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Boy Scouts failing because program abandoned ‘laser focus on boys,’ Trail Life USA CEO says


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https://www.christianpost.com/news/boy-scouts-failing-after-losing-focus-on-boys-trail-life-ceo.html

“It’s not the pandemic or social trends away from the outdoors that is hurting the Boy Scouts,” Hancock, who heads the leading alternate scouting program founded in 2014 after controversial changes at BSA, said in a statement shared with The Christian Post Tuesday.  

“When an organization with a remarkable past that provided us with Presidents and astronauts and generals and civic leaders for over 100 years decides to abandon its laser focus on boys and its commitment to the core strengths that made them and this country great, what would you expect?”

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I appreciate Trail life's aim and mission, but one of the main reasons BSA lost so much membership is because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no longer a charter organisation, not o

Our troop goes and does stuff.  That is the goal.   On many occasions we get a parent (or leader) that feels we should have "advancement outings", work on this or that specifically.  The SM and k

They realize this is probably the last major opportunity to kick around and the BSA.     Given that TL prohibits gays I would never let my son join nor would he want to (just as I would never s

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Posted (edited)

Huh ... Go figure.  I always thought it was because so many outside organizations keep taking pot shots at BSA to promote their own agenda.  ;)   And this article is in a Christian magazine?  

Edited by fred8033
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I appreciate Trail life's aim and mission, but one of the main reasons BSA lost so much membership is because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no longer a charter organisation, not only because of a loss of moral values. I currently like BSA's program, but if there were any TLUSA troops near me I'd probably switch my boys over considering the direction BSA is taking with its woke, political knee-jerk reaction to BLM.

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10 minutes ago, fred8033 said:

Huh ... Go figure.  I always thought it was because so many outside organizations keep taking pot shots at BSA to promote their own agenda.  ;)   And this article is in a Christian magazine?  

My cousin is on CP's advisory board. It's an inside-the-beltway mag. Expect more of the same.

TL/USA is a lot of fun according to my relatives who are participants. However, it is not mopping up BSA's losses. At this rate, it's still some years away from being considered a formidable youth movement.

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1 hour ago, AMRC18 said:

I appreciate Trail life's aim and mission, but one of the main reasons BSA lost so much membership is because the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is no longer a charter organisation, not only because of a loss of moral values. I currently like BSA's program, but if there were any TLUSA troops near me I'd probably switch my boys over considering the direction BSA is taking with its woke, political knee-jerk reaction to BLM.

I'm not sure about that.  I think LDS was partly to blame for membership declines before it left. It never should have been allowed to create a program within a program. Allowing it to do so gave the LDS undue influence over scouting policies in general, including a really onerous over emphasis on religion in the program. Without that influence, BSA likely would have been able to better adapt to changing social values. Without LDS, it would have been a lot easier for BSA proper to open up membership in general while still allowing COs the prerogative to follow their individual principles for their particular units. LDS influence made it impossible to adapt in my opinion. Before the CSA scandal and Covid hit full force, I really thought the loss of LDS influence would eventually be a great membership opportunity. Going forward, LDS scouts and COs would be as welcome and valued as any other religion or CO in BSA, but without the paralyzing outsize influence.  Scouting was never meant to be solely a youth ministry program. 

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Couple of observations

1) Actually that is pretty good summation that BSA has sort of lost the focus on it's core constituency, the boys or now the youth.  If you look over a councils program offerings it's all about families (not that families aren't important) and adult training, etc. etc.  For those of us that have been around for a long while we can remember that the focus used to be how do we get more Scouts out and about and camping in the outdoors.  Not really sure what the focus is now.

2) Not really sure that TL is a viable alternative at this time.  Yes BSA has lost membership, but even now it is 25 - 30  times larger than Trail Life.  That certainly may change in the near term, but they have a ways to go to be really relevant.

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I believe the pros at National did loose focus on the boys and the ideals of developing character. They lost the concept of scouting and it’s values, so they justified their existence with Greed for money and members and change the program in two areas that hit the program hard.

First, they went after first graders to increase cub recruitment. That blunder brought in boys with a toddler maturity, which didn’t mix well with the advanced maturity of the rest of the age groups. The increased overhead pack management burned out the adults and they left. 

Second, National brought in female troop leaders. The problem there is that the Troop program at the time relied heavily on new adult leaders with a youth experience to carry on traditional programs. The sudden surge of adult leaders without a youth scouting experience changed the understanding of boy run and patrol method. Scouts wanted adventure, but adults without a youth experience wanted stature as the primary objective. Not sure of how that should have been done because the culture would eventually force moms to be leaders. But the way it was done hurt the boy run program beyond getting back to normal.

When National created the 4th Method of Leadership, they exposed their cluelessness of the virtues and nobility of the scouting program they are managing. Ive settled in the belief that the misleaders at National didn’t have a scouting experience as a youth. They simply don’t understand scouting and relied on their greed and political sway to improve a program that was didn’t need fixing. The way they handled the political correction issues the last 20 years lost them the big alumni funding that once made the BSA the envy of all the other youth programs. When they needed the help the last few years, it was gone.

While the political correctness activist continually attracted the BSA, National did the real harm.

Barry

 

 

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21 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

The way they handled the political correction issues the last 20 years lost them the big alumni funding that once made the BSA the envy of all the other youth programs.

I see. So, Dale was decided by SCOTUS in 2000. You then think the solution to keep those alumni dollars rolling was to remain locked into banning homosexual scouts, homosexual leaders, and girls from Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA?

What rejection of "political correction" is it that would have saved BSA from where it is today?

Edited by CynicalScouter
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2 minutes ago, CynicalScouter said:

And the reason I picked Dale and 2000 is because that was "the last 20 years" give or take a few months.

BSA didn't allow gay scouts until 2013 .. so I have a hard time understanding how they were PC for 20 years.

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1 hour ago, CynicalScouter said:

I see. So, Dale was decided by SCOTUS in 2000. You then think the solution to keep those alumni dollars rolling was to remain locked into banning homosexual scouts, homosexual leaders, and girls from Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA?

What rejection of "political correction" is it that would have saved BSA from where it is today?

The majority of alumni big donors didn’t stop their donations around 2000.

Barry

 

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3 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

BSA didn't allow gay scouts until 2013 .. so I have a hard time understanding how they were PC for 20 years.

@Eagledad's analysis is pretty good.  It's not the 2013 membership change.  It's picking a fight and enabling BSA vs Dale.  BSA should have immediately said they were about program and structure and that the charter org chose the membership.  That way, those on each side could have claimed victory and BSA could have stayed out of the battle ... as much as possible ...   My oldest son joined during BSA v Dale.  Where the BSA's position on BSA v Dale was not controversial when it started in 1998/1999, now society is aghast at BSA's old position.  Same thing on female scouts.  Same thing on faith and scouting.  Same thing on many different areas.  ... What's next?  Guns?  

BSA can teach timeless values and provide strong character lessons.  Trustworthy.  Loyal.  Helpful.  Friendly.  Courteous.  Kind.  Obedient.  Cheerful.  Thrifty.  Brave.  Clean.  Reverent. 

The mistake was taking a position in current events and getting between groups that wanted to bash heads and leave destruction behind.  Might as well have BSA commenting on the welfare state and recommending tax policies.  

That mistake created 20 years of PC damage.  

 

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6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

First, they went after first graders to increase cub recruitment. That blunder brought in boys with a toddler maturity, which didn’t mix well with the advanced maturity of the rest of the age groups.  ... ABSOLUTELY TRUE !!!!  ...  My son was The increased overhead pack management burned out the adults and they left. 

Absolutely true !!!!    My oldest was a Tiger in 2000 and wore an orange T-shirt.  You could tell the pack program was more mature than Tigers could do.  They were more a "friend" of the pack and not really full cubs.  I'm don't think it was even a full rank right then.  Maybe first year. 

Now, 20 years later ... the maturity of the pack is much lower and the cub activities are much less mature.  

6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

The increased overhead pack management burned out the adults and they left. 

Lower maturity has definitely increased the adult workload.  Lion and Tiger dens require more adults and more interaction.  At those ages, the boys just are not ready to be independent.  Parents burn out on cubs well before finishing Tiger.  

I remember that cub activities with my sons in 2nd and 3rd grade.  The dads got to cruise thru it because the kids start socializing and hanging with each other.  It's an excuse for the dad's to hang together and claim parenting credit with the wives.  

If I could start over again, I'd start my son's in scouting in 3rd grade.  Right when they start using knives and fire.  Then add shooting and fishing.  2nd grade maybe.  Kindergarten NEVER !!!!!  1st grade?  No.  Maybe big cub events.  Visiting the zoo.   1st grade advancement?  No.  

 

6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

Second, National brought in female troop leaders.

 No.  I don't accept that as an issue.  There's a reason the term was den mother.  Den mothers existed from the 1950s.   ... The real issue is in the next section.  

 

6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

The problem there is that the Troop program at the time relied heavily on new adult leaders with a youth experience to carry on traditional programs. The sudden surge of adult leaders without a youth scouting experience changed the understanding of boy run and patrol method. Scouts wanted adventure, but adults without a youth experience wanted stature as the primary objective. Not sure of how that should have been done because the culture would eventually force moms to be leaders. But the way it was done hurt the boy run program beyond getting back to normal.

Absolutely agree.  Now that I'm in the tail end of my scouting career, too many adult leaders think their role is to always look for their next chance to teach a lesson or step in.  Too few are comfortable just sitting by their tent with a cup of coffee.  Every moment does not need to be a forced lesson.  Scouts don't need to be efficient or productive every second. 

And yes, too many adults using their scouting positions to get stature.  Too many SMs / ASMs getting their thrill being up front.  The best adult leaders are the ones that stay in the back of the room and don't say much.  Or better yet, be in the room across the hall listening to the scouts, but not involved.  ... You do need the adult oversight to prevent "The Lord Of The Flies" mentality ... but even that can be done by friendly words and subtle mentoring.  

 

6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

When National created the 4th Method of Leadership, ... PC they exposed their cluelessness of the virtues and nobility of the scouting program they are managing. Ive settled in the belief that the misleaders at National didn’t have a scouting experience as a youth. They simply don’t understand scouting and relied on their greed and political sway to improve a program that was didn’t need fixing. The way they handled the political correction issues the last 20 years lost them the big alumni funding that once made the BSA the envy of all the other youth programs. When they needed the help the last few years, it was gone.

While the political correctness activist continually attracted the BSA, National did the real harm.

Barry

 

 

... 4th method of leadership?    ... PC?    ... Clueless?    ...   Greed and political sway?  

BSA has clearly made mistakes.  Clearly.  Heck, BSA has swallowed a bit too much of it's own marketing.  

BUT ... Society has changed big time over the last twenty years.  BSA had to change.  YPT.  Lawsuits.  Politics.  

 

 

Edited by fred8033
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11 hours ago, Eagledad said:

The majority of alumni big donors didn’t stop their donations around 2000.

And when did they? You indicated that something "politically correct" thing or things in the last 20 years caused the big donors to flee.

What was it/what were they?

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