Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
RememberSchiff

Will BSA need to advertise for volunteers too?

Recommended Posts

I disagree with the conclusion. I have seen more than my fair share of leaders with scouting experience, some even eagle who do not provide a quality program. They are mostly adult led. I have seen just as many leaders with zero scout experience learn quickly what a quality program is supposed to be and then help deliver it. Thus I do not agree that just having scouting experience yields a quality program. Green bar bill, james west, daniel beard, and edward cave were not boy scouts in their youth.

Ok, we agree to disagree. But I stated an observation of the last 25 years, not a theory or whim. My theory is that the program in 20 years will not resemble the program of 1992 because it was lost thru generations of adult leaders without a scouting experience. Less than 25 percent of new leaders joining the BSA today had a scouting experience. Is my theory really so hard to believe?

 

Barry

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Less than 25 percent of new leaders joining the BSA today had a scouting experience.

Barry

Unfortunate if true. Your source?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Ok, we agree to disagree. But I stated an observation of the last 25 years, not a theory or whim. My theory is that the program in 20 years will not resemble the program of 1992 because it was lost thru generations of adult leaders without a scouting experience. Less than 25 percent of new leaders joining the BSA today had a scouting experience. Is my theory really so hard to believe?

 

Barry

 

I also disagree. It has been my observation that the scouting program is being drastically changed by the execs, almost all of whom have extensive scouting backgrounds. We are not being undermined by inexperienced outsiders. We are being betrayed by eagle scouts. That's why it hurts so much.

Edited by David CO
  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I also disagree. It has been my observation that the scouting program is being drastically changed by the execs, almost all of whom have extensive scouting backgrounds. We are not being undermined by inexperienced outsiders. We are being betrayed by eagle scouts. That's why it hurts so much.

 

While many pros are Eagles, there is a substantial number who have little to no experience, especially at the national level. When I was a DE, while many had Scouting experience, the ones that stayed around usually didn't.  At my national owned  scout shop, neither of my managers had any Scouting experience as a youth or adult, save being an employee. Until I started recruiting friends to work with me, no one had any youth experience, and 1 coworker had experience as a den leader only. And that moves up the organization. Other examples would be the marketing folks BSA have used in the past. Anyone remember the dog wearing the anniversary "bandanna" or the Arrow of Light belt buckle?

 

Also when you become a professional, scouting is no longer a "movement for youth" but a business. You begin to lose focus on what is truly important, bringing the best possible program to youth, and begin focusing on goals that result in pay raises and promotions. Scouts become membership numbers, advancement becomes a metric to show how well the program is doing, and volunteers are to be used until they either become a nuisance, or burn out. As a DE you either adapt, or leave. And even if you stick to you idealism, and get promoted, the idealism will eventually hurt you. One extremely good pro managed to keep his idealism and be successful. Then he found out about some shenanigans, reported it, and was rewarded with a "promotion" that essentially ended his career. He went from a DFS with 2 field directors and finance director under him,with approximately 14-16 folks under the directors, to a SE with 1 FD and 3 DEs.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Unfortunate if true. Your source?

Good question. I monitored membership in our district, and somewhat in the council to observed trends. But computer outputs don't provide details of youth experience. So, I interviewed a lot of adults during trainings and multiple unit activities. 

 

Traditionally adult leadership with youth experience at the cub level is low because of the high number of mom den leaders. But once the BSA allowed women leaders at the higher age programs, the percentage of experienced leaders logically dropped significantly. And the percentage kept dropping for several years as more mothers stayed in the program. I can't say when it leveled off, but the number was bouncing between 25 to 35 percent of youth experienced adults about 10 years ago. That is of course not scientific. The BSA's style of tracking membership makes scientific next to impossible.

 

Anyway, what I saw over the years as the female leaders start getting more active in the troop program was boy run taking a significant hit. Not because the leaders were female, but because they had no youth experience to start from. Without past experiences to base a starting place, adults naturally revert to training and manuals for guidance. What training and manuals miss of the Boy Scout experience is the social interaction within the patrols and troops. Fellowship is a very appropriate word. 

 

As an example, some of my fond memories of my troop experience are the stories told around the patrol campfires. I learned so much about cars, planes, movies and girls from my patrol buddies. Those moments around the fire are part of the reason I'm a pilot and aero engineer.  I found patrol fires to be a rare sight in troops where the dominant leaders didn't have a youth experience. I am saddened by the number of posters here who say their scouts don't do troop campfires because the scouts find them boring. 

 

I found relationships among scouts in troops today to be more formal. The brotherly relation experience is replaced by a more team role type of relationship. Not as personal or close because their roles are more of adult expectation.

 

I expect the number of adults without a youth experience to go up as a result of bringing in girls in the program because more mothers will want to get involved. It's the natural trend I've been watching. 

 

Now maybe mothers are going to save the program from the problem of low volunteer numbers. But that doesn't help the situation I am describing.

 

Barry 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Getting back to the original post, I have my doubts that the BSA would do this kind of advertising campaign  From what I have read in this forum, there seems to be a different "culture" regarding volunteering for Scouter positions between the US and UK.  In the UK there seem to be a substantial number of people who sign up to help out, and then they are "assigned" to a unit.  That being the case, a centralized advertising campaign would make sense.  However, in the US, at least in my experience, the vast majority of adult Scouters are "related" to the unit in which they volunteer:  They are parents of either current or former Scouts in the troop or were in the same troop themselves.  In Cub Scouting the vast majority are parents of current Cub Scouts, occasionally someone will stick around after their son has crossed over, and sometimes a Scouter with the Boy Scout troop at the same CO will help out. Finding unit volunteers is really left mostly to the local unit level.  At least that is my experience.  So I don't know if that kind of advertising campaign would work here.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Given the entirely new apparatus BSA will have to put in place for a dual-track, separate-but-equal program for girls, they are going to need a helluva lot of volunteers. If they don't get in front of this issue the program roll out will fall flat on it's face.

 

I suspect they will take the "ambush" approach most Packs take to staffing Tiger (Lion) dens: Get all the new parents together and ask someone to volunteer to be the new leader. Not an ideal model.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Can a commercial be effective? You tell me.

 

I've shown this before:

 

Barry

 

Barry, I agree the commercial is effective. But does that get people to volunteer? Or just encourage people to put their kids in Scouts? 

 

In my mind we would need a commercial that shows the benefits an adult volunteer can pass on (or learn for himself) by being a Scout volunteer.

  • Upvote 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

As an example, some of my fond memories of my troop experience are the stories told around the patrol campfires. I learned so much about cars, planes, movies and girls from my patrol buddies. Those moments around the fire are part of the reason I'm a pilot and aero engineer.  I found patrol fires to be a rare sight in troops where the dominant leaders didn't have a youth experience. I am saddened by the number of posters here who say their scouts don't do troop campfires because the scouts find them boring. 

 

I found relationships among scouts in troops today to be more formal. The brotherly relation experience is replaced by a more team role type of relationship. Not as personal or close because their roles are more of adult expectation.

My troop went through a phase where campfires were falling out of favor. When I talked to the scouts what was really falling out of favor were the skits. So I told them to do something else and they made up something that was really great. My goal was not the event. It was the hanging out after the main event that was where the magic happened. It wasn't so much the fire as them just being on their own. I've seen the same thing with six scouts crammed into a tent playing cards. The brotherly relationships are still there. Granted, some brothers don't get along but that's part of it.

 

I'm not so sure I agree that a scouting experience is required. I'd say an outdoor experience is almost as good. There are parents in my troop that had no scouting experience but love the outdoors. They have picked up on the essence of scouting very quickly. They all understand how nice a fire is after a day of playing hard or how a challenge can lead to great memories. The people that aren't comfortable in the outdoors are the ones that are more likely to jump in and solve a problem for a scout.

 

As for getting parents to help out, the ones that like the outdoors are already there. They just need the training. Okay, that's an issue.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barry, I agree the commercial is effective. But does that get people to volunteer? Or just encourage people to put their kids in Scouts? 

 

In my mind we would need a commercial that shows the benefits an adult volunteer can pass on (or learn for himself) by being a Scout volunteer.

You mean like scrolling "VOLUNTEERS NEEDED" toward the end of this commercal. 

 

I'm not saying use this specific commercial, I was only asking if a commercial could be effective. I am quite creative. I could think something up.

 

Barry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My troop went through a phase where campfires were falling out of favor. When I talked to the scouts what was really falling out of favor were the skits. So I told them to do something else and they made up something that was really great. My goal was not the event. It was the hanging out after the main event that was where the magic happened. It wasn't so much the fire as them just being on their own. I've seen the same thing with six scouts crammed into a tent playing cards. The brotherly relationships are still there. Granted, some brothers don't get along but that's part of it.

 

 

Yes, this. 

 

A new SM (no youth experience) called me after their new troop had about 6 camp outs under their belt. He said his scouts were bored with advancement on the camp outs, what else could they do. I mention increase the free time so they could explore on their own. He said, "Oh no, we wouldn't want them wandering around getting in trouble, would we?". 

 

 

I'm not so sure I agree that a scouting experience is required. I'd say an outdoor experience is almost as good. There are parents in my troop that had no scouting experience but love the outdoors. They have picked up on the essence of scouting very quickly. They all understand how nice a fire is after a day of playing hard or how a challenge can lead to great memories. The people that aren't comfortable in the outdoors are the ones that are more likely to jump in and solve a problem for a scout.

 

 

Agreed, and this is an argument a few women have with me. But, you would be surprised how few men and women camped in their youth. 

 

Young adults today (future parents) are raised in a culture of fear. They will not trust the pure form of patrol method. At best the program will viewed as an after school program for getting youth out into the woods. That's a nice objective, but that isn't scouting.

 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You mean like scrolling "VOLUNTEERS NEEDED" toward the end of this commercal. 

 

I'm not saying use this specific commercial, I was only asking if a commercial could be effective. I am quite creative. I could think something up.

 

Barry

 

I think most American volunteers need to be dragged in to volunteering. The biggest issue I have seen over the years is getting the adults to make a connection between what units need and how they can help. 

 

Some folks just dive in, see what's needed and begin helping.

 

Some folks may dive in to a role but not move outside of it despite seeing or knowing something else is needed.

 

Some wait to be asked, knowing help is needed.

 

Some are so clueless you need to show them so much it's just easier and faster to do it yourself. ;)

 

In my mind we need to connect with the first three groups.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It is hard to recruit volunteers when you are also asking them to pay for the privilege. I wonder if the commercial would be required to carry a disclaimer informing the viewers of all the costs involved, much like a medicine commercial disclosing all of the possible side effects.

  • Upvote 3

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
Sign in to follow this  

×