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Sentinel947

"Boy Scouts thrive after lifting of gay ban."

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And this is why BSA cannot sustain the program simply by sitting back on it's laurels thinking that some vestige of past glories is going to maintain itself in the world of today.  Churches, schools, community organizations are filled with 100+ years of these people with extensive outdoor skills that they no longer need BSA to make those activities available to their children.

 

Who puts out the best literature on wild plants and animals?  It's not the BSA, it's the DNR.

 

Who puts out the most variety when it comes to camping opportunities?  It's not the BSA, it's the National, State and County Parks.

 

Need outdoor equipment?  is it going to be the Scout Shop or maybe someplace like REI, Gander Mountain, Cabelas, or even Walmart?  How many olive drab Levi cargo pants are being worn by "full uniform" Boy Scouts today?

 

Beads and shiny objects aren't going to be purchasing Manhattan today. 

 

BSA has an opportunity to redefine itself and it has chosen such things as Co-ed Exploring, Learning for Life and STEM. to shore up it's BSA program.  Expansion of Cub Scouts by two years to increase membership with little or no forethought other than numbers isn't going to be the long-term solution.

Meant to give you a +1 but hit the wrong button. Serves me right for trying to use my phone.

 

At some point trying to appeal to everyone causes loosing the ability to appeal to anyone. BSA should be focused on citizenship, educutation and leadership in the outdoors. One of my favorite questions I've heard asked at an Eagle BOR is what citizenship and camping, hiking and backpacking have in common.

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Scouting is down over 4000 scouts in my District alone.

They're down nationally too when you look at the revised stats from the annual report.

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Stosh, do you think the BSA is a "sinking ship"?

 

And if so, who are the "rats", exactly?

Metaphors often fail. It's more a juggernaut with segments of its frame turning to flotsam.

 

BSA holds sway over half as many scouting youth as it once did. This includes GS/USA, who abandoned the notion of "first class" in the 50s. Basically, girls (and their moms) stopped taking plays from boys' books.

 

I'd say "rats" are, for example, everyone who participates in outdoor activities outside of BSA's influence. We know they're out there -- just not under anyone's umbrella. National Park Service reports record visits at nearly every spot in the nation. Someone's starting all these forest fires!

 

Certainly in PA, our adult leadership has concluded it is not worth registering with Big Brother to stay on the roster when they can just take their boys and his buddies to "the cabin" in the National Forest. (Which, FWIW, tends to be along paved roads with land lines that weren't there before.)

 

Sure, there's also the politically polarized ... who find that they can no longer use scouting to enforce some counter-cultural revolution.

 

And, there are our post-modern nomads, who live so far from work and their kids' schools that hours of their free time is in a roving tin can. (Maybe we should get some commuter trains to sponsor a few units ... troop meetings in transit!)

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Scouting is down over 4000 scouts in my District alone.

 

Is that all because of "the gay issue"? Are you saying "scouts isn't thriving"? Or "scouts isn't thriving because of "the gay issue"?

 

And 4000 out of what? 4500? 8000? 40,000? 400,000?

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Even rats abandon a sinking ship.....

 

Even if you're down by 25 points, sometimes you can come back for an overtime win.

Edited by ianwilkins
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In my neck of the woods, a lot of the membership and volunteer decline is a result of the previous membership policy change. We immediately lost 1 troop, and about 1/2 the district committee. Recruiting has fallen to the point that 4 established packs and 2 additional established troops have folded. That's not including the pack that was started in 2015 and folded because they could not get enough leadership.

 

And with the new policy change, we just lost our district training chair.

 

What's interesting is this, many folks opposed to the new policy wish BSA would go coed and become Scouting USA (1970s proposed name) and get it over and done with. They see these policy changes as a death by a thousand cuts.

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What's interesting is this, many folks opposed to the new policy wish BSA would go coed and become Scouting USA (1970s proposed name) and get it over and done with. They see these policy changes as a death by a thousand cuts.

Wow! Canadian Scouts all over again.

 

Scouts will survive, it just won't be scouting anymore. So long patrol method. :(

 

Barry

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Is that all because of "the gay issue"? Are you saying "scouts isn't thriving"? Or "scouts isn't thriving because of "the gay issue"?

 

And 4000 out of what? 4500? 8000? 40,000? 400,000?

 

As I recall, the average rate of decline since the late 90s was 2-3% each year. Since 2013 the rate has increased to 6-7%. The gay issue was announced in 2013. Then the adult gay issue in 2015. Happenstance that the decline accelerated since 2013?

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I think we simply need to quit screaming about everything that we may not agree with that we have little control over and pay attention to our own units and local programs in general.  Afterall, most of us are in the trenches where the real program lives and dies.  Adjust and deal with issues if they actually happen, rather than complaining about the obviously PC stuff we must navigate around and through.  It is not just in Scouting that we encounter these things.  Few of the scouts themselves care about anything but whether or not they are having fun, making friends, and some maybe learning new stuff.  JMO of course.

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I would strongly disagree with Skeptic's assertion that few scouts care about what has been happening in BSA.  

 

Boy Scouts have gotten the reputation of being a bunch of nerds, misfits, and special education kids.  Now you can add gay and transgender to the list.  

 

My boys don't like being tarred with that brush.  They don't like to be thought of that way.

Edited by David CO
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I haven't posted here in a long time, but...
 

As I recall, the average rate of decline since the late 90s was 2-3% each year. Since 2013 the rate has increased to 6-7%. The gay issue was announced in 2013. Then the adult gay issue in 2015. Happenstance that the decline accelerated since 2013?

 
Correlation does not equal causation.
 
An example which is obviously a non-sequitur:
100% of people who contract lung cancer breathed oxygen. Therefore oxygen causes lung cancer.
 
Now, we all know that smoking causes lung cancer right? OK, explain these:
  • My next door neighbor is a tiny lady who has smoked since she was a teenager. She's 88 years old, has more stamina than I do :p , lives by herself (she's a widow) and is sharp as a tack.

  • The wife of a very good friend died 4-5 years ago from lung cancer at age 49. She never smoked a cigarette in her life.

 
Yes I'm cherry-picking exceptions to prove my rule. Keep reading.
 
The point: There is no smoking gun. One cannot point at one or two specific decisions/dates and state categorically that it/they were the cause of declining membership. Far greater forces are involved, mostly due to demographics (single parent families, over-extended kids and parents, etc.). I would also argue that BSA has become, at least in the public's eyes, a suburban rich kid's pursuit. It's not cheap to have a son in Scouting. BSA hasn't done itself any favors by increasing that cost -- registration, uniform, patches, summer camp, and much much more. Without help, to be an active member of an active troop could cost a family $500-1000/year and more. That cost, as well as yet another time commitment on the part of a parent, has far more influence on membership than any PC decision the BSA makes.
 
[EDIT] The BSA increased it's membership fee from $15 to $24 for the 2014 charter year, IOW in 2013. Which decision had more influence on membership?
 
I'm not arguing that those decisions had zero influence on membership. They did have influence. I know of one troop (made up entirely of home-schooled boys) that switched from BSA to TL a couple of years ago. But to blame a doubling of membership loss on one thing is cherry-picking a decision you don't like and applying it as that smoking gun.
 
You see, boys join Scouting for 2 reasons: to play with fire and sharp pointy things (as a good friend of mine once put it). In other words, PROGRAM. If a Troop, Pack, Crew is not providing program boys vote with their feet. If the BSA is not providing a program that attracts membership the same applies -- PC decisions not withstanding.
Edited by Builder

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@@Builder, not sure what to say other than, "wow".

 

I am staggered that you can give such a deep explanation for the decline, and yet ignore the fact that ALL of the reasons you give -- good ones, by the way -- have existed LONG before the decline increased. All of a sudden...for three straight years...all these factors just magically all come together to increase the decline? Talk about happenstance.

 

You say boys join for the program. I agree. But by your logic nearly all the programs nationwide got together since 2013 and started sucking all of a sudden?

 

The irony is that there is more happenstance in your assertion than there is in mine. In mine, there are just three events that take place to cause the decline. In yours, MANY forces have to come together to cause the decline. Now which is more realistic? Rhetorical question. I know your answer as you've already given it. In my district the answer is clear. Units have lost COs because of the membership policy change. My unit has lost members as a result of the change.

 

Sure, these other factors you note do play a part. However, there's no way they all come together magically leading to three straight years of double the average rate of decline. There has to be a catalyst. There always is.

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