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Eagle1993

Per WSJ -BSA may declare bankruptcy

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6 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

The interviewer’s questions were odd.... it seemed like he had a clear opinion of scouting but no real experience in it (or even research of it).  SFE was actually defending BSA for much of the interview.  Are there really no experienced scouters in media that can actually write an in depth article or hold an coherent interview?  I only see poorly researched hatchet jobs or shallow and short quick reads.

I got the impression that the interviewer wasn't really into Scouting, and finds it silly.

SFE guy, who was very articulate and knowledgeable, seems to try to drive the idea that membership will increase when barriers are removed. It's a nice thought, but it will NEVER happen. You can remove every barrier imaginable, and the increase in membership will be negligible (IMHO).  You can remove all  barriers and give all new recruits a bonus of $100, and you will still fall short of the 4 million that we had at peak.  

Also, expect Scouts for Equality to launch, in the next year or two, another "turn in your Eagle patch" campaign to get National to relax any religious ideas. Like they did 5 years ago on behalf of homosexuals.  It WILL happen and National will go through a number of gyrations to satisfy the protest.

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5 hours ago, WAKWIB said:

I got the impression that the interviewer wasn't really into Scouting, and finds it silly.

SFE guy, who was very articulate and knowledgeable, seems to try to drive the idea that membership will increase when barriers are removed. It's a nice thought, but it will NEVER happen. You can remove every barrier imaginable, and the increase in membership will be negligible (IMHO).  You can remove all  barriers and give all new recruits a bonus of $100, and you will still fall short of the 4 million that we had at peak.  

Also, expect Scouts for Equality to launch, in the next year or two, another "turn in your Eagle patch" campaign to get National to relax any religious ideas. Like they did 5 years ago on behalf of homosexuals.  It WILL happen and National will go through a number of gyrations to satisfy the protest.

Agreed.  While I can understand that he believes opening Scouting to all is a noble thing to do, I agree that it won't fix the membership issue.  It's really an issue of needing to increase the number of youth who want to be Scouts.  Marketing, local recruiting, and program quality are the key things here. 

Edited by ParkMan
Clarity

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4 hours ago, WAKWIB said:

You can remove every barrier imaginable, and the increase in membership will be negligible (IMHO).  You can remove all  barriers and give all new recruits a bonus of $100, and you will still fall short of the 4 million that we had at peak.

Ten years ago, every barrier was in place and BSA had a recent Supreme Court decision affirming its right to have those barriers.  Yet its long, steady membership slide was continuing.  Despite the marketing slogan, “America is returning to the values Scouting never left,” America was not returning to Scouting.  BSA had the choice of doing nothing, with no reason to believe the decline would stop, much less that it would ever grow again.  Or it could change its program (such as by becoming more religion-oriented) to try to grow by drawing more youth inside the barriers. Or it could remove barriers in the hope of reaching more youth with the elements of its program that would not have to change.  

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14 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Marketing, local recruiting, and program quality are the key things here. 

Yep.  The peak of Scouting, I feel (if your judgement point is numbers) was due to the influx of WW2 folks coming into parent hood and making sure THEIR kids became Scouts. 

The dads that had been soldiers, who had learned the survival stuff, camping etc.  made sure their kids did the same.  The "Baby Boomers"  then fell short in making sure THEIR kids had the outdoor experience, the patriotic experience.  I had a good friend in school who's parents were German immigrants. He joined Cub Scouts with me, but dropped out later when he and his parents found BSA too "militaristic" .  (an indication as to why they immigrated in the 1940's, I guess.). He became an expert outdoorsman, none the less, moving to Alaska, opening a outfitter store in Juneau Alaska.  

The key is , as has been said,  program quality (outdoor adventure activity, skill practice,  character encouragement), and  visibility (yes, here is a Scout Pack/Troop/Crew/Ship), call it "marketing, local recruitment" if you will.  

Make it most obvious that the opportunities that Scouting offers are what make it of value.  Stuff you just don't get in "school", or  "church"  or even "home".   

See you on the trail.... 

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30 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

Marketing, local recruiting, and program quality are the key things here. 

Scouting is structured so that new members individually join specific units.  National-level policies and program choices can’t do much to help a local unit sign up a new member, but they can hurt local recruiting by maintaining barriers to people with particular characteristics or views.  National may feel that local units have the best chance of showing off their programs and signing up new members if National policies and program choices are a non-factor — youth join a local unit because of its program.

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1 hour ago, SSScout said:

The "Baby Boomers"  then fell short in making sure THEIR kids had the outdoor experience, the patriotic experience. 

And also did not "produce" nearly as many children in the first place, which I think is the largest factor in the membership decline in the BSA in the 70's and after.

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BSA have an opportunity in 2019, in the form of the world jamboree, to have some really good PR. While only a tiny proportion of your scouts (indeed any nations's scouts) get to go it is nevertheless a very big good news story that the national media will show an interest in. I do hope your national HQ has this firmly in their sites! On its own that does not produce new recruits. Local units have to do that and then have the program to retain them, but what it does is provide a positive backdrop for local units to work with to go out and start recruiting.

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22 minutes ago, Cambridgeskip said:

BSA have an opportunity in 2019, in the form of the world jamboree, to have some really good PR. While only a tiny proportion of your scouts (indeed any nations's scouts) get to go it is nevertheless a very big good news story that the national media will show an interest in. I do hope your national HQ has this firmly in their sites! On its own that does not produce new recruits. Local units have to do that and then have the program to retain them, but what it does is provide a positive backdrop for local units to work with to go out and start recruiting.

Nah. US media will spin it. Positive stories don't get clicks. Only scandal and destruction. The headline will be: "BSA throws expensive international event while declaring bankruptcy to avoid creditors." 

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6 hours ago, Cambridgeskip said:

BSA have an opportunity in 2019, in the form of the world jamboree, to have some really good PR. While only a tiny proportion of your scouts (indeed any nations's scouts) get to go it is nevertheless a very big good news story that the national media will show an interest in. I do hope your national HQ has this firmly in their sites! 

You have not met some of the folks working for our National HQ. If they can screw up something, they will. I should know. I use to work for National. Some folks have no clue what goes on in Scouting outside of their offices.

5 hours ago, Sentinel947 said:

Nah. US media will spin it. Positive stories don't get clicks. Only scandal and destruction. The headline will be: "BSA throws expensive international event while declaring bankruptcy to avoid creditors." 

Sadly you are correct.

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I think the BSA's National marketing today is in line with what you'd expect.  Marketing is expensive, so they limit it to specific locations and times.  Today I think this means more and more online marketing.  While this is fine, It strikes me that what Scouting needs is something with bigger impact.  Something designed to change the conversation about Scouting and help get scores of youth excited about it.

I don't know how it's done in other countries and would be interested to learn more.

I think it would be interesting for the BSA to do some sort of marketing experiment with 10 of the best marketing firms in the country - even perhaps national corporations that do marketing just for their company.  Places like Apple & Disney.  Get them each to produce one advertisement.  Keep the BSA marketing folks largely out out it (not because BSA marketing has bad ideas) so that these experts in marketing are not restrained by traditional thinking about how to market the program. 

I'd also have the BSA then put the challenge out to local councils.  Have troops around the country develop and submit their own BSA advertisements that can be released on social media.  Get real Scouts selling the program to their peers.  

Perhaps doing these things around the World Jamboree would be a good reason.

 

Edited by ParkMan
clarity

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11 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I think the BSA's National marketing today is in line with what you'd expect.  Marketing is expensive, so they limit it to specific locations and times.  Today I think this means more and more online marketing.  While this is fine, It strikes me that what Scouting needs is something with bigger impact.  Something designed to change the conversation about Scouting and help get scores of youth excited about it.

I don't know how it's done in other countries and would be interested to learn more.

I think it would be interesting for the BSA to do some sort of marketing experiment with 10 of the best marketing firms in the country - even perhaps national corporations that do marketing just for their company.  Places like Apple & Disney.  Get them each to produce one advertisement.  Keep the BSA marketing folks largely out out it (not because BSA marketing has bad ideas) so that these experts in marketing are not restrained by traditional thinking about how to market the program. 

I'd also have the BSA then put the challenge out to local councils.  Have troops around the country develop and submit their own BSA advertisements that can be released on social media.  Get real Scouts selling the program to their peers.  

Perhaps doing these things around the World Jamboree would be a good reason.

 

Problem i see with bsa marketing is for decades bsa had a monopoly on scouting so they didnt need to market the program

national campaigns are geared toward existing members selling activities and such

local councils rely on the individual units to do the marketing

councl strategies will vary 

see alot more emphasys on stem activities, all the posters and flyers we receive stress stemm programs

even in vision and mission statements national and councils have removed word outdoors in their statements ficusint solely on youth developement

i am leaving scoutint for this reason too much arts and crafts

lack of emphasys on outdoors

my son learns more about the outdoors without scouting

scoutint has actually diminished his outdoor knowledge/experiences

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35 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

I'd also have the BSA then put the challenge out to local councils.  Have troops around the country develop and submit their own BSA advertisements that can be released on social media.  Get real Scouts selling the program to their peers.  

The biggest problem with BSA marketing is that neither National nor councils teach units how to market themselves effectively.  They produce lots of good marketing materials, and make that material available to units, but don't follow through by training units in the best way to use those materials.  Given that signing up new members is almost entirely in the hands of individual units and the volunteers and youth members of those units, this is a critical failure.  Scouting is competing against a wide variety of other activities available to young people, and needs every possible edge.  Yet BSA doesn't seem to understand how its own member acquisition process works.

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Can you guys get https://beascout.scouting.org map and list to work?   On my computers it has been broken for weeks.

When I do a search for "Boy Scouts" on google beascot.scouting.org is one of the top search results, I go onto that page and it has lots of pictures of girls and talks about girls young women joining, it looks sorta like a girl scout page.

Then when I put my zip code in the "Find Scouting Near Me" I get a broken blank map and broken list view.

So the first thing someone using Google to find "Boy Scouts" finds when they go to the top official web site after entering their zip code is a broken map, a broken list view.

Has the BSA National just given up? Are they even trying anymore?

 

 

 

 

 

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6 minutes ago, cocomax said:

Can you guys get https://beascout.scouting.org map and list to work?   On my computers it has been broken for weeks.

When I do a search for "Boy Scouts" on google beascot.scouting.org is one of the top search results, I go onto that page and it has lots of pictures of girls and talks about girls young women joining, it looks sorta like a girl scout page.

Then when I put my zip code in the "Find Scouting Near Me" I get a broken blank map and broken list view.

So the first thing someone using Google to find "Boy Scouts" finds when they go to the top official web site after entering their zip code is a broken map, a broken list view.

Has the BSA National just given up? Are they even trying anymore?

It's not just you. It's broke. I think they are trying too hard. This interface could be one that spits out plain text and a map.

But developers have fallen for this hand-held look and feel.:mad:

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@cocomax - it seems broken for me too.  I tried from Safari and I get the same blank map.

@dkurtenbach - This seems emblematic of a larger problem in Scouting - the strain of the National/Council/District structure.  National is good at coming up with materials.  Councils do a reasonable job of doing council level activities.  The weak link is where this all intersects with local units.  Really, this kind of training should be district (and maybe) council level training.  If one district was bad at training units to recruit, then it's an opportunity for districts to improve.  That it's a systemic problem in districts all over, that makes it a national problem.  The challenge here is that the solution is training councils & districts how to do this effectively and then putting a program in place to ensure it happens.

Though I agree that we need to do more to support unit level membership efforts, I do continue to believe there is a national level role here.  If National could find a way to raise excitement and interest in Scouting, it lowers the hurdle for the local units.  In essence - make it easier to the packs & troops to recruit by having more inherent interest.

@Terasec - Sorry to see you stepping away.  It feels to me like what you're seeing is the typical corporate response to a problem like membership.  i.e. "if numbers are dropping, then there must be a program problem we need to address.  Let's add STEM to our program - that's what kids want."  I still think the program is fine, it's the delivery of the program that is the thing to fix.  I'm sure folks in our national organization understand this - it's just a lot harder to address that.

 

 

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