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You could build an argument that the growth of the BSA was in significant part a Boomer phenomena. The following generations have not gravitated toward Scouting or longer term activities nearly to the same degree. You can see that also with Rotary, Lion's Clubs as well as churches. 

Our Cub Pack (at least when it was meeting before the pandemic) still has a lot of Boomers who are the primary parents even though in reality they are the grandparents. Without that group of Boomer grandparents, the pack would be half the size it is.

My daughter who is in her 30's and her peers seem to seek short-term activities rather than multi-year programs for their children. The traditional Scouting model will continue to face recruitment challenges unless it can somehow adapt. 

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You are likely to hear/read a post-modern nomad say, "Adulting is hard." But, they are also doing some astounding things: Serving multiple tours in military reserves. Learning busin

Bear in mind that my youth scouting was in the UK, while my adult leadership is in the US. My observation tends to agree. Much as I love the Eagle program, and the merit badge programs, I see a lot of

Same here, well except the other half sounds like the bad advice I gave them.

2 minutes ago, MattR said:

Old saying: when a worm sits in horseradish, it doesn't know there's anything sweeter.

Another, not so old saying: Sometimes things have to get worse before they get better.

Not really a saying: Go look at UK Scouts. At least before the pandemic they had lists of people trying to get their kids in scouts.

The Scout Association (UK) does have waiting lists because they cannot find enough adult volunteer leaders.  They still have too few Scouts.

The BSA is largely a legacy organization.  Each generation tends to have fewer potential Scouts and there will never be 100% who join.  Scouting must do things that allow it to fulfill its mission such as more STEM activities.  The outdoors do not appeal to America's youth as it did for the Baby Boom generation.

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14 minutes ago, vol_scouter said:

Scouting must do things that allow it to fulfill its mission such as more STEM activities.  The outdoors do not appeal to America's youth as it did for the Baby Boom generation.

 

I think it's more about specialization. Families don't want to waste time or money on activities that don't meet their exact needs and interests. Other youth organizations have adapted to this. A kid interested in soccer, for example, can find options to play rec, local travel, regional travel, or elite travel. I don't agree about the outdoors. During the pandemic when units shut down, many nature centers offered Covid friendly programming and their membership rolls burgeoned while BSA's has tanked. A lot of those kids don't want to come back to scouting because of being too much like homework.  Allowing STEM tracks, outdoors tracks, citizenship tracks would allow it to appeal to more youth with differing interests. 

 

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30 minutes ago, gpurlee said:

You could build an argument that the growth of the BSA was in significant part a Boomer phenomena. The following generations have not gravitated toward Scouting or longer term activities nearly to the same degree. You can see that also with Rotary, Lion's Clubs as well as churches. 

Our Cub Pack (at least when it was meeting before the pandemic) still has a lot of Boomers who are the primary parents even though in reality they are the grandparents. Without that group of Boomer grandparents, the pack would be half the size it is.

My daughter who is in her 30's and her peers seem to seek short-term activities rather than multi-year programs for their children. The traditional Scouting model will continue to face recruitment challenges unless it can somehow adapt. 

That's exactly what I'm saying. The Boomer generation is still significantly influencing and populating the scouting movement and there are not many more years left where it will still be present. That's going to have a continuing depressive effect on membership. 

 

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Don't forget that Millennials are (still) the largest generation to enter the workforce.  Some of us only did that a handful of years ago.

I've been married for a few years now, and my wife and I are just expecting our firstborn this fall.  I joined this forum in large part because I now wish to re-involve myself in Scouts to help pave the way for my kid(s) to enjoy the program.  

I was a young Eagle, and I aged out in 2009.  I've been gone 12 years, and I'm coming back now - and I'm one of the first of my friends to have a kid on the way.

Don't count Millennials out yet.  I'm toward the back half of the generation, but the older Millennials got dealt a pretty bad hand by getting smacked with the 2008 recession in the first part of their careers and now the pandemic when they were trying to start families.  We're further behind than generations that came up during the postwar prosperity boom, true enough, but that was just the hand we were dealt.  Give us a few years; we're getting there.

 

 

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6 minutes ago, SilverPalm said:

Don't forget that Millennials are (still) the largest generation to enter the workforce.  Some of us only did that a handful of years ago.

I've been married for a few years now, and my wife and I are just expecting our firstborn this fall.  I joined this forum in large part because I now wish to re-involve myself in Scouts to help pave the way for my kid(s) to enjoy the program.  

I was a young Eagle, and I aged out in 2009.  I've been gone 12 years, and I'm coming back now - and I'm one of the first of my friends to have a kid on the way.

Don't count Millennials out yet.  I'm toward the back half of the generation, but the older Millennials got dealt a pretty bad hand by getting smacked with the 2008 recession in the first part of their careers and now the pandemic when they were trying to start families.  We're further behind than generations that came up during the postwar prosperity boom, true enough, but that was just the hand we were dealt.  Give us a few years; we're getting there.

 

 

Congratulations on your future cub and thanks for reminding us grumpy old people that great young people are always out there.  

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1 hour ago, gpurlee said:

You can see that also with Rotary, Lion's Clubs as well as churches. 

See Bowling Alone

Quote

Putnam noted the aggregate loss in membership and number of volunteers in many existing civic organizations such as religious groups (Knights of Columbus, B'nai Brith, etc.), labor unions, parent–teacher associations, Federation of Women's Clubs, League of Women Voters, military veterans' organizations, volunteers with Boy Scouts and the Red Cross, and fraternal organizations (Lions Clubs, Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks, United States Junior Chamber, Freemasonry, Rotary, Kiwanis, etc.). Putnam used bowling as an example to illustrate this; although the number of people who bowled had increased in the last 20 years, the number of people who bowled in leagues had decreased. If people bowled alone, they did not participate in the social interaction and civic discussions that might occur in a league environment.

 

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1 hour ago, gpurlee said:

My daughter who is in her 30's and her peers seem to seek short-term activities rather than multi-year programs for their children.

I heard a speaker talk about this in the following way:

  1. His dad, a Boomer, was a life long member of the Sierra Club. Had his original Sierra Club card in his wallet. Whenever they moved his first question was where the nearest club was. Membership was measured in decades.
  2. He was Gen X. Belonged to certain organizations when he was younger but as he got older drifted towards others. Still maintained the same level of hours and donations, just shifted. Membership was measured in years.
  3. Millennials, initial data shows, are liable to only remain with the same charitable organization or not for profit until the next new fad/issue/topic came up. They were MORE charitable in terms of giving as a percentage of their income and MORE giving of their time. But they were gone in 12-18 months. As one person described it: you can NOT build and funding and membership base or projection based on people who aren't going to be there next year.

And that third category (hop from thing to thing to thing) are the ones having kids right now. Kids = Cubs.

I define Millennials as Pew does: those born between 1981 and 1996. Which makes them between 25-40. That's precisely when they are having kids, later in life. The average age of first-time mothers in America is now up from 21 to 26, while for fathers, it's increased from 27 to 31.

Which makes them the people showing up, or NOT showing up, to Cub Scout meetings.

That's why I'd love to see the data on Cub Scout retention. I know the big worry was the retention from Cub to Scouts, BSA. But I'd hazard a guess that Cub Scout "churn" is much higher than it was.

But back to the bankruptcy: how do you plan out a program when the parents won't stick around? Forget Scouts, BSA for a second (which dropped 11% between 2010 and 2019), Cub Scouts is simply a disaster: a 27% drop in that same time period.

And they took a LDS hit that Scouts, BSA.

Scouts, BSA dropped 41% (474,403 vs. 798,516) and Cubs dropped 45% (649,284 vs. 1,176,118).

But in terms of unit loss? I have been told that while Scouts, BSA suffered Cub Scouts was blown out (I do NOT have the KPI data).

If the Scouts, BSA bounces back to pre-COVID, does it really matter if 66% of Cub Scouts never come back?

And here's a hint: Cubs don't go to HA bases.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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3 minutes ago, BlueandSilverBear said:

I know a lot of Gen-Xers who think they are Boomers. 

Exactly. Boomers (those born between 1946 and 1964) and NOT the ones with kids in scouting or if they are they are a small, small percentage.

Boomers are 57-75 years of age. They have grandkids, maybe, in scouting. But not kids, or at least not that many. (57-17 = 40).

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6 minutes ago, BlueandSilverBear said:

where the program was from 1997 to 2012 

To put in in perspective of where it was and where it is, in the time period you were there

Cub Scouts has dropped from 2.1 million to, as of December 2020, 650k, a 70% decline.

Scouts, BSA had a little over 1 million in 1997, down to 475k, a 53% decline.

 

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2 hours ago, vol_scouter said:

The outdoors do not appeal to America's youth as it did for the Baby Boom generation.

I hugely disagree with that statement.  Especially the generation that were raised indoors with video games and cable tv crave outdoor experiences and skills for their kids.  It's a phenomenon very close to BP's original purpose of introducing city kids to woodcraft skills.  Kids too love new experiences:  hiking, climbing, canoeing, being outside in a torrential downpour.  

Outdoors also teaches conservation, simplicity and ecology.  The newest parents demand that.  

Outdoors is not the issue.  That never gets old.  Fire.  Knives.  Bow and arrows.  

It's the paramiltary appearance of scouting that has definitely fallen out of style.  From the outside, scouting can look creepy and anacronistic:  march, salaute, military like uniforms, etc.  Those deeply involved know that scouting is much more about the outdoors, ecology, etc.  But from the outside, scouting can look a bit creepy.  

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57 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

To put in in perspective of where it was and where it is, in the time period you were there

Cub Scouts has dropped from 2.1 million to, as of December 2020, 650k, a 70% decline.

Scouts, BSA had a little over 1 million in 1997, down to 475k, a 53% decline.

December 2020 ... airlines also saw a fraction of the flyers.  We should probably close half the airports too.  Probably don't need as many roads either ... major downtowns have not had the business people ... probably reduce the investments in downtowns ... but ya know ... there was a pandemic ... people not meeting face-to-face ...   

BSA also has been fighting the worst of all storms for 20 years.  BSA's big failure was not finding a safe course and it has lost a generation of youth.  Dale vs BSA.  Membership battles (gender, faith, orientation).  Rehashing 50 years of abuse scandals.  That storm can end with exiting bankruptcy.  That's the whole reason bankruptcy exists:  to give businesses a clean slate.

If BSA can get past this bankruptcy, scouting will make a comeback.  It might be 10 or 20 years out, but it will comeback ... if done right.  The first thing is it needs to get past the bankruptcy and all the political messes.  

UK scouting crashed and came back.  BSA's can too.  Kids and parents crave outdoor experiences. 

The local council will need their camps.  Ideally, Philmont and the high adventure bases will continue to exist.  If not, expect national parks to be flooded with scout units.  Troop XXX will reserve sites 39, 40, 41, 42 and 43 and the XXX state park or national park / forest.  Our troop has done it repeatedly.  Imagine if it was the only option for scouting youth.

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1 hour ago, BlueandSilverBear said:

And, thanks to program changes since I was a scout, now I’m a Lion (Tiger starting next week!) Den Leader for my  daughter.

I'd love to see your perception of the Lion and Tiger program compared to what you experienced or remember as a youth.  Many of us argue that cubs is now starting too soon and parents are burning out before their kids cross into troops ... where the big development and value happens ... independence, leadership, etc.  ... I know it won't happen, but I crave for cub scouts to start again at 2nd grade or so.  

I'd love to see a separate thread on your experiences ... versus those of us who have hashed out the discussion from the adult leader perspective.  

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