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Hawkwin

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

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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. 

 

Well, if you figure out that one, let me know.  On one hand I hear (from the scouts) "let's do something new" but then when it comes to planning things, they come up with the same activities, campouts, summer camp, etc.  I think some of it is them not knowing what they *could* do that's new...it's that balance between nudging them in the right direction without telling them what to do.

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Well, if you figure out that one, let me know.  On one hand I hear (from the scouts) "let's do something new" but then when it comes to planning things, they come up with the same activities, campouts, summer camp, etc.  I think some of it is them not knowing what they *could* do that's new...it's that balance between nudging them in the right direction without telling them what to do.

I think part of it is they have no idea what else is out there to do besides the same old stuff. This years calendar is a little better in that regard. We got about 3 unique outings we haven't done before. There's a fine line between nudging without ordering them around. It involves a lot of soft questions. It's harder as an ASM. I gotta move behind the SM and support him. He gives us wider latitude to interact with the PLC, but it's important not to have too many cooks in the kitchen so to speak. 

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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.

 

The BSA runs pilot programs on a fairly regular basis.  To my knowledge, there are two going on now, Lion Cubs and STEM Scouts.  There has been no discussion that I have heard about expanding opportunities for girls on a pilot basis, but it is possible that National is considering this option.  Personally I doubt that they will do it on a pilot basis.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Well, if you figure out that one, let me know.  On one hand I hear (from the scouts) "let's do something new" but then when it comes to planning things, they come up with the same activities, campouts, summer camp, etc.

If it's any consolation, I find the same with my Explorer scouts in the UK. They sit down to do the programme, and it's all day trips and expensive stuff, and stuff they've done before.

 

What could we do? Well we know we can do X because we've done X before. Let's do X. [time passes, we do X] Explorers is boring, we're always doing the same thing!

Me: sigh!

 

Ian

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If it's any consolation, I find the same with my Explorer scouts in the UK. They sit down to do the programme, and it's all day trips and expensive stuff, and stuff they've done before.

 

What could we do? Well we know we can do X because we've done X before. Let's do X. [time passes, we do X] Explorers is boring, we're always doing the same thing!

Me: sigh!

 

Ian

Glad to see teenagers are teenagers on both sides of the pond.....  :p

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I think part of it is they have no idea what else is out there to do besides the same old stuff. This years calendar is a little better in that regard. We got about 3 unique outings we haven't done before. There's a fine line between nudging without ordering them around. It involves a lot of soft questions. It's harder as an ASM. I gotta move behind the SM and support him. He gives us wider latitude to interact with the PLC, but it's important not to have too many cooks in the kitchen so to speak. 

Yes, making a program more interesting for older scouts is less about better activities and more about getting older scouts involved in the day to day management of the program. That is what you have been doing with your program. Once the older scouts have bought in to being the leaders of the program, they will naturally make the activities more attractive for all the scouts. The program will move from a First Class skills development program to a outdoors adventure program.

 

Barry

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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. ..

Except not change. It leaves our daughters in a frustrating stalemate looking on the outside at troops with exciting outdoor programs. But IMHO, that's better than no troop/pack at all.

 

Last week, our troop's CC forwarded the WaPo coverage of GSUSA to the committee. I sent out a "let's all keep cool heads" response over the weekend, providing a little context based on what outdoor-oriented girls in the community told me over the years. One dad thanked me for it.

 

So, I'm not saying there's no chance of warming folks up to the idea. But, there are lots of ways to do it that will make volunteers feel railroaded. We need to be brutally honest about that, and pick the way that does the least harm. I still say challenging our scouts who go to World Jamboree to ask insightful questions and bring what they learned home will get us a much needed perspective on best practices.

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In response to the lack of success in TLC, I would lay much of that on the last 25 years of doing everything for kids on most levels of activity, including the scheduling "play dates".  What the heck is that about?  When we were kids we simply played with whomever we chose, though on occasion we may have been kept away from someone by parents for some often "adult judgement" reason.

 

We have focused so much on always succeeding that kids are simply afraid to try anything new because they may not be good at it, or will lose, or will look bad in their parent's eyes or to others.  school no longer sees "C's" as acceptable, as that is only average, and average is somehow a mark of poor ability, bad attitude, and lack of effort, even though the definition is such that it simply means you are part of the majority.  

 

So, the leadership, especially if it does not have any of the personally confident scouts, will play it safe and fall back on others, hoping the adults will simply figure it all out.  That is where we have put our children in many areas of their youth.  It has resulted in lack of initiative, fear of failure, fear of acceptance by those they care about, and withdraw from anything challenging.  

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Here is my opinion on the subject: I am absolutely in favor of admitting girls into the Scouting program. I think that it will, at least here in MA, have a positive impact on membership. Personally, it would keep me involved in the Troop for at least an additional three years, as my daughter, who is presently in Girl Scouts, would definitely cross over into the BSA if given the opportunity. She is bored to tears with most of the activities in her Troop, and the leadership has made it pretty clear that they are not interested in my help to enhance their outdoor program (which can barely be considered an outdoor program at all). They seem to be of the opinion that having any leaders of the opposite gender isn't empowering to the girls, while I think that anyone taking the time to show them skills that they will have for the rest of their lives is a win. The world isn't single-gendered, and part of learning to be an adult is interacting with other human beings, no matter what ethnicity, religion, or gender identity.

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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

 

Here here.  Cub scout family burn-out will be the biggest long-term killer for the Boy Scout program.  Families burn out on scouts way way before Boy Scout ages.  IMHO, it's the biggest killer of the program and will be for decades to come as grandparents warn their kids how much work it was for them.  And the kids (now parents) don't have memories of the Boy Scout program as their family gave up before crossing over.  

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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. 

 

Agreed.  The BSA program becomes interesting and a big value proposition for ages 10 to 16.  Yet now we have them join at age five and they are burnt out on the program before hitting the core program where BSA shines and the program becomes easier to run.

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We have focused so much on always succeeding that kids are simply afraid to try anything new because they may not be good at it, or will lose, or will look bad in their parent's eyes or to others.  school no longer sees "C's" as acceptable, as that is only average, and average is somehow a mark of poor ability, bad attitude, and lack of effort, even though the definition is such that it simply means you are part of the majority.  

 

 

 

One minor quibble. A "C" isn't considered average unless your program is graded on a curve or some other rank-based system; which the vast majority of school programs are not. A "C" generally means you have an error rate of 25-30% depending on the grade system. I doubt one would want any professional to have an error rate as high as 25-30%.

 

Cs are generally not acceptable in my household. I was a B/C student and I want better for my kids than that.

 

[And I am married to a teacher so I have little choice!]

 

 

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Agreed.  The BSA program becomes interesting and a big value proposition for ages 10 to 16.  Yet now we have them join at age five and they are burnt out on the program before hitting the core program where BSA shines and the program becomes easier to run.

 

 

I had not considered that before, the burnout factor, but I can certainly see how it can be an issue. I know I had burned out a bit after being a Popcorn Kernel for three years in a row so my first year of boy scouts I basically did nothing as a parent/volunteer. I needed the time off.

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Here here.  Cub scout family burn-out will be the biggest long-term killer for the Boy Scout program.  Families burn out on scouts way way before Boy Scout ages.  IMHO, it's the biggest killer of the program and will be for decades to come as grandparents warn their kids how much work it was for them.  And the kids (now parents) don't have memories of the Boy Scout program as their family gave up before crossing over.  

I was on the District Membership Committee when National introduce the new and improved Tiger program in 2000. We had heard it was coming and we had hoped it was a scaled back program because we were already struggling with the burnout loses. Instead the new Tiger program required more adult time, not less. In fact the Tiger program alone require about 50% of the total pack adult volunteer time if done as requested. We predicted that troops would see a larger than normal decline of membership in 2005, and they did. 

 

I don't have the total cub numbers, but I believe less than 25% of Cubs from the Wolf age make it into the troops. I don't start with Tigers because the loses were huge in our area. 

 

A family program might stabilize that number some, but that one-hour-a-week will still be killer even with the whole family involved.

 

Barry

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I was on the District Membership Committee when National introduce the new and improved Tiger program in 2000. We had heard it was coming and we had hoped it was a scaled back program because we were already struggling with the burnout loses. Instead the new Tiger program required more adult time, not less. In fact the Tiger program alone require about 50% of the total pack adult volunteer time if done as requested. We predicted that troops would see a larger than normal decline of membership in 2005, and they did. 
 
I don't have the total cub numbers, but I believe less than 25% of Cubs from the Wolf age make it into the troops. I don't start with Tigers because the loses were huge in our area. 
 
A family program might stabilize that number some, but that one-hour-a-week will still be killer even with the whole family involved.
 
Barry
 

Agreed.  My oldest started Tigers in September 2000.  It was okay.  Not great.  The program was an orange t-shirt and casual.  If I had to do it again, I'd have each of them join in 3rd or 4th grade.  I would not be sad if they didn't join until 5th grade.  Maybe the point they started using knives and fire on their own.  

 

I just don't think there was enough guts to the program or enough reason to participate so early.  And it just made Cub Scouts a 15 year leadership program for my wife and I.  Glad to see it's over.  Made some good friends.  Had some good events.  But the reasons I wanted my sons in scouting was not delivered until Webelos.  And, big value was delivered in Boy Scouts, not Cub Scouts.  The early years were not much more than my boys and I were already doing together.  Good friendships, but lame program.  
 
Escalating Tiger to a full rank was bad.  Creating the Lion program was ridiculous.  And the BSA pressure to include Lions was strong handed (recruit Lions or we'll send families to other units and other schools for you).  
 
I must admit that I'm tired of hearing feedback from 1st, 2nd, 3rd or 4th year Cub Leaders about whether Lions is good or bad.  I want to hear from families that have been at it for 10 years.  And also then include a correction for the families that have quit.

 

Cub Scouts should start in 3rd grade .... maybe 2nd grade.  Definitely not younger. 

Edited by fred johnson
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