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Hawkwin

National, Religion, Membership, Oath and Law

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In looking at various forums/sites it is interesting that there are posts such as Only 2% LDS in our council, only affects 200 scouts in our council, no big deal here business as usual, scouts will just roll into non LDS troops, the girls will make up for all the losses etc .  

Heads in the sand....If you don't think this decision will not adversely affect all councils and individual units think some more.   

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14 minutes ago, PACAN said:

In looking at various forums/sites it is interesting that there are posts such as Only 2% LDS in our council, only affects 200 scouts in our council, no big deal here business as usual, scouts will just roll into non LDS troops, the girls will make up for all the losses etc .  

Heads in the sand....If you don't think this decision will not adversely affect all councils and individual units think some more.   

Whistling past the graveyard - this affects 425,000 Scouts - roughly 20% of BSA...it will have an impact

  • 1) Membership fees - we can assume these will go up from $33 to close to $40 per member to cover, assuming National does not trim overhead
  • 2) Unit charter fees - Currently (I think) around $40 - that will likely go up to close to $50 to cover
  • 3) Attendance at High Adventure - Specifically the Summit (which is the large cash drain on BSA) and no way they are getting close to their 50K attendees needed annually

To assume that potential increase in membership from Girls joining will offset is ludicrous

 

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43 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Whistling past the graveyard - this affects 425,000 Scouts - roughly 20% of BSA...it will have an impact

  • 1) Membership fees - we can assume these will go up from $33 to close to $40 per member to cover, assuming National does not trim overhead
  • To assume that potential increase in membership from Girls joining will offset is ludicrous

 

My quick calc said $5 minimum in Membership fees. If they REALLY think that they are getting a lot of new families than this would be the time to make an additional price hike. IMHO

Would there not be some rational to hike some user fees at camps to pay for additional female facilities?

If the Mormons are leaving can we hike up the scout shorts a little bit?

Edited by Tampa Turtle

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58 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

...assuming National does not trim overhead...

 

That is a pretty safe assumption.

 

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I received a forwarded email this morning from our Assistant Scout Executive. Our local council does a fund drive every year. They ask for donations of $250.00 and up from wealthy donors to attend a luncheon with a guest speaker. The email I received was from a fellow scouter who donated $800.00 last year and declined to donate this year due to the recent decisions by national. The email also stated the fund drive was well below the $750,000.00 annual donations from years past at this same time.

I was also informed that the LDS scouts reserve our entire camp exclusively for themselves for 2 weeks every summer. Not anymore. Our scout camp is on its last leg already.

Many scouters in my area are no longer supporting the fund drives, council sponsored events or actions that benefit the council. Everything is solely for their units.

Edited by SouthScout
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34 minutes ago, SouthScout said:

I received a forwarded email this morning from our Assistant Scout Executive. Our local council does a fund drive every year. They ask for donations of $250.00 and up from wealthy donors to attend a luncheon with a guest speaker. The email I received was from a fellow scouter who donated $800.00 last year and declined to donate this year due to the recent decisions by national. The email also stated the fund drive was well below the $750,000.00 annual donations from years past at this same time.

I was also informed that the LDS scouts reserve our entire camp exclusively for themselves for 2 weeks every summer. Not anymore. Our scout camp is on its last leg already.

Many scouters in my area are no longer supporting the fund drives, council sponsored events or actions that benefit the council. Everything is solely for their units.

From my understanding FOS is hurting in many districts and councils as well. 

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26 minutes ago, Gwaihir said:

From my understanding FOS is hurting in many districts and councils as well. 

Certainly is regional.  In our district we are doing better than last year.  The luncheon I attended, they got around $60k from the room.

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24 minutes ago, mashmaster said:

Certainly is regional.  In our district we are doing better than last year.  The luncheon I attended, they got around $60k from the room.

Ya, but was the food any good?   

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1 hour ago, jamskinner said:

Ya, but was the food any good?   

of course not.  sad, because here in Central Texas we have the best Brisket around 🙂  That should ruffle a few feathers....

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In my neck of the woods, FOS is down. Heck my district goal this year is the same as it was when I was a DE 19 years ago, and we have not met it yet! My district committee is down to 4 active people, and that includes the DE. Folks are not supporting the changes over the years, and it is hurting.

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17 hours ago, ParkMan said:

I agree that it's on the local units to retain their older scouts.  You describe nicely some of the considerations.

I'd like to see national do some thing I've never seen before in Scouting - really focus on fixing this.  For example - I'd like to see training on 14-17 program development and on retention.  I'd like to see true experts emerge who work with the troops on annual calendar and meeting structure. And so on.

 

National can't fix youth retention issues.  It truly has limited control on how individual CO's operate their units or how unit leaders operate their units.  National provides the tools for local volunteers to run a successful unit program that attracts and retains members from 11 to 17.  (Adjust to your age group program as needed).   Then they pretty much rely on the first part of the Scout Law and trust that people will do it the right way.  

National can provide all the tools in the world but if people at the unit level don't bother to use them, then its really not National's fault.  Unless people would prefer to have the BSA run on the Girl Scout model where the councils actually control the units, we, at the local level, have got to stop blaming National for membership losses and start looking in the mirror.  Losing older scouts?  In my experience, the units that lose most of their older Scouts are the units where the adults run and control things instead of trusting the boy-led program because, well - they just know better than the BSA.  

What can National do about membership losses?  Exactly what it is doing - expanding the market.  The Mormon church decided to create an internal youth group due to pressure from their "foreign" branches, where their growth is greatest.  From a business perspective it makes perfect sense that the BSA would open their doors to girls to try to make up for that membership hit.  Blaming National for a redirection of resources and efforts by a religious organization is blind to reality and unfair to National.  

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10 minutes ago, CalicoPenn said:

National can't fix youth retention issues. 

No, but it can sure mess them up.

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FOS donations happen when people believe they are getting some value from the council.  When Customer Service (we are the customer, not the other way around) and Communications are unsatisfactory, Programs are substandard or get cancelled and the units are blamed, it is very likely these folks will choose to retrench and donate to their unit.   Since the unit is not allowed to look for a better service provider even in the adjoining council, they only use the council for the absolute minimum.

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3 hours ago, CalicoPenn said:

National can't fix youth retention issues.  It truly has limited control on how individual CO's operate their units or how unit leaders operate their units.  National provides the tools for local volunteers to run a successful unit program that attracts and retains members from 11 to 17.  (Adjust to your age group program as needed).   Then they pretty much rely on the first part of the Scout Law and trust that people will do it the right way.  

National can provide all the tools in the world but if people at the unit level don't bother to use them, then its really not National's fault.  Unless people would prefer to have the BSA run on the Girl Scout model where the councils actually control the units, we, at the local level, have got to stop blaming National for membership losses and start looking in the mirror.  Losing older scouts?  In my experience, the units that lose most of their older Scouts are the units where the adults run and control things instead of trusting the boy-led program because, well - they just know better than the BSA.  

What can National do about membership losses?  Exactly what it is doing - expanding the market.  The Mormon church decided to create an internal youth group due to pressure from their "foreign" branches, where their growth is greatest.  From a business perspective it makes perfect sense that the BSA would open their doors to girls to try to make up for that membership hit.  Blaming National for a redirection of resources and efforts by a religious organization is blind to reality and unfair to National.  

I'm the first to agree that the unit level volunteers are the group with the single greatest ability to drive membership & retention in their unit.  I'm also a firm believer that it's up to us unit level volunteers to build our troop and make it successful.  I also agree 100% that national cannot make any given troop do anything.   Yes - unit level scouters need to control their own destiny and not blame national.

I do think that National can do a  lot to increase retention.  In reality, National wears a few different hats:
- central  message leadership
- program development
- central marketing organization
- leadership to and oversight of councils

Some things that I think the national council to do to help:
1) more clearly define the program for 14-17 year old scouts.  The Boy Scout program is well defined for 11-13 year olds.  Make it easier for units to understand the key things they need to focus on to drive retention.
2) Create a nationwide campaign to really focus on this problem. The CSE should be repeating retention, retention, retention.  Make this a key part of the national Scouting conversation.
3) National should pressure councils to develop programs focused on improving retention.  Tie the professional's variable compensation to improving retention.  Scout Executives who improve retention gen promoted.  That kind of thing.

I could keep going... 

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