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2018 Membership numbers are in

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Regarding  keeping LDS families, in Scouting

From Utah Public Radio:

Mark Francis, the relationships director for The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints/Boy Scouts of America partnership, explained an event called Vision 2020 will give those with a strong interest in scouting the information they need to continue utilizing the program.

“Vision 2020 is simply one of many tools that were using to try and encourage families to still be involved in scouting," Francis said. "It’s not our only method but it’s one of the primary ones to be able to gather as many people as we can across the country to talk about how we will support and strengthen scouting into the future.”

...Vision 2020 will be a weeklong (June 15-22,2019) fellowship held at the Philmont Scout Ranch in New Mexico. Alan Endicott, the scout executive for the Trapper Trails Council, expressed that this will be the beginning of a new era for Utah and the Boy Scouts of America.



Edited by RememberSchiff
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The BSA leadership really needs to separate out the LDS numbers.  While it seems like Scouting is declining rapidly, I suspect much of that is around the LDS decision.  Would be better to be more tran

I (electronically) asked my family and friends who have scout-aged kids whether they'd be considering continuing in scouting/BSA, regardless of what the church comes up with in terms of a program.  Th

Your descriptions describe some of the GSUSA problems also.  Not just currently, but running a generation back also. Actually, an old friend from my high school girl scout troop, whose daughter did ve

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I (electronically) asked my family and friends who have scout-aged kids whether they'd be considering continuing in scouting/BSA, regardless of what the church comes up with in terms of a program.  The only two people who replied were my sister and my dad, neither of whom have sons in scouting anymore, lol.  If what they said is any indication, there are still some families who want their sons to earn Eagle.  Unfortunately, I think a lot of LDS troops looked at scouting ONLY as a path to Eagle, and know for a fact that more than a few troops never followed the patrol method well and did very few outdoor activities.  I had really been hoping my brother (with two young sons) would chime in.  I guess I'll have to pick up the phone.  :D

As for Venturing, too many don't even know what that is.  We didn't, until I started searching for alternatives to Girl Scouts, which my daughter hated.  My husband had met a group of Polish Girl Scouts, who lived in NYC, and was impressed by them.  We looked into it, but she's have had to speak Polish - like that was going to happen!  Eventually, we stumbled across Venturing.  Last night, we were at a Board of Ed meeting for my daughter's swim team to receive an award, and I told two people - separately - that we had to leave early for a Crew meeting.  I didn't really thing about it, but both assumed I meant rowing, and one of them is even our Committee Chair for our Troop.

Our Crew was started by two or three dads who had boys in scouts, and they wanted something for their daughters.  It's all-girl, and it's mainly camping and high adventure, so that's our draw.  Even with Girl Troops starting, we're still drawing new girls.  Perhaps because they're slightly older (14 v. 11), they like that we have one meeting and one trip per month, leaving them plenty of time for other things.  We have two girls who are focused on advancing in the program, but none of the other 20-ish girls care at all.  Goes along with what some of you have said. 

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On 3/14/2019 at 9:41 AM, qwazse said:

@ParkMan, I'm gonna pick apart what you are saying because pros and district volunteers alike make some wrong assumptions. My observations might not apply to your district, and if not, the math might work in your favor.

Thanks @qwazse!

I'd support all of what you write here. Were we discussing this live and trying to figure out what to do locally here in my area, I'd say - we should embrace this.  A few specific comments.

On 3/14/2019 at 9:41 AM, qwazse said:

Five years is too long. The harsh reality of a postmodern nomadic culture is that any given venturer will be around for no more than 4 years before college, war, or trade draws him/her elsewhere. Reach 30 in two years or remain a clique. It's that simple.

Understood - To get a venture Crew going, you need to get it to critical mass quickly.  With a sustained push, I could imagine a 30 person crew in 2 years.  

On 3/14/2019 at 9:41 AM, qwazse said:

Crews should never expect to get members from troops. From my experience about 1 in 4 older scouts is interested in venturing. It is a myth that all of those late teens hate being around youngsters. For some of them, a troop provides the younger brothers who they never had. They don't want venturing or exploring distracting them from that -- especially if their SM is a nice guy who keeps that leadership patrol elevated. (I know because I was one of those scouts.) So if you look at a troop of 32, they might have 16 of venturing age. At best 4 might want to be venturers. From four troops (lucky advisor if that many troops are steady "feeders"), that gives you 16 venturers. Nice, but not nearly enough to ever have a crew of 30.

Perhaps I should have used the word anticipate, not expect.  Two comments around that:

1) I firmly believe that a unit (troop or crew) should never expect to get members from another unit.  My thinking though largely matches your point.  Given the kind of dynamics you describe, a Crew cannot simply say "hey, we'll get enough older Scouts from just Troop 123".  They need relationships with multiple troops.  I'd argue the same is true with GSUSA troops.

2) As I see it, the BSA really offers four different older teen programs: Scouts BSA, Venturing, Sea Scouts, and Exploring.  So, to your point, a given individual may be interested in one of two of those.  A Crew shouldn't expect that every 14+ year old wants to drop what they're doing and join the Crew.  For many staying in Scouts BSA is better, for many trying Sea Scouts is better, or maybe Exploring is better.

On 3/14/2019 at 9:41 AM, qwazse said:

Districts must commit to visiting every high school, providing a captivating assembly/activity, rewarding existing venturers publicly, and encouraging the best adults in their community to consider becoming committee and advisors.

I fully agree with the comment.  Let me present a variation on the idea.  I've come to learn that these are different models in the US around the recruiting split between districts & units.  In some councils, districts are very active in recruiting and signing up scouts.  In others, the units lead the process and the districts provide support.  It's not that districts are more/less effective - it's just the local style.  I agree 100% with your idea that outreach needs to be done to multiple schools and that the Crew needs to be considered a community crew.  My advice here would be that the Crew committee & District membership team need to develop a join strategy to make this successful.

On 3/14/2019 at 9:41 AM, qwazse said:

One of the flaws when folks present venturing to youth is the illusion that it's a nice supplement. How about telling our older scouts that they only need to show up at the troop occasionally? See how many SM's will let you give their boys leadership training. To get anything out of venturing a youth has to lean in and do a lot! Districts must be honest with their scouts about how taxing, yet rewarding, being a venturer is.

When I had a very brief stint as a Crew Committee Chair, we made this mistake.  We'd treat it as a fun other Scouting supplement.  All of the boys in the Crew came from one troop and they always put troop first.  There was never a feeling that the Crew was important.  

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