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walk in the woods

This is How We Will Grow Scouting

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Would have been nice to see a surname ... at least in a byline.

That's right. I mean, glad to know you, Mike, but we're not on a first-name basis just yet. :) (Especially that particular name, I used to joke that in our troop, if you called "Mike" seven different people turned around, and at various times that was not an exaggeration. I think we "only" have three or four now.)

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Never seen it at district RTs or any council events...and I live in a charter council. ;) Shows you how well communicated it is. ;)

("It" being Exploring.) Well, you probably wouldn't see it at RT's or council events, it isn't really that kind of program. If you read this forum long enough, or read back into the archives, you will see it discussed here and there. In fact, this forum (and pages linked-to from posts) is probably where I have seen it mentioned the most. In my local area I have seen or heard of only two, maybe three Exploring units. One was an Aviation Explorer post at a small local airport, which I heard about because they sent out flyers (oh man, I crack myself up sometimes, get it, flyers?) to all the troops in the area about an Aviation MB program they were running, which my son and a few other Scouts from our troop attended. The other is the Law Explorer post I mentioned earlier. I also think I recall hearing about a Police Explorers post around here years ago, but I am a little hazy on that. My suspicion is that Police Explorers are one of the most common kinds of posts around the country.

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Very interesting that the author picked the year 1972 as high water point.    Gosh, something else happened in the BSA that year...that's right, the Improved Scouting Program.   Where National scuttled every winning strategy in its arsenal for something that they perceived as hip, cool, modern, and PC (before there was such a phrase).  Too bad no one outside of National thought so.   Didn't work out so well.  

 

 

IMHO, it was probably the last year you can get accurate membership records. Remember all those inflated records being discovered in various councils in the late 1990s?   Those SEs pushing membership at any cost and telling their staff how make the membership quotas without getting caught were the DEs of the 1970s who started the membership mess.

 

 

Easiest way to bump membership is to now merge LfL with traditional Scouting since the membership policies have changed.

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IMHO, it was probably the last year you can get accurate membership records. Remember all those inflated records being discovered in various councils in the late 1990s?   Those SEs pushing membership at any cost and telling their staff how make the membership quotas without getting caught were the DEs of the 1970s who started the membership mess.

 

 

Easiest way to bump membership is to now merge LfL with traditional Scouting since the membership policies have changed.

Eagle, excellent points all.

 

In the late '70s, one of my mentors was a DE.   He was a great scouter, and was my supervisor one year on camp staff.   He loved scouting, and people liked him.   Always out in the field and working with the district and troops.  Then one day, I dropped by the council hq and saw him in his office.   However, he wasn't very happy, and the walls were covered with charts/graphs (taped over a bunch of cool scouting art and memorabilia), and he was sitting at his desk with a calculator and stacks of papers.   He didn't say much and I even as a slightly thick headed teen, I knew something was up.   We had a new SE and things were different.   The DE later resigned and went on to be very successful in another career.

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OK, I skimmed the article and skipped reading the posts -- so excuse me if this has been covered.  

 

My three point idea to grow scouting:

 

1)  Go outside

2)  Do something exciting

3)  Encourage the boys to tell their friends.

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OK, I skimmed the article and skipped reading the posts -- so excuse me if this has been covered.  

 

My three point idea to grow scouting:

 

1)  Go outside

2)  Do something exciting

3)  Encourage the boys to tell their friends.

I would add:

 

4) Encourage the boys to use social media, youtube snapchat, etc... to show off their outdoor adventures.

  • Upvote 1

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I think the problem with reaching some communities is expense.  This program is supposed to be for all boys, but in reality it is for the ones who can pay to play.

I agree that the Cub Scout Program was supposed to be improved.  It is more organized into fewer leader books and guides, but takes a lot more planning to accomplish the adventure loop requirements.

One complaint that I have is apparently earning the religious symbol prior to Bear doesn't  count toward the "Duty to God" requirement #1.

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I thought the biggest error in 'Mike's' vision was pretty obvious.  Then I started reading all your posts and made a game of seeing how long it would take for someone else to catch on...

 

FINALLY Hedgehog said: 'Go outside.'

 

Mike's vision is for a boy's club that is constantly growing.  No reason for growing, no unifying purpose for it's members; other than growing. (Values?  You want values?  We got your values right here.  What'll ya have?  We got everybody's values in here somewhere.)  Just numbers.  And bigger numbers.  Glom on to whatever is in style this month, add it to 'the program', and grow our numbers.  Why?  Because big numbers are better.

 

I totally missed the part about using the outdoors and nature to put boys into situations where they can grow in self-confidence and character.

 

Scouting no longer has a soul.

Edited by JoeBob

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I thought the biggest error in 'Mike's' vision was pretty obvious. Then I started reading all your posts and made a game of seeing how long it would take for someone else to catch on...

 

FINALLY Hedgehog said: 'Go outside.'

To be fair, I think you only had to read the second post (qwasze's) to get to the idea of going outside.

 

(Values? You want values? We got your values right here. What'll ya have? We got everybody's values in here somewhere.)

 

I think Scouting's values are doing just fine. They're right there in the Scout Oath and Law, where they've always been. They have not changed.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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 To be fair, I think you only had to read the second post (qwasze's) to get to the idea of going outside.

Well, most hiking and camping -- independently or not -- tends to happen outside.

 

The "independently" and "with your mates" are essential to what I think is the pinnacle scouting experience. Putting that vision in every division of the BSA is a way of giving youth a benchmark so that they know when they've arrived.

 

It's hard to say you've arrived when all you're doing is exploring careers, or supplementing your school's feeble curriculum, pitching in on a service project, or even hopping on that train to Philmont when some adult is holding your ticket.  But when you've stepped out your door, having made a good plan, vetted by a caring adult who wished you well and asked to stop by for after-action review when you get back ... that's when you know you've started really scouting.

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Looking in as an outsider the glaring thing that stands out, beyond the management speak nonsense, is that nobody seems to have spoken to the scouts themselves.

 

It is the scouts that go to school and mix with the non scouts. They are the best people to explain why so many kids don't want to join. They know why their friends are doing *insert other youth activity of your choice here* instead of scouts. So they will be the best people to ask how to get more of them through the door. 

 

And nobody seems to have asked them.

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The error in the thinking is that the expansion of members means the expansion of the program.

 

As a lawyer, I've found I"ve been more successful in "marketing" my practice by focusing on what I do best, rather than trying to do anything for anyone.

 

It is better for Scouting have fewer members if it is focused on building character throught the outdoors than having more members by trying to expand the program into STEM.  I'm all for science and math, especially with a son who is interested in engineering.  But this summer he will go to a two week long robotics camp at the local college and spend another two weeks learning computer programing.  He goes to scout to spend a week in the outdoors.

 

I recognize that Scouting in the U.S. has always had a vocational aspect to it, but to be honest, that isn't the draw for kids -- it is the adventure with their buddies.

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It is the scouts that go to school and mix with the non scouts. They are the best people to explain why so many kids don't want to join. They know why their friends are doing *insert other youth activity of your choice here* instead of scouts. So they will be the best people to ask how to get more of them through the door. 

 

And nobody seems to have asked them.

 

Units ask their scouts. That's how we succeed. Our recruiting, events, camping and everything we do is planned and executed by the boys. The adults drop pearls of wisdom ("Tom, you can't get to Big Bend and back in three days and still have a good time so save that for a longer trip."), but the rest is all boy led.

 

The problem is district and council. I'll give you an example. My council is putting on this HUGE event in Nov. It is going to be like a camporee on steroids. Problem is they announced the event before they had the activities lined up. The activities are okay, but with the size of the event you can imagine long lines for the events, bathrooms, showers, traffic in/out, etc. The PLC took one look at the event and just said "Meh".

 

Instead they've planned a shooting sports camp out the complete other direction of this event to avoid the traffic, etc. Smart kids! 

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Council-wide Spookeree going on this weekend.  My boys will not be attending.... They, like @@Krampus boys are heading to a Civil War event in the opposite direction.

 

I do have to admit that the boys did attend the first Spookeree many years ago and ended up "working" the weekend for the Cub Scouts.  This was such a big council "success" they have done it every year since.  And my boys have taken a pass on it every year since.

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I like what he said about minorities and immigrants. Most of our white people demographic has had the opportunity to be a Scout. They know what Scouting is. Obviously we want to keep that option available to them. Inner city and immigrants are an area where Scouting can grow, but we have to give them the same program the country and suburb kids get. Being outdoors, with their friends, doing fun things. Not stupid ideas like the "improved Scouting program." 

 

I agree 100%.  It's the outdoors that sells us. That is the only thing we have that is unique, and it's what we are designed to do.  I am all for STEM and nature being incorporated into that, but the real crux of it is that to be a scout is to camp and hike. 

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