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Double Eagle

A lot of negatives in the media, is scouting in danger?

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

  Sadly I feel he is way out of touch with what successful units are doing to be successful, and is trying to be the socially aware organization that literally will not satisfy anyone.  We have lost focus of the outdoor classroom concept, let youth work as a group and explore how to succeed, and possibly fail in relatively safe environment

In my backyard this transition has been happening for at least 10 years now.  Our biggest packs and troops are those who'd quietly moved past the political questions of the last 5 years.  They are welcoming to all, now are finding space for girls, and don't worry too much about the religious component.  They have great outdoor programs entirely in the spirit of patrol and scout led programs.  They have no problems getting scouts to join.

Where we are shrinking is in the small units who just don't try anymore.  They all have less than 20 scouts, leaders are overwhelmed and burned out.  Say what you will - but membership in these small units is crucial.  The national BSA making the choices that creates an environment for them to grow helps.  Local councils having support and encouragement for these units to grow is important.

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Surbaugh is right because we are actually doing (and hopefully, about to do) what is actually the best that we can do.

If the BSA does not file a Chapter 11 bankruptcy and reasonably soon, it will be unwound financially and operationally over a relatively short time.  The trial attorneys who have filed hundreds of cases since the lifting of the statutes of limitations (maybe even thousands of cases by now) will pick the bones completely clean and the BSA will exist no more.  All that will be left will be a few restricted trust-held properties, but even those will be abandoned because there will be no movement left to actually use the places.  The alternative is to settle by putting the insurance proceeds and proceeds from unnecessary assets into a trust and have the trial attorneys fight among themselves over that asset. 

Councils are not immune.  That's because trial attorneys will go after their assets as well in a blizzard of case filings and lifting of statutes of limitation that will exact a take-down of defenseless council organizations.  It only will take 4 or 5 horrific cases from the 20's through the 80's to take it all away from the typical council.  Without a solid Chapter 11 our professionals and volunteer board members will be managing a hurricane crisis unparalleled in US NFP experience.  That is what you affirmatively choose if the BSA does not file a Chapter 11.

Bankruptcy will allow us the clear, fresh breath to move forward and lay to the side the fight over assets among the trial attorneys.  The victims will receive the justice they seek under a managed and businesslike bankruptcy proceeding.  The BSA that is left will be leaner and better able to handle its program and financial challenges without the existential legal threat.

As for the many potential policy disputes the BSA can have with parties in the future, I have no doubt that we will face those issues or ones like them.  However, just because those issues are out there does not mean that we should become frozen with fear and not take the actions we need to survive.  We will never be popular with  everyone and never were.  We just need to be focused on what we do best for youth.

None of you took up the substantive overall point of my posting.  We would not be in the position we are in right now if certain parties had not allowed or arranged-for the BSA to adopt and enforce positions of social policy that were not central to Scouting -- and which were not agreed-to among our membership.  As a result of those catastrophic decisions we are now exhausted from 25 years of having voluntarily served as a cultural punching bag.  We put ourselves into a no-win situation and are now navigating out of that circumstance.  Yes … we are very much headed in the right direction.  I want to read the book that will be written about this in about 5 years.  It will conclude that the BSA (as it exists at that future moment) was able to make clear-eyed and effective decisions that were able to pull it out of its existential crisis.  

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3 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

None of you took up the substantive overall point of my posting.  We would not be in the position we are in right now if certain parties had not allowed or arranged-for the BSA to adopt and enforce positions of social policy that were not central to Scouting -- and which were not agreed-to among our membership.  As a result of those catastrophic decisions we are now exhausted from 25 years of having voluntarily served as a cultural punching bag.  We put ourselves into a no-win situation and are now navigating out of that circumstance.  Yes … we are very much headed in the right direction.  I want to read the book that will be written about this in about 5 years.  It will conclude that the BSA (as it exists at that future moment) was able to make clear-eyed and effective decisions that were able to pull it out of its existential crisis.  

That's because you finished your optimism  with the organization will have integrity because of the great ethical decision making part of the program. Nothing about what National has done gives me confidence that they will even try to maintain that quality. In fact, everything they have done hints they will do just the opposite. I'm curious, if I'm correct and you aren't, that ethical discision making part gets lost in the qualities, what do you value out of the new program? 

Barry

Edited by Eagledad
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I share some pessimism on whether we are headed to some great rebirth or massive membership increase.  Scouts Canada went through similar progressive reshape of their organization, and for many of the same reasons that many are citing today as to why the BSA "is on the right track".  The result? Membership of youth participants is on the decline yet again for Scouts Canada: 

2013-2014  88,453

2017-2018  58,881

 

 

Edited by HashTagScouts

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6 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

Membership of youth participants is on the decline yet again for Scouts Canada: 

Invite Tim Horton to the meetings, eh?

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1 hour ago, HashTagScouts said:

I share some pessimism on whether we are headed to some great rebirth or massive membership increase.  Scouts Canada went through similar progressive reshape of their organization, and for many of the same reasons that many are citing today as to why the BSA "is on the right track".  The result? Membership of youth participants is on the decline yet again for Scouts Canada: 

2013-2014  88,453

2017-2018  58,881

 

 

But but...we've been told that Scouts Canada is the success story that Scouts BSA is following??  Was the entire story not revealed?

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2 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

None of you took up the substantive overall point of my posting.  We would not be in the position we are in right now if certain parties had not allowed or arranged-for the BSA to adopt and enforce positions of social policy that were not central to Scouting -- and which were not agreed-to among our membership.  As a result of those catastrophic decisions we are now exhausted from 25 years of having voluntarily served as a cultural punching bag.  We put ourselves into a no-win situation and are now navigating out of that circumstance.  Yes … we are very much headed in the right direction.  I want to read the book that will be written about this in about 5 years.  It will conclude that the BSA (as it exists at that future moment) was able to make clear-eyed and effective decisions that were able to pull it out of its existential crisis.  

This is the rub - right?  Look at topic after topic on this forum about how Scouting would be better if only we ran it like we used to.  Look at how many people think that the BSA will be destroyed if they take just one more step away from our current values.

That's one of the two great struggles in our movement.  progressive change in the program vs. traditional values

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dangers to scouting is not external

BSA is destroying itself from within

poor leadership at every level, all lie to protect their image

no respect from the general public, as I don't blame the general public for that

Scouting is no more than a glorified daycare service, that's it

 

 

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On 10/1/2019 at 5:51 PM, ParkMan said:

This is the rub - right?  Look at topic after topic on this forum about how Scouting would be better if only we ran it like we used to.  Look at how many people think that the BSA will be destroyed if they take just one more step away from our current values.

That's one of the two great struggles in our movement.  progressive change in the program vs. traditional values

I certainly believe this is a big part, but funding is driving Nationals actions (reactions) today. I believe the movement values debate is irrelevant now because the law suit is the game changer. National is in survival mode and all the changes we see going forward are for saving the organization.

The BSA was rich in funding before National started in the progressive direction. I believe alumni would have come to the rescue if the law suit happened 25 years ago. 

Barry

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It does feel like it's now a juggernaut and no one knows where it will land. One of BSA's issues to me is that it always seems years behind the times and never out in front of a challenge. A time or two could be understandable, but it happens again and again. Latest fee increase debacle is only the most recent case in point. I've been worried about scouting for years and from my low level have tried to talk to people where I've had access but it falls on deaf ears. The organization seems to be led by dirigible pilots determined to land the thing their way. Regardless, when it does go to ground, there are going to be a lot of unit level challenges waiting that, once again, it looks like BSA has not invested much energy in anticipating. I just want the best for the organization and it's sad to see that it didn't have more clear eyed leadership IMHO.

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On 9/30/2019 at 7:51 AM, Double Eagle said:

As I'm seeing other posts and reading about camps closing across may councils, LDS separating, negative BSA legal commercials during prime time TV, and price increases, I have to question what is going on with marketing, protecting the scouting legacy, and whether scouting is on the downslope.

Long gone is the public support of scouting like Waite Phillips donating Philmont to the BSA.  We need some of our wealthy folks in or out of social media circles to save camps too.  My  beloved Silver Trails Scout Reservation in the thumb of Michigan just announced a buyer for that camp.  Crossroads of American Council is doing the same with one of theirs.  Most scouts will never attend a national jamboree or high adventure base, but will spend their first summer camp at a local camp and carry those memories forever.  I only wish the wealthy could see the value of our program and help protect it.

The last greatest marketing push came from "are you tougher than a Boy Scout in 2013.  Hard to think its been that long.  Most of my scouts from that year watched every episode and even put some adults through our own unit competitions.  We had quite a membership increase in my units in 2013/2014.  I wish Scouts BSA could get the same positive attention rather than watching useless reality match-making shows and crazy wife shows in cities.  I guess they have their place, but I can't find anything useful in them. Wide-world of Sports and American Sportsman would be great about now.

The prices just keep climbing and it shows.  Whatever the reasons: protection lawsuits, china-made scout knives, uniforms you don't want to trash on campouts, but for indoors scouting, or scout shop Osprey backpacks that cost you fortune, or just paying for big camps and programs, the cost is driving away all, but well-off families.  We get asked to sell popcorn (which I hate doing), and raise scouting member numbers only to see lawsuits and sticker shock around the BSA.  I don't know how low income unit areas manage to pay $6 for a raingutter sailboat with two tiny pieces of balsa, $6 neckerchief slides and $15 books and hats. 

Rant over.  Please share your ideas whether you agree or disagree.        

        

We are dying, slowly but surely, and have been dying for at least 20 years.  I don't understand why. I personally still think that Boy Scouting is the best youth program developed in the United States.  (that said, all youth activities are dying. The number of youth athletes is also down).  

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15 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

We are dying, slowly but surely, and have been dying for at least 20 years.  I don't understand why. I personally still think that Boy Scouting is the best youth program developed in the United States.  (that said, all youth activities are dying. The number of youth athletes is also down).  

It's outside activities in general. Golfing, fishing, camping and boating are down. And I agree, the BSA program has been sliding for awhile. I believe because Cub Scouts became a very top heavy program that burned out adults. It was predictable while I was on district 20 years ago. I'm kind of wondering if this generation of adults are burning out in general. We are a very active society with lots of hobbies and organizations to grab our interest. I have been noticing my kids giving up activities to stay with their family. Maybe our culture is balancing, I don't know. But, I don't think parents have the trust today to let their kids camp with a couple adults in the woods for a weekend like they used to. Maybe that is why the BSA is moving toward a family program.

Barry

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20 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

 Maybe that is why the BSA is moving toward a family program.

Cubs, no problem with family camping. Sea Scouts, Venturing, and Scouts BSA, I sure hope not. 

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The good thing is that this is usually when organizations start to get nimble.  When faced with do or die moments, they start to recognize what they really need to do.

I see it starting to happen where I am.  The current attempts at being nimble are still bogged down with the institutional baggage - but they are at least starting to try harder.

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