Jump to content
tyke

LDS Dropping Senior Youth Scouting

Recommended Posts

I don;t think we will fill that drop. We may need to accept a smaller, but maybe better, organization

Smaller, better? Before political correctness was driving decisions at National, BSA's largest membership decline issue was it's program. The Cub Program alone looses over 75% (I think it's more) of it's families before they even get to the troop age. None of the program changes I have seen or experienced in the last 25 years addresses the issues forcing the decline. In fact, the changes and proposed changes actually require more adult volunteer time, not less. National hasn't shown and inclination of going leaner and meaner. I don't see how taking a large group of boys sponsored by a religious organization improves that outlook. 

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

National hasn't shown and inclination of going leaner and meaner. 

 

It is a sad fact of life that any organization over time begins to exist for itself and those who comprise its bureaucracy rather than those it ostensibly is formed to serve. Over time it will manifest a will to survive rather then to serve, or profit, or whatever is supposed mission is. BSA had a better run than most.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is a sad fact of life that any organization over time begins to exist for itself and those who comprise its bureaucracy rather than those it ostensibly is formed to serve. Over time it will manifest a will to survive rather then to serve, or profit, or whatever is supposed mission is. BSA had a better run than most.

Agreed. And they had a good run because of the passion of the volunteers. If the BSA were only manned by paid employees, it would have folded years ago. 

 

Which leads to another thought; until the last 15 years where I lost track, the major source of revenue and assets for the BSA came from alumni. In fact I read several years ago the BSA used to brag, that other than religion, it had the largest alumni support of any volunteer organization in the U.S. Maybe even the world. Rumor is that the BSA lost that bragging right after the gay membership change. Who knows, you know how rumors go. But for volunteer organizations, alumni asset support are like stock holders, they hold the organization accountable for its performance. If the alumni bail on the BSA, what leverage is left to hold National accountable?

 

Barry

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Agreed. And they had a good run because of the passion of the volunteers. If the BSA were only manned by paid employees, it would have folded years ago. 

 

Which leads to another thought; until the last 15 years where I lost track, the major source of revenue and assets for the BSA came from alumni. In fact I read several years ago the BSA used to brag, that other than religion, it had the largest alumni support of any volunteer organization in the U.S. Maybe even the world. Rumor is that the BSA lost that bragging right after the gay membership change. Who knows, you know how rumors go. But for volunteer organizations, alumni asset support are like stock holders, they hold the organization accountable for its performance. If the alumni bail on the BSA, what leverage is left to hold National accountable?

 

Barry

 

I think that boast disappeared around 2008, after the NESA hired Harris Connect to send out postcards to all Eagles. They got a disappointing low (30%?) response and not all positive.

Edited by RememberSchiff

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think that boast disappeared a few years ago after the NESA sent out postcards to all Eagles and got a low (30%?) response and not all positive.

In what marketing universe? My book-learning may be outdated, but I was trained that the typical response rate to postcards is about 4% or less.

  • Upvote 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I read specific language where LDS paid a negotiated fee to BSA   it is stated in the article "The national BSA normally charges a $24 registration fee for each Scout and adult leader per year. However, a 2015 statement from the three BSA councils in Utah says those fees "are negotiated between the national BSA and the LDS Church. All registration fees are retained at the national BSA level."  but I also have read that a few times previously.

 

Well, I guess you are right.  I mean, if I wanted to be a lawyer about this, I might point out that it says the fees are "negotiated", not that they are "reduced", which creates three possibilities, (1) they negotiated for a higher fee, which nobody would ever do, so forget that one, (2) they negotiated but agreed to pay the same fee as everybody else... in which case they probably wouldn't say anything about it at all, so that's probably out too, (3) it's a reduced fee, but I wonder how much?  

 

So I guess this is the second "something new" I learned in the forum this week.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, with the influx of all the gay and trans youth flooding our ranks, it should balance out.  There have been thousands begging to join, right?  Is that the sound of violins playing "Nearer My God to Thee", playing in the background?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

In the short term, while it will be a membership hit, the Scouts who really want to are supposed to be allowed to continue in the Troop. 

 

This would imply that LDS units would start to have some older boys in leadership which may help and encourage more boy-led, boy taught programs at the Troop level (and I do not mean to indicate that that is not happening now, I have only limited direct experience with LDS units). 

 

It would also allow those troops that remain to be a little larger - I know several stakes have problems keeping up their Troop membership.

 

From a discipline point of view, having boys there that WANT to be there, should be another positive.

 

On the down side, some of the most reliable venues and best motivated, district, volunteer leadership comes from LDS units.  I would hate to see a reduction in those resources as well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It would also allow those troops that remain to be a little larger - I know several stakes have problems keeping up their Troop membership.

 

[snip]

 

On the down side, some of the most reliable venues and best motivated, district, volunteer leadership comes from LDS units.  I would hate to see a reduction in those resources as well.

 

Our unit has taken in a few dozen LDS transfers over the years. From what I have experienced and been told, the LDS Boy Scout units generally do not have adult leaders familiar with how the higher ranks work, or utilizing the patrol method in a unit that has 11-17 year olds. In fact, most Life Scouts are amazed when they transfer at how organized and detailed Boy Scout units are compared to the Crews they were in. Forget the Eagle process. The LDS troops (11-14 units) don't have to deal with Eagle so they have little clue on how it works.

 

Again, this is based on the transfers we've had over the last 5-10 years. Maybe others have had different experiences.

 

Most districts around me are hosted by LDS Churches. Looks like we will need to look for someone else to host us monthly. Good luck with that.

Edited by Col. Flagg

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

One overlooked point is that a lot of LDS boys join BSA because LDS tells them to do so. "This is a good organization for boys, and you should join it." And so they do. Will some of the boys stay in BSA outside of LDS units? Undoubtedly. But I bet most of them will leave for whatever church-approved activity is next promoted by LDS. Most of those boys are gone.

 

Actually it is my understanding that boys of the correct age in the LDS church are automatically registered in the appropriate level of Scouting regardless of whether they ask to be or not.  The LDS Church pays the fees.  In other words, the LDS Church does not say "you should join", they say "you HAVE joined."  The boys are then automatically moved along to the next level in the LDS Scouting program.  In other words, when they turn 14, they are not asked whether they wish to move from the Boy Scout troop to the Varsity team.  They are moved.

 

Based on what I have read, some do not even participate, even though they are registered, but the large majority do participate, because the LDS version of the BSA program is the official youth organization of the LDS.  But now it is only for those ages 8-13.

 

I am not saying that everybody or even a majority would "vote with their feet" and join a non-LDS troop where they can remain in the troop until they are 18 or join a "regular" Venturing crew when they individually decide to, not automatically at age 16.  But I think some would make that choice.

Edited by NJCubScouter
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
How will the BSA deal with this reduced revenue?

 

First of all, there may be some reduced expense associated with the reduced revenue, so the reduction is not necessarily the full amount the BSA currently receives from the LDS church.

 

Second, whatever the net loss may be, the BSA has the same options for dealing with lost revenue as everybody else:

 

1. Reduce staff.  There are some comments above that doubt BSA's ability to do that, but I recall at least one major staff cutback at National during the time I have been reading this forum.  Maybe there has been more than one.  I suspect that there will be some staff reduction as a result of this.  (The following is not about national, but I suspect there will be a few councils, such as those in Utah, where a very large proportion of revenue is lost, and the councils merge or disappear.  But that is nothing new either, when I was a Scout there were probably more than 20 councils in New Jersey, now there are 6 or 7.  I don't know what that did to the total number of paid council staffers in NJ, but I can guess.)

 

2. Cut the top salaries at National.  This probably won't happen, but it probably should regardless oef this latest news.

 

3. Sell properties.  I know that isn't very popular around here, but it has to be an option when revenues are declining.

 

4. Increase fees, increase costs of products (uniforms), increase the hard-sell of useless knicknacks from the national supply catalog, etc. etc.  Fee increases and price increases will not make people happy - just like all the other times this has happened.

 

5. Cut other expenses.  Maybe stop printing some publications altogether and go all-digital.  I would hate to see this happen, but this is the way things are going, and not just in Scouting.

 

The BSA will survive this, even if the LDS Church goes its own way completely. They will do what they have to do.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most districts around me are hosted by LDS Churches. Looks like we will need to look for someone else to host us monthly. Good luck with that.

 

The LDS church has not cut its ties with the BSA.  They have pulled out of the two smallest traditional Scouting programs.  There is no logical reason why your districts would not be able to meet where they meet now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

LDS has not cut Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts, only Varsity and Venturing.  Venturing is pretty much dead weight with our council.  I ran a Crew for 13 years and it survived in longevity longer than most.  Getting Crews started is impossible.  I have tried as well as many others.  Just ain't gonna happen 'round here.

 

Varsity?  Don't know of any in the council.

 

So Boy Scouts runs only from 11 - 14?  Okay, that's at church expense, but any boy that wants to continue can do so with a $1 transfer to a non-LDS troop at his own expense.

 

I don't see this as a real panic attack moment where all-male scouting needs to be thrown under the bus. 

 

BSA has shot itself in the foot.  There's no reason to shoot the other one, too.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I'm with Stosh on this.  It is possible that the article should be taken on face value.  Varsity and Venturing are hard to implement and do not meet the objectives of the LDS church.  

 

Beyond $$$, I'm not sure this is that big of news.  I know several LDS Eagle scouts who value scouting because of scouting ... not because of the LDS youth component.  There will be a membership hit, but I bet it's not that bad.  Lost varsity and venturing membership will be seen as some troop growth.  I doubt troops will be affected as those over 14 in a troop would continue in the troop.

 

In my opinion, this could be good.  Varsity is an unknown and poorly supported and poorly understood program.  Venturing is usually not a real long term option.  

 

BSA might save money not having to describe Varsity scouting yet again.  BSA might do better to ditch the Venturing model and create something new and different ... like troop young adult partners ... or college reserves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×