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I suspect Eagle1993 is correct about splitting the baby. To me it further erodes my confidence in the BSA now that they announced coed Troops. For the last 5-6 years the BSA continued to tout the benefits of single-sex environments, but oddly only for the Scouts BSA program. Now we need a 10-month pilot to find out that coed is just as good if not better. So their arguments over the last 5-6 years are suddenly incorrect? Or, they never had any evidence of it to begin with but made the arguments so as not to alienate certain groups? Tired of the nonsense.

Talking to regular people at that food truck might really be a good idea. What do people think the BSA is vs. what does BSA tell itself it is? BSA gets so wrapped up on "leadership development, "instilling the Oath and Law," etc. I'm not so sure most regular people who aren't in the BSA orbit see it that way. 

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Lot of good comments Summary is the BSA (SA??) has not fully defined what it is and what they do.  When I joined way back when it was a game with a purpose, we had adventures, learned things, sam

To be honest, I think the program is too easy to get wrong and consequently scouts are not joining or are leaving because they're not having fun when they're younger or not being challenged when they'

This. ----------------- In the National Annual Report, https://www.scouting.org/about/annual-report/year2023/  they should change the verbiage from "earned" Merit Badges to "awarded" Merit B

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

These decisions really started with Dale (perhaps you could argue it goes back to their partnership with the LDS).

To clarify, all of these decisions and actions are the BSA's to own.  It was their decisions that led to the situation we are in; I think you need to go back further to see how these decisions all relate and many of the decisions were linked to BSA's concern of losing LDS members followed by reactions to losing LDS members.

 I went back and updated the name of the church as one of the best scouters on this forum, @The Latin Scot has mentioned the correct name to use in the past.

Edited by Eagle1993
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Posted (edited)

Another decision not mentioned in National Report, FleishmanHillard ($$$) which has previously worked with the BSA, was chosen as PR Agency of Record (AOR) in November 2023 with a focus on the rebrand.

BSA Chief Marketing Officer (CMO) Michael Ramsey said his team is amplifying the organization’s message to reach youth and families across the country via national press releases and a social strategy that “leans hard into” Instagram and LinkedIn. 

“We have a lot of our leaders on LinkedIn,” said Ramsey. “But video is the backbone of a lot of the things we are doing. We are also looking at media outlets that target youth and families.”

...

The team particularly wants to reach moms and make them aware of all the fun and adventure involved in scouting, such as camping, hiking, boating and earning badges, said Ramsey. :huh:

Next February 8, a marketing campaign called Spring into Scouting will let older youth — children ages 11 to 18 — know about the opportunity to join scouting programs, Ramsey said

More at Source:

https://www.prweek.com/article/1872349/inside-boy-scouts-america-rebrand

My advice, if you are a going to talk to CEO, CFO MOM, be prepared to reveal the True Cost of Scouting and parental time commitment.

My $0.02,

Edited by RememberSchiff
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Posted (edited)
On 5/10/2024 at 6:58 PM, RememberSchiff said:

5/7/2024:  2023 Annual Report released.

The Key 3 (President/CEO Roger Krone, National Chair Brad Tilden, National Commissioner Scott Sorrels) state

We hope you will join us in this important work. Our nation, our communities and our future leaders need the values, grit, and leadership skills that Scouting instills. Your support is critical as our youth continue Scouting America.

Includes membership numbers, no financial report.

https://www.scouting.org/about/annual-report/year2023/

P.S. Short on content, but might this also be submitted late as the Report to the Nation?

Wow, that is a capsule at best.  Guess they are being Thrifty with their output

The 6% decline in Scouts (11-17) is way concerning.  As a result of that noted that Eagle Scouts are down from +/- 50K per year to under 30K per year.

As was noted, we are now at 1939 membership levels.  

  • Scouts in 1939 +/- 1,000,000
  • US population 1939 +/- 130,000,000
  • Scouts as % overall population - 0.76%

 

  • Scouts in 2024 +/- 1,000,000
  • US population 2024 +/- 330,000,000
  • Scouts as % overall population - 0.03%

 

Edited by Jameson76
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On 5/10/2024 at 6:58 PM, RememberSchiff said:

5/7/2024:  2023 Annual Report released.

The Key 3 (President/CEO Roger Krone, National Chair Brad Tilden, National Commissioner Scott Sorrels) state

We hope you will join us in this important work. Our nation, our communities and our future leaders need the values, grit, and leadership skills that Scouting instills. Your support is critical as our youth continue Scouting America.

Includes membership numbers, no financial report.

https://www.scouting.org/about/annual-report/year2023/

P.S. Short on content, but might this also be submitted late as the Report to the Nation?

Also not sure about this heading:

Preparing Young People for Lives of Purpose and Impact

Seems a bit vague and non definitive, more feel good than actionable.

 

 

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On 5/10/2024 at 7:08 PM, Eagle1993 said:

Compare BSA to UK.  UK in 2023 grew by 5.6% and has 100,000 youth on waiting list to join.  UK scouting has various advantages but we have a lot to learn from them....

Well UK scouting holds a limit on the number of units which causes the waiting lists and I think provides certain quality control. I would agree to a degree, I mean I think there is something to the limiting the number of units geographically.

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2 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Wow, that is a capsule at best.  Guess they are being Thrifty with their output

The 6% decline in Scouts (11-17) is way concerning.  As a result of that noted that Eagle Scouts are down from +/- 50K per year to under 30K per year.

As was noted, we are now at 1939 membership levels.  

  • Scouts in 1939 +/- 1,000,000
  • US population 1939 +/- 130,000,000
  • Scouts as % overall population - 0.76%

 

  • Scouts in 2024 +/- 1,000,000
  • US population 2024 +/- 330,000,000
  • Scouts as % overall population - 0.03%

 

NAM used 2023 numbers. In March, the 2024 actual membership numbers were posted elsewhere on this forum and they were around 870,000 or 890,000 -- can't remember which. BSA also changed the registration scheme so that anyone signing up after August 2023 would not be prorated but signed up for a 12 month membership so that number likely includes some dropouts that normally would have been cleaned up on December recharters. Renewal notices will be issued for six months after that, so anyone on the roles now is going to stay on the roles as a member for 18 months rolling forward.

In a way, it gives further explanation of the move to change the name. Krone said girl membership was 176,000, or nearing 20%, but in reality it is likely already over 20% if live membership is closer to the March numbers. 

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This thread is bumping with all of the controversial topics.

I don't buy the stages of decline. Most of the changes are in line with the international scouting community (the name is more inline with international naming conventions, 173 of the 216 WOSM members are full coed at last count, shooting sports is heavily regulated in most countries, this seems like standardization not grasping for straws.).

I've heard the moms discussion points, it's what BSA teaches the professional scouters to focus on. For some reason there is an emphasis on hooking moms on the value of the program and little to no focus on dads; maybe it has something to do with the more than 50% of moms being single so perhaps BSA see's moms as the primary decision maker for kids activities?

I agree with a lot of the side chatter on that chart, there seems to be a lot of outside influence on those membership numbers (post war baby booms, economics, etc ... ).

I don't agree at all with the watering down of the program or gaming the system comments. Advancement is a method, having fun should run parallel to 12-18 month advancement plan. There is a huge link to staying in the program and going to summer camp; almost every scout gains some advancement at summer camp which is probably the reason. I hear a lot of beyond sub par SM/ASM in my area talk about "fun" and "not advancement mills" and they all seem to have the same problem, scouts stuck below first class and then dropping from the program. again advancement is a method, far too many SM ignore it.

I don't think the LDS exodus was as bad as everyone claims. LDS refuses to share membership numbers for their internal program since 2021; meanwhile if you check the LDS contingents website and photos to the world jamboree somehow everyone LDS that went was wearing BSA uniforms, patches, regalia, etc ... oh and they appear to be coed now to. I would love to see some numbers on LDS and on the previous LDS units. Utah has like 200+ units these days; how is that possible in a permanent exodus?

Too much doom and gloom.

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5 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

Lot of good comments

Summary is the BSA (SA??) has not fully defined what it is and what they do.  When I joined way back when it was a game with a purpose, we had adventures, learned things, sampled many different hobbies and interests, and most importantly learned to work in groups and take care of ourselves.  As we matured we went from follower to leader.

Over the years the BSA strayed from that to want to become the swiss army knife of youth groups.  We do everything.  Also more focus on advancement and formal learning and less emphasis on experiential learning.  1/2 the required Eagle MBs are basically classwork.  Even the action merit badges focus way more on instruction and less on doing. 

Many leaders (parents) do not see the big picture.  Anecdotal but the pages of discussion on getting 20 nights camping for camping MB is case in point.  Folks spend way more time figuring our how to game the system than, well, I don't know, going camping.

BSA (SA??) needs to get a clear message out of what they are DOING, action stuff.  Move away from family stuff for cubs, that is killing that group and makes Scouts harder to recruit due to that is the expectation.  Middle schoolers DO NOT want a family organization, they want adventures with their peers.

We are not STEM (many groups do that better), Kids do not want more schools, and are actually not a formal leadership academy.  You know what youth soccer is successful, they focus on soccer.

BSA needs to focus on a core group of things we can do well, and sell that.

Quick note on social media, the BSA (SA??) National and Council feeds are horrendous.  They are really more message boards and advertisements.  Post stories of what Scouts are DOING!!  Focus on adventure to entice and dare I say tempt youth to go join.

" Folks spend way more time figuring our how to game the system than, well, I don't know, going camping."    Triple plus star for this.  And that applies to most of the more popular and consistent parts of the program.  

 

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On 5/13/2024 at 12:19 PM, Tron said:

… Most of the changes are in line with the international scouting community (the name is more inline with international naming conventions, 173 of the 216 WOSM members are full coed at last count, … this seems like standardization not grasping for straws..

BSA can follow a pretty wide lane and be “in line” as far as WOSM is concerned. The largest or fastest-growing WOSM programs have been sex-segregated. In many of these countries the Guides and Scouts collaborate nicely. So, to really fall in line, BSA and GS/USA would “play nice” together, and that ain’t happening.

I think we in the U.S. are faced with an influx of citizens like no other country, and many parents from Europe and South America may envision scouting as co-ed because that’s all they’ve known since childhood. On the other hand parents from India, Indonesia, and Gulf states only know segregated models. For some, but not all, national scout organizations, that’s shifting. (It was nice to see young women singing and dancing while visiting with the Saudi tent in August.)

I think single moms are a serious consideration, but many single moms that I’ve met are looking for unisex programs for their boys where they believe male role models to be instrumental in a young man’s development. So those moms will value sex-segregated programs over co-ed. So, any mom rhetoric is just corporate double-speak.

The ground truth, I believe, is that the organization has collapsed to the point that it is unreasonable for it to produce an all-boy and all-girl unit in every small community; therefore, it is positioning itself to allow each unit to be more flexible in its configuration in hope that doing so may make up for six decades of losses three decades from now.

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Single family households are actually declining now.  I'm not sure why they would make a change now for that... But perhaps it was overdue.

 

Screenshot_20240514-211422.png

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10 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

Single family households are actually declining now.  I'm not sure why they would make a change now for that... But perhaps it was overdue.

 

Screenshot_20240514-211422.png

Technically declining. 2020 to 2023 had a little bump but basically is level, and comparing modern counts to the BSA peak membership in 1970 ... well looks like 2, almost 3 times the single parent households. 

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9 minutes ago, Tron said:

Technically declining. 2020 to 2023 had a little bump but basically is level, and comparing modern counts to the BSA peak membership in 1970 ... well looks like 2, almost 3 times the single parent households. 

It would be interesting to see this as a percentage of children.  I'm not sure what that looks like, but I think it was on the order of 25%. 

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13 hours ago, qwazse said:

I think single moms are a serious consideration, but many single moms that I’ve met are looking for unisex programs for their boys where they believe male role models to be instrumental in a young man’s development. So those moms will value sex-segregated programs over co-ed. So, any mom rhetoric is just corporate double-speak.

This has always been the situation during my time in scouting. What might be a little surprising is that even some two-parent families look for programs with male role modes to help develop their sons. I'm not sure if the reason is because the culture is anti-male and they are looking for reinforcement of masculine behavior, or the father is out of the picture a lot from work. But our troop had several scouts in that situation. 

Looking at this further, I wouldn't be surprised that families would be looking for the experiences for their daughters since the evidence also shows that girls suffer greatly from single-parent lifestyles. The GSUSA probably has some statistics on that.

13 hours ago, qwazse said:

The ground truth, I believe, is that the organization has collapsed to the point that it is unreasonable for it to produce an all-boy and all-girl unit in every small community; therefore, it is positioning itself to allow each unit to be more flexible in its configuration in hope that doing so may make up for six decades of losses three decades from now.

 Yes, I believe this to be the situation as well.

Barry

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