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Cburkhardt

Predictions on Council and National Structures

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After examining the year-end numbers and observing how Scouts BSA maintained membership, cubs lost slightly and venturers/Sea Scouts lost significantly, I have some predictions.

After the early-year hit on membership numbers with the LDS departures, and without enough time for female membership to yet replace that loss, we will be down overall 15 to 20 percent in membership after that settles.  Income from dues and other revenue streams reflecting membership at the council and national levels will reduce accordingly.

We will probably experience a wholesale reorientation of the volunteer and professional structures back to servicing units.  I think this will include streamlining or maybe even eliminating regions and areas.  National might go back to a few National program committees and a skeletal structure focused on finance and operations.

Many councils cannot survive a revenue downturn like this for more than a year.  These are very easy things to determine by using basic financial analysis.  I do not think it overly-bold to predict that at least 1/3 of our councils will be combined into stronger councils that can survive.  Responsible council leaders should already be figuring out what is best at the local level.

Severely under-utilized properties will be sold and proceeds put into trust to maintain and improve a smaller number of going-forward properties.

The new CEO will cause the Chapter 11 to get filed to deal with the liability issue.

All of these things will lead to a somewhat smaller and more unit-focused BSA.  These are not doomsday predictions.  In many respects these are long-needed actions.

 

 

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@Cburkhardt, I am intrigued and hope your predictions become reality sooner than later, especially returning the focus back to servicing units.

While I am in favor of girls joining Scouts BSA, I have my doubts about the total number that will ultimately sign up.  Many will join, but I don't think the numbers will even come close to making up for the loss from LDS departure and all of the usual reasons.  I hope I'm wrong.

I agree, the BSA cannot survive another year like the last.  The revenue loss is one factor.  There are several others, namely the lack of transparency from our professional staffers in the upper parts of the hierarchy.   Example:  the mortgaging of Philmont without notifying the National Oversight Committee.  And when called into question, National dismissed concerns as if everyone--including those on the oversight committee--didn't need to know.  This is a red flag, the sign of an organization where the senior execs are out of touch with reality.   People will start voting with their feet, many already have.

Edited by desertrat77

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The LDS departure is a blip in the history of Scouting. It created a false narrative that Scouting was bigger than it really was.  Yes, it's painful that we have to adjust budgets to the loss of that revenue, but that is an adjustment we have to make.  There isn't another group out there like the LDS church for us to loose.  So, by definition we can't really have that happen again.

The lawsuits the BSA is facing is the bigger deal.  This needs to be problem #1 for the BSA to deal with.

Problem #2 is coming up with a path to grow traditional Scouting again.  Local councils need to see packs & troops grow and need to see new packs and troops started.  Any plan created by the BSA that doesn't deal with that is not worth the paper it's printed on.

I frankly will be unimpressed with any plan that doesn't address both of these.  Reorgs, shifting of resources, etc are all just window dressing if we don't deal with these.

 

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Good thoughts.  My female number predictions are based on my 2 year experience of being involved with an early adopter cub group for girls and being a Scoutmaster of our 34-girl and non-linked Troop.  About1/3 of the councils did a great job with the female program roll-out, which accounts for the lion’s share of the 150,000 new female youth we now have.  Girls love Scouts BSA in a properly-managed unit.  Despite the challenges and occasional mis-management, I think we will have about 35% female presence in Cubs and Scouts within 4 years.  

The financial restructuring through bankruptcy will make the BSA far more transparent than it ever has been.  It really will force the issues you raise.  Frankly, national and council executives who cannot support volunteers operate councils with effective unit-supporting districts that break-even will be dismissed.  Perhaps that is the reality you hope for.
 

The dues increase and continued pledging of assets against credit facilities were clearly intended to provide cash to get through  these next few years.  The people involved could have been more timely and forthcoming.  However, these were probably rational business decisions.

 

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UPDATE.  WSJ gives good account of a Monday call of the Council Scout Executives and their council lawyers.  Ch. 11 expected to be filed for national without councils.

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14 hours ago, Cburkhardt said:

UPDATE.  WSJ gives good account of a Monday call of the Council Scout Executives and their council lawyers.  Ch. 11 expected to be filed for national without councils.

I subscribed just for the article. It is clear now why they secured the loan with Philmont. It is considered an encumbered asset and not eligible for disbursement during bankruptcy. It is their strategy to protect it. The summit was already encumbered. :-)

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Like I said, it is not doom and gloom.  We are in the midst of a very sophisticated program, management and financial workout.  The BSA is here to stay — just not in the form of a yesteryear format.  We have been changing all along and are doing so presently.  Have great faith.

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Sea Scout loss was not significant, in fact there are more units now than there were last year.  It is a small number in general.  In my experience there were not a lot of LDS Venturing or Sea Scout units.

 

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And, just wait until the effect of the Coast Guard having designated Sea Scouts as its official youth program kicks in.  Properly implemented, it could double that program in just a few years.  It will also attract a newgeneration of youth leadership into the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

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25 minutes ago, Cburkhardt said:

And, just wait until the effect of the Coast Guard having designated Sea Scouts as its official youth program kicks in.  Properly implemented, it could double that program in just a few years.  It will also attract a newgeneration of youth leadership into the Coast Guard and the Coast Guard Auxiliary.

I wonder how they were able to scoot around the Deceleration of Religions Principle with that partnership. 

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1 hour ago, Cburkhardt said:

Like I said, it is not doom and gloom.  We are in the midst of a very sophisticated program, management and financial workout.  The BSA is here to stay — just not in the form of a yesteryear format.  We have been changing all along and are doing so presently.  Have great faith.

Except that Faith is probably the next thing to go.

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