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7 minutes ago, Sentinel947 said:

The cost to own urban core property is outrageously expensive, and Scouting is an outdoor activity? I'm all for making Scouting more accessible, but what is an "Urban Adventure Base?" What does it have to do with Scouting?

Look at the program. Other than troop level camping, little of it requires remote wilderness locations. Not that I like that, but you could easily use an urban base to funnel youth into more outdoor programming. Most urban outdoors oriented programs do the majority of their preparation in urban settings before they head out for camping adventures. We have several by me. 

I'm on the fringe of an urban area and there are millions of square feet of vacant warehouse space available for lease, including with parking lot areas.  Brownfield areas as well that could be developed with an urban partnership. You can be outdoors in the city. I'm in the mid Atlantic. Tons of places that could  It's a failure of imagination not to see how this could work. 

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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

You guys seriously meet with commissioners? Unless there are pics, gonna call that "unproven" We are in a large council and they seem to have professional staff all over the place (at least 5 in

I live in a town of 14,000.  A few years ago, we had 4 fairly healthy packs (our at 80 scouts, another at 65, one at 35 and the fourth probably around 20.

We are down to two Packs.  My Pack at 20 scouts (we have lost 60 in the last 2 years) and one around 30.

In the past 3 hours, my Pack has lost 3 den leaders.  Why?  The answer I get is too much work to commit to running a den.  The pack of 65 that ended (it was in existence for 50+ years) ... no parents want to volunteer to lead the Pack.  The DE is going to try & rebuild it ... 

So ... one of the top issues I am hearing, right now, is that we simply do not have enough parents willing to volunteer to make Packs run well.

There is a second issue I am starting to hear from some Cub Parents.  This past 18 months, families spent a lot of time together ... and they are NOT in a rush to return back to their previously overschedule past life.  They are being more selective on activities and some are backing away from programs.  In general ... sports wins out more than scouts ... so they are more likely to pull or not return to Cub Scouts.  

The collapse has been sudden and it is actually getting worse as we exit Covid.  I'm seeing parents who stepped up during Covid now back away.  Again, multiple Packs in my area are seeing this ... otherwise, I would think it could just be a one off issue.

I plan a massive recruiting drive (including parents) and hope that will save us this fall.  However, I am very concerned that this may be early signs that the Cub Program will not rebound any time soon (if ever).  This may require fundamental changes in Cub Scouts.

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3 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I live in a town of 14,000.  A few years ago, we had 4 fairly healthy packs (our at 80 scouts, another at 65, one at 35 and the fourth probably around 20.

We are down to two Packs.  My Pack at 20 scouts (we have lost 60 in the last 2 years) and one around 30.

In the past 3 hours, my Pack has lost 3 den leaders.  Why?  The answer I get is too much work to commit to running a den.  The pack of 65 that ended (it was in existence for 50+ years) ... no parents want to volunteer to lead the Pack.  The DE is going to try & rebuild it ... 

So ... one of the top issues I am hearing, right now, is that we simply do not have enough parents willing to volunteer to make Packs run well.

There is a second issue I am starting to hear from some Cub Parents.  This past 18 months, families spent a lot of time together ... and they are NOT in a rush to return back to their previously overschedule past life.  They are being more selective on activities and some are backing away from programs.  In general ... sports wins out more than scouts ... so they are more likely to pull or not return to Cub Scouts.  

The collapse has been sudden and it is actually getting worse as we exit Covid.  I'm seeing parents who stepped up during Covid now back away.  Again, multiple Packs in my area are seeing this ... otherwise, I would think it could just be a one off issue.

I plan a massive recruiting drive (including parents) and hope that will save us this fall.  However, I am very concerned that this may be early signs that the Cub Program will not rebound any time soon (if ever).  This may require fundamental changes in Cub Scouts.

We are getting some Scouts from a folded Pack due to Covid and other issues.

More importantly though, I know of 6 Lions ready to fill out applications as soon as they can.  So, its looking like a big Lion Den coming up for us.

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2 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

In the past 3 hours, my Pack has lost 3 den leaders.  Why?  The answer I get is too much work to commit to running a den.  The pack of 65 that ended (it was in existence for 50+ years) ... no parents want to volunteer to lead the Pack.  The DE is going to try & rebuild it ... 

There is a second issue I am starting to hear from some Cub Parents.  This past 18 months, families spent a lot of time together ... and they are NOT in a rush to return back to their previously overschedule past life.  They are being more selective on activities and some are backing away from programs.  In general ... sports wins out more than scouts ... so they are more likely to pull or not return to Cub Scouts.  

The collapse has been sudden and it is actually getting worse as we exit Covid.  I'm seeing parents who stepped up during Covid now back away.  Again, multiple Packs in my area are seeing this ... otherwise, I would think it could just be a one off issue.

I plan a massive recruiting drive (including parents) and hope that will save us this fall.  However, I am very concerned that this may be early signs that the Cub Program will not rebound any time soon (if ever).  This may require fundamental changes in Cub Scouts.

Compared to other youth activities, scouting takes a massive volunteer effort. At the troop level, parents are committed to getting their scouts to Eagle so that sometimes motivates them to step up. At the cub level, the parents aren't yet that invested. 

Our membership decline has been drastic. Many people are expecting it to spring back up after Covid. I am skeptical. As you state, many families simply are not wanting to return to pre pandemic levels of activity and something has to give. Sports are easier to participate in and administer. Local nature centers and park departments also stepped up to the plate last summer and offered a lot of Covid safe programming. I'm affiliated with three centers and Covid was the single best thing to happen as far as membership. Rolls are way up and programs are full. Parents of younger kids have figured out that they can get their outdoors experiences in by signing up for a family hiking or wildlife program and not having to worry about BSA paperwork, training, or running dens. This is hurting cubs in our area. 

 

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I agree with many of the previous posts. The BSA has sustained a record setting loss in membership in the past 12 months. In our council, the Cub Scout program has suffered an 80 percent loss in membership. Many Cub Packs have ceased to meet in any form for a full year now. This pack leadership which is critical to the success of a unit is no longer there. In addition, many previous sponsors are hesitant to welcome Scouting back into their organization.  

The traditional recruitment method of back to school nights has been disrupted, Last year's local efforts to use social media for recruitment had less than 10 percent of previous year's recruitment numbers.  While many Scout troops have continued to meet, their major means of recruitment has been totally disrupted. The impact of six months of advertising related to abuse claims on recruitment has yet to be fully determined. 

There has also been a fundamental shift by today's families away from programs that require on-going, long term intensive time commitments. My daughter, who grew up in a very active Scouting family, has noted that her friends who have Cub Scout age children are seeking short-term programs such as those run by parks departments or wildlife groups. The heavy lifting is done by paid staff and families can participate with their children without needing to invest significant amounts of planning and training time.

I truly appreciate the local unit Scouters and families who are doing their best to maintain quality programs amid all of these challenges and uncertainty of this past year.  Many of them have dedicated countless years of service to youth in their community. Most are very concerned about the future of the BSA but continue to do their best every week to provide a good experience for the families who are involved.

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Rethinking program should be done. Scouting is too much like school, when the focus should be outdoor activities. Cub scout day camp is what got my son hooked. 

For my troop, work schedules of parents make it hard for them to volunteer. Father out of town frequently for work, we cannot expect mother left behind with multiple kids to volunteer for the pack or troop. Then the requirements the BSA loads on a potential volunteer is a lot!

Parents that have children with behavioral issues are drawn to the BSA for its character development. Most volunteers are not ready for this. So a simpler program would make it easier to accomplish the aims of scouting.

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1 hour ago, Owls_are_cool said:

Rethinking program should be done. Scouting is too much like school, when the focus should be outdoor activities. Cub scout day camp is what got my son hooked. 

I agree. The merit badge focus is crazy. When I worked on Merit badges, 30 years ago, the concept of “merit badge worksheets/workbooks” didn’t exist, at least in my council. Kids have enough workbooks at school. Don’t make this school. 

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Posted (edited)

What think ye on this?   A "Promise to Parents", not a "promise to kids"?  

https://www.crossroadsbsa.org/wp-content/uploads/Scouts-BSA-2021-Promise-to-Parents-Troop-Brand-Standards61.pdf

I address your attention especially to the last paragraph.  

 

Metrics?  Control?   Pro's vs volunteers?   National vs local?    

Will the Scout remember the ribbon on the flag or the rain on the canvas? 

Edited by SSScout
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Posted (edited)
47 minutes ago, SSScout said:

What think ye on this?   A "Promise to Parents", not a "promise to kids"?  

This isn't even JTE. This is basically a pitch parents: we won't waste your time and money. We promise to push rank advancement and merit badges.

And if not, we'll remove the offending unit leaders

Quote

If improvement is not made, the commissioner team, in partnership with their District Executive, will work with the chartering organization to identify the barriers to success, which may include the selection of new unit Key 3 leadership that are committed to addressing the metrics to ensure the Promise to Parents is delivered to families

This absolutely treats Scouting like school

  1. If students fail to hit certain achievements/pass certain standardized tests, school leadership is replaced.
  2. If scouts fail to hit certain rank advancements, Key-3 leadership is replaced.
Edited by CynicalScouter
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1 hour ago, SSScout said:

What think ye on this?   A "Promise to Parents", not a "promise to kids"?  

https://www.crossroadsbsa.org/wp-content/uploads/Scouts-BSA-2021-Promise-to-Parents-Troop-Brand-Standards61.pdf

I address your attention especially to the last paragraph.  

 

Metrics?  Control?   Pro's vs volunteers?   National vs local?    

Will the Scout remember the ribbon on the flag or the rain on the canvas? 

What is the real mission here?

Parents, you keep the revenue stream open (membership and fundraisers), and we'll keep your Scouts advancing.

Versus: Parents, we need your support to focus all resources and efforts to  "... prepare young people [your Scout] to make ethical and moral choices over their lifetimes by instilling in them the values of the Scout Oath and Law."

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4 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Parents, you keep the revenue stream open (membership and fundraisers), and we'll keep your Scouts advancing.

This is what happens when you spend 10 (20? 30?) years harping on Eagle: moms and dads are paying good money and they want to see John (and now Jane) Scout advance. Just like school.

This is absolutely screaming pay to advance or pay to play.

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As I glanced at Crossroad's Promise to Parents, several random thoughts flickered across my mind:

(1) We continue to deal with the same issues on providing quality Scouting as we did fifty years ago when I was a (very) young Scout leader. Only with a lot more issues and distractions today.

(2) Quality Scouting is hard! It takes a lot of time, commitment and other resources over a prolonged period of time. 

(3) There are very few chartering organizations that view Scouting as more than a community group housed in their facility. And this has really affected the consistency of the quality of our programs.

(4) We rely a lot on our commissioner corps to assist and monitor our units. Unfortunately, in most districts our commissioner corps is very undermanned, under trained and often not especially welcomed by units (which is a whole different topic).

(5) There are very few truly excellent units (yet another topic worthy of a new thread).  I refer back to point two. I would very strongly recommend my friend Mark Ray's excellent resource "The Scoutmaster's Other Handbook" as a good start if you want to delve more into this particular topic.

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4 hours ago, SSScout said:

What think ye on this?   A "Promise to Parents", not a "promise to kids"?  

https://www.crossroadsbsa.org/wp-content/uploads/Scouts-BSA-2021-Promise-to-Parents-Troop-Brand-Standards61.pdf

I address your attention especially to the last paragraph.  

THIS. IS. HORRIBLE!

Regarding ""65% of Scouts BSA members will advance one rank during the Scouting year," you want to lose Scouts, turn it into school. The troop I am in is focused on FUN, not advancement. We have an 18y.o. Eagle ASM and 17y.o. Eagle still active because they have fun. We recruit via word of mouth because we focus on FUN. Best compliment came from Scouts from another troop.  They said we are the "sweatiest," current slang for best I am told, in the district. But here is the deal, WE. FOCUS. ON. FUN! As Baden-Powell said, " Advancement should come as naturally as a suntan, it just happens in the outdoors." You focus on FUN the rest will fall into play.

Regarding, "Participate in Friends of Scouting through the Governor’s Luncheon or a family presentation," What benefit is the unit getting? I will tell you why FOS is nearly non-existent in my new district, WE GET NO SUPPORT FROM THE COUNCIL! Pre-merging 3 districts, we had not had a DE for at least 8 years. We had to share one. And the last one was so rude and obnoxious, he caused a lot longtime volunteers to back out either from their district roles, or Scouting all together. As on now we have 1 DE covering all 3 districts, which covers a territory of 20 counties.

Regarding "Use the Ideal Year of Scouting (IYOS) program plan and submit Troop calendar to the District by June 30" why is the district getting involved in a unit's calendar? Is council/national going to get the info we need, fee increases comes immediately to mind, in may so units have enough time to plan the IYOS? Will district/council's calendars be available in May so that units can plan? And what  is next, mandatory attendance at events?

Finally regarding this "If improvement is not made, the commissioner team, in partnership with their District Executive, will work with the chartering organization to identify the barriers to success, which may include the selection of new unit Key 3 leadership that are committed to addressing the metrics to ensure the Promise to Parents is delivered to families,  What gave the Council the right to interfere with a Charter Organization's appointments? If the council wants to change leadership, I hope they plan on losing not only experienced Scouters who know the metrics are a bunch of hogwash, but also units that will not deal with the hogwash.

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

What gave the Council the right to interfere with a Charter Organization's appointments? If the council wants to change leadership, I hope they plan on losing not only experienced Scouters who know the metrics are a bunch of hogwash, but also units that will not deal with the hogwash.

Yep, I'm 90% there with you.

The only time I can see a Council tinkering with the CO's decision on the Key-3 is health/safety/welfare (they are outright refusing to comply with YP, for example) or they are so far off the BSA programming as to be insane (such as, for example, mandating that all Eagle Scouts must earn 35 merit badges, etc.)

But at that point you should be talking about charter revocation. Not tinkering with the Key-3.

Edited by CynicalScouter
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