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Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts suffer huge declines in membership


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On 7/11/2021 at 6:19 PM, AltadenaCraig said:

I find it easier to swallow "Leadership Development" when it's defined non-traditionally.  "Servant Leadership" comes to mind.  Same with  disaggregating leadership into its constituent parts:  first learn to lead oneself, then how to lead oneself within a team, then within the leadership of that team, before finally learning the responsibilities of being "the leader".

This is a great comment. By focusing on one leader the BSA, while talking about leadership, pushes aside teamwork and also responsibility. It's much easier to learn leadership if one is confident in what needs to be done and the team understands how to work together. 

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Let's hope that we don't have a group that wants to "re-imagine" the BSA and it's programs.  The Cub movement toward heavily family oriented over the last 10 - 15 years was not getting in the droves o

Probably re-hashing a really old argument yet another time.  ... I agree that we don't need to keep re-imaging BSA and the programs.  I would say though that I disagree on the strengths.  I feel like

I advocate for the Fieldbook as a primary resource too. Especially the first one. I often find copies of these at garage sales for $1. I have mentioned in the past a patrol could go page by page with

1 minute ago, DuctTape said:

I advocate for the Fieldbook as a primary resource too. Especially the first one. I often find copies of these at garage sales for $1. I have mentioned in the past a patrol could go page by page with the original fieldbook and lead a fantastic program.

You just won't stop dropping fantastic knowledge on us, will you??

#DuctTape4NationalCommissioner

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4 minutes ago, MattR said:

This is a great comment. By focusing on one leader the BSA, while talking about leadership, pushes aside teamwork and also responsibility. It's much easier to learn leadership if one is confident in what needs to be done and the team understands how to work together. 

This is what the scout learns by observing routine leadership before becoming a leader. We've had long discussions here defining leadership. It's complicated to define, but very simple when basically duplicating what has been observed over and over. Scouts don't really care what leadership is so much as they want to make positive decisions in each situation. They know what the goal looks like and they know how to get there. They just simply do what they've observed done before. Where leadership gets challenging is when the scouts are confronted with a situation they haven't seen before. That is when they often make the wrong choice. That is when they will need someone to discuss their decision. Someone who just basically listens, ask a couple of questions, then leaves the scout to think it out alone. A mentor.

Barry

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1 hour ago, mrjohns2 said:

I have been thinking about giving our SPL & PLs the handbooks when they are elected. Have you read the current editions? Are they reasonable? Or is there a reason to go back to the older editions? I often hear that the 50 year old SM handbook gets at these things better than the current "Unit Leader Guide Vol 1 & Vol 2". 

I have not read them in the last 10 years. The 50 year old ones are better, I used them to develop trainings. But the ones I used 20 years ago were fine for a basic starter to running the program. 

The challenge will be with the adults because they will want more. And eventually so will the scouts. But, the handbooks are purposely basic so different unit characteristic will fit in the model. Once everyone has the basic understanding of the model, then they can make changes and additions to improve the program. The best part is the scouts and adults work together as a team to determine the changes and additions. Not adults pushing their ideas on the scouts.

Barry

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Sadly, after all these years, the Boy Scouts of America has simply "run it's course" and is nearing the end of it's  useful existence.   Then dump a truckload of negativity on the tracks and the problems continue to grow.  Anyway, with today's virtual world, academic pressure, extracurricular activities,  negative peer pressure, it may be that most kids just want to stay at home and relax.

 

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2 hours ago, Mrjeff said:

Sadly, after all these years, the Boy Scouts of America has simply "run it's course" and is nearing the end of it's  useful existence.   Then dump a truckload of negativity on the tracks and the problems continue to grow.  Anyway, with today's virtual world, academic pressure, extracurricular activities,  negative peer pressure, it may be that most kids just want to stay at home and relax.

 

For me, the sadness is that scouting has been unable to adapt to this new landscape. A lot of other youth organizations have done a better job. Scouting has just seemed so entrenched in tradition and intractable social positions. If the focus was simply on getting kids outdoors safely, I am certain it would be more successful but it has collapsed under the weight of so much other baggage. 

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2 hours ago, Mrjeff said:

...Anyway, with today's virtual world, academic pressure, extracurricular activities,  negative peer pressure, it may be that most kids just want to stay at home and relax.

Kids will often say they'd rather stay home, relax, play video games, etc. My son is for sure one of those kids. But I also see my son absolutely love scout experiences and activities. He came home from summer camp just so happy with the experience, saying he loved camp, that it was awesome, etc.

It's not a lack of enjoyment or a preference to do other things, I think kids still genuinely love outdoor adventure and the type of fun that scouting offers. The issue for me personally (and maybe for scouting more broadly) is convincing kids (and parents) to embrace this kind of adventure, to try it, and then to keep coming back even when sometimes it's a little hard or inconvenient to do so. And that includes those times when as they get older that negative peer pressure can become a bigger factor.

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8 minutes ago, yknot said:

For me, the sadness is that scouting has been unable to adapt to this new landscape. A lot of other youth organizations have done a better job. Scouting has just seemed so entrenched in tradition and intractable social positions. If the focus was simply on getting kids outdoors safely, I am certain it would be more successful but it has collapsed under the weight of so much other baggage. 

This all may true. I believe Scouts will survive at a minimum as just an outdoors program. The problem is when a program is only focused on activities without the virtues of behavior values as a by-product, the adults will turn it into an after school/weekend activity program. Basically a babysitting program. The hallmark of if giving scouts the independence of running program will fade away. We struggle with adult intrusiveness now, making values a lower priority will finish if off. I understand this is what happened to Canadian Scouts. 

Barry

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4 hours ago, Mrjeff said:

Sadly, after all these years, the Boy Scouts of America has simply "run it's course" and is nearing the end of it's  useful existence.   Then dump a truckload of negativity on the tracks and the problems continue to grow. 

This may be your or your council, but not ours. Our camporees are double of what they were, camp has fuller weeks, and things are moving along. So, maybe that is super local. Not sure, but we are loving it while we can. 

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Some of the issues with Scouts is that it requires at least 20% (?) of parents to be all in. Do any other youth activity require that? The second is that for the Scouts, it isn’t all fun: kp, policing the area, breaking camp, cooking for others etc. Some kids (who were Scouts) have quit because they didn’t like the work aspect of it. They were used to programs that were more or less all fun / all core program. 

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2 hours ago, yknot said:

If the focus was simply on getting kids outdoors safely, I am certain it would be more successful but it has collapsed under the weight of so much other baggage. 

Absolutely.  Ditch the stuff scouting does not shine at.  .... at least minimize.  

Scouting SHINES when it takes kids outside.  Hiking.  Biking.  Canoe.  Teaching outdoor skills.  

Scouting bumbles around in just too many other areas.  Scouting can claim so many positive reasons to be a scout IF IT WOULD JUST STOP DESIGNING THE PROGRAM TO TARGET THOSE REASONS.

The reason to be a scout is simple.  To be outside.  To have adventures.  To try new things.  To make friends.  To explore the world.  To sit by a campfire.  ... The rest is hogwash.  Sure it's neat to point and brag at, but it gets messed as often as it helps. 

I swear ... scouting is an easy win if we just stop pretending it's more grandiose than it is.  

 

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4 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

The reason to be a scout is simple.  To be outside.  To have adventures.  To try new things.  To make friends.  To explore the world.  To sit by a campfire.  .

The more it goes away from this, the more it does “outdoor themed school work” the few youth that will join and stay. Do the outdoors. Don’t write a report on the outdoors. 

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I wasn't talking about anything specific or unique to any council, I was referring to the organization.   Volunteers are volunteering elswere, membership is very low, property is being sold, employees are leaving and unfortunately the list goes on and on.  I think, I THINK, that Scouting has lost the trust and confidence of the people and the real glue holding things together is the good name and reputations of adults who are encouraging others to hang on, and this is truly a local issue.  If I recall correctly, membership has decreased from two million to 770,000 in the last couple of years.  That is a huge decline, if those numbers are correct.  I don't cast blame on anyone or any one thing because it's just a product of social change.  With litigation and liability being so popular it's really no surprise that folks are walking away just like health care professionals and law enforcement officers.  I am looking forward to seeing what next year brings.

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What I was saying is that it may be the larger view, but things are working for us. All (most?) Scouting is local.

The membership decline has been steady since Dale. This isn’t new. How is YOUR troop or YOUR pack? 

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Right now I have neither a troop or pack.  I have the distinct privilege of serving as our OA Lodge Advisor and chairman of our district Eagle Board of Review, which keeps me very busy and things are well. Thanks for asking.

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