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

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5 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

There is a very balanced, intelligent article in Bloomberg today.  It is, perhaps, the best factual and neutral piece of reporting on Scouts BSA I have seen in months. Just google Scouts and Bloomberg.   Highly recommend it.

It can be found here:  http://www.bloomberg.com/news/features/2019-04-17/boy-scouts-are-just-scouts-now-and-that-s-making-girl-scouts-mad

And I agree, it's a really good article.

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Let’s have some fun.  I predict that the November 2022 membership numbers will reflect that Scouts BSA will have net grown boys very slightly compared to year end 2018 — effectively replacing the 65% of Church of JC of LDS Members I think will depart.  And, I believe we will have no less than 200,000 girl members.  This is because we will no longer be carrying cultural war baggage and the family scouting approach will have been proven to draw membership.  Okay folks, what do you think?  Don’t just make wild predictions.  Have rationale for your views.

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Posted (edited)

I have no idea nationally.  I expect our all-boy Troop to continue to have strong membership, and I expect the new girls' troops in the area to continue to build.  I think that as more parents see Scouts BSA as a viable and attractive alternative to Girl Scouts the girls' numbers will grow. Plus they won't have to deal with the ridiculously low proceeds from their cookie sales. 

Edited by WisconsinMomma

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“It's tough to make predictions, especially about the future”

That said.... 

I predict a bankruptcy filing in 2020 to help spread the blame a bit to the loss of LDS scouts instead of primarily due to loss of total members and sex abuse court cases. 

I don’t know if larger membership numbers should be the ultimate goal, sustainable and stable numbers should be.   I see paths to massive increases in total membership but some could sacrifice the program.

Outside of a massive shift to a family recreation/day care program (we shouldn’t do this) or figuring out how to grow in urban/immigrant areas (we should do this) I see our numbers continuing to decline.  Parents seem to have less time to volunteer, kids have more and more activities and entertainment options, and both see scouting as solving 20th century problems.  Dean Kamen maybe the 21st century Baden-Powell.

I do see BSA as a fun and important program for our youth... but I don’t see the majority of our society aligned with that mindset.

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7 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I don’t know if larger membership numbers should be the ultimate goal, sustainable and stable numbers should be.   I see paths to massive increases in total membership but some could sacrifice the program.

Both are good, but yeah, finding a way to stabilize membership is way more important than temporarily boosting numbers.

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46 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

 

Parents seem to have less time to volunteer, kids have more and more activities and entertainment options, ...

I continue to think this is the key point for the BSA.  I think recent changes will help with the first part (parent time) - families will be more invested in the BSA and willing to volunteer because they have both daughters & sons involved. 

The second (competing activities) I still see as a challenge for the BSA.  I still think that to fix that, the BSA needs to focus more on unit program quality.  Pushing for higher quality district activities, more an increased focus on unit leader development would be two good steps.

That said - I'm optomistic like @Cburkhardt.  I see a 200,000 number for girls in the BSA in Nov 2022.  I think there will be slight growth in boy numbers compared to Jan 1, 2020 - but not compared to Dec. 2018.  I could see a return for 2018 numbers for boys in 2025.

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I really see the Scouting movement splintering, with each of the splinter groups going off and creating their own Scouting organizations.  We saw this happen with Trail Life five years ago, and now we see the LDS groups going off to do their own program.  That is already three Scouting groups out there, and the programs will be similar because the people who leave the BSA will still implement a program that they are familiar with.  Who will be next?  The Catholics?  I hear that they have a program in the planning just waiting for an impetus to launch.  What will that be?  Further changes to BSA membership policies?  How about Muslim or Jewish splinter groups.  Is there anything that the BSA is doing that are objectionable to these groups?  mmm.....

The main thing the BSA has going for it is that control is still dispersed to the local level.  Units can make most of the decisions, and districts and councils do things at a local level.  If these two want to buck the National organization, they can do stuff quietly and not be noticed.  The other thing the BSA has is the Eagle Scout award, which still is something valuable in the minds of the public.  It is a big selling point, and the best marketing tool in the BSA toolbox.  

Among Scouters I know, the big problem BSA has in all is the perception that they are in it for the money.  We changed membership policies so we could garner corporate donations.  We tweek the guide to safe scouting and OA traditions and practice to avoid lawsuits.  Of the Trail Life folks I know, this attitude, and not gay acceptance, has driven the break away attitude.  National needs to shake off this perception, but I don't know how it will happen.

 

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18 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

Let’s have some fun.  I predict that the November 2022 membership numbers will reflect that Scouts BSA will have net grown boys very slightly compared to year end 2018 — effectively replacing the 65% of Church of JC of LDS Members I think will depart.  And, I believe we will have no less than 200,000 girl members.  This is because we will no longer be carrying cultural war baggage and the family scouting approach will have been proven to draw membership.  Okay folks, what do you think?  Don’t just make wild predictions.  Have rationale for your views.

I'm going to put the Church of Jesus Christ retention rate at 10%. I see an increasing amount of apathy towards BSA involvement, even among those who have been quite enthusiastic about the program in the past.

On the adult side, my council reorganized into LDS and community districts last year after the announcement. Every month since, the attendance at roundtable has continuously and visibly dropped. I don't think there were 50 people present this month. Volunteers that three months ago were planning to form a few new troops have since scrapped the idea. As for the youth, many of the Varsity and Venturing-aged boys I was certain were going to finish off their Eagle have since cooled off. The new program still has all the things that interested them in Scouts so why do both?

My prediction is a 2-7% decline each year after 2020 as I see no reason for it to change.

 

@allangr1024 I don't feel that being an Eagle Scout has quite the cachet with the general public as it did in the past. I don't have any real polling data but the resumes sub-Reddit has a fair number of posters asking about the value of their Eagle in obtaining a job (https://www.reddit.com/r/resumes/search?q=eagle&restrict_sr=1).

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13 hours ago, Saltface said:

I@allangr1024 I don't feel that being an Eagle Scout has quite the cachet with the general public as it did in the past. I don't have any real polling data but the resumes sub-Reddit has a fair number of posters asking about the value of their Eagle in obtaining a job (https://www.reddit.com/r/resumes/search?q=eagle&restrict_sr=1).

Personal experience: I work in HR. I've done work for 2 Fortune 500 companies and a regional hospital network mostly hiring entry level or recent graduate positions. I've never interviewed a candidate because they were an Eagle Scout. If a candidate is qualified but has their Eagle, I'll talk to them, but if I do I don't typically ask about their Eagle unless they bring it up. 

The process of earning Eagle makes a young man a better person, but the holding the award itself isn't a magic bullet. Being a Scout and the things I did in my troop while earning Eagle are things I'm proud of, but I did it for me, not for what other people think of me. Too many parents, encouraged by the BSA, think of Eagle as a college/job checklist item. As an HR professional, I value it roughly equivalent to a high school sports team captain, drum major, student body president or lead role in theatre. 

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On 4/17/2019 at 8:17 PM, Cburkhardt said:

Let’s have some fun.  I predict that the November 2022 membership numbers will reflect that Scouts BSA will have net grown boys very slightly compared to year end 2018 — effectively replacing the 65% of Church of JC of LDS Members I think will depart.  And, I believe we will have no less than 200,000 girl members.  This is because we will no longer be carrying cultural war baggage and the family scouting approach will have been proven to draw membership.  Okay folks, what do you think?  Don’t just make wild predictions.  Have rationale for your views.

It seems that 200K girls ages 6 to 18 is reasonable over the next four years. A lot depends on on the young women currently being granted an extension to make rank. Will many be willing to become SM's/ASM's in undeserved areas? Or, will the bitterness of being a marginalized keep them from committing to scouting for decades?

Of boys and parents with boys: Based on the last disposal of "cultural war baggage," BSA can expect another loss of 1/2 to 1 million male members over the same period.  TL/USA will successfully serve 200K of those, LDS another 200K, and -- as long as grants are being doled out for climbing walls and Maker activities -- public schools and secular clubs will serve another 200K. The internet -- especially 5G and 6G -- will make it possible for the remaining 400K boys and girls who are interested to execute the patrol method (by some other name) absent any governing organization.

BSA will remain the largest boy-serving organization, but, like England, it will not recoup its male membership for decades. To do so will require a sea-change in the maximum remuneration to abuse victims, a return to formal recognition of unchaperoned activities at appropriate ages, and a careful analysis of what is and is-not working in other scout organizations around the world.

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45 minutes ago, qwazse said:

The internet -- especially 5G and 6G -- will make it possible for the remaining 400K boys and girls who are interested to execute the patrol method (by some other name) absent any governing organization.

This.  Heaven help me I wish I had the gaming talent.  Some kind of small-group competition combining geocaching, Fortnite, and Pokemon-go would be a winner and right up our alley.  Alas, my crystal ball goes dark beyond that.

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1 hour ago, qwazse said:

A lot depends on on the young women currently being granted an extension to make rank. Will many be willing to become SM's/ASM's in undeserved areas? Or, will the bitterness of being a marginalized keep them from committing to scouting for decades?

I know of boys young men who no longer have an interest in serving Scouting who are in the 18-20 year old range because the BSA no longer trusts them due to their age. We spent years mentoring and advising them. They have more knowledge, skills, abilities, and EXPERIENCE than some of the new Scouters coming aboard, but they cannot be utilized. Heck, they can no longer be MBCs except at a summer camp or merit badge college. All because of their age an the new YP rules.

 

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Posted (edited)
16 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I know of boys young men who no longer have an interest in serving Scouting who are in the 18-20 year old range because the BSA no longer trusts them due to their age. We spent years mentoring and advising them. They have more knowledge, skills, abilities, and EXPERIENCE than some of the new Scouters coming aboard, but they cannot be utilized. Heck, they can no longer be MBCs except at a summer camp or merit badge college. All because of their age an the new YP rules.

 

I would have at their age too. I only stepped into ASM because I was needed and had experience to offer. There's much better things to do at 18-20 than to be an duplicate, unnecessary chaperone. 

Edited by Sentinel947
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On 4/17/2019 at 8:17 PM, Cburkhardt said:

Let’s have some fun.  I predict that the November 2022 membership numbers will reflect that Scouts BSA will have net grown boys very slightly compared to year end 2018 — effectively replacing the 65% of Church of JC of LDS Members I think will depart.  And, I believe we will have no less than 200,000 girl members.  This is because we will no longer be carrying cultural war baggage and the family scouting approach will have been proven to draw membership.  Okay folks, what do you think?  Don’t just make wild predictions.  Have rationale for your views.

Depends on the youth. For a very long time being in scouting wasn't cool. Adults can't change that, in fact if they try they'll just make it worse. If there are social media influencing youth that take a positive, pro scouting attitude to their 250,000- 1M followers....if older youth that younger kids respect are visibly enjoying scouting...if youth start live streaming their scouting adventures.... The potential for a unifying cultural experience is there, and there's not much left that everyone can do and talk about together.

Prediction. When LDS leaves those numbers will be the floor for male membership. Three years out I wouldn't be surprised if a third of all Scouts, BSA members were female. Cub scouts is trickier because the GSUSA at that level is popular, but if there were 1.2 M cub scouts in 2017 and Oct 2018 numbers of 40,000 girls in cub scouts...I would bet 200,000 female cub scouts. 

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26 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

I know of boys young men who no longer have an interest in serving Scouting who are in the 18-20 year old range because the BSA no longer trusts them due to their age. We spent years mentoring and advising them. They have more knowledge, skills, abilities, and EXPERIENCE than some of the new Scouters coming aboard, but they cannot be utilized. Heck, they can no longer be MBCs except at a summer camp or merit badge college. All because of their age an the new YP rules.

 

I completely agree with you.  I have two young men that earned their Eagle Badges and one aged out in December and the other in January and a third that will age out in June.  The two Eagles no longer attend meetings and have no interest in Scouts due to not being able to serve in a meaningful position.  Both served me well teaching Scouts and were respected by the Scouts and I am losing a great wealth of knowledge due to this new policy.  Funny how they are mature enough to serve in the military but not to be an ASM with BSA.  Sad times. 

Sadly, I do not see BSA Membership increasing.  I don't think the girls will outpace the losses of the boys.  I know in my District alone, we are still at a loss in numbers.  Come December, we will lose 17 LDS troops alone.  I don't think we will ever recover from that.

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