?  How many do they give out for Athletics?  Yes - it's going to be pretty unlikely that a High Schooler is going to get a scholarship for football or basketball but schools offer scholarships for a lot of sports other than football and basketball.  Hardly anyone pays any reall attention to soccer, or baseball, or swimming, or tennis, or lacrosse (etc., etc.) yet all of these sports have scholarships from most schools that offer these sports.

 

Had a tenant that offers elite volleyball training - their sales pitch to the kids is Olympics - their sales pitch to parents is Scholarships. 

 

And one more thing - sales pitch is the operative expression.  Your tenant is a business person trying to make money off the dreams of parents and kids.

Edited by SlowDerbyRacer
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Sports scholarships is almost as big of a lie as saying that having Eagle on your applications is going to get you into college or score a job. 

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