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Hawkwin

National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

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2 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Grouping the US & UK programs by general age category:
BSA:
5.5-10.5: 1,252,311 (3,844 per 1M people)
10.5-17: 959,628 (2946 per 1M people)

Scouts UK:
5.5-10.5: 286,218 (4360 per 1M people)
10.5-17: 170,875 (2603 per 1M people)

It looks like the US & UK programs are similar in size per captia.  The UK is a little larger at younger end, the US a little larger at the older end.  However, since there are quite a few duplicate registrations in the Boy Scout/Venturing programs, I'm not sure the US is really any larger.

Surely, we'll see the US numbers drop below this once the LDS change happens.

Does seem like the UK program is a very good one to look to for guidance on moving forward.
 

I always find the UK/US comparisons a bit dicey.  I know you're looking at per capita, but, I think that creates a serious averaging error.  The UK is about the size (physically and population wise) as the BSA's NE Region.  Creating a program for a smaller mostly homogeneous population (whether Old England or New England) is a very different problem than creating a single program for a nation that is more diverse on many facets.  I think if we really wanted to compare US scouting to Europe, then the better comparison would be US:EU.  That's a bit harder to do no doubt since there is at least one WOSM affiliated scout group in each nation.  I'd argue scouting in the US is in many ways a fundamentally different problem than scouting in the UK.

 

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1 hour ago, David CO said:

25 years from now, kids may be surprised that children were allowed to venture out into the woods. 

 

25 years from now?   Heck, todays  parents are shocked that I let my kids play in the woods just behind our house.   In fact a few years ago scoutson #4, who was nearly 17 at the time, was stopped by a young sheriff deputy for walking to a friends house by himself on a lonely country road.  His older siblings had been doing it for years with nary a problem.  I had to drive over and pick him up or the sheriff was going to take him to the county office.  For his own safety of course.   

Safe from what I have never been able to figure out.    

This world is different than the one I grew up in.  I guess that's normal for all generations.   But I thought BSA would stick around .  with minor changes to be sure but...  

Patrol camping?   gone       Patrol hikes?    gone     Patrol  method?    only on paper      Most SMs have  little idea what it is and seem to care even less.     I havent seen a patrol flag  or heard a patrol yell at a camporee in years.         

Woodcraft? almost gone.    OA?  most likely gone in a few years.   Life after scouting?   I guess so but right now i do not see a clear path or even a destination.  Right now I am unsure if I should give my boxes of patches and stuff to my sons or just light a big bonfire and give it all back to the sky.   

Then to perhaps seek out the Gray Havens and see if I can stowaway 

 

 

 

Edited by Oldscout448

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2 hours ago, gblotter said:

25 years from now, kids will not even recognize the remnants of BSA from what we have known in the past. The real surprise will come in wondering why BSA chose to self-destruct by departing from its core mission and values that helped develop boys into men for more than a century.

I don't agree that they've departed from their core mission, but if we are talking about accepting girls into the Boy Scout program, I think we all know precisely why they've decided to do that.

The BSA is a business, and an expensive one to run. Lots of big paychecks need to be cut to top-level execs. The BSA could function perfectly well with 1/10th of current membership, if it wasn't for the costly overhead of the organization. Scouts UK has far fewer members. Other scouting organizations have even smaller numbers. There are scout organizations that have no paid leadership, 100% volunteer-run, and they can sustain their programs with miniscule numbers compared to the BSA. 

I firmly believe this change is based in a strategy designed to stop the bleeding and save the BSA as a "company". There is some minimum number of members that we need to stay above to continue to operate our big costly National office. That number was probably getting dangerously close based on year-over-year membership declines and projections. Hence the big change. 

Its a bet on a future of Scouting in the US that adding girls to the program will affect membership numbers in a way that slows or stops us from hitting that critical low-membership number. 

Or some variation of this idea, but still based on membership numbers and money. Surbaugh basically said as much in the initial presentation of the idea girls in the BSA, showing those charts with lines heading downward for BSA, GSUSA, etc. 

Edited by FireStone
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2 hours ago, allangr1024 said:

LegacyLost,  I am a Christian believer, but I am not prepared to say that the BSA going coed is akin to violating the law of God.  Scouting has always been a tool to help boys grow into men.  As such, its purpose is noble and good, and I can use it to help my sons grow into men as well.  But the allowing of girls into the BSA does not concern me because it violates scripture.  Rather it is unwise, as it brings both girls and boys together at a time when their sense of their distinctiveness is being learned by both sides.  Boys need to be around men to learn how to be a man.  And I assume that girls need to be around mature women for the same reason.  Hormones being what they are, it seems to me that giving boys an environment to be boys is a wise thing, and the same with girls.  

I fear that as the 12 year old  girls in a coed setting mature a bit faster than the boys, the girls will be preferred, and will be set up as an informal standard in behavior and manners.  The boys then are told to act like the girls, and then we have what we have in schools.  The masculine traits will be considered "Toxic Masculinity" and boys will be treated as second rate.   That will be too bad.

 

I'm not talking about going co-ed as violating the law of God. I'm talking about the open and codified approval of homosexual scouts, scout leaders, and transgendered scouts.

The LDS decision appears to have been made long before the co-ed option appeared regardless of what was publicly said. For my family, the scouts died in 2013. The decision this last week was just the final nail in the coffin.

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1 hour ago, gblotter said:

It is pure speculation to assert what BP would do in current times. However, we definitely can say what he DID do in his day ... that was to create parallel programs - not mix boys and girls together. It is obvious that BP did not believe girls would ruin Scouting, but he also did not believe that a single program for both boys and girls was the right way to meet their needs. That much is clear.

In a world where women's needs were so narrowly defined that they were considered BY THEIR NATURE not responsible enough to vote, incapable of becoming doctors, lawyers, etc., and so subservient to their husbands that if they married a non citizen, say a recent Irish immigrant, they instantly lost their US citizenship, it's hardly surprising that he or almost anyone else in those days would have thought that the needs of boys and girls would not be drastically different.

It's true that we can't know what BP would have thought if he was around today, but it seems foolish to look to a world so full of wrong headed views about the nature and capability of women as having any wisdom to impart to us today.

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1 hour ago, walk in the woods said:

 

I always find the UK/US comparisons a bit dicey.  I know you're looking at per capita, but, I think that creates a serious averaging error.  The UK is about the size (physically and population wise) as the BSA's NE Region.  Creating a program for a smaller mostly homogeneous population (whether Old England or New England) is a very different problem than creating a single program for a nation that is more diverse on many facets.  I think if we really wanted to compare US scouting to Europe, then the better comparison would be US:EU.  That's a bit harder to do no doubt since there is at least one WOSM affiliated scout group in each nation.  I'd argue scouting in the US is in many ways a fundamentally different problem than scouting in the UK.

 

I think a big thing to consider as well is both population density and population concentration. As well as the country as a whole having a much higher population density than the USA within the UK we are a much more urban population generally. The majoirty of our population is concentrated in a small number of very densly populated areas. Broadly

London and surrounding dormitory towns

English South Coast

Welsh South Coast/Bristol

West Midlands

English central belt

Scottish central belt

And within each of those urban areas everything is smaller. Our houses are smaller, gardens smaller, roads narrower etc, bringing everything together that much closer. It not only makes for a different culture but makes running scouts easier. If I find myself short on adults I can phone a neighbouring group and borrow an adult for the evening and they just have to walk round the corner, not get in their car. It also means that most of my scouts live within 10 minutes walk of our building and walk or cycle there, certainly in summer its rare to have any parents picking up or dropping off.

Quote

Yes, we're growing, a bit, and have been for a while, but we've changed the programme, we've gone co-ed, we changed the uniform, changed the age ranges/sections, we've created alternative promises for the godless, we've recruited a world famous TV presenter as chief scout. We're in the process, it's always in progress, of changing a perception of scouts from back in the 80s as nerdy and wet, back to being something that kids do, kids want to do, they are proud of it, and parents are glad they do it. But still, we're only <1% of the population. It's a slow boat to turn. 

I couldn't agree with Ian more. It took an awful lot to turn the boat around and equally an awful lot that got that boat into trouble in the first place. Anyone that looks to the UK and says that going coed, on its own, caused membership losses or membership increases is massively overly simplifying things. A huge amount of changes were needed, all Ian says and more.

The important thing is though, and I think this is massively important, is that the core doesn't reallyt look that different to what it did when I was a scout before the changes. Kids getting together, working in small groups, taking part in outdoor adventure and fun, with the added elements of a uniform, self discipline and community service is still there. What my lot did on Thursday, a wide games night out in the woods, looks pretty similar to what I was doing aged 12 on a Tuesday night. It's just in slightly different looking packaging.

A thought that just occured to me is that it's like a man's suit. The cut is different to what it was in 1907, the fabric different, the cuff links different and you may see more women wear them than before but at it's core it hasn't changed. It just looks a bit different.

Does that make sense?

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45 minutes ago, FireStone said:

I don't agree that they've departed from their core mission, but if we are talking about accepting girls into the Boy Scout program, I think we all know precisely why they've decided to do that.

The BSA is a business, and an expensive one to run. Lots of big paychecks need to be cut to top-level execs. The BSA could function perfectly well with 1/10th of current membership, if it wasn't for the costly overhead of the organization. Scouts UK has far fewer members. Other scouting organizations have even smaller numbers. There are scout organizations that have no paid leadership, 100% volunteer-run, and they can sustain their programs with miniscule numbers compared to the BSA. 

I firmly believe this change is based in a strategy designed to stop the bleeding and save the BSA as a "company". There is some minimum number of members that we need to stay above to continue to operate our big costly National office. That number was probably getting dangerously close based on year-over-year membership declines and projections. Hence the big change. 

Its a bet on a future of Scouting in the US that adding girls to the program will affect membership numbers in a way that slows or stops us from hitting that critical low-membership number. 

Or some variation of this idea, but still based on membership numbers and money. Surbaugh basically said as much in the initial presentation of the idea girls in the BSA, showing those charts with lines heading downward for BSA, GSUSA, etc. 

Or perhaps the leadership of the organization looked around and said - "Why are we limiting this to boys?  Girls can benefit just as much as boys do."  The BSA already have co-ed Crews & Ships.  A number of packs were getting siblings involved as well.  So they said - instead of fighting the trend, let's embrace it.

The more I see the number of people who do support this, the more I realize that the senior leadership may have indeed been leading.

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8 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Or perhaps the leadership of the organization looked around and said - "Why are we limiting this to boys?  Girls can benefit just as much as boys do."  The BSA already have co-ed Crews & Ships.  A number of packs were getting siblings involved as well.  So they said - instead of fighting the trend, let's embrace it.

The more I see the number of people who do support this, the more I realize that the senior leadership may have indeed been leading.

My problem with this line of thought is that it presumes that girls think like boys, learn like boys, and respond to the same things boys do - and the simple fact is that they do not, because they are not the same. Sure, the benefits of Scouting are just as desireable for the one as they are for the other, but the paths by which they get there won't necessarily work as well for girls as they do for boys. Some may think differently, which is their right, but I know girls and boys are inherently different - thank Heaven for that.

And frankly, I have never trusted public "trends." Too often, the sway of public opinion leads only to disappointment and regret. So I am more than happy to stand against trends that I feel are erroneous if it means I am still standing by my principles in the end.

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31 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

In a world where women's needs were so narrowly defined that they were considered BY THEIR NATURE not responsible enough to vote, incapable of becoming doctors, lawyers, etc., and so subservient to their husbands that if they married a non citizen, say a recent Irish immigrant, they instantly lost their US citizenship, it's hardly surprising that he or almost anyone else in those days would have thought that the needs of boys and girls would not be drastically different.

It's true that we can't know what BP would have thought if he was around today, but it seems foolish to look to a world so full of wrong headed views about the nature and capability of women as having any wisdom to impart to us today.

I think we are forgetting that BP served much of his military career under the rule of a queen. Apparently they felt that a woman was responsible enough to be the sovereign of their country.

 

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1 hour ago, FireStone said:

The BSA is a business, and an expensive one to run. Lots of big paychecks need to be cut to top-level execs. The BSA could function perfectly well with 1/10th of current membership, if it wasn't for the costly overhead of the organization. Scouts UK has far fewer members. Other scouting organizations have even smaller numbers. There are scout organizations that have no paid leadership, 100% volunteer-run, and they can sustain their programs with miniscule numbers compared to the BSA. 

I firmly believe this change is based in a strategy designed to stop the bleeding and save the BSA as a "company". There is some minimum number of members that we need to stay above to continue to operate our big costly National office. That number was probably getting dangerously close based on year-over-year membership declines and projections. Hence the big change. 

Its a bet on a future of Scouting in the US that adding girls to the program will affect membership numbers in a way that slows or stops us from hitting that critical low-membership number. 

Or some variation of this idea, but still based on membership numbers and money. Surbaugh basically said as much in the initial presentation of the idea girls in the BSA, showing those charts with lines heading downward for BSA, GSUSA, etc. 

1

@FireStone You capture the situation accurately.

It is clear that this girl decision is a calculated gamble for financial survival of BSA the corporation, necessitated by bloated salaries, foolish over-spending, and a $700M debt load for construction of The Summit. Reprogramming BSA for girls is a move of desperation now compounded by the departure of 425K LDS Scouts. The pessimistic side of me wonders if the LDS leaders (who are wise financial stewards) didn't want to stick around to be responsible for cleaning up the financial mess of BSA.

Progressives may cheer these "inclusive" changes and celebrate their social victories, but they won't step forward to fill the void created by the departure of Scouting traditionalists. BSA's gamble will be followed by even more desperate decisions upon realization that more boys are lost than girls gained for a net drop in membership. Within the next decade, I predict that GSUSA may become as irrelevant as Campfire Girls, and that BSA will seek some sort of bankruptcy protection/reorganization with likely sale of assets. How much will Philmont bring?

BSA loses, GSUSA loses, everyone loses - but especially the boys and girls lose. Truly a sad state of affairs.

Edited by gblotter
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55 minutes ago, T2Eagle said:

It's true that we can't know what BP would have thought if he was around today, but it seems foolish to look to a world so full of wrong headed views about the nature and capability of women as having any wisdom to impart to us today.

That wrong-headed world had enough wisdom to give birth to Scouting. Overreach (in thought and deed) is a typical reaction to injustice.

Edited by gblotter

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36 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

The more I see the number of people who do support this, the more I realize that the senior leadership may have indeed been leading.

The more I see the number of people who oppose this, the more I realize that the senior leadership may have been acting out of desperation.

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5 minutes ago, gblotter said:

The more I see the number of people who oppose this, the more I realize that the senior leadership may have been acting out of desperation.

It's hard to understand their motivations. It was a unanimous vote. In an open and honest system, you never get a unanimous vote. 

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25 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

My problem with this line of thought is that it presumes that girls think like boys, learn like boys, and respond to the same things boys do - and the simple fact is that they do not, because they are not the same. Sure, the benefits of Scouting are just as desireable for the one as they are for the other, but the paths by which they get there won't necessarily work as well for girls as they do for boys. Some may think differently, which is their right, but I know girls and boys are inherently different - thank Heaven for that.

And frankly, I have never trusted public "trends." Too often, the sway of public opinion leads only to disappointment and regret. So I am more than happy to stand against trends that I feel are erroneous if it means I am still standing by my principles in the end.

A couple of years ago Verizon had a commercial.  I can't remember if I can post links, so I won't.  But to find it, search Google for "verizon inspire her mind".  It's about the subtle things that maybe we don't even realize we're doing to girls that discourages them from science.

I've got a son and two daughters.  Watching it, I realized just how much I'd been playing into the sterotypes of boys and girls.  It made me question how I'd treated my own kids.  I found that my kids were not nearly as different as I'd thought them to be.

There is very little that will be any different in my troop once the girls show up.  Sure, the interpersonal dynamics may be a little different.  But, like any troop, there will be groups that hang out together.  In our troop of 80 boys, they don't all just hang out together all the time.  It will be no different in a coed troop in a few years once the newness wears off.

Living today, I expect BP would have realized the same thing.

I'm surmising that the executive board of the BSA did the same.  Further, I'm sure they realized that it's just a matter of time.  If they said no now, it would have come up again and again.  So they could have said "no girls allowed" or instead make the gutsy decision to take a step forward.

 

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28 minutes ago, David CO said:

I think we are forgetting that BP served much of his military career under the rule of a queen. Apparently they felt that a woman was responsible enough to be the sovereign of their country.

 

Don't forget that the role of the monarch under the Uk constitution is to do precisely nothing. Have you ever heard the current Queen offer an opinion on any political matter? No. Because she's not allowed to express one. That was all part of the deal when the monarch was re established following Cromwell's period as Lord Protector or whatever he called himself.

The monarch theoretically appoints the Prime Minister but is required to appoint the member of parliament most likely to command a majority in the House of Commons. In practice that means the leader of the party with the largest number of seats. If there is any uncertainty on the matter such as with a hung parliament and no coalition being formed she in theory needs to make a choice but would do so on the advice of the privy council.

Thats a long winded way of saying no one gave or gives a monkey's if the monarch is a man or woman because they don't do anything.

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