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And don't get me started on awards costs... we spent $400 on belt loops last season. Sorry, that's insanity for something that doesn't fit thru the belt loops well, and they don't end up wearing the belt half the time anyways because they can't put it on.

Beads were much cheaper, and did the job just as well.

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10 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

'd easily ditch the 1st and 2nd grade scouting years.  Maybe do 3rd.  Fourth is a good time to plug in.  Boy Scouts definitely.  But this whole idea of kindergarten through 5th grade for cub scouts ?  It's ridiculous and it's killing excitement before Boy Scouts where the kids really benefit.  

Looking at what other countries do, it seems like they split off k-2 and 3-5 into two different programs. If we are to have a k-12 program, that really ought to be a goal, IMO. Breaking those two out would greatly improve the ability to do fun stuff with the 3-5 kids. More hiking, camping, outdoors, without as much worry about kids being ready. Trying to set standards for activities for all kids k-5 is really tough.

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6 minutes ago, Cubmaster Pete said:

And don't get me started on awards costs... we spent $400 on belt loops last season. Sorry, that's insanity for something that doesn't fit thru the belt loops well, and they don't end up wearing the belt half the time anyways because they can't put it on.

Beads were much cheaper, and did the job just as well.

I'm also thinking of the new neckerchief slides, etc., that go along with each new cub rank.

I recall we had one slide/hat/neckerchief for Bobcat/Wolf/Bear.  Webs was a big deal--new slide/hat/neckerchief.  Plus the colors on the right sleeve.  Uniforming seemed simpler.

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13 minutes ago, Cubmaster Pete said:

Its become a money grab, IMHO. Pack funds should be spent on other things. I let the Webelos stay in blue if they wanted, it's not my job to convince them they need a new uniform. It's my job to provide a good program at a reasonable cost.

Vintage uniforms are allowed. :)  My youngest was in Blue after the June 1, 2015 date. Only reason he switch over to tan and green prior to Cross Over was his older brother outgrew his uniform and sold it to him.

As for slides, one thing we did as a pack was  give them paracord Turks' Head woggles. For the price of 1 metal BSA slide, I could make 25-30 slides.

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On 10/16/2019 at 2:06 PM, Cubmaster Pete said:

While I am fine with that, it takes adults to run that, especially at the Cub level. Most of my parents are have Fundraiser fatigue (we had 4 this year)

The solution to that is, don't do 4 fundraisers. Do one and do it right.  Plan big, hit your goal and be done with it.

 

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In agreement that the cub program has become overbearing.  I lamented that my son had no interest at cub age, thought he was missing out.  Got interested in W2 age, but ultimately heard that the DL was not organized, and the kids/parents were just sticking it out to get to crossover so I held him off until he could do troop.  As he got into troop, and I learned what was involved in cubs (was it two fingers now, or three? Law of the Pack isn't a thing anymore? And AoL is a program year itself now?), I didn't regret he didn't join.  I've thrown it out in other threads- the BSA seems to care more now about cubs than 'Scouts BSA' sadly.  

I'm also greatly concerned on those posting that "we'll go through bankruptcy, and all will be fine". Uh, my actuary co-workers would beg to differ on any interpretation that risk mitigation is greater because of a bankruptcy.  The future insurance costs are going to be based on the risk to underwrite the program based off the sins of the past, regardless of how much $$$ BSA ends up having to pay in settlements.  This new background check process is absolutely an attempt to stave off risk costs.  I won't at all be surprised if we see greater age restrictions coming in the next year on shooting sports, climbing, and high adventure.  I fear immensely that BSA is going to do what it feels it has to do to keep risk related factors in check to help with costs.

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Thanks for the insights, @HashTagScouts.  I've always felt that the proposed bankruptcy/sunny days ahead was more or less pie in the sky.

Right now the BSA, as an organization, is like that person with a low credit rating that needs to buy a car, but is going to have to accept whatever interest rate and conditions from wherever they can get the loan.  Long term grim.

 

Edited by desertrat77

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7 minutes ago, desertrat77 said:

Thanks for the insights, @HashTagScouts.  I've always felt that the proposed bankruptcy/sunny days ahead was more or less pie in the sky.

Right now the BSA, as an organization, is like that person with a low credit rating that needs to buy a car, but is going to have to accept whatever interest rate and conditions from wherever they can get the loan.  Long term grim.

 

Good analogy.  Another that helps to grasp it- in many states, an accident/moving violation on your driving record will stay for 5 years, 10 years (depends on your state laws) as long as you stay accident/moving violation free.  Get into another accident/receive another moving violation in that time, your costs will increase all over again.  You don't typically see a massive cost drop after that 5/10 years has passed, you just don't see a drastic increase on the next renewal.   

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3 hours ago, desertrat77 said:

@Mrjeff, I'm tracking with everything you are saying.

Along those lines, I was looking through the first edition of the Scout Fieldbook the other day.  This printing was circa 1957 if I recall. 

It prompted some reflection.  Scouting used to be focused on the outdoors.  Rustic. Two or three blankets could be safety pinned together if you didn't have a sleeping bag.  You hiked, chopped wood with an axe, cooked over fire, went swimming, built pioneering projects, etc.  There was also a big emphasis on citizenship--US history, civics.  Leadership?  You bet, but not in a classroom.  You learned that OJT as a patrol leader, teaching your patrol members all of the skills necessary to earn first class, practicing for competition at the next troop meeting/camporee, etc....

Though I went through scouting in the '70s, much of this focus was still prevalent.

Sure, scouting has always had a cost factor.  Dues, uniforms, summer camp, etc.  But nothing on the order of what it costs today.

Two factors stand out, if I may springboard from your post:

1.  Perhaps the BSA has run its course and it's time for the bugler to blow taps.  Organizationally, the BSA reminds me of a company that diversified and strayed away from its original core competency.   In our case, being outdoors. 

2.  If we are going to fight to stay relevant, we need to get back to our best selling product:  outdoor adventure.  And encourage thriftiness.  Jettison the "Gucci Gear" mentality.  Cease the big push for earning Eagle.  Sell off or mothball everything that doesn't help scouts get on the trail, in the campsite, on the lake or atop the mountain peak.

 

I agree that there are things that National can do better.  But, as a long time leader I don't think this is all national's fault.

Little of the costs that we incur in Scouting are directly nationally impacted.  Yes, we could get cheaper awards.  Yes, we could have lower national fees.  But, as we talked earlier in the thread, about 17% of our parents spending went to national fees. Add awards to that and maybe it's 25%.  At the Scouts BSA level, it's even less - 7% in national fees.  Maybe that amount again in awards.

If we look around at other things - cost has gone up everywhere.  In part this is because our society expects more today than they did 50 years ago. Homes are more developed, cars have more features.  Look at parks, stadiums, schools, etc... facilities everywhere have become more developed.  I've watched scouts scrape by with bad gear and have a miserable time - cooking stoves that don't work, pans that stick, tents that leak.  I wager a guess that gear today costs more, but when adjusted for inflation isn't any more expensive than what I had as a kid.

If we're talking about re-doing the BSA, I believe this has to be a conversation the involves both professionals and volunteers.  Volunteers are going to have to take on more ownership for program and recruiting.  I live in a mid sized city.  We have one professional.  I'm sure if given the choice our local volunteers would love to not pay for him.  So, if we start cutting back professional staff, who's going to facilitate growth?  Are we just going to stop worrying about growth?  What happens when the Scouts in my city drop by 50%?

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17 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

If we're talking about re-doing the BSA, I believe this has to be a conversation the involves both professionals and volunteers.  Volunteers are going to have to take on more ownership for program and recruiting.  I live in a mid sized city.  We have one professional.  I'm sure if given the choice our local volunteers would love to not pay for him.  So, if we start cutting back professional staff, who's going to facilitate growth?  Are we just going to stop worrying about growth?  What happens when the Scouts in my city drop by 50%?

I agree, dialogue with professionals and the volunteers is an absolute must.  But have we seen any movement in that direction?  Especially by the pros?  We've got multiple examples right here on the forums of pros not listening to the unit level leaders.

Given the crisis at hand (and I don't think I'm overstating the case by calling it such), I'd thought there would be a concerted effort to rally everybody, display at least a little transparency, cut some costs where needed.  I haven't seen or heard anything aside from boilerplate PR messages.

I believe in the professional scouter corps.  One of my favorite mentors was a DE who also served as waterfront director at the camp where I staffed as a youth.  He was both professional and personal, honest, and displayed respect for all, from the newest Tenderfoot to the most seasoned scoutmaster.

What we don't need are the bloated committees (hey districts, you need four different membership chairs now!), bean counting everything (quantity over quality) and much of the mile wide/inch deep stuff that has permeated the BSA.  Yes, there is a necessary corporate aspect to scouting.  Always has been and it is still needed.  But it has lost touch with its customer base and its best selling product.  That to me is the single biggest issue I have with the culture of professional scouting in the BSA.  Individually, I've met many a great pro.  Others...not so much.  They have other priorities, and helping units get outdoors is not one of them.

 

Edited by desertrat77

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30 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

If we're talking about re-doing the BSA, I believe this has to be a conversation the involves both professionals and volunteers.  Volunteers are going to have to take on more ownership for program and recruiting.  I live in a mid sized city.  We have one professional.  I'm sure if given the choice our local volunteers would love to not pay for him.  So, if we start cutting back professional staff, who's going to facilitate growth?  Are we just going to stop worrying about growth?  What happens when the Scouts in my city drop by 50%?

The challenge as I see it in my area is that the professionals want it their way, and don't try to change it or you will be removed from your POR at the district/council level. Worse case I saw was being removed from BSA altogether.

There are pros who care about the program, and want the volunteers involved.

EDITED:

There are pros who care about the program, and want the volunteers involved. But there are more who do not, and they tend to be the SEs and DFSs of the councils. They put pressure on the lower DEs. And since DEs have their jobs on the line, it is a lot of pressure. I quit.

 

 

 

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Since my kids are long gone, I'd do more in my wood shop. That's happening anyway. Yes, tools are expensive but they'd be mine.

Now, if my kids were younger .... One idea I've thought of, the BSA has a great handbook, so why not just use that? Just do the program and don't join. It's not just $50 to national I'd save, we also have a $200 tax to council. Every camporee now has a 35% tax for council as well. Uniforms could also be simplified. The tradeoffs are: no official eagle scouts and no help with summer camps, camporees, MB counselors, or HA trips. While that puts more pressure on the units I'm thinking that could be a good thing if the scouts are encouraged to own more of this. My troop used to do most of this anyway (except the part about getting the scouts to own more).

Who knows, if enough troops joined Rogue Scouts the BSA might get some needed competition and bring everyone back into the fold.

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As a young, single adult, I'd get my social life back. Spend more weekends at the range, doing my own camping trips. No more weeknights at Scouting stuff. (3 nights this week). Maybe at some point if my church had an outdoors ministry, I'd help with that. This may happen to me regardless of what happens with the BSA's solvency. 

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