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mrkstvns

Girls in Boy Scouts in the News (and in recruiting numbers)...

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The New York Times ran an interesting in-depth article about how it's going with girls being welcomed into BSA.

An interesting take-away that I saw was that BSA recruitment numbers have been down in recent years, and that the new opportunities for girls may represent a potential growth opportunity. That's really "potential" though so far, since the article pointed out that while 8,000 girls have joined scout troops, there are still more than 1.7 million girls who are involved with Girl Scouts USA.  Perhaps the people who seem gloom and doom in girls saying "Scout Me In" will end up seeing that all their hype was much ado about nothing.

We shall see.

Any of y'all read the article???

https://www.nytimes.com/2019/03/03/nyregion/girls-in-boy-scouts-bsa.html 

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Parents may go to sign daughters up for Girl Scouts and are unwittingly steered toward Boy Scouts, the lawsuit said.

Oh come on. By that logic, I could go complain to my local supermarket that I tried to buy a gallon of water and got a gallon of milk accidentally because the containers looked the same.

Even if, hypothetically, it were true that a parent unwittingly ended up at a BSA recruiting event instead of the intended GSUSA event, we're not really in the business of forcibly signing up families just because they walked in the door. Or holding them hostage once signed up, even if they made a mistake in joining the wrong organization.

😂

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

... the article pointed out that while 8,000 girls have joined scout troops ...

8000 after just a month is pretty good ... especially considering a new troop had to be created.  

77,000+ cub scouts last year.  That's pretty good too.  I was hoping it would be higher, but it's still good.

This will take years to shake out to see the real effect.  I would not stress or argue over the numbers at this point.  At this point, the numbers are more curiosity than a useful fact.  

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1 hour ago, mrkstvns said:

An interesting take-away that I saw was that BSA recruitment numbers have been down in recent years, and that the new opportunities for girls may represent a potential growth opportunity.

That was in fact the bet, that the girls will be a growth opportunity.  All the chips for the future were put on G and the wheel was spun.   Honestly the ball is still bouncing and we do not know if that bet will pay off.  As was noted in the bankruptcy conversations several months back with the exposure on insurance, dwindling numbers, spending at the Summit, and unfunded pension liabilities the BSA needed more members.  The registration fee went up significantly in 2017, so that was a lifeline toss.

Recruiting more boys to the program has been a challenge. During his listening and speaking tours CSE Sourbaugh admitted as much, in that they were out of ideas, so heck fire, let the girls in.  Possibly the program folks need to look at all the stem focus, continuing efforts by many well intentioned councils for more class focus activities (MB universities come to mind), and troops making Boy Scouts just more  school and less adventure as possibly reasons for lower numbers.

Adding more girls seeking outdoor adventure may nudge the organization back to it's roots, hopefully.  The BSA can be great part of a well rounded youth's activities (sports, school, religious, hobbies being some others).  There is a lot of outdoor adventure out there, it's where we can differentiate in a crowded marketplace for a youth's time and efforts.  

Rather than Scout Me In our marketing should be We Go Do Stuff.

Let the program sell itself at the local level.  Get away from JTE, uniform police, leaders focused on district/council and not youth and laser focus back to Scouting outdoor activities and youth (Cubs, Scouts BSA*, Ventures and Explorers) doing things.

* really think changing the flagship program's name to a generic name was a monumentally bad decision...

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I wonder how many of the 8000 are in a venture crew or were patiently waiting to join Scouts. The real number to watch for the next few years is new girls 10-11 year old joining. 

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Posted (edited)

 

16 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Rather than Scout Me In our marketing should be We Go Do Stuff.

If you get somebody to listen to you, they might point out that kids might then believe us and demand that we GO DO STUFF.  We'd have to train leaders to GO DO STUFF and not sit in University of Scouting classrooms talking about Religious Emblems, Commissioner College, etc.  We'd have to tell our out-of-shape, old-timers and Weight Watchers to stay home if they need a CPAP and an oxygen tank and a wheelchair and a parking spot next to their tent and a.....

Edited by mrkstvns

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8 minutes ago, TMSM said:

I wonder how many of the 8000 are in a venture crew or were patiently waiting to join Scouts. The real number to watch for the next few years is new girls 10-11 year old joining. 

This can be predicted to some degree. 20 years ago, 50% Tiger joined Wolves. 80% Bears joined Webelos I, 85% of Webelos I joined Webelos II and 50% of Webelos II crossed over into troops. Those are very rough numbers, but I think they can give you some idea.

Barry

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31 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

This can be predicted to some degree. 20 years ago, 50% Tiger joined Wolves. 80% Bears joined Webelos I, 85% of Webelos I joined Webelos II and 50% of Webelos II crossed over into troops. Those are very rough numbers, but I think they can give you some idea.

Barry

I think Barry has hit the real issue on the head.  Then add X% of Lions continue to Tiger.  The simple fact is the Cub program is long and repetitive.  Scouts and families burn-out before reaching Boy Scouts.  

I fear we could predict troops hurting with the addition of Lion and Tiger.  .

  • If you assume the best annual retention rate of 85%, you need 100 cub scouts to feed a health troop size.  
  • If you assume a more real retention rate of 75%, you need a 210 cub scouts to feed a health troop size.  

If you did not have Lion and Tiger ranks, troops would be much more healthy.

  • You would only need 72 cub scouts for a health troop size with a 85% retention
  • You would only need 118 cub scouts for a health troop size with a 75% retention

Of course, this all begs the question of the same number of families wanting to be part of the scouting program.  

I fear this is heresy, but not all ranks are equal.  Scouts grow far more for each year they are in Boy Scouts than any year in Cub Scouts.  We are bolstering membership numbers with younger ranks at the cost of having health troops where we can have the most impact on their lives.  

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4 hours ago, TMSM said:

I wonder how many of the 8000 are in a venture crew or were patiently waiting to join Scouts. The real number to watch for the next few years is new girls 10-11 year old joining. 

I suspect a few are venturers who really were into awards and recognition, but I was actually surprised at the variety of interest. I guess it varies by region. In my council last year, no venturers were interested. But some younger girls were.

There is definitely a mix across the age ranges.

With respect to GS/USA, the girls in Scouts BSA are sort of misfits. The GS pros are no slouches, they know what suits the majority of girls who would commit years to an organization (and their parents). The whole girls-outdoors-monthly thing is a niche market to them.

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18 minutes ago, qwazse said:

With respect to GS/USA, the girls in Scouts BSA are sort of misfits. The GS pros are no slouches, they know what suits the majority of girls who would commit years to an organization (and their parents). The whole girls-outdoors-monthly thing is a niche market to them.

Yes, exactly. I’ve been called sexist for saying the same thing. 

Barry

 

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, qwazse said:

I suspect a few are venturers who really were into awards and recognition, but I was actually surprised at the variety of interest. I guess it varies by region. In my council last year, no venturers were interested. But some younger girls were.

There is definitely a mix across the age ranges.

With respect to GS/USA, the girls in Scouts BSA are sort of misfits. The GS pros are no slouches, they know what suits the majority of girls who would commit years to an organization (and their parents). The whole girls-outdoors-monthly thing is a niche market to them.

 

27 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

Yes, exactly. I’ve been called sexist for saying the same thing. 

Barry

 

That isn't sexist. It's the truth. I roll my eyes when folks suggest "fixing the girl Scouts." A majority of the girls involved in Girl Scouts, and their professional leadership are happy with how things are. Therefore, there's nothing to "fix". If making the Girl Scout program more outdoors-centric would halt the GSUSA's membership declines, they'd have already done it. 

That doesn't mean there aren't any girls out there that want to hike and camp like Boy Scouts do, and that's why we now have Scouts BSA as an option for them. 

Edited by Sentinel947
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4 hours ago, fred8033 said:

I fear this is heresy, but not all ranks are equal.  Scouts grow far more for each year they are in Boy Scouts than any year in Cub Scouts.  We are bolstering membership numbers with younger ranks at the cost of having health troops where we can have the most impact on their lives.  

Looking back at my own scouting career, I do wonder if this is true. I was in the first crop of tigers (when tigers was 2nd grade). Cubs was much abbreviated compared to now, and the big jump was joining a troop.

I think the counter point is that everything has been pushed younger, so if you wait, then sports or academic team or drama will have grabbed all the kids before then.

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Posted (edited)

A couple years ago, at a district dinner, I overheard two scouts talking about how long they've been in scouting.  One said to another:  "Do you know how long I've been doing this cr*p?"  Both were Star Scouts.

 

Edited by desertrat77

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Posted (edited)
40 minutes ago, malraux said:

Looking back at my own scouting career, I do wonder if this is true. I was in the first crop of tigers (when tigers was 2nd grade). Cubs was much abbreviated compared to now, and the big jump was joining a troop.

I think the counter point is that everything has been pushed younger, so if you wait, then sports or academic team or drama will have grabbed all the kids before then.

Maybe the answer is more differentiation in Webelos.

Cub Scouts is Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears - activites as we know them now

Webelos is two years - seperate from Cub Scouts - more adventure, more responsibility

Scouts is the program we know today

 

Edited by ParkMan
clarity

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30 minutes ago, malraux said:

I think the counter point is that everything has been pushed younger, so if you wait, then sports or academic team or drama will have grabbed all the kids before then.

Grade school activities have changed dramatically over the last 15-20 years.  In my Tiger den, half the youth are signed up for weekly ski lessons (in Wisconsin); most have at least 1 organized travel sport... some have two.  Add in a martial art and a musical instrument for a few.  Parents are already starting to cut activities by 2nd and 3rd grade.... they are not looking to add.  It would be interesting if there are successfull packs who only started recruiting in 2nd or 3rd grade.

 

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