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Eagle1993

Council Annual Report - Interesting Numbers

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I was reading through our annual report and found some interesting numbers...

Cub Scout Membership dropped 25% (18% drop in number of packs)

Boy Scout Membership dropped 12% (11% drop in number of Troops)

Venturing Membership dropped 21% (26% loss of crews)

Exploring and LFL also dropped over 30% each

But on the advancement side...

Cub Scout advancement went up 10% 

Boy Scout advancement was up 55%

Merit Badges earned went up 14%

 

So... is this a clear indication of clearing out ghost members?  At first glance the numbers are concerning showing a large drop in members.  But the raw numbers in advancement show increases... which doesn’t make sense unless the members dropped were not real members.

The financials didn’t look great as well... showing falling numbers everywhere except Management & General.

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2 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

... So... is this a clear indication of clearing out ghost members?  At first glance the numbers are concerning showing a large drop in members.  But the raw numbers in advancement show increases... which doesn’t make sense unless the members dropped were not real members.

The financials didn’t look great as well... showing falling numbers everywhere except Management & General.

What others call ghost members, we might have called 1st class scouts back in the day. In other words, boys just having fun hanging around the troop but advancing slowly.

Now if you have a lot of LDS packs/troops, it could be that in those units they were trying to wrap up advancement before closing their unit.

The venturing is likely the insult of the YPT burden on 18-20 year olds. If they can't be trusted to assist a troop/pack somewhere, what's the point really? A scout trained for service cannot live on high adventure alone.

Family scouting is bad news for some units. It will discourage some scouters. So, this could reflect that.

My larger worry for some years has been that scouts are getting the bogus message "If you ain't advancing, you ain't anything." Honestly, I can thing for no worse recipe for membership loss than that attitude.

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Advancement focus didn’t just occur in the last 12 months and the biggest drop was Cub Scouts where advancement isn’t really that much of a focus...

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I’ll add a bit more info... we lost the majority of our DEs.  So another thought is that this could simply be late recharters given the large number of Troops and Packs falling off the books.  (Our LDS numbers are small).

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Just now, The Latin Scot said:

Are these national numbers, or from a specific region/area/council/district/what-have-you?

My area... a council in the central region

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20 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

Cub Scout advancement went up 10% 

Boy Scout advancement was up 55%

Merit Badges earned went up 14%

So the MB number is probably easy enough to understand.  What exactly does it mean for advancement to go up?  Is that just number of rank advancements earned?  If so it wouldn't be too hard to imagine losing a bunch of 15 - 17 year olds who were already Star/Life/Eagle, but having enough new scouts earning Scout (now a rank), plus T2F during the year.

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I will comment as a former council and area president who spent 30 years on the front lines of these issues.  Those membership declines are catastrophic and not sustainable.  The units in this council should favor moving into a functioning council.  Unless there is a one-time disaster that explains this, I'll guarantee that this is a council that either has been issued a "conditional charter" or will soon be issued one.  These councils are given a year or two to turn things around or they are merged into better-performing councils.  More recently another  technique has been to remove the charter of the council, disband the board and transfer assets and performing personnel to other councils as seems logical to the Region.  CORs can either allow this kind of performance to continue or take action to stop the bleeding.  As this is Central Region I'll assume this is not related to loss of units formerly affiliated with the Church of Christ of LDS.  In the Western Region there will be a lot of this situation prior to right-sizing the councils in a businesslike way after December 2019.

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21 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

Advancement focus didn’t just occur in the last 12 months and the biggest drop was Cub Scouts where advancement isn’t really that much of a focus...

You might need to drill down to see if the units who dropped were also not doing much in terms of advancement in previous years.

The other thing to ask is if the CO's have abandoned youth programming altogether or if they've taken up a different youth program.

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Our council doesn't seem to have an annual report, or at least not one that can be found.

Assume that tells me all I really need to know.....

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

Our council doesn't seem to have an annual report, or at least not one that can be found.

Assume that tells me all I really need to know.....

I think all councils have them, they're provided to CORs and Board members at a minimum.  You can probably get a copy if you ask, but it's generally not something you'll find on a website.

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Any report is only ever a snapshot and therefore does not necessarily tell you anything without more context.  

Those membership numbers look terrible, but what they really mean might be more obvious if you look at a couple past years.  Is this a trend? Is it a steep decline after a steep increase?  

You need more information to truly understand them.

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A few things come to mind. Purging of the roles is one. Another is folks are not happy with the changes to BSA in recent years and voting with their feet. Another is that the council is not providing the support they are suppose to to assist units. They are not getting the resources they need to survive.

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On 4/16/2019 at 10:32 AM, Cburkhardt said:

In the Western Region there will be a lot of this situation prior to right-sizing the councils in a businesslike way after December 2019.

This is already in process. Grand Canyon Council will be absorbing Catalina Council some time this year. This will result in one council covering most of Arizona. The SE for GCC has announced the elimination of nine staff positions and the formation of a committee to determine what scout camps should be sold.

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