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Hawkwin

One of the reasons I support my Girl Scout joining the Boy Scouts

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Well, that, and scouters like @@Stosh and @@Ankylus to be okay with it.

 

As important as our daughters are, seasoned scouters of large and small units across the nation are equally, if not more, relevant to the success of the BSA. If they don't buy in in overwhelming numbers, we must go for decades without the human resources BSA needs for success.

 

That's why venturing is floundering. Potential leaders, in spite of BSA's pitches, in spite of a cadre well trained young-adult females, do not see it worth their well to set aside life in unisex troops/packs to make outdoor programs for coed older youth flourish.

 

It need not be all or none. As someone recommended on another thread, let each chartering organization decide, just like they do today with sexual orientation.

 

If Stosh and Ankylus do not wish for their chartering organization to allow for girls, then I fully support their decision, but then allow me and mine to do as we wish with ours. Our decision and inclusion should in no way impact their decision and exclusion.

 

Perhaps Venturing is floundering for reasons other than gender. Perhaps it is floundering because their members are not part of the core program of BSA advancement. Perhaps it is floundering because the age at which the program starts is generally too late to recruit co-ed members when they are already actively involved in many other extra-curricular activities. Just a guess but I assume that very few boys join Boy Scouts at age 14 without having ever been in cub scouts. Why should we expect Venturing girls to be significantly different in that regard?

 

There are a multitude of reasons for Venturing to be struggling that have nothing to do with girls.

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It need not be all or none. As someone recommended on another thread, let each chartering organization decide, just like they do today with sexual orientation.

 

If Stosh and Ankylus do not wish for their chartering organization to allow for girls, then I fully support their decision, but then allow me and mine to do as we wish with ours. Our decision and inclusion should in no way impact their decision and exclusion.

...

You haven't read what these scouters have written, or talked to a wide range of scouters in your community. They say if BSA sanctions inclusion of girls in its packs and troops anywhere in the US, they will leave the BSA. I take them at their word. There was a rather insightful user, Back Pack, who abandoned this forum last month explicitly because of this issue.

 

.. Perhaps Venturing is floundering for reasons other than gender. Perhaps it is floundering because their members are not part of the core program of BSA advancement. Perhaps it is floundering because the age at which the program starts is generally too late to recruit co-ed members when they are already actively involved in many other extra-curricular activities. Just a guess but I assume that very few boys join Boy Scouts at age 14 without having ever been in cub scouts. Why should we expect Venturing girls to be significantly different in that regard?

 

There are a multitude of reasons for Venturing to be struggling that have nothing to do with girls.

So you concede that including young did nothing to help Venturing's decade-long decline?

By logical extension: including girls is unlikely to help reverse the trend for BSA's other units.

 

 

You have not had to deal with parents of young teen boys upset that you were "bringing girls into scouting." You have not talked to parents of your son's friends who told you "my daughter is not camping with boys." You have had good scouters infuriated because your female youth might be sharing a 64 square-mile wilderness recreation area with their boys. Nor have you had to reconcile with leaders envious that your leadership wasn't fully devoted to their unisex program.

 

A few posts back, you mention "regression analysis". A nice tool. I make my living off of people who can't do it. But, you are mistaken thinking that it is necessary to interpret data. It can sometimes help identify among somewhat independent causes how much variation each cause would explain. But, it can't -- in itself -- follow a causal chain. For human factors, that requires focus groups and qualitative interview.

 

Talk to scouters, a lot of them. Then come back and tell me you don't have a one of them who would part ways over this. Then maybe you will have a data point to counter mine.

 

 

For BSA to accept girls into packs and troops, it just doesn't need a majority of scouters to acquiesce, it needs existing and future scouters to enthusiastically endorse it. I see no evidence that we are there yet.

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Sadly, the way the BSA has handled the town hall meetings, it is a major charley foxtrot. At the meeting I attended, about 15 people were there because it was very last minute. Most were Venturing leaders, and only 3 of us opposed Boy Scouts going coed attended. And all my arguments on why their proposal won't work were ignored, or had a look of 'Yeah, we know what's going to actually happen and we don't care."

 

But I know there are many opposed. I had a Scouter tell me 'Hell no I won't allow my granddaughter to join the troop,'" yet her son is 110% for BSA going fully coed. heck he was the one saying he doesn't care what the actual format is, he's going coed.

 

And I was told that one of the oldest troops in my council, it actually predates the council, will dissolve if they have to take females into the troop, as what happened in the UK.

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Well, that, and scouters like @@Stosh and @@Ankylus to be okay with it.

 

 

That's why venturing is floundering. Potential leaders, in spite of BSA's pitches, in spite of a cadre well trained young-adult females, do not see it worth their well to set aside life in unisex troops/packs to make outdoor programs for coed older youth flourish.

 

In my troop we don't create a crew because the scouts and families haven't asked for it. We have about 70 registered Scouts. 1 SM, 5 ASM's of varying involvement. Why complicate that for something folks haven't even asked for?

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You haven't read what these scouters have written, or talked to a wide range of scouters in your community. They say if BSA sanctions inclusion of girls in its packs and troops anywhere in the US, they will leave the BSA. I take them at their word. There was a rather insightful user, Back Pack, who abandoned this forum last month explicitly because of this issue.

 

Perhaps such a response, "I will quit if you do X" in advance of any details, especially before any decision is made, says more about the quiter than it does about the issue at hand. It would be rather unfortunately for them to leave, especially before we have any idea if there will be a change or even what it would look like. Such a biased opinion does not seem to be one that is open to the opinion of others. I would hope that BSA has a greater percentage of both leaders and scouts that have more patience, grit and perseverance than that.

 

So you concede that including young did nothing to help Venturing's decade-long decline?

By logical extension: including girls is unlikely to help reverse the trend for BSA's other units.

 

 

I don't think I commented conclusively one way or the other on that issue. I am not informed enough on the specific details of their decline to have an informed opinion. I was simply illustrating that one cannot draw a conclusion based on the data we have. There are too many variables. It is entirely possible that without girls in Venturing, it might have dropped even more and faster.

Since Venturing starts at 14 and cub scouts start much younger, I don't think one can draw any sort of logical extension based on the membership of either organization. They are too different.

 

You have not had to deal with parents of young teen boys upset that you were "bringing girls into scouting." You have not talked to parents of your son's friends who told you "my daughter is not camping with boys." You have had good scouters infuriated because your female youth might be sharing a 64 square-mile wilderness recreation area with their boys. Nor have you had to reconcile with leaders envious that your leadership wasn't fully devoted to their unisex program.

 

 

 

Of course not. This issue is too new. I am rather active in our Troop and I learned about it quite by accident. It is so new in fact that a single person - an adult leader that was at Jambo, is the only one to have even mentioned to me (favorably) when my daughter was at our most recent COH. No one else, to my knowledge, is even aware or is discussing such at the Troop, and we have 96 scouts in the Troop. I also have not spoke to parents that are excited about the idea. The issue has not been openly discussed in our Troop.

 

Anecdotal responses, both for and against, likely add little value to the discussion. They don't really inform.

 

A few posts back, you mention "regression analysis". A nice tool. I make my living off of people who can't do it. But, you are mistaken thinking that it is necessary to interpret data.

 

 

I don't think I suggested that. It is necessary to draw correlations when you have many variables. Trying to determine why membership may be growing or falling cannot be done by examining a single variable (co-ed). Someone trying to say that Venturing didn't grow with the inclusion of girls so BS won't grow with the inclusion of girls is using faulty logic. You can't make such conclusions without examining the other variables. Certainly you know this if such is your profession.

 

Then come back and tell me you don't have a one of them who would part ways over this. 

 

 

Again, I don't see how that is relevant. Just because one, or even many say that would quit doesn't mean we should not make a change. I am sure many scouts and parents said they would quit when we dropped our ban on blacks but it was the right thing to do. Not saying the issues are the same but just because I talk to a few people, just because I may end up with a tiny sample pool that isn't necessarily representative of the whole, why would you expect me to form an opinion based on that?

 

You are basically asking me to go out and create my own cognitive bias. Even if I went out and spoke to 20 scouts and 100% were in favor of the change, that would not be "data to counter [yours]" as it is nothing more than anecdotal and in no way representative. I should no more support this idea based on a tiny sample pool being in favor than a tiny sample pool being against. Reminds me of a quote I once read where a lady in a liberal city after an election stated, "I don't know a single person that voted but Bush, I don't know how he could have won." Her sample pool clearly was not representative.

 

 

 

For BSA to accept girls into packs and troops, it just doesn't need a majority of scouters to acquiesce, it needs existing and future scouters to enthusiastically endorse it. I see no evidence that we are there yet.

 

 

Complete agreement. But, we also don't have a lot of evidence to the contrary. To obtain that, BSA likely will need to do some actual pilot programs. Surveys of members won't really tell us what we need to know since, as you state, "future scouters" are a critical group in this analysis.

 

Two things:

 

1. We will clearly have some quitters over such a change. There will always be people less open to change, both for good or bad reasons. Just a fact of life. While we can probably do a decent job of studying the future behavior or our own members, there is little if anything we can do to study the future market without a few pilot programs to test it out.

 

2. This decision should not necessarily be all about membership growth. EVEN IF we were to determine that membership would grow, that in and of itself, should not be a reason for a change, just as if we determine that membership would shrink it should not necessarily be the reason not to change. I am sure that there are a number of actions and changes we could make that could increase membership but that doesn't mean that we should do them. BSA has a mission to better youth. We, the collective we, have to decide if that is going to include more girls than it currently does, what that would look like, and if it is worth WHATEVER impact, positive or negative, it has on membership trends.

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@@Eagle94-A1 ... small sample size but my district meeting was nearly 100% in favor of coed. Most of the complaints were regarding the proposal for girl only dens and Troops. Many were concerned that it would be inefficient and would not work and we should just go coed. Only 1 spoke against ... long term scouter but not leading any troop or pack. I asked my SE about this and he indicated it depends on the area within the council you are and who actually attends the meetings. I'm sure some will quit scouting and others will get more involved. My gut tells me this will be a net positive to membership numbers assuming LDS doesn't leave ... but that is just a guess based upon actual scouters I know and have talked to. Other than a few older scouters (my father) who's kids are already aged out everyone I have personally talked to supports this proposed change. Several moms have stated they wish they had the opportunity to join BSA and fathers of daughters have asked me to let them know if and when it is available.

 

I do agree with Qwazse that it would take focus group interviews across a wide swath of demographics to really predict what will occur. I'm sure for everyone like me who has only heard positive response (other than dad and anonymous forum members) there are others that have heard much more negative feedback.

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I do agree with Qwazse that it would take focus group interviews across a wide swath of demographics to really predict what will occur. 

 

Even then, they wouldn't really know what is going to happen until it happens.

 

Overall it sounds to me like the meetings in the councils have mostly been a waste of time.  It does not sound like they have been very well attended, the invitations from some of the councils did not really say what subject was being discussed, and it also sounds like many of the local council officials were not all that interested in getting feedback which is contrary to the direction in which National seems to be headed.  (Unfortunately I was unable to attend my local meeting.)   So if the BSA wants to know what current Scouters actually think, I don't these meetings accomplished that.

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I think its pretty clear that Venturing's issues have nothing to do with admitting girls.

 

The problem with the Bot Scout program is that t is so often being applied poorly

There are so many bad troops out there. Adding girls will end up not making a difference. To fix the BSA, they need to address quality of program.

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I think its pretty clear that Venturing's issues have nothing to do with admitting girls.

 

The problem with the Bot Scout program is that t is so often being applied poorly

There are so many bad troops out there. Adding girls will end up not making a difference. To fix the BSA, they need to address quality of program.

 

Agree 110% I think that some attempts have been made with Journey to Excellence, but I think the standards are so low or focused on the wrong aspects of Scouting that many consider it a joke.

 

I would say training is needed. But on the Boy Scout level, training is going down. I admit I complained about the month long Scoutmaster Fundamentals I took back in the day. But part of that was I was a new ASM just from the ranks who also did Brownsea 22, the NYLT of the day, and really knew the program. Over the years, I've seen how important that training is, especially for those with limited or no experience as a youth. Instead of making Training easier, they need to focus more on the basics.

 

But even with more and better training, you still have volunteers who think they know better. I personally trained  some folks, and later they told me "Scouting needs to change with the times."

 

More later.

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I think its pretty clear that Venturing's issues have nothing to do with admitting girls.

 

The problem with the Bot Scout program is that t is so often being applied poorly

There are so many bad troops out there. Adding girls will end up not making a difference. To fix the BSA, they need to address quality of program.

Finally, a voice of reason. "Most" (more than 50%) new Venturing Crews in our area don't last more than five years because the adults of bad troop programs start the Crews. If they can't run a troop, what makes them think they can run a crew. Five years is about all the interest the adults have.

 

Still, the BSA's biggest membership killer is a top heavy Cub program that drives families.

 

Ironically the best way to fix the membership problem would be to bring the girls in at the 10 year age so the families aren't lost as a result of Cub program burnout.

 

Barry

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Finally, a voice of reason. "Most" (more than 50%) new Venturing Crews in our area don't last more than five years because the adults of bad troop programs start the Crews. If they can't run a troop, what makes them think they can run a crew. Five years is about all the interest the adults have.

 

Still, the BSA's biggest membership killer is a top heavy Cub program that drives families.

 

Ironically the best way to fix the membership problem would be to bring the girls in at the 10 year age so the families aren't lost as a result of Cub program burnout.

 

Barry

 

The BSA has a multitude of problems that girls will not solve. 

 

Cubs takes way too long and it burns out the parents and the kids. I almost didn't go on to boy scouts as a kid because Cubs was so long and burning. My parents required me to cross over and try Boy Scouts for a few months. That was 12 years ago. 

 

So what does the BSA do. Add Lions! That will fix the burnout! 

 

There's a ton of untrained leaders running about running terrible programs. What does the BSA do? Move the training online and make it shorter and easier. You don't need a ton of highly trained and experienced leaders, but if you've got a handful of excited energetic newbies in a troop with no institutional knowledge to run things properly, the current training isn't going to fix that. An Adult leader shouldn't be getting to Wood Badge and not grasping the core concepts of the program. 

 

Kids are looking for challenging programs that get them out and about. BSA adds stupid requirements like cyber chip to the rank advancement. 

 

Great recession and stagnant wage growth making it harder for families to afford children activities. Build the Summit and raise annual dues!

 

The only issue I see adding Girls into BSA that will get fixed is parents who take their sons out of boy scouts because their families are over scheduled and somebody has to make a sacrifice. But lets be frank, how often has that happened in one of our troops that we know of?  More with my Scouts, they get bored of Scouting around 13-14 and they decide to specialize in a sport or band because it's fresher and more challenging to them. 

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The only issue I see adding Girls into BSA that will get fixed is parents who take their sons out of boy scouts because their families are over scheduled and somebody has to make a sacrifice. But lets be frank, how often has that happened in one of our troops that we know of?  More with my Scouts, they get bored of Scouting around 13-14 and they decide to specialize in a sport or band because it's fresher and more challenging to them. 

The poor program causes the other problem of pulling the boys out. You have heard me say many times that is the parents pullout with their support, their sons will follow. Like all outside activities, scouting requires stamina for those dry times when the scout just isn't in the mood. When the program is so boring that the scouts are always whining, the parents eventually give in.

 

The problem Sentinel is that this is a harder problem to solve than the Cub burnout issue. I could fix the burnout issue overnight simply by shortening the cub program. The troop issue has more to do with not providing a program that is interesting for older scouts. Much harder.

 

Barry

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@@Hawkwin, true, if one is dismissive of evidence, one cannot draw conclusions.

 

Two things:

 

1. We will clearly have some quitters over such a change. There will always be people less open to change, both for good or bad reasons. Just a fact of life. While we can probably do a decent job of studying the future behavior or our own members, there is little if anything we can do to study the future market without a few pilot programs to test it out.

 

2. This decision should not necessarily be all about membership growth. EVEN IF we were to determine that membership would grow, that in and of itself, should not be a reason for a change, just as if we determine that membership would shrink it should not necessarily be the reason not to change. I am sure that there are a number of actions and changes we could make that could increase membership but that doesn't mean that we should do them. BSA has a mission to better youth. We, the collective we, have to decide if that is going to include more girls than it currently does, what that would look like, and if it is worth WHATEVER impact, positive or negative, it has on membership trends.

Regarding 1. In my experience, it is sheer folly to dismiss leaders who abandon your organization. The vacuum left when it comes time to rally the troops in the following years is palpable. Meanwhile, some of them are fully capable of bolstering whatever non-BSA youth program they desire. Lose leaders, lose boys. Take decades to recover. Period. Pilot programs? Like Scouts UK? Venturing? Suppose there is noteworthy recruitment of boys on a pilot program. Why wouldn't the "it's not the girls, its the {insert excuse here}" logic apply as well?

 

More credible market research would involve national polling of parents whose boys have not joined BSA and seeing how many would sign them up if they could enroll their daughters as well. It also involve polling parents who have a relationship with BSA. And parents of girls with no relationship to the BSA. BSA says there's a market out there, but they haven't described how they know its there or what size they think it is.

 

Regarding 2. Membership growth = registration fees, more donations, publicity, etc ... which means professional staff stop getting fired (or asked to take on absurd workloads) ... which means better service to volunteers. On the other hand, membership decline = less $$, fewer professional staff, fewer camps, more burden on volunteers to get "busy work done", etc ... which means these girls we propose to enroll have a far worse program on their hands that probably will take them and their children to restore.

 

It's kind of like ignoring the small polarized states in a presidential election ... very efficient, until your opponent sees the potential in electoral votes from places with more land than people.

Edited by qwazse

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@@Hawkwin, true, if one is dismissive of evidence, one cannot draw conclusions.

 

Regarding 1. In my experience, it is sheer folly to dismiss leaders who abandon your organization. The vacuum left when it comes time to rally the troops in the following years is palpable. Meanwhile, some of them are fully capable of bolstering whatever non-BSA youth program they desire. Lose leaders, lose boys. Take decades to recover. Period. Pilot programs? Like Scouts UK? Venturing? Suppose there is noteworthy recruitment of boys on a pilot program. Why wouldn't the "it's not the girls, its the {insert excuse here}" logic apply as well?

 

 

 

You may have missed my opening paragraph where I stated, " It would be rather unfortunately for them to leave, especially before we have any idea if there will be a change or even what it would look like." I am in no way dismissing them but if they are determined to leave in advance of any announced change or the details of the change, then there is likely nothing we can do about that. My hope, as I also stated in the first paragraph, is that most of our leaders have more patience, grit, and perseverance than that.

 

For example, the inclusion of gay scouts had no impact on my son's Troop. To the best of my knowledge, our CO did not open membership to such. Why quit in advance of a change that may not impact you or your scouts?

 

Pilot programs? Like Scouts UK? Venturing?

 

 

No, a pilot of whatever BSA wants to accomplish but tested in select number of Councils before rolling it out to the entire nation. This is something often done with new programs. A cereal company may run a pilot program of a new cereal in a single state to gauge sales. A bank may run a pilot program of a new checking account in a single state to see how customers respond. Trails-End may run a pilot program of a new method of selling or a new product to just one area of the country before making it nationwide.

 

BSA should run a pilot program of whatever they are trying to change to find out if it is going to work before rolling it out to the entire country.

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The poor program causes the other problem of pulling the boys out. You have heard me say many times that is the parents pullout with their support, their sons will follow. Like all outside activities, scouting requires stamina for those dry times when the scout just isn't in the mood. When the program is so boring that the scouts are always whining, the parents eventually give in.

 

The problem Sentinel is that this is a harder problem to solve than the Cub burnout issue. I could fix the burnout issue overnight simply by shortening the cub program. The troop issue has more to do with not providing a program that is interesting for older scouts. Much harder.

 

Barry

Yup. Been fighting that particular battle for about 5-6 years. Most of our attrition is due to boredom, but getting the PLC to the root of that boredom and to plan activities they want to do has been challenging. Not sure why. 

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