Jump to content
NJCubScouter

A letter from my SE

Recommended Posts

General thought I have reading this thread....

when these comments come up about how this will ruin the program.... I wonder what the folks around the rest of the world think, with their long standing and apparently successful (at least in as much as much as the BSA is successful) coed programs

 

 

I am in a similar situation, except the girls around our crew are adamant that they want a Venturing-style program, just available younger. The do NOT want the Boy Scout experience (MBs, ranks, uniforms, mtgs, boards, more mtgs, more hoops). They really like the freestyle nature of Venturing. Listening to them they'd join my crew now if they could. They don't want Eagle. They don't want Gold Star. They want fun, adventure and being carefree. They see the rah-rah in Boy Scouts and roll their eyes. One even said,  "If I wanted that I'd joing Girl Scouts."

 

This might just be a representation of my area.

From my perspective.... a lot of guys just want that too.  I'm pretty comfortable that my son would agree.  he doesn't care about the ranks really, he doesn't care about the meetings or hoops.  From what I can tell none of them care about the rah rah patrol yells and the like... What he does care about is camping with his friends and doing fun stuff.....well not even camping exactly, it's really the fun with friends that he cares about.

 

Now, our troop hasn't shown to be a rah rah troop.  I've thought that the guys might have a more positive attitude and thereby have more fun if they did have some of that team spirit....but in my opinion they'd get all that just by having tighter patrols and doing freestyle FUN and Adventure TOGETHER

 

A young boy is standing at the foot of a very tall tree.  He says he's going to climb it.

 

Mom says, "Be careful".

 

Dad says, "How high can you go?"

 

Kinda makes one wonder about the dynamics of the BSA program and what it will become.

 

I'm reminded of a time at the 65 ft climbing wall at a WEBELOS Akela weekend.  Some WEBELOS were at the top trying to get get the courage up to step over the edge to rappel down....

 

on the ground looking up, were some parents and scouters....

the female scouter... a mom...."It's ok baby, you don't have to do it".... repeated over and over and over and over, without pause between.... for several minutes.

the male scouter.... a dad..... mostly silent.  Watching.  A few times would encourage with a "you CAN do it!"

 

guess which kid went down the stairs....

....The other landed saying he'd never do that again...but had the biggest smile on his face one can imagine.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

........

__________

Dad:  Question, why do you think girls join or opt not to join Venturing?  If the BSA goes coed, do you think more girls would join?

Daughter:  Girls that do join like the outdoors and scouting itself.  Girl scouts is indoors, dead, and unsatisfying.  Idk about more girls joining the BSA though.

Dad:  Why aren't you sure?

Daughter:  The boys in Boy Scouts are disrespectful, sexual, awkward, vulgar, and overall demeaning towards girls.  Venture boys know how to properly interact and be social with girls...cause I can't tell you how many times us girls have been catcalled and made uncomfortable when we have to walk through strictly Boy Scout camp sites.

__________

 

So my crow sandwich was/is well deserved.  Nonetheless, I don't think her comments reflect a positive aspect of boys-only troops ("boys need a place to be boys").  I still think that being around girls at an earlier age in scouting would help the boys learn how to properly interact with girls.

 

I am mostly pro coed and against separate programs....

but this disrespectful and awkward thing is interesting to me.

I think it represents

a) an example of how boys will be when let to be boys...and their aint nothing wrong with that.  Nothing wrong IMO with mens' clubs and the like as an extention to this idea...

b) an example of some very un scout-like behavior

 

So it is an interesting quoting to keep alive.  On one hand there's no reason they can't get along together, they do it in school and elsewhere.

I'd rather my son meet and interact with more girls that aren't his sisters and their friends... but I also want them all to have a place where they can relax too...

a balance

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps it's neither about empowering girls nor about increasing membership; perhaps it's simply about money.  Does the BSA foresee additional coffers becoming available as it embraces inclusiveness?

 

I think "increasing membership" and "increasing revenues" go hand in hand, not only because of the additional membership fees but because I think large donors are willing to give more when they see that more youth are being served.

 

As for what the BSA may "foresee", I don't know, but I doubt that there are many major donors out there who are holding back their donations until the BSA admits girls at all age levels.  I have not heard of any.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As I type, I've made myself a crow sandwich.  No condiments or trimmings.  Just a big fat crow on two pieces of stale white bread.  And I'll eat it, feathers and all. ...

As a WB crow, I will assure you that we have impeccable taste. ;)

 

... Daughter:  The boys in Boy Scouts are disrespectful, sexual, awkward, vulgar, and overall demeaning towards girls.  Venture boys know how to properly interact and be social with girls...cause I can't tell you how many times us girls have been catcalled and made uncomfortable when we have to walk through strictly Boy Scout camp sites.

__________

 

So my crow sandwich was/is well deserved.  Nonetheless, I don't think her comments reflect a positive aspect of boys-only troops ("boys need a place to be boys").  I still think that being around girls at an earlier age in scouting would help the boys learn how to properly interact with girls.

Actually, whatever space boys may need, the one your daughter describes isn't it. The handbook makes clear that such behavior is conduct unbecoming of a scout.

 

However, that section of the handbook is rarely read at Boy Scout meetings. In venturing, on the other hand, conduct toward the opposite sex is part of the program. We don't need to spend a lot of time on it, just enough that expectations are clear.

 

The real problem: venturers do not feel like they are part of the program. They are not trained to expect more from these scouts. And they are often not welcomed cheerfully by scouters in camp. So, they don't feel free to take up the usual chilling phrase: "Scout, may I have a word with your SPL/SM?"

(Yes, we teach all my scouts to say that. I also let them know that, when put upon, they may welcome the person to camp to discuss the issue with the SPL/SM.)

 

Will that problem correct itself if the organization was fully co-ed at all levels? It's hard to say. I have only heard from international scouts outside of their troops. It sounds like the scouts they are with comport themselves with more courtesy. I suspect some training is involved to set the tone. I know my Italian scout simply would quote Baden Powell (back-translating from Italian) nearly verbatim when discussing how things like this were handled. But, she was very well read. I'm not sure if other scouts in her unit had the same sensibility.

 

(I really need to talk to Mrs. Q about a visit, for investigative purposes. ;) )

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

A young boy is standing at the foot of a very tall tree.  He says he's going to climb it.

 

Mom says, "Be careful".

 

Dad says, "How high can you go?"

 

Kinda makes one wonder about the dynamics of the BSA program and what it will become.

I laugh because I experienced this very scenario on my Webelos son's first campout, except mom ordered the Webelos leader (me) to make the boys get out of the tree. I was saved by her husband who explained the situation. But the scenario was repeated ten minutes later when the boys walked into the ankle deep stream to chase baby frogs. Welcome to boyhood mom.  :laugh:

 

I have not discussed this subject with my sons at all until this Sunday while my 30 year old younger son and I were waiting for the movie Dunkirk to start. I said, "the BSA is proposing to go coed". His response was, "No place is safe for boys to hang out with boys anymore". Nothing more was said by either of us.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I laugh because I experienced this very scenario on my Webelos son's first campout, except mom ordered the Webelos leader (me) to make the boys get out of the tree. I was saved by her husband who explained the situation. But the scenario was repeated ten minutes later when the boys walked into the ankle deep stream to chase baby frogs. Welcome to boyhood mom.  :laugh:

 

I have not discussed this subject with my sons at all until this Sunday while my 30 year old younger son and I were waiting for the movie Dunkirk to start. I said, "the BSA is proposing to go coed". His response was, "No place is safe for boys to hang out with boys anymore". Nothing more was said by either of us.

 

Barry

 

so true. so sadly true. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think "increasing membership" and "increasing revenues" go hand in hand, not only because of the additional membership fees but because I think large donors are willing to give more when they see that more youth are being served.

 

As for what the BSA may "foresee", I don't know, but I doubt that there are many major donors out there who are holding back their donations until the BSA admits girls at all age levels.  I have not heard of any.

BSA going coed is just a theory, so I'm curious NJ how you feel about the BSA going coed if your theory was found not to be true.

 

I have a few reasons why adding girls to stop the declining membership is perplexing. Granted, my engineering mind thinks more in the big picture and I'm not sure National works in any kind of picture, but:

 

Adding membership to reverse declining membership is like the Titanic taking on more passengers to bail water faster. Does fixing the program to at least stop the decline not seem logical?

 

I find the idea of parents wanting to move their daughters from the broken program of the GUSA to a program that is loosing it's own membership ironic.

 

I don't agree that going coed will serve more youth because as qwazse pointed out, the girls are being served in other youth outdoor programs. The BSA is simply trying to take more from the other programs. Has anyone considered that some donors might not support a coed program?

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Perhaps it's neither about empowering girls nor about increasing membership; perhaps it's simply about money.  Does the BSA foresee additional coffers becoming available as it embraces inclusiveness?

 

Well, the past two decisions about membership have NOT increased their bottom line. Membership is down, product sales are down, FOS is down (big) and corporate donations have not recovered (as many speculated they would). Not sure why anyone thinks going coed will be any different. You have to take in MANY more new people than are leaving and I don't see that happening.

 

I think "increasing membership" and "increasing revenues" go hand in hand, not only because of the additional membership fees but because I think large donors are willing to give more when they see that more youth are being served.

 

Apples and oranges.

 

Increased membership would first have to surpass out-migration of people leaving Scouts before you go ascertain if there's any net growth. Obviously, if net inflow exceeds net outflow then you will have a revenue gain from membership. There may be a gain in product revenue if this happens BUT it would depends on the operational costs needed to create, develop and re-do certain product lines, losses some lines might incur, etc.

 

The revenues from donors is a whole different kettle of fish. Folks said to let in gays and corp donations would resume. They haven't. They said let in transgender and the donations would resume. They haven't. Now the mantra is let in girls. Well, we will see what happens but I ain't holding my breath. So far the "let them in" crowd is 0-2.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the past two decisions about membership have NOT increased their bottom line. Membership is down, product sales are down, FOS is down (big) and corporate donations have not recovered (as many speculated they would). Not sure why anyone thinks going coed will be any different. You have to take in MANY more new people than are leaving and I don't see that happening.

 

 

Apples and oranges.

 

Increased membership would first have to surpass out-migration of people leaving Scouts before you go ascertain if there's any net growth. Obviously, if net inflow exceeds net outflow then you will have a revenue gain from membership. There may be a gain in product revenue if this happens BUT it would depends on the operational costs needed to create, develop and re-do certain product lines, losses some lines might incur, etc.

 

The revenues from donors is a whole different kettle of fish. Folks said to let in gays and corp donations would resume. They haven't. They said let in transgender and the donations would resume. They haven't. Now the mantra is let in girls. Well, we will see what happens but I ain't holding my breath. So far the "let them in" crowd is 0-2.

 

To be fair, not a lot of time has passed since the transgender policy change, and I'm going to guess that large corporate donations wouldn't resume with a snap of the fingers once policy changed. UPS was one of the companies that stopped donations, but they resumed them to local units that showed compatibility with their own non-discrimination policies. I've seen/heard no news about this recently, but I suspect the BSA is in the process of going back to UPS and others to say "Hey, we changed. Can we talk about those donations now?" 

 

As someone who was in favor of both the gay member policy change and the transgender member policy change, I can say I never looked at those changes individually as factors in generating membership growth. We knew there weren't thousands of gay kids waiting to sign up. So I don't think it's fair to assess the success (or lack of) in those initiatives individually and over a short term.

 

It was never about those specific changes and the specific members that those policies affected, at least when we're talking about membership numbers. Those changes were Public Relations moves, part of some larger plan to change the public perception of the BSA to a more favorable viewpoint. An effort to make the BSA look more modern, forward-thinking, progressive, welcoming, and appealing to all families. 

 

It wasn't the lost membership of families of gay scouts that was the focus. It was the loss of families of all scouts who would pull their kids if the BSA continued to seem like a discriminatory organization. A whole new scouting organization was created out of this very notion, built and grown by families that didn't all have gay kids. They just didn't want to include their kids in an organization that they felt discriminated against gay members. 

 

My point is this: We can't look at these changes (co-ed included) individually and decide if they work or not in terms of spurring membership growth. This whole thing is a long-game for the BSA. It's a marketing strategy, a PR campaign to reposition the BSA in such a way that families don't think twice about signing up, it's an easy "Yes" decision. 

 

I think it's too soon to say that the "let them in crowd is 0-2". The end result of these changes, and the public perception that the BSA is working on building, that's years away still. I'd put it this way: If your kids were in scouting when these policy changes took place, your kids will have been done with scouting by the time we really know if any of this worked to affect membership decline. 

  • Upvote 3

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

 

I think it's too soon to say that the "let them in crowd is 0-2". The end result of these changes, and the public perception that the BSA is working on building, that's years away still. I'd put it this way: If your kids were in scouting when these policy changes took place, your kids will have been done with scouting by the time we really know if any of this worked to affect membership decline. 

Good post Mike. I'm giving you a green up arrow for a well thought out post.

 

However, I look at the Canadian Scouts as an example of what happens to a traditional program that switched to a more politically correct agenda. They have never come close to the numbers they had 25 years ago. Maybe National just wants a moral victory.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Well, the past two decisions about membership have NOT increased their bottom line. Membership is down, product sales are down, FOS is down (big) and corporate donations have not recovered (as many speculated they would). Not sure why anyone thinks going coed will be any different.

 

Valid points, Col.  Stunning, in fact.  Somehow I had the impression that Mr. Stephenson had announced things were on the upswing.  Alas, after a cursory Google search ["Boy Scouts", membership, Stephenson] I found several reports and presentations for the past year, but none championing a rebound of membership or funding.  Unless I missed something, I have to accept your assertion.  

 

I don't suppose you'd concede more time is needed to allow corporate stewardship to fully re-engage?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@@EmberMike...

  • Resumption of Donations: It's been 4 years since the 2013 change. That's centuries in the donation world. A company that is eager for revenue (which is the supposed basis for letting in girls) would be at post donors doors with hat in hand showing how they've changed. FOS donations AND corporate donations continue to decline despite the changes. Why? I would argue that those companies that left never had any intention in coming back. What does that say about FOS? One could postulate that donors simply don't want to give to an organization that makes changes contrary to what the majority of their membership wanted. 
     
  • Loss of Members: Whether it was a feared backlash of BSA families that supported the inclusion of gays or a perceived increase in membership, neither has taken place. In fact the exact opposite has taken place. Those that didn't want the change have left, resulting in a doubling of membership losses year on year. So what does that say? To me that says that BSA made a change, for whatever reason, which lead to an increased decline in membership. No successful company makes changes to their flagship product without EXTENSIVE market research and then following what the their largest customer base wants.
     
  • BSA's Intent vs. Marketing: Again we see BSA playing a game of business without a clue. It is ten times more expensive to attract NEW customers than it is to retain EXISTING customers. By changing their membership model they are alienating their base. This is not anything successful businesses, or even membership organizations, do. Changing your membership base will eventually lead to a change in your program; something many here think will never happen. If an organization is willing to sacrifice decades of tradition in failed attempt to increase (or stem the decline) in membership, what makes anyone think they won't also sacrifice the program on which the membership is based?

You think BSA is not 0-2 on these issues, but the strike counts as soon as the swing is made. We have seen continued membership declines since 2013. We have seen the loss in revenue since the same time. How long do we need to wait until we call something a success?

 

As an aside, I will note that the President has been in office 7 months and it was less than two before everyone (many here) were calling him a failure. The irony is amusing. 

  • Upvote 1
  • Downvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Valid points, Col.  Stunning, in fact.  Somehow I had the impression that Mr. Stephenson had announced things were on the upswing.  Alas, after a cursory Google search ["Boy Scouts", membership, Stephenson] I found several reports and presentations for the past year, but none championing a rebound of membership or funding.  Unless I missed something, I have to accept your assertion.  

 

I don't suppose you'd concede more time is needed to allow corporate stewardship to fully re-engage?

 

BSA reports a few sets on numbers. One for the annual report and then revised numbers in August. It will be interesting to see what the Aug numbers say.

 

Corp donations usually do not take years and years to rebound. I would expect to see those rebound faster.

 

I will concede FOS donations are related to more personal giving. While personal giving across the board is down, surveys show that religious institutions and conservative organizations tend to give more. I would argue that these very organizations are the ones being (to a degree) alienated by BSA. But that's an argument no one can prove. Economy, age, rising costs, taxes, El Nino, etc., are all blamed for things that affect spending and the such. Who knows why FOS is down.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

BSA going coed is just a theory, so I'm curious NJ how you feel about the BSA going coed if yourr theory was found not to be true.

 

I am not sure what you are asking me, so I will just write some things and see if they answer your question.

 

First I think we have to make sure we are defining our terms the same.  To me, "going coed" means that there are going to packs and/or troops that have both boys and girls, whether in different dens/patrols or not. To me, if there are all-boy units and all-girl units but not "mixed" units, that is not "coed."  As I have said a number of times before, my preference would be that the BSA not have "coed" packs or troops.  I am fine if the BSA creates a "parallel program" for girls of Boy Scouting age, "parallel" including the ability to earn Eagle with all the same requirements as exist for boys. it does NOT mean that there will be all-boy units and all-girl units, but not boys and girls together in the same unit.

 

The CSE's proposal, as indicated in the video linked earlier in this thread, is to have (as a matter of local option) "coed" packs, in which dens would be boy-only or girl-only, AND single-gender packs, but NOT "coed" Boy Scout troops.  I think he made that very clear.  For girls of the "Boy Scout" age group there would be a different program that would have all-girl units, either an existing non-BSA program that would "partner" with the BSA or a completely new BSA program that would "parallel" Boy Scouts, either partially or entirely.

 

Why am I concerned about coed packs or troops?  Part of it is the "boys need a place to be boys" issue.  Part of it is the "distraction" that I have seen occur when boys visit our troop.

 

That being the case, it does not really matter to me whether "coed", if it is instituted, "works" or results in an increase in membership and revenues, or not.  That is what National cares about, it is not really what I care about.

 

I hope that somewhere in there is an answer to your question. 

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

×