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k80sill

Boypower Initiative (1976)

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On 7/1/2020 at 1:30 PM, Jameson76 said:

On October 17, 1968, the Boy Scout organization launched a new membership initiative called “Boypower 76.” The ambitious program set national goals to be achieved by the US Bicentennial Celebration of 1976. Specifically,

(1) Expand membership so that one of every three American boys is enrolled. That would require adding 2 million new Boy Scouts by 1976.

(2) Double council budgets to a combined level of $150 million.

New members would be recruited through two efforts: establishing troops in inner cities and retaining older boys by allowing girls to participate in the special-interest, career-focused segment of the Explorers program. 

The national slogan for Boypower 76 was “America’s Manpower Begins with Boypower.” 

Membership Quotas

Councils were given strict monthly and annual membership goals to keep them on track to achieve the expansion envisioned in Boypower 76. 

The Controversial Collapse of Boypower

BSA canceled the Boypower program two years early, amid widespread reports of inflated membership numbers.  Articles in the New York Daily News, the Central New Jersey Home News, and many other newspapers enumerated the problems. The Chicago council was accused of selling one-month memberships for ten cents; other councils for inventing names to register. At least 13 major cities were discovered to have falsified records, involving some 30,000-40,000 “phantom” scouts.

Furthermore, only about half of the $65 million fundraising goal was met, and much of that was from long-time donors who directed their gifts to the national organization instead of the local council.

This is all very interesting, where did you get this information?

On 7/1/2020 at 2:19 PM, carebear3895 said:

Ah, the ole "phone book" method. My SE told me stories about the old days. Makes you wonder if Scouting truly ever was as big as the old records show. 

What did your SE tell you? Do you still remember some of the details?

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On 7/1/2020 at 9:22 PM, Jameson76 said:

Between the BoyPower ManPower deal and the ISP, there was a double whammy during  70 - 81.  Pretty sure the Scouting program in the USA never fully recovered and found it's way again. 

National leadership kept looking for the golden ring, the next best thing, the silver bullet.  They never understood that they had the best program and that fun with a purpose was what kids wanted

This struck me as particularly interesting. Could you please elaborate more on this insight? 

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On 7/2/2020 at 5:46 AM, dkurtenbach said:

Another sad reminder that the only way to grow Scouting is organically:  strengthening existing units so that they grow and give birth to strong new units that grow.  And the only way that happens is through active, high-performing units with strong outdoor programs.  Those units attract and retain youth without gimmicks and without flavor-of-the-week activities.  If BSA at all levels would stop tinkering with the program content and new faddish programs and focus on improving delivery of the existing program by existing units, membership will grow.  

Do you have specific examples of programs you consider "faddish" or "flavor-of-the-week" activities? How do they detract from the goals of scouting? 

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44 minutes ago, k80sill said:

This is all very interesting, where did you get this information?

 

I was there as a Scout and recall this.  Still have a patch.  Most of this is a matter of public record if you poke around the internet. The faux membership issues are a matter of public record.  I seem to recall the SE in one council was on track to be the next CSE when the membership imploded.  He did not get promoted to CSE

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45 minutes ago, k80sill said:

This struck me as particularly interesting. Could you please elaborate more on this insight? 

The main selling point, the market differentiator is in fact the outdoor program.  That is the lab or classroom if you want to call it that where Scouting happens.  It does not happen at Merit Badge Universities or selling popcorn.  Scouting happens and Scouts grow when they are in small groups, a Scout is the leader, and they need to accomplish something.  Like cook meals, put up tarps, etc.  They then take that experiential learning and apply this as Senior Leaders in the troop and hopefully apply that as they work through an Eagle project.

The Improved Scouting Program removed much of this, became more individual based, and fundamentally altered the BSA program.  When combined with the BoyPower issues and fake member number and those that actually left the program, big hit.   The Improved Scouting Program relabeled Scoutmasters as “managers of learning” to reflect the new emphasis on emotional  support. The BSA’s attempt to reach new populations of youth in depressed rural areas and inner cities created an intense backlash from the traditionally conservative core membership of the Boy Scouts of America. Abandoning an emphasis on nature and promoting emotional support struck many Denmasters, Scoutmasters, and Explorer Post Chiefs as an attack on their leadership style and a softening of the BSA. 

Membership dropped significantly and many seasoned leaders departed.

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5 hours ago, k80sill said:

Do you have specific examples of programs you consider "faddish" or "flavor-of-the-week" activities? How do they detract from the goals of scouting? 

The Improved Scouting Program; STEM Scouts; NOVA awards; ATVs at summer camp; a "Tech Center" at summer camp; "Cub World" summer camps; merit badge clinics/universities; "Leadership" as an addition to the Aims of Scouting and the purposes of the Order of the Arrow; Soccer and Scouting; Explorer Clubs; Journey to Excellence; "Scout" as a rank; geocaching; the Summit; uniforms designed for indoor and ceremonial wear only;  . . . to name a few.  

It is not about detracting from the goals of Scouting (although some do).  It is about pouring resources into things that don't really matter and ignoring what really does matter.  

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@k80sill, have you tried contacting the BSA scouting museum?

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