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Krampus

Reaching Millennials: BSA's Answer Will Cost You...

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Increasing rates of membership losses at both the youth and adult levels means two things: 1) Fewer Scouts  and 2) Fewer adults.

 

Since this trend has increased since 2013 (by nearly doubling, check the threads with these facts noted), why should we not be concerned? There are fewer adults, ergo a smaller volunteer pool.

 

I'd love to see stats on the average age of volunteers by unit, district and council over the last ten years. That data would tell a great deal.

 

I am on the district committee and at 36, I am the youngest person on the committee.  The average age on the committee is at least 65.   I think its great that people whose children are long gone from scouting still want to volunteer but we need to realize that a 65-70 year old person is not going to be able to relate that well with someone who is 25-28 years old.   I keep hearing in those meetings "It used to be" or  "long time ago" and that I believe that is the crux of the current scouters to potential volunteers.  Granted there are some current scouters who can adapt and work with the younger people,  I have a feeling that the majority can't/won't. 

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I am on the district committee and at 36, I am the youngest person on the committee.  The average age on the committee is at least 65.   I think its great that people whose children are long gone from scouting still want to volunteer but we need to realize that a 65-70 year old person is not going to be able to relate that well with someone who is 25-28 years old.   I keep hearing in those meetings "It used to be" or  "long time ago" and that I believe that is the crux of the current scouters to potential volunteers.  Granted there are some current scouters who can adapt and work with the younger people,  I have a feeling that the majority can't/won't. 

 

Please don't single out 25-28 years old, as I have equal trouble with ALL ages though a long time ago it was only with those OVER 30. :confused:

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I think its great that people whose children are long gone from scouting still want to volunteer but we need to realize that a 65-70 year old person is not going to be able to relate that well with someone who is 25-28 years old.

 

[snip]

 

Granted there are some current scouters who can adapt and work with the younger people,  I have a feeling that the majority can't/won't.

 

Thanks for the reply. I've focused on theses two quotes. I'm interested in why you think these two issues exist.

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I am on the district committee and at 36, I am the youngest person on the committee.  The average age on the committee is at least 65.   I think its great that people whose children are long gone from scouting still want to volunteer but we need to realize that a 65-70 year old person is not going to be able to relate that well with someone who is 25-28 years old.   I keep hearing in those meetings "It used to be" or  "long time ago" and that I believe that is the crux of the current scouters to potential volunteers.  Granted there are some current scouters who can adapt and work with the younger people,  I have a feeling that the majority can't/won't. 

 

Love the profiling slant on this.... :)  Most of the problems arise when we can get that process in full swing. 

 

So, here's what I see

 

Boys - lazy, technologically tethered to the couch, incapable of consuming food that doesn't come in boxes with microwave instructions on them.

 

Young adults - Self-centered and in serious need of growing up.... any time soon,

 

Middle aged - BFF's to their kids, still trying to figure out what parenting is all about.  Will work on that once they move out of the parents' basement.

 

Pre-retirement, - Kids are grown up and gone, empty next syndrome has just set in, Work keeps them too busy

 

Retirement - over-the-hill, nursing home fodder.

 

It's a wonder any adult ever volunteers for working with the kids.  It's better to pay a professional to provide the karate, piano, dance, soccer, baseball etc. instructions in life.  The rest gets left up to the Pastor and professional school teachers.  This of course is supplemented by professional day-care providers as well.

 

Membership is dropping in BSA and churches because they are staffed by non-professional volunteers and what do they know.....

 

Have I got the profiles right?

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I'm the resident millennial here at the ripe old age of 22. I don't put too much stock in generations and ages. People are unique, as are their situations in life. 

I agree with CalicoPenn that it's society based, not necessarily "generation" based. (Which generations is just some journalist/marketing crutch.)

 

Civic Engagement and Volunteerism is at all time low. The media has poisoned societies trust in our government, corporations and institutions. Cynics have the megaphone. Consumerism and self interest have become a central value for some people.

​Unfortunately I haven't spent time in the Cub Scouting program since I was a cub. So I have next to no advice on how to better recruit cub scout leaders except for,

 

1) Get to know the parents.

2) Learn about their backgrounds and personalities

3) Clearly define the role you want them to play

4) Personally invite and encourage them to take the role.
​5) Provide support if they take the job.

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I'm the resident millennial here at the ripe old age of 22.

LOL...I have t-shirts older than you. I know, I know, but some t-shirts are classic (The Who at Red Rocks, Stones at Wembly, etc.).

 

I agree with CalicoPenn that it's society based, not necessarily "generation" based. (Which generations is just some journalist/marketing crutch.)

 

Civic Engagement and Volunteerism is at all time low. The media has poisoned societies trust in our government, corporations and institutions. Cynics have the megaphone. Consumerism and self interest have become a central value for some people.

 

Every generation is shaped by their environment. The "Me" generation of the 60s brought you the greed of the 80s. Ironic, isn't it. I have been saying that the Millennials are narcissistic and self-absorbed. Of course they didn't get that way coming out of the womb. They developed that by how society helped share them (common core, the Internet and dual-income parents creating more latch-key kids). So the parents are in part to blame for why the Millennials are the way they are.

 

That said, I am not fully on board with the argument that -- because society has caused Millennials not to trust government and corporations -- that is the reason for the drop in volunteerism for that age group. I volunteer, not out of a sense of duty to my community or for the good of the whole, but because I want MY KID to have the best experience possible. I want them to see that when *I* am involved I care for them, I want to help them (directly or indirectly) and I want them to have a role model they can emulate.

 

I fear many of the self-absorbed Millennials are merely mirroring what their self-absorbed parents taught them.

 

 

​Unfortunately I haven't spent time in the Cub Scouting program since I was a cub. So I have next to no advice on how to better recruit cub scout leaders except for,

 

1) Get to know the parents.

2) Learn about their backgrounds and personalities

3) Clearly define the role you want them to play

4) Personally invite and encourage them to take the role.

​5) Provide support if they take the job.

My unit does this for all roles...and yet, unless you hold their hand, the under-30 crowd is more lost than ever. Not sure the answer, but the problem is clear. Few self-motivated thinkers.

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My unit does this for all roles...and yet, unless you hold their hand, the under-30 crowd is more lost than ever. Not sure the answer, but the problem is clear. Few self-motivated thinkers.

 Are you talking cubs? Does anybody's boy scout unit have parent volunteers under 30? All my Troops parents are boomers or Gen xers. (For whatever the labels are worth.) 

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Are you talking cubs? Does anybody's boy scout unit have parent volunteers under 30? All my Troops parents are boomers or Gen xers. (For whatever the labels are worth.)

 

Yes we have a few under 30 volunteers. Mostly former Scouts.

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I guess I get a little lost in all the labeling going on.  I have been told I'm a boomer, for whatever that's worth.

 

I hear the profiling and stereotyping going around right and left and I'm pretty much confused with where everyone is going with this whole thing.

 

I guess I've seen the world with a different set of eyes and maybe in different parts of the country things are different.  My situation is far different than what I hear being battered around.

 

I have a lower to lower-middle class neighborhood which is more economic than social so that makes a difference.  People can't afford scouts.

 

Add to that the number of divorce situations, who's got the kid this weekend and so he's not going on the outing, I would love to help out but I have 2 other kids at home and no babysitter that's going to work for free, 

 

The parent ages run from low 20's to the low 50's, an entire generation of people for same aged kids.  Of course from kids running from k-12, the parent ages 23 (Folks married right out of High School, kid in Lions) though 50+, 17 year old scout, parents had him while in their mid-late 30's.

 

So, now tell me how am I supposed to know what pigeon-hole I'm supposed to be dealing with here......I grew up with a land-line telephone that eventually went to a rotary dial to a SmartPhone.I started computer programming in 1970, my skills are now obsolete.

 

So, when someone out there creates the ultimate recruiting program that one-size-fits all that we can all use, let me know.  Until then I really don't see much benefit in trying to define what works and what doesn't.  I always have to focus my recruiting "presentation" to the individual I'm talking to at the moment, because in 5 minutes I'm going to have to do something altogether different for the next guy/gal. 

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Yes we have a few under 30 volunteers. Mostly former Scouts.

 

And you have to hold your former Scout, now volunteers hands? Do you think you babysit them any more than older volunteers?

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LOL...I have t-shirts older than you. I know, I know, but some t-shirts are classic (The Who at Red Rocks, Stones at Wembly, etc.).

 

 

Every generation is shaped by their environment. The "Me" generation of the 60s brought you the greed of the 80s. Ironic, isn't it. I have been saying that the Millennials are narcissistic and self-absorbed. Of course they didn't get that way coming out of the womb. They developed that by how society helped share them (common core, the Internet and dual-income parents creating more latch-key kids). So the parents are in part to blame for why the Millennials are the way they are.

 

That said, I am not fully on board with the argument that -- because society has caused Millennials not to trust government and corporations -- that is the reason for the drop in volunteerism for that age group. I volunteer, not out of a sense of duty to my community or for the good of the whole, but because I want MY KID to have the best experience possible. I want them to see that when *I* am involved I care for them, I want to help them (directly or indirectly) and I want them to have a role model they can emulate.

 

I fear many of the self-absorbed Millennials are merely mirroring what their self-absorbed parents taught them.

 

 

 

My unit does this for all roles...and yet, unless you hold their hand, the under-30 crowd is more lost than ever. Not sure the answer, but the problem is clear. Few self-motivated thinkers.

 

LOL, I blame all of it on smart phones.

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And you have to hold your former Scout, now volunteers hands? Do you think you babysit them any more than older volunteers?

OH no. They're fine. It's the younger parents that are the problem.

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OH no. They're fine. It's the younger parents that are the problem.

 

Krampus: So are these younger parents millennials? or Gen X? I don't think this is going to get better over time... lol. I don't know if many Millennials can have scout aged kids yet. Most of our current Scouts are born post 2000, and are therefore a different generation that nobody talks about. Then again, I think all this generational stuff is hogwash... so....

 

 To all: (So nobody in particular)

 

Is this really a generational thing? Or a cultural thing? More and more leaders involved in Scouting have no prior Scouting experience. My Troop Has 8 ASM/SM's. Half of us had Scouting experience as youth, which I feel like is abnormally high.

 

Maybe beyond the selfishness, there's a sense of "I was never a Scout, so I can't possibly help." I think people are smart to avoid volunteer roles that aren't defined to them. (I know my Troop struggles to define role responsibilities). 

 

​Back to the OP, such a course seems like a waste of time. I know the communicating across generations module at Wood Badge was.

 

Sentinel947

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You are pretty wise for your age Sentinel. And I'm not saying that because your thoughts are basically the same as mine; ok maybe because they are the same as mine. Lol

 

But I wanted to further your thought on getting volunteers; when it was observed that I had a talent for getting volunteers, the district started using me to fill committee positions. When Comittee Chairman asked me for my secret, I told him I simply asked them personally. I won't go into all the details of getting volunteers, everyone can refer back to your post. But you hit the high points well.

 

Barry

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Is this really a generational thing? Or a cultural thing? More and more leaders involved in Scouting have no prior Scouting experience. My Troop Has 8 ASM/SM's. Half of us had Scouting experience as youth, which I feel like is abnormally high.

 

I'm not sure it matters. The adults that are eagle scouts are no more likely to help out than the other parents. It's just that those that do help come up to speed much faster.

 

It gets down to getting to know the parents, and preferably before asking them to do something. I talked to a rabbi that turned a synagogue around and I asked her what her secret was to getting more people involved. She said it's easy; get to know the people. Invite them over. Treat them like guests. Their age has nothing to do with it. In a world that's becoming more impersonal people like the human touch. Granted, this takes time, but the recipe is simple.

 

Isn't this exactly how we treat the scouts? On the one hand we tell scouts that leadership is more about the people than the task. On the other we want parents to follow us into the troop and be a part of the team. We have a new CC and my only request was that we get someone that enjoys talking to people and getting to know them. I want the CC to get to know every parent the way I get to know every scout.

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