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Hawkwin

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

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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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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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I think it has been a lousy roll out on the meetings. 90% of the working Scouters I interact with had zero knowledge of what was proposed UNTIL the GSUSA articles in opposition started popping up. That got a few comments-all very mixed pro and con. I got very, very different feedback from the boys especially the Star and Life Scouts who are talking about finishing up their Eagles quickly and punching out ahead of their previous schedule. 

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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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