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EmberMike

Sunday Morning segment on the BSA

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Come on, gang,  this is all about "market share" and "loyalty "  and "faith".

Scouting started up and went world wide because there was a previously unacknowledged desire for child friendly adventure. And Belonging. And the Practice of Adulthood Before you got there...

Every kid,  Boy or Girl,  wants to be part of a "Gang".  That can be Scouts,  the football team, the marching band, a MYF group or MS13.    We favor Scouts because we know how it helped us along, and see the benefit of learning the ideals of the Scout Law and Promise earlier rather than later in your adult life. 

Frederick Douglas said it best,  "It is easier to build strong children  rather than try and repair  broken men."

The GSUSA and Girl Guides have always been (bless'em) dedicated to the females of our species.  It is demonstrably sad that they have fallen away from their historically adventurous program. 

If the BSA has always been dedicated to the adventurous type of the training (see the Douglas quote above) and the GSUSA has tended toward the more "traditional" female type things, THAT is why we are now facing the change we see.   The Market Share is now being defined by  girls that want the adventure part of that training that the GSUSA has recently come to organizationally deny.   Can you blame them?   If the BSA can provide (female separate Troops/Patrols/Dens) but the same design and intention of an adventurous, safe danger,  allowed to lead, type of program, then we will all benefit thereby.  

"A Game With  A Purpose" indeed.   

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You bring up some good points.

13 minutes ago, SSScout said:

If the BSA can provide (female separate Troops/Patrols/Dens)

I'm guessing this is the bone of contention. While I'd like to believe that the BSA will do this my gut feeling is that membership numbers are the only thing of any real concern. If they were as interested in getting the patrol method working well in 90% of the troops, where scouts lead scouts under the wisdom of an adult, I'd be a lot more comfortable.

Food for thought: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/hope-relationships/201402/brain-differences-between-genders

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Do girls want high adventure? If they did venturing would be more popular than it is.   How many girls are in venturing? Maybe 70,000 tops. 

What I keep hearing is girls want their eagle, because the GSUSA gold star award is not as good in their eyes.

If girls wanted to go camping and go hiking that is what Girl Scouts would be doing more of. Girl scouts is a girl lead program.
They push girl leadership and girls deciding what they want to do.    There are 1.8 million Girl Scouts, they must be doing something the girls like.   

 

 

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5 hours ago, cocomax said:

Do girls want high adventure? If they did venturing would be more popular than it is.   How many girls are in venturing? Maybe 70,000 tops. 

What I keep hearing is girls want their eagle, because the GSUSA gold star award is not as good in their eyes.

If girls wanted to go camping and go hiking that is what Girl Scouts would be doing more of. Girl scouts is a girl lead program.
They push girl leadership and girls deciding what they want to do.    There are 1.8 million Girl Scouts, they must be doing something the girls like.   

Everybody wants adventure, few want to condition for it.

Girls are beholden to generations of moms who have been taught not to sacrifice creature comforts, their great grandmothers are shaking their heads.

But, if across this country, there were 1000 girls who will master camping and hiking and camping with their mates, what should someone who's sworn to be helpful do?

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On 2/4/2018 at 10:10 PM, HelpfulTracks said:

I routinely hear that the drop in membership in 70's was caused by the program change. I can't say for sure, because I was not involved at that time, certainly not as an adult leader. So I went in search of some numbers. I found some here http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus/443_boy_scouts_and_girl_scouts_membership.html

I decided to chart the numbers for BSA and GSUSA. The dates are a bit strange in the spacing 10 years, 5, 5 then one year increments after that. The gaps in the data can hide a few things like actuall peaks and valleys, but the general trend line remains fairly accurate. The data ends in 1999, so there are no status for this century.

A few things I noticed.
1. BSA and GSUSA both take a similar dive in numbers from 1970 to 1980. BSA's drop is marginally worse.
2. BSA's numbers recover more robustly - great gains than GSUSA each year following 1980
3. BSA's numbers eventually exceed the 1970 peak, GSUSA's do regain their 1970 level

That begs the question, if BSA's membership drop was primarily about the program change, then why did GSUSA's numbers follow an almost identical decrease trend?

5a77ca829fd71_ScreenShot2018-02-04at9_48_41PM.thumb.png.1b303abc7cccfad11c6861083a6ce7f7.png

Who is represented by these numbers?  Youth only, perhaps?
In terms of total membership, the level in the last year before the full implementation of the "Improved Scouting" program (1972 - 6.5 million - the actual peak)  have never been reached since by B.S.A.'s own account in the Annual Report.  Chart seems to be an illustration of Disraeli's Razor.

 

Everyone from bowling leagues to the PTA have seen serious drops in membership - even in absolute numbers.  The market share numbers are far more awful.  

Edited by TAHAWK

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On 2/19/2018 at 9:34 PM, qwazse said:

Everybody wants adventure, few want to condition for it.

Girls are beholden to generations of moms who have been taught not to sacrifice creature comforts, their great grandmothers are shaking their heads.

But, if across this country, there were 1000 girls who will master camping and hiking and camping with their mates, what should someone who's sworn to be helpful do?

help the organization already in place to provide that? 

teach the girls how to master it so they can create an organization dedicated to that end? 

 

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On 2/4/2018 at 10:10 PM, HelpfulTracks said:

I routinely hear that the drop in membership in 70's was caused by the program change. I can't say for sure, because I was not involved at that time, certainly not as an adult leader. So I went in search of some numbers. I found some here http://www.allcountries.org/uscensus/443_boy_scouts_and_girl_scouts_membership.html

I decided to chart the numbers for BSA and GSUSA. The dates are a bit strange in the spacing 10 years, 5, 5 then one year increments after that. The gaps in the data can hide a few things like actuall peaks and valleys, but the general trend line remains fairly accurate. The data ends in 1999, so there are no status for this century.

A few things I noticed.
1. BSA and GSUSA both take a similar dive in numbers from 1970 to 1980. BSA's drop is marginally worse.
2. BSA's numbers recover more robustly - great gains than GSUSA each year following 1980
3. BSA's numbers eventually exceed the 1970 peak, GSUSA's do regain their 1970 level

That begs the question, if BSA's membership drop was primarily about the program change, then why did GSUSA's numbers follow an almost identical decrease trend?

5a77ca829fd71_ScreenShot2018-02-04at9_48_41PM.thumb.png.1b303abc7cccfad11c6861083a6ce7f7.png

Who is represented by these numbers?  Youth only, perhaps?
In terms of total membership, the level in the last year before the full implementation of the "Improved Scouting" program (1972 - 6.5 million - the actual peak)  have never been reached since by B.S.A.'s own account in the Annual Report.  Chart seems to be an illustration of Disraeli's Razor.  

 

Above was added by forum software when I clicked on reply box.  Once there, such things cannot be removed.  Happens repeatedly in last few days.

 

I propose that there is at least a third possibility

teach the girls how to master it so they can do it easily and well it in the organizations already in place who allow for outdoor program 

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On ‎2‎/‎19‎/‎2018 at 3:50 PM, cocomax said:

Do girls want high adventure? If they did venturing would be more popular than it is.   How many girls are in venturing? Maybe 70,000 tops. 

What I keep hearing is girls want their eagle, because the GSUSA gold star award is not as good in their eyes.

If girls wanted to go camping and go hiking that is what Girl Scouts would be doing more of. Girl scouts is a girl lead program.
They push girl leadership and girls deciding what they want to do.    There are 1.8 million Girl Scouts, they must be doing something the girls like.   

 

 

Venturing could use some serious PR.  I'd never heard of it until last year, so out of curiosity, I asked around a bit.  Of the 7 or 8 parents in our neighborhood with daughters my youngest son's age (9), only one of them thought they knew what it was.    None of them could tell me which town(s) have crews near us.

My almost 14 year old daughter does want high adventure, and will be joining Venturers in the fall.

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7 hours ago, Gwaihir said:

help the organization already in place to provide that?

And join the 10,000 other scouters who've had that door slammed in their face? Great strategy for masochists.

7 hours ago, Gwaihir said:

... teach the girls how to master it so they can create an organization dedicated to that end? 

Exactly ... that's what rogue troops did. BSA4G is the result.  We're all victims of their success.:confused:

1 hour ago, swilliams said:

Venturing could use some serious PR.

^^ Understatement of the decade!

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11 hours ago, swilliams said:

Venturing could use some serious PR. 

 

9 hours ago, qwazse said:

^^ Understatement of the decade!

With all due respect to Qwazse, it is the understatement of the past 2 decades. Venturing had so much potential when I first heard about it in May 1998, that A) I was jealous that Exploring was not like it reagarding the recognitions and challenges to get them when I was of age and B) could not wait to promote it. Sadly my council focused o Cubs and "in school Scouting" units.

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I agree about venturing.... although I honestly have always felt like it's an afterthought spin-off and there's no way around it.... Just fundamentally seems to me that what venturing does really should be what a troop does already.

Anyway, i often figured that "venturing" high adventure and flexibility would go a long way into holding interest more than the classroom that regular scouts has evolved into.....

except it really seems to me that venturing just "works" better in some places rather than others..... in my brain, folks near mountains have more high adventure options.... here in the North Florida flatlands we have some good stuff but more limiting I think....scuba (although for really good diving you still have to travel a long way) , sailing, flat water paddling, and mountain biking.  Things like backpacking around here is mostly on trails that aren't so redeeming and the season is limited....folks near mountains and more northern places can do all of those things + rock climbing, tons of winter sports options, white water paddling, and all sorts of great backpacking and camping options summer and winter

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11 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

"in school Scouting" units.

Yes Yes - Learning for Life Scouts.  A program with great intentions and really can fit a need.  That being said, it is rife with potential for abuse and membership shenanigans.  These Scouts are 14% of the membership total for BSA (2016 numbers).  The councils and nationals solicit monies for their membership, so in many cases no real cost to the participants.  They may not even know they are involved in Scouts. 

Actually in some cases they did not know because the groups never met and were paper only units.

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3 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Yes Yes - Learning for Life Scouts.  A program with great intentions and really can fit a need.  That being said, it is rife with potential for abuse and membership shenanigans.  These Scouts are 14% of the membership total for BSA (2016 numbers).  The councils and nationals solicit monies for their membership, so in many cases no real cost to the participants.  They may not even know they are involved in Scouts. 

Actually in some cases they did not know because the groups never met and were paper only units.

Is that what he meant or did he mean Scoutreach?  I know our council spends a lot of time on both L4L and Scoutreach vs Venturing.

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12 hours ago, swilliams said:

Venturing could use some serious PR. 

Venturing is easily the most underutilized asset of the BSA. It's comical how forgotten is seems by national. 

 

In my honest opinion, I wish they would drop all this STEM/Learning for Life nonsense and refocus all those efforts on building up Venturing.

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

Yes Yes - Learning for Life Scouts.  A program with great intentions and really can fit a need.  That being said, it is rife with potential for abuse and membership shenanigans.  These Scouts are 14% of the membership total for BSA (2016 numbers).  The councils and nationals solicit monies for their membership, so in many cases no real cost to the participants.  They may not even know they are involved in Scouts. 

 

Learning for life kids are not called "Scouts". Like Exploring, they are considered "participants". L4L is such an oddball program. You'll find close to nothing about it on scouting.org, and probably have never seen a "classroom" (their equivalent of a troop, crew, etc.), but as you said, makes up quite a chunk of BSA membership. I would keep in mind that exploring is technically a program of Learning for life and thus that is reflected in membership. 

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