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MattR

BSA's business model

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I think your recognition of the low hanging fruit is spot on. Scouting doesn't have to be expensive at all. Very little in donations is needed, those would supplement but the scouts could do things to earn their own way for a campout. At its core, Scouting has little $ cost. We (BSA) has taken the easy, yet expensive approach. To buy high end tents for a troop is expensive. It is cheaper for scouts to make their own. Boys Life used to have plans for all kinds of camping gear to make.  As did the Fieldbook.

A new patrol comprised of scouts gathered from the "low hanging fruit" mentored by a Scouter with vision can help deliver a high quality scouting program at very little cost. 

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MattR if I could upvote your assessment ten times I would. It's exactly the problem. BSA has become a business and stopped being a service organization and that is where the problem lies. Most of the discussion has focused on trying to fine tune the existing, business oriented model. I think it's long past time to break some china and put out the paper plates. 

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28 minutes ago, MattR said:

While there has been some attempts at including these kids, like Scoutreach, they gave up. (Go to scouting.org and search on scoutreach and it's a ghost.)

We are one of 2 districts in our council that still has a Scoutreach program.  We currently have 15 Scoutreach units, most of which are in schools with a high 'at risk' population.

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39 minutes ago, MattR said:

Why the evening and why parents? After school and with retired adults along with high school and college students sounds much more appealing.

Isn't this the lane occupied by Boys and Girls Clubs of America?  Not that Scouting couldn't compete I supposed but barriers to entry seem high.

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3 minutes ago, MikeS72 said:

We are one of 2 districts in our council that still has a Scoutreach program.  We currently have 15 Scoutreach units, most of which are in schools with a high 'at risk' population.

I think that's great and I wish it were the rule rather than an exception. It doesn't appear that anyone is promoting it. I looked for scoutreach websites and found something on the "wayback machine" (an archive of old web pages).

17 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

Isn't this the lane occupied by Boys and Girls Clubs of America?  Not that Scouting couldn't compete I supposed but barriers to entry seem high.

I'm not real familiar with Boys and Girls Clubs, so I looked around. In my county (which is also my district) there are 3000 youth in B&G clubs while there are 1000 scouts. B&G clubs do have leadership opportunities for 11-13 year olds and 14-18. I don't know much more than that and there certainly is some overlap. Outdoors and adventure, not so much. As for barriers to entry, the challenge seems to be the same as the BSA - finding adult-ish help and donations.

I'd be up for helping these kids do scouty things once a week.

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4 hours ago, DuctTape said:

I think your recognition of the low hanging fruit is spot on. Scouting doesn't have to be expensive at all. Very little in donations is needed, those would supplement but the scouts could do things to earn their own way for a campout. At its core, Scouting has little $ cost. We (BSA) has taken the easy, yet expensive approach. To buy high end tents for a troop is expensive. It is cheaper for scouts to make their own. Boys Life used to have plans for all kinds of camping gear to make.  As did the Fieldbook.

A new patrol comprised of scouts gathered from the "low hanging fruit" mentored by a Scouter with vision can help deliver a high quality scouting program at very little cost. 

Most of the expense in BSA - at least in our council - is salaries, wages, and benefits - over 90% of council income.

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23 minutes ago, TAHAWK said:

Most of the expense in BSA - at least in our council - is salaries, wages, and benefits - over 90% of council income.

True. I was responding the the idea that scouting is expensive for the scouts, and troops. I apologize for not being more clear.

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Boys and Girls club receives significant federal funding (at one point $600M+ per year) and big grants from various corporations.   They pay their CEO nearly $1M per year. https://www.forbes.com/companies/boys-girls-clubs-of-america/

They dominate inner city programs and I don’t see the BSA with the funding to compete.   It’s sad as I do think the BSA has a great program. I’ve seen the Boys and Girls club camps in my area ... they are impressive and well funded when compared to BSA.  
 

I think we need new BSA national leaders who are able to mobilize youth, parents and organizations in a belief that the methods and aims are needed in today’s generation. I believe they are, but the message is being drowned out by STEM and abuse cases.  

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BSA up and got itself pegged as faith based, so it does not have access to the federal $ that B&G clubs do.

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12 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

They pay their CEO nearly $1M per year.

If he's pulling in $650M in taxpayer money and another $1.2B in donations then $1M/year salary is a bargain!  That's a pretty good ROI.

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38 minutes ago, walk in the woods said:

If he's pulling in $650M in taxpayer money and another $1.2B in donations then $1M/year salary is a bargain!  That's a pretty good ROI.

^ This ^ 

For all our griping about executive salaries, this is the key point.  If the CSE could end the lawsuits, could turn membership around, could grow funding, clean up trouble councils, they'd be worth 1 or 2 million a year.  

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On 2/10/2020 at 12:44 PM, DuctTape said:

Scouting doesn't have to be expensive at all. Very little in donations is needed, those would supplement but the scouts could do things to earn their own way for a campout. At its core, Scouting has little $ cost.

Even just looking the "business model" for Scouting at the unit level, the prevailing methods for pack and troop operations are expensive:  uniforms and handbooks for everyone, summer camps, rental of campgrounds and event areas, awards (pins, badges, loops), modern tents and other personal and unit camping equipment, merit badge clinics, shiny metal pinewood derby tracks with electronic timing devices, etc.  It's not that it is deliberate, it is just that they are doing Scouting the way everybody does it.  It's what they see in Boys' Life and Scouting magazines and at camporees, and what they talk about at Roundtable.  No one really thinks about other, inexpensive options because they aren't exposed to those options.  They don't know that you can do great Scouting on the cheap.

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19 hours ago, dkurtenbach said:

... They don't know that you can do great Scouting on the cheap. 

And this is where scouting must catch up with the locally sourced attitude of the 21st century. A guy in my hometown makes custom backpacks ... for profit! I bet he'd gladly have a troop visit and learn to assemble their gear. I bet he's not the only one.

No offense to the hardworking Vietnamese laborers who assembled our USA Contingent packs for Osprey, but there is something to be said for "patrol built, patrol carried." Metalwork, welding, textile, and backpacking in one fell swoop.

Edited by qwazse

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Somewhere along the way I learned the word "thrifty". Now where was that again?

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