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Cburkhardt

Scouts BSA Up 1.2% Youth Members, up 7.1% Units

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'Base "performance' on numbers, and someone will cheat.

I Agree.  One example... When I was a District Commissioner I had a ongoing disagreement with some professionals about "quality" versus "quantity".  I considered it an achievement when the Scout Executive agreed not to re-charter some Ships and Troops that added membership, but were really military cadet groups.

Membership numbers are not an absolute criteria for performance, but is an indicator.  Membership changes due to many factors, including the performance of the CO and their adults offering a quality program.

 

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2 hours ago, Wëlënakwsu said:

From Annual Reports on BSA web site:

image.png.4cb47beb15068511cea9577b2a9645ea.png

Basis trend of above... My estimate, really hope, is that after further LDS subtraction of about 15-25% male membership in Cubs and Scouts BSA is nearing its' "plateau" of boy membership.  I am aware of nothing that may increase boy membership significantly.  This includes USA population growth because Census data projects nil increase of 10-14 year old males during 2016-2020-2025.  https://www.census.gov/data/tables/2017/demo/popproj/2017-summary-tables.html

(FYI...  Census reports 31,751,000 male population between 5 & 19 years old for 2016.)

Increase due to girls in Cubs and Scouts BSA...??? Need more info for prediction which I cannot find on the internet.   Can anyone provide current & detailed membership data and market research for girl membership? 

 

 

image.png

Anyone else note the drop in Venturing?  59.7% drop in Venturing and Sea Scouts since 2016. 74.9% drop since 2012.

 

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12 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Anyone else note the drop in Venturing?  59.7% drop in Venturing and Sea Scouts since 2016. 74.9% drop since 2012.

 

Excellent catch, I missed it.

I am deeply committed to the Venturing program, but it's not getting much traction.

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1 minute ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Anyone else note the drop in Venturing?  59.7% drop in Venturing and Sea Scouts since 2016. 74.9% drop since 2012.

 

I think Venturing is the canary in the coal mine because it really relies on youth leadership and there is much less incentive for adults to fix things. What I saw of venturing was really poor leadership and teamwork skills resulting in a loss of interest. The few crews I've seen were run like GSUSA troops in that it was a few adults that held it together until they aged out and the crew collapsed. I'm sure some were/are great, but not what I saw. I'm not at all surprised by those numbers.

I think it's entirely because the youth have less opportunity to learn people skills outside of scouting. They have less opportunity to solve their own problems and are under more stress to perform. They just have further to go when they get to scouts/venturing and we, honestly, don't know how to teach it or make it appealing to the youth.

Fix venturing and the fix for scouts will be obvious.

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35 minutes ago, MattR said:

I think Venturing is the canary in the coal mine because it really relies on youth leadership and there is much less incentive for adults to fix things. What I saw of venturing was really poor leadership and teamwork skills resulting in a loss of interest. The few crews I've seen were run like GSUSA troops in that it was a few adults that held it together until they aged out and the crew collapsed. I'm sure some were/are great, but not what I saw. I'm not at all surprised by those numbers.

I think it's entirely because the youth have less opportunity to learn people skills outside of scouting. They have less opportunity to solve their own problems and are under more stress to perform. They just have further to go when they get to scouts/venturing and we, honestly, don't know how to teach it or make it appealing to the youth.

Fix venturing and the fix for scouts will be obvious.

I agree Matt, well said.

The folks that designed the Venturing program put a lot thought into it.  I'm still impressed by how great Venturing could be.   Unfortunately, because of the factors you've mentioned, we rarely see Venturing live up to its potential.

 

Edited by desertrat77

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19 hours ago, MattR said:

... Fix venturing and the fix for scouts will be obvious.

Fix venturing? That would entail:

- Allowing youth to meet independent of adults

- Removing the distinction in applications between youth and adult participant

- Limiting registration fee to the less than the cost of a campout or two large pizzas, whichever is lower.

- Renaming awards Star Venturer, Life Venturer, and Eagle Venturer. Or, at least insist NESA extend its mission to support Venturing's highest award.

In other words roll back everything that BSA has done to venturing in the past 10 years (except the One Oath Initiative, that actually kinda worked).

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3 hours ago, qwazse said:

Fix venturing? That would entail:

- Allowing youth to meet independent of adults

- Removing the distinction in applications between youth and adult participant

- Limiting registration fee to the less than the cost of a campout or two large pizzas, whichever is lower.

- Renaming awards Star Venturer, Life Venturer, and Eagle Venturer. Or, at least insist NESA extend its mission to support Venturing's highest award.

In other words roll back everything that BSA has done to venturing in the past 10 years (except the One Oath Initiative, that actually kinda worked).

Once upon a time in Sea Scouts at least, there was a program for Sea Scouts who were not Boy Scouts to earn both Quartermaster and Eagle. In fact I have seen Eagle badges with the white and navy background for Sea Scouts to wear.

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On 12/14/2019 at 10:42 PM, desertrat77 said:

The folks that designed the Venturing program put a lot thought into it.  I'm still impressed by how great Venturing could be.   Unfortunately, because of the factors you've mentioned, we rarely see Venturing live up to its potential.

Youth join Venturing to do something fun, personally challenging, and different from the usual activities available to teenagers.  Our district had a crew that focused on shooting (with training and a shooting event on the same weekend each month) and a high adventure activity each summer.  The crew grew -- until the shooting events became inconsistent and then occasional.  And the crew died a slow death.  Even though a Venturing crew (1) should be at a higher level of youth-run than a troop, and (2) isn't burdened by a core program dictated by BSA National, it still needs a self-determined long-term, consistent, fun, and challenging core program that gives the youth members a purpose, that provides an avenue for personal growth and expertise, and that attracts new youth to the crew.

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11 minutes ago, dkurtenbach said:

... it still needs a self-determined long-term, consistent, fun, and challenging core program that gives the youth members a purpose, that provides an avenue for personal growth and expertise, and that attracts new youth to the crew. 

And ...

  • it shouldn't be dependent on a female adult being in the room (if you're a girl and only your male advisor and associate show up).
  • it should cost less than a student discount lift-ticket to register.

I forgot that first one before, and I thought the second one bore repeating. Cost effectiveness is no joke for our teens. Many of their mom's administrative jobs will soon be automated, and the training for trucking or welding isn't coming fast enough.

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On 12/14/2019 at 9:50 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

Anyone else note the drop in Venturing?  59.7% drop in Venturing and Sea Scouts since 2016. 74.9% drop since 2012.

 

I strongly suspect that has to do with the increased cost of registration.  I know that when registration jumped up to $33 per scout, many of the troops in our area started purging the rolls of scouts who were inactive.  Where the year before the discussion was "These 7 scouts are still registered but we haven't seen them in 8-9 months, lets keep them on and hope they come back" that year it changed to "These 7 scouts haven't been seen in 8-9 months, lets go ahead and drop them, they can always re-register".

I don't think it was really that the burden of the extra $9/yr was a problem, it was just the instigation of the discussion about whether it was really worth it to spend $200-$300 to save a little time on re-registering the 1 or 2 out of 7 scouts that actually came back for some reason.

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1 hour ago, elitts said:

I strongly suspect that has to do with the increased cost of registration.  I know that when registration jumped up to $33 per scout, many of the troops in our area started purging the rolls of scouts who were inactive.  Where the year before the discussion was "These 7 scouts are still registered but we haven't seen them in 8-9 months, lets keep them on and hope they come back" that year it changed to "These 7 scouts haven't been seen in 8-9 months, lets go ahead and drop them, they can always re-register".

I don't think it was really that the burden of the extra $9/yr was a problem, it was just the instigation of the discussion about whether it was really worth it to spend $200-$300 to save a little time on re-registering the 1 or 2 out of 7 scouts that actually came back for some reason.

You may be right, in which case we should be bracing ourselves for another steep drop off in membership, given the size of this year's cost hike.

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44 minutes ago, mrkstvns said:

You may be right, in which case we should be bracing ourselves for another steep drop off in membership, given the size of this year's cost hike.

Yea, it's going to be bad. 

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21 hours ago, qwazse said:

Fix venturing? That would entail:

- Allowing youth to meet independent of adults

- Removing the distinction in applications between youth and adult participant

- Limiting registration fee to the less than the cost of a campout or two large pizzas, whichever is lower.

- Renaming awards Star Venturer, Life Venturer, and Eagle Venturer. Or, at least insist NESA extend its mission to support Venturing's highest award.

In other words roll back everything that BSA has done to venturing in the past 10 years (except the One Oath Initiative, that actually kinda worked).

I agree with much of this.  Allowing Venturers- especially true when it is a group of several 18 year olds- be able to meet and carry out events without adults would be huge.  

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1 hour ago, elitts said:

I strongly suspect that has to do with the increased cost of registration.  I know that when registration jumped up to $33 per scout, many of the troops in our area started purging the rolls of scouts who were inactive.  Where the year before the discussion was "These 7 scouts are still registered but we haven't seen them in 8-9 months, lets keep them on and hope they come back" that year it changed to "These 7 scouts haven't been seen in 8-9 months, lets go ahead and drop them, they can always re-register".

I don't think it was really that the burden of the extra $9/yr was a problem, it was just the instigation of the discussion about whether it was really worth it to spend $200-$300 to save a little time on re-registering the 1 or 2 out of 7 scouts that actually came back for some reason.

My sense is that the drop is largely due to a decline in adult enthusiasm coupled with the recognition that Scout BSA was coming.  

These units may have been youth led, but the energy to keep them moving year after year comes from adults.  I think Venturing has suffered from an identity problem which has led to an adult enthusiasm problem.

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There are two types of Venturing units: units where the adults are sponsors, and units where the adults are adventurers. Sponsors have passion for the theme and tend to stay around for years. Adventure adults are in it to continue troop adventure and usually drop out in 3 years. If I really wanted to measure current changes on the Venture program, I would look at units at least 10 years old. If those units are dropping out, the BSA has a real problem.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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