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NJCubScouter

A letter from my SE

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EDIT: From my daughter...who is in our Venturing Crew..."Why don't they just lower the Venturing age? Who wants to be in the same unit as their BROTHER?!?!?"

 

If only BSA listened to their members and their potential members, they might actually meet people's expectations and needs.

 

Agreed- why not do this? I hear many of the arguments about not wanting Eagle to become something that both boys and girls can earn, to which my reply is that the BSA has dropped the ball in a major way of promoting that the Venturing Summit Award (and even more so when it was the Silver Award) is every bit as significant of an achievement as Eagle. This is what the BSA needs to be focused on is putting far more energy into building up the reputation of Venturing.  Stop the nonsense of putting resources to Varsity and Explorer.   

 

Within the council i am in, Crews are by and large just 'older boy patrols' of BSA troops.  They do little to capture anyone outside of the boys already in Scouting, and when they do go outside that circle it is really only to siblings of the Scouts.  I can think of only two Crews in the whole council that didn't start from the efforts of the troop or from a splinter from a troop. 

 

As to the OA suddenly being supportive of the measure of coed- REALLY?!?! Then why have then been so mute on allowing Venturers into the OA for so many years?! Today, only those boys dual registered in a Crew and Troop are eligible for election, so female Venturers are excluded entirely.  Only when a female turns 21 can they be nominated as an adult for OA.  How about fixing that issue first? 

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Maybe they just don't know and that's why they're asking questions.

 

As @@qwazse pointed out, when has BSA done this? They usually know which direction they want to go, but first they test the waters with a survey, have some "meetings" and then do the opposite of what the majority suggest.

 

Why do we suddenly expect they will alter their mode of operation now?

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If only BSA listened to their members and their potential members, they might actually meet people's expectations and needs.

 

That's not really the kind of business the BSA is in. Their business model when it comes to growth has historically (last 20-30 years) been to extend their reach to more youth who don't yet even know they want to be members. Or to communities that had little (or no) scouting program. 

 

I'm not sure why they don't do more to encourage greater participation from within already well-established scout groups and families. Maybe they view those groups as already at peak membership potential, so not worth the time. In any case, it just seems like they aren't all that interested in doing anything to offer anything more enticing to families that are already connected to scouting. Growth strategy in the BSA largely seems aimed at growing to new markets, new areas, and new would-be scouts and scouters with little or no existing interest in scouting. 

 

Not saying it's a good or bad strategy, just stating what seems to be the growth model strategy, in my opinion. And that I don't think it puts a lot of value on what existing members want. If it did, we'd hear a lot more about program ideas than we do about membership policy. 

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That's not really the kind of business the BSA is in. Their business model when it comes to growth has historically (last 20-30 years) been to extend their reach to more youth who don't yet even know they want to be members. Or to communities that had little (or no) scouting program.

That's been their model of decision-making since 2013, that's for sure!

 

Looking at what you say their approach has been historically (recently) I'd say it is time to toss it out the window and get a new one. With continued historic membership losses, they need to rethink their model. It is far cheaper and easier to retain current members then it is to go out and get new ones. That's Business 101.

 

I'm not sure why they don't do more to encourage greater participation from within already well-established scout groups and families. Maybe they view those groups as already at peak membership potential, so not worth the time. In any case, it just seems like they aren't all that interested in doing anything to offer anything more enticing to families that are already connected to scouting. Growth strategy in the BSA largely seems aimed at growing to new markets, new areas, and new would-be scouts and scouters with little or no existing interest in scouting.

I think ALL of us are surprised they don't reach out more to established members. I suspect it is because they are so overly concerned about "growth" they don't see "retention" as a strategy to steaming decline. It could also be that the DE's are so poorly paid that you really don't have the best people in those roles; folks who understand product and membership marketing.

 

I think you are right in your assumption BSA seems growth in to new markets and areas as their only way to steam back the decline. I think this is a fatal flaw in their business decisions. Ticking off their core membership is another.

 

Not saying it's a good or bad strategy, just stating what seems to be the growth model strategy, in my opinion. And that I don't think it puts a lot of value on what existing members want. If it did, we'd hear a lot more about program ideas than we do about membership policy.

 

I would agree. My big problem is that they hold these "town halls" and ask for opinions from those very members...and then go off and do their own thing (usually the opposite of what those folks wanted) anyway.

 

Very frustrating!

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I'm wondering if the town halls are really more about telling than asking.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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You have "a ton" of coed BSA-like programs closer to home? Or just a ton of coed programs? Because the distinction matters greatly, I think. 

 

Not really.  I have quite a few BSA units I drive by to get to my unit.  Why?  Because the council saw a need for a unit in a large part of town that wasn't covered geographically.  3 units of Cubs an no Troops. I said yes and that was that.

 

So if BSA goes co-ed, it becomes generically the same dynamics of any other co-ed group.    To answer your other post by blw2 it does make a difference to me whether or not the program is all-boy or co-ed.  I guess I wouldn't be half upset as I could be, Venturing was co-ed and I had a crew for 13 years.  But with Cub and Boy, the program has not just going co-ed, it's just a half step to Family Scouting and I work just with youth.  Helicopter parents officially in the program don't really appeal to me at all.

 

By the way, boys really won't mature and build character with the parents hanging around interfering with their progress to adult independence.

Edited by Stosh

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I decided to google "Making Scouting Accessible for Families" and the first page of hits gave me six councils.  Counting the letter from my council (quoted in post # 1), that's seven.  Four of the seven (including mine) used basically the same statement with no substantive change.  (This statement obviously was written at National and sent to the councils for their own use; these four councils used that statement almost verbatim except, obviously, for the date, time and place of the meeting.)  One, the Samoset Council (mentioned above) uses the same basic statement but clarifies it by adding "(boys and girls)" after youth, which gives at least a strong hint at what the meeting is about.  The other two councils just tell you there is a meeting about "Making Scouting Accessible for Families" and the date, time and place, but don't even use the explanatory statement from National.

 

So in all but one of these seven councils, the average Scouter (who probably isn't even aware that there is a decision-making process underway on this subject) is really given no clue that the actual subject of this meeting is to discuss expanding opportunities for girls in the BSA, including the possibility of coed packs and troops.

 

Added note:  I decided to go a little further with my search.  I have now found 11 councils' messages on their "Making Scouting Accessible for Families" meetings; 10 web sites or Facebook pages, and my council's emailed letter.  Of these 11, eight (including mine) give no clue what the meeting is really about.  Of the three that do, Samoset Council adds "boys and girls"; Heart of Virginia (which I put in the wrong category above) adds a sentence that says "Across the country, conversations are happening about how the BSA can serve all members of the family", which arguably is at least a hint; and I am also counting South Georgia Council because it uses a different name for the meeting, calling it "Whole Family Scouting."  The latter also includes a slideshow of three photos, all of which show both young men and women participating in Scouting-related meetings or events, but in looking closely at the photos I am not sure why they are relevant to this subject.  In two of the photos the women in uniform appear to be adult Cub Scout leaders, and in the third photo none of the participants are in uniform, and it looks like all of them could be Venturers.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Not really.  I have quite a few BSA units I drive by to get to my unit.  Why?  Because the council saw a need for a unit in a large part of town that wasn't covered geographically.  3 units of Cubs an no Troops. I said yes and that was that.

 

So if BSA goes co-ed, it becomes generically the same dynamics of any other co-ed group.    To answer your other post by blw2 it does make a difference to me whether or not the program is all-boy or co-ed.  I guess I wouldn't be half upset as I could be, Venturing was co-ed and I had a crew for 13 years.  But with Cub and Boy, the program has not just going co-ed, it's just a half step to Family Scouting and I work just with youth.  Helicopter parents officially in the program don't really appeal to me at all.

 

By the way, boys really won't mature and build character with the parents hanging around interfering with their progress to adult independence.

 

Stosh, appreciate your feelings.  I am struggling with the same thing with my sons troop now, even before the BSA gives a bona fide blessing on this.  The troop has always done summer trips that are 99% adult run and open to families, a Thanksgiving campout that is the same, and now making two other campouts in the coming year "family campouts".  It takes the boys out of leadership learning and makes the concept of registered adult leaders irrelevant.

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So if BSA goes co-ed, it becomes generically the same dynamics of any other co-ed group.    To answer your other post by blw2 it does make a difference to me whether or not the program is all-boy or co-ed.  I guess I wouldn't be half upset as I could be, Venturing was co-ed and I had a crew for 13 years.  But with Cub and Boy, the program has not just going co-ed, it's just a half step to Family Scouting and I work just with youth.  Helicopter parents officially in the program don't really appeal to me at all.

 

By the way, boys really won't mature and build character with the parents hanging around interfering with their progress to adult independence.

 

"Co-ed" doesn't ruffle my feathers, as long as they have their own Troop - or at least their own Patrol(s).  I don't see how any of the aims or methods of Scouting are threatened.

 

"Family Scouting", on the other hand, really gets me irritated.  That's a direct assault on the Patrol Method and, as HashTagScouts points out, above, subverts Leadership Development.

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As @@qwazse pointed out, when has BSA done this? They usually know which direction they want to go, but first they test the waters with a survey, have some "meetings" and then do the opposite of what the majority suggest.

 

Why do we suddenly expect they will alter their mode of operation now?

 

When they allowed gays they changed their minds from making it local option to requiring it in all units.

 

As I said, I wouldn't doubt if they are going to allow girls in at all ages. What we don't know are the details.

 

Your link to the national SE blurb sure implies to me that Family Scouting is just a way to say girls in scouting. The fact that they are staying away from the term coed might mean they are not tied to mixing boys and girls within a unit, but have all girl units as well as all boy units.

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Considering CSE's extensive experience as an Exploring Exec, I think he was picked to implement coed Scouting. And after national not listening to the volunteers who took the Palm survey, I do not find national "trustworthy" at this time.

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I decided to google "Making Scouting Accessible for Families" and the first page of hits gave me six councils. 

 I googled and had a little deja vu, all over again when I found this , complete with a link back to this forum. :eek:

 

---------------

A commenter at the SCOUTER forum (for local leaders) posted about an email he received over the weekend about upcoming meetings to discuss future changes… that gave no indication at all about what those changes would be.

 

I am pretty sure that what the [scout Executive] will be discussing at this meeting is the admission of girls to Cub and Boy Scouting. But it’s not like the letter actually says that or anything. I think many of my fellow nearby Scouters are going to look at this and decide they do not wish to spend a couple of hours in the middle of the summer (when they might be on vacation and/or at summer camp and unable to attend anyway) discussing “how to make Scouting more accessible to today’s families.â€

…

… are they really interested in “gaining my perspective†(on a topic that they are not actually identifying before the meeting), or is this really part of a nationwide rollout of a decision that they’ve made already? Do they really want my opinion, or are they just going to try to sell me on what they’re going to do anyway? (These are mainly rhetorical questions.)

------------

 

Hmmm,  apparently said commenter has embolden media critics. :rolleyes:

Edited by RememberSchiff

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My fear is that for all the "additions", we are also going to see losses and will have sacrificed the very institution.  Looking at other countries that are coed, I think my concerns are founded in reality.

 

Can I just check...you seem to be saying that where a country has gone co-ed they no longer provide "proper" scouting?

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Considering CSE's extensive experience as an Exploring Exec, I think he was picked to implement coed Scouting. And after national not listening to the volunteers who took the Palm survey, I do not find national "trustworthy" at this time.

I would point out that while Mike was SE of our council his investment in venturing was minimal. That's not a criticism. Nor does it trivialize what he did do in terms of making summer camp a destination for venturers as well as boys and Cubs. That's only to say that he wasn't selected for his preference for dark green uniforms.

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