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

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On 1/10/2020 at 6:12 PM, PACAN said:

@carebear3895.  What is the deal with urban scouting and how they are accounted for in the membership stats?   I thought this was going into elementary schools and essentially signing up all the boys and they might meet after school but almost none of them ever seem to stay to Boy Scouts ?  Their fees are paid by whom?  Quick way to add numbers?    Seems like they would be a separate category like LFL.

Apologies for the incoming rant, but this strikes a nerve. The Scoutreach program is an embarrassment in it's current form (which is a shame because in theory it could be a great program).

Yes, you are correct in how the recruitment works. Unlike traditionally paper apps, scoutreach apps do not need a parent signature or a unit leader signature. In the big metros, a DE will ask for a school roster, and all it's needs is a School Administrators signature. Most of those kids don't even know they are in Scouting.

The membership fees are paid for by councils. Some will even wait to pay until Decembers when the fees are the lowest (if your council has a membership spike in December, that's why). You are absolutely 100% correct, it SHOULD be its own category for membership, but its not, and it's wrong that we count it as traditional membership. 

I will never work in a council that has a Scoutreach program. I refuse to cheat membership. 

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@carebear3895  Incredible.   Thanks for explaining what I guessed.   How long has the "method of membership accounting" been going on?  How do you register a scout without the parent signature?  Do these scouts actually follow the program?   I guess this is also now a way to beef up the female numbers as well???   Our scoutreach numbers went up almost 300 in December so we "grew" in 2019.   This tactic could wipe out the LDS leaving in about 15 minutes.

Anyone else that has this program see similar results?

 

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2 minutes ago, PACAN said:

@carebear3895  Incredible.   Thanks for explaining what I guessed.   How long has the "method of membership accounting" been going on?  How do you register a scout without the parent signature?  Do these scouts actually follow the program? 

 

Couldn't tell you. Here is the official word from the Registration guidebook: "A roster may be used in exceptional circumstances in a few Scoutreach units where obtaining completed applications or parental signatures is not possible for a special group of members. This exception applies only to situations where privacy regulations or the safety of the youth or the youth’s family preclude obtaining the information, e.g., where the youth is living in a protected environment such as an abuse shelter, group home, or detention facility. Or, a roster may be permitted when participants are enrolled in a school-based program provided to the students, and the school does not want individual applications used"

You can see how that can easily be abused. If your council employs Paraprofessionals, they are usually the one who runs the after school meetings.  

2 minutes ago, PACAN said:

@carebear3895  Our scoutreach numbers went up almost 300 in December so we "grew" in 2019.  

Your Council is playing an unethical game. 

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4 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Couldn't tell you. Here is the official word from the Registration guidebook: "A roster may be used in exceptional circumstances in a few Scoutreach units where obtaining completed applications or parental signatures is not possible for a special group of members. This exception applies only to situations where privacy regulations or the safety of the youth or the youth’s family preclude obtaining the information, e.g., where the youth is living in a protected environment such as an abuse shelter, group home, or detention facility. Or, a roster may be permitted when participants are enrolled in a school-based program provided to the students, and the school does not want individual applications used"

You can see how that can easily be abused. If your council employs Paraprofessionals, they are usually the one who runs the after school meetings.  

Your Council is playing an unethical game. 

Good grief.   

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42 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

 Or, a roster may be permitted when participants are enrolled in a school-based program provided to the students, and the school does not want individual applications used"

You can see how that can easily be abused. If your council employs Paraprofessionals, they are usually the one who runs the after school meetings.  

Your Council is playing an unethical game. 

Yes, I can see how that could be easily abused by unethical executives (Is there any other kind?) who are trying to boost their numbers.

There is good reason for the policy.  When I started my in-school unit 40 years ago, we did that.  We submitted a class roster and then started to recruit the kids.  It made it much easier to get started.  After a few years, we had a real roster with just the participating scouts.

It is incredibly hard in an institution, like a school, to get seed funding for a unit unless you can guarantee a charter.  We needed to charter first and recruit later.  We couldn't have gotten the approval and funding without the charter.

I agree that we probably shouldn't have been included in the stats until we got a real number, but the policy can be very helpful to a new in-school unit that needs a little time to organize itself.  Isn't that what a council is supposed to do?  Help the units?

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5 minutes ago, David CO said:

Is there any other kind?

Unnecessary. There are a lot of good people who are DE's that are doing things the right way. 

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25 minutes ago, carebear3895 said:

Unnecessary. There are a lot of good people who are DE's that are doing things the right way. 

I disagree.

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43 minutes ago, David CO said:

I disagree.

I'm sorry to hear that. I get that a lot of Professionals make bad decisions, but just being hateful doesn't help anybody.

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2 hours ago, carebear3895 said:

I'm sorry to hear that. I get that a lot of Professionals make bad decisions, but just being hateful doesn't help anybody.

I am supposed to oppose the Sith, not praise them.

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3 hours ago, carebear3895 said:

I'm sorry to hear that. I get that a lot of Professionals make bad decisions, but just being hateful doesn't help anybody.

When I started volunteering, I was quickly introduced to the anti-professional culture in the volunteer ranks.  Within a certain segment of the volunteer community, it is considered a requirement to be anti-professional.  It always felt to me a little like those 80's movies where the kids in the fraternity have to be automatically oppose the school dean.  The list went something like:

  1. professionals
  2. the council
  3. the district
  4. commissioners
  5. people from Wood Badge
  6. people who would wear knots

This seems to have died down a bit, but I still see it from time to time.  

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19 minutes ago, ParkMan said:

When I started volunteering, I was quickly introduced to the anti-professional culture in the volunteer ranks.  Within a certain segment of the volunteer community, it is considered a requirement to be anti-professional.  It always felt to me a little like those 80's movies where the kids in the fraternity have to be automatically oppose the school dean.  The list went something like:

  1. professionals
  2. the council
  3. the district
  4. commissioners
  5. people from Wood Badge
  6. people who would wear knots

This seems to have died down a bit, but I still see it from time to time.  

Well.. you would need to actually see the first 4 on the list.  That is not likely in the real world, you know...on a camping trip, where there are actual youth.

The wood badgers are harmless and humorous; just let them wear their kilts, beads, pink hankies, carry walking stick with 30 lbs of trinkets, etc and they are easy to spot and avoid. 

There are many who like to wear the 7 rows of knots, medals, ribbons, and cords; gives them a South American dictator look.  One of my Scouts asked me what all of that stuff was on one Scouters pockets, told him I had no idea.  He asked what mine were; told him Arrow of Light, Eagle, Training award, that's all you may need.

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11 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Well.. you would need to actually see the first 4 on the list.  That is not likely in the real world, you know...on a camping trip, where there are actual youth.

The wood badgers are harmless and humorous; just let them wear their kilts, beads, pink hankies, carry walking stick with 30 lbs of trinkets, etc and they are easy to spot and avoid. 

There are many who like to wear the 7 rows of knots, medals, ribbons, and cords; gives them a South American dictator look.  One of my Scouts asked me what all of that stuff was on one Scouters pockets, told him I had no idea.  He asked what mine were; told him Arrow of Light, Eagle, Training award, that's all you may need.

Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.  It's always just seemed rather ridiculous.  

You know that putting the training award on your uniform puts you in that category too.  So you start with AOL & Eagle.  Then it's a den leader award, then a Webelos leader award, then a Scouter training award, then a Scoutmaster key.  All of a sudden it's 6 knots.  Then it's a district award of merit. Then your kid ages out and you decide to become a roundtable commissioner and get another one.  Then it's a silver beaver.  Next thing you've got 9, 10 knots.  Of course "next thing" took 20 years to get - but that's no reason to have ever put that first one on your uniform.  

Nah - I just find it all rather silly.  We're all just people helping to bring Scouting to kids.  Take Wood Badge, wear 15 knots, serve a council VP of knick-knacks for all I care .  If you can find a place to help strengthen the program for kids I'm glad you're here.

 

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33 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Well.. you would need to actually see the first 4 on the list.  That is not likely in the real world, you know...on a camping trip, where there are actual youth.

The wood badgers are harmless and humorous; just let them wear their kilts, beads, pink hankies, carry walking stick with 30 lbs of trinkets, etc and they are easy to spot and avoid. 

There are many who like to wear the 7 rows of knots, medals, ribbons, and cords; gives them a South American dictator look.  One of my Scouts asked me what all of that stuff was on one Scouters pockets, told him I had no idea.  He asked what mine were; told him Arrow of Light, Eagle, Training award, that's all you may need.

Few of us that have been around any length of time have not encountered self centered volunteers who seem to be more in the program for what they can put on the uniform than for their children, assuming they have them in the program.  But, like many annoyances in life, we tend too often to focus on the anomaly in the group rather than those that live the intent of the various parts of the program.  The best Woodbadgers would almost lay down their lives for Scouting and the youth within.  The knots are apersonal thing, but if you hang around for a while and actually work the program you may end up with a number of them that do not require your actually earning them specifically.  District, council, and higher volunteer recognitions seldom go to non-contributors, though perhaps some do to those with dollars to offer.  That sometimes is them buying the award, but more often than not, they have done more than just give money if they have been around a while.  Knots can be an avenue to encourage scouts who ask about them.  I often tell them I am old, so they grow on you.  But I also explain them, and note those most important to me and why; Eagle, Youth Religious, Award of Merit and Silver Beaver, and my two Scoutmaster awards, the old NESA one and the more current one.  I for a long while did not wear the West until an oldtime retired scouter pinned a collar pin on my RT shirt thanking me for my time in the program and helping as needed.  He was retired and decided to spend some of his money, having no family, in recognizing Scouters.  I also had been given a memorial version for one of my earliest Eagles that had died in service, but I had not felt I should wear the knot.  It was pointed out to me, that the memorial recognitions were not being properly appreciated if I did not wear the knot.  No Arrow of Light as I was never an actual cub; my mother was den mother for my older brother and I just did it with no membership; I wanted to turn 11 and be a Boy Scout.  Training and Key with devices, the only ones you actually earn, and an adult recognition from my church.

The only time the medals are worn for formal occasions or dinners, Scout Sunday, and Eagle COHs.  At the Eagle dinners, I actually do not wear the medal but do have lapel pins, since I am in a sport coat.

My experience has been that you do not fool the scouts for long if you are not the representative you should be.  But they respect adults that show they care and try to live the tenets.  Never be afraid to admit when you may be in error or lose it and need to apologize.  I do not want youth to think that it is okay for me to blow up, even if there may be good reason.  So, if it does happen, and it will over time, just face up to it when you calm down and try to assuage the damage.  

Set the example; they are always watching.

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One interesting thing is that I don't know of any other non-military youth related organization where the volunteers or adult leaders ever earn and wear regalia that reflects on their own achievements, or if they do, it is a very small or subtle emblem. This is one of those things that seems very unique to scouting. I know a lot of people really like the bling but I've never been totally comfortable with it. When scouts and leaders are in a room, I want to be impressed by the scout uniforms, not the adults. 

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1 hour ago, yknot said:

One interesting thing is that I don't know of any other non-military youth related organization where the volunteers or adult leaders ever earn and wear regalia that reflects on their own achievements, or if they do, it is a very small or subtle emblem. This is one of those things that seems very unique to scouting. I know a lot of people really like the bling but I've never been totally comfortable with it. When scouts and leaders are in a room, I want to be impressed by the scout uniforms, not the adults. 

I guess I've never seen the issue with the knots. To me, they're really just a way for you to personalize your uniform.

Most of us who volunteer started because of our kids.  But, once your kids age out we tend to stick around because we enjoy Scouting.  That enjoyment can be lots of things - working with kids, the fellowship of other like minded adults, perhaps a sense of accomplishment in building a great pack or troop.  If adding a little color to your uniform adds some fun for you, I don't see the harm.  Sometimes I believe we have a tendency to overthink things.  They are after all simply some colored patches one sews on a uniform.

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