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Sentinel947

"Boy Scouts thrive after lifting of gay ban."

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They may be staying away because of the bad press.  The local option might be right up their alley, but with all the talk at the national level it means the local units pick up guilt by association and thus parents don't even bother to check it out.

I believe it. I know of parents who didn't care one way or the other about gays scouts, they just didn't want to be involved in an organization with a political spotlight on it. 

 

While I believe the BSA program is the best youth organization around for building citizens of character and leaders of integrity, it is not the only game in town. 

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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Actually Scouts Canada are at about 60%. If they can sustain the gains of the past 5 years they may be at their original numbers by decade's end. However, their annual report does not clearly show the counts by sex, so we can only assume they are still serving far fewer boys than they once did.

 

http://www.scoutscan.com/issues/membershipstats.html

 

"The membership decline is not stopping. Although recent numbers (2009-12) show a slight increase in membership, this is due to the inclusion of near-Scouting numbers included in with true Scouting membership."

 

Scouts Canada became completely co-ed (meaning that individual groups had no choice in the matter) in 1998, at which point their numbers were at 79.7% of which what they were in 1990 (by the way, 1990 was not their high point - 1965 was). In 2013 their numbers were at 37% of what they were in 1990, or 46.4% of what they were in 1998.

 

The latest numbers I have are from 2015 - 32.3% of what they were in 1990 or 40.5% of what they were in 1998. They suffered a huge decline in 2014 - almost 10% from 2013.

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Correction - the 2016 numbers from Scouts Canada are now on-line and they show continued decline. Total membership, 2015: 85,691. 2016: 82,410. That's a decline of almost 4%.

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OMG - Scout Membership is dropping!  It must be the gays!!  It must be the girls!!  It must be the trans kids!!  It must be the non-religious!!  It must be the liberals!!!  Everybody Panic!!!!!!!!!!!!!

 

There have been a lot of stories about whole troops and packs folding as a result of the policy changes.  So what?  There have been a lot of stories about CO's dumping units and those units being picked up by new CO's too.  If a CO has decided not to keep a unit and it folds instead of being picked up by another CO, chances are pretty good that the unit didn't have very dedicated adult leadership in the first place since no one bothered to try to find a new CO.

 

The BSA has gained and lost units before the policy changes - they'll keep doing so afterwards.  When I was growing up in the 70's, my town had 4 Boy Scout Troops and 6 Cub Scout Packs - it now has one of each - and those other units folded long before the BSA even heard the name Dale. 

 

There have been a lot of stories about volunteers leaving unit and district leadership positions over the policy.  Again I ask so what?  Frankly, maybe its for the best - I'd rather not have leaders who are that fragile about things like this infecting the Scouts with their intolerance.  There are still plenty of people in Scouting (and on this board) that oppose the policies but aren't leaving Scouting over it - I applaud and respect them because they understand that there are more important things in Scouting than their personal preferences - they're very much like the Scouters that stayed in that opposed the earlier policies - they didn't like it but knew taking care of the boys was more important.

 

Anyone who looks at the decline in Scouting numbers and points to any single reason as the main culprit is just not paying attention to what is happening in the world, and has failed to look at past experiences.  From a purely population point of view, the BSA was relatively stable in membership through the 1940's then numbers began to increase - and we're talking large increases - because the population started growing - specifically the population of eligible boys (hello Baby Boom).  Membership started dropping in the late 1970's and through the 1980's - do folks really think it's a coincidence that the population of eligible boys also declined during this time?  Membership increased again in the 90's - and yep, there was a significant increase the population of eligible boys).

 

Of course, it's not always about population.  There is an incredibly larger variety of activities available for youth than there used to be.  The BSA has always had drop-off during the high school years - and for the most part, that's because the high schools opened up a whole lot of new activity opportunities - sports, band, theater, clubs.  When I was growing up, there weren't all that many activities available until high school.  Boy Scouts/Girl Scouts, Little League, Pop Warner Football, Summer Swim Team - that was about it.  There weren't soccer leagues yet.  There certainly weren't year round, privately run soccer, volleyball, gymnastics, etc. sports academies.  Boy Scouts is facing more and more competition for youth time.

 

And let's not forget, as folks have nibbled around - there is a lot less interest in the outdoors and camping as there used to be.  Back in my day (sorry to sound so curmudgeonly here), the BSA didn't need to have adult training classes like IOLS or Baloo - and it wasn't the advent of allowing woman to be Scout leaders that necessitated them - back then, most of the leaders - men and women - had a lot of experience with the outdoors (the 50's through 70's and a bit in to the early 80's was the heyday of vacations spent traveling around the country and camping while doing so).  Let's be honest here, adults are not going to steer their children in to activities in which they don't have a comfort zone with. With soccer, parents really get the "how to be a spectator" dynamic.  With Boy Scouts, if they don't camp - they're less likely to sign their kids up for Scouts. 

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OMG - Scout Membership is dropping!  It must be the gays!!  It must be the girls!!  It must be the trans kids!!  It must be the non-religious!!  It must be the liberals!!!  Everybody Panic!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I'm not drawing any conclusions from the decline of Scouts Canada (or that of the BSA). I'm merely pointing out that it is there and it isn't turning around.

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When one is in a downward spiral one has a few options to reverse it.  But first of all one has to quit doing what is causing the downward spiral.  Then either go back to what one was doing before the spiral started, or try something new to see what happens.  It's sad to say that the only one with a track record of working would be to go back to the way it was while it was fine before someone decided to "fix" it.  The other hand is a crap-shoot guess as to what might stop the spiral,  It may work or it may not.  It's sad, but one could keep trying to find new fixes, but by then it might be too late.

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The facts are that BSA was losing units AND members at a rate of 2-3% PRIOR to the membership chnage. Afterwards it's been 6%.

 

There's a net LOSS in units and members. That's a fact. The reasons many COs have given was the policy change.

 

Let's stick with what the facts are, shall we? Let's not obfuscate facts with supposition.

 

By the way here's a good historical graph by year.

 

http://www.scoutingforall.org/data/layer02/articles/2008010101.html

Edited by Back Pack

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The facts are that BSA was losing units AND members at a rate of 2-3% PRIOR to the membership chnage. Afterwards it's been 6%.

 

There's a net LOSS in units and members. That's a fact. The reasons many COs have given was the policy change.

 

 

The BSA never expected membership to skyrocket as a result of the decision.

 

IMO, the decision to allow gays, and the coming decision to allow co-ed packs and troops, isn't because of membership.  It's because the BSA pitches itself as an organization that grows responsible members of the community, not the church.  Yes, the decision cost membership, but that cost was anticipated and deemed worth it to be primarily a community organization rather than a religious one.

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The BSA never expected membership to skyrocket as a result of the decision.

 

IMO, the decision to allow gays, and the coming decision to allow co-ed packs and troops, isn't because of membership.  It's because the BSA pitches itself as an organization that grows responsible members of the community, not the church.  Yes, the decision cost membership, but that cost was anticipated and deemed worth it to be primarily a community organization rather than a religious one.

 

That may be what has torqued the program over the years, but what is described is NOT what the Congressional Charter for BSA is based on.  That's just an old piece of paper that doesn't mean anything anyway.

 

Like the YMCA/YWCA programs of the past.  It had a mission and a meaning, now it's just a gym.

 

Maybe the BSA is destined to be any paved walking trail in the park.

Edited by Stosh

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The BSA never expected membership to skyrocket as a result of the decision.

 

IMO, the decision to allow gays, and the coming decision to allow co-ed packs and troops, isn't because of membership. It's because the BSA pitches itself as an organization that grows responsible members of the community, not the church. Yes, the decision cost membership, but that cost was anticipated and deemed worth it to be primarily a community organization rather than a religious one.

Wow! Interesting theory. I'm guessing that at least 70% of COs are religious based. Who in their right mind would want to be part of an organization with that business model?

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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IIRC, the majority of of CO's beung religious orgs is relatively recent after schools stopped beung CO's after Dale, etc... I seem to recall that "friends of..." was a very popular CO at one time as well. I am sure someone with access to bsa history will either confirm or correct me.

Edited by DuctTape

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Maybe, but do you believe jrush's post to be anything more than a personal theory? Are the professionals at National motivated by a cause?

 

Barry

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That may be what has torqued the program over the years, but what is described is NOT what the Congressional Charter for BSA is based on.  That's just an old piece of paper that doesn't mean anything anyway.

 

Like the YMCA/YWCA programs of the past.  It had a mission and a meaning, now it's just a gym.

 

Maybe the BSA is destined to be any paved walking trail in the park.

 

What does the charter say?  Section 30902 Purposes: "The purposes of the corporation are to promote, through organization, and cooperation with other agencies, the ability of boys to do things for themselves and others, to train them in scoutcraft, and to teach them patriotism, courage, self-reliance, and kindred virtues, using the methods that were in common use by boy scouts on June 15, 1916."

 

Patriotism, courage, self reliance and kindred virtues, using the methods of scouting.  I don't see "via the applicable religion" in there.  Sure, lambast the YMCA for not pushing Christian morals.  The BSA?  I have a LOT harder time with the BSA pushing stuff made in China than I did with banning gays.  One of those two things is flat-out unpatriotic.  The other is immoral only within certain religions, none of which one must be a practicing member of to be a scout. 

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Wow! Interesting theory. I'm guessing that at least 70% of COs are religious based. Who in their right mind would want to be part of an organization with that business model?

 

Barry

 

According to the BSA, about 4 million youth and adult volunteers?

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Maybe, but do you believe jrush's post to be anything more than a personal theory? Are the professionals at National motivated by a cause?

 

Barry

 

I certainly hope not, since it is just a personal theory.   That said, the executives at National are motivated by something to make the policy decisions that they do.  Policy for a national volunteer organization with the size and visibility of the BSA isn't made with a magic 8-ball.  At least, we hope not.

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