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2022 Membership Numbers


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Just saw some numbers from my council and was wondering if others are seeing similar trends.  Changes from Jan 2020 to Jan 2022.  We didn't have many LDS units, and I think they already dropped by Jan 2020.

  • Cub Scouts decreased 15%
  • Scouts BSA decreased 7%
  • Venturing decreased 90% (less than 50 members left in our council)
  • Explorers decreased 28% (less than 60 members in our council)

In terms of units

  • Cubscouts lost 18% of units
  • Scouts BSA lost 5% of units
  • Venturing lost 43% of crews
  • Explorers lost 33% of posts

Venturing is on life support.  Adding girls to Scouts BSA is probably killing venturing.  I do think there is potential there, but at least for our council, it is nearly dead.

Explorers ... why have this risk for such a small program.

Scouts BSA ... doing well all considering, but faced with uncertain future given Cub Scout number

To me, the biggest concern right now is Cub Scouts.  15% loss still exists even after a very good recruiting year (and 18% loss of units).  That will hit Scouts BSA in a few years.  

I do expect further recovery and the numbers were really bad Jan 2021.  Hopefully BSA can exit bankruptcy and focus on their path forward. 

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For my council, I do not have the numbers to compare from 2020 to 2022.   This year, our council had one of the highest growth percentages in the nation at over 18%.  That is good except for a loss of between 40 & 50% for 2020 to 2021.  My estimate is that the council Scout membership is down about 30% for your same period.  

The council has limped along financially and will survive if the current chapter 11 goes through.  

Impossible to know why the loss of membership occurred.  Was it mainly covid or chapter 11?   I believe it was mainly covid related so we should see another increase this fall.

Some CO’s have dropped their units and there is a great deal of anxiety among CO’s.   

Like you, a decrease in Cub Scouts can be devastating long term.  Our Executive Board is trying to get Scouting more in the public eye assuming that the bankruptcy gets settled even if there are appeals.  
 

I foresee a long hard hill to get growth above 2019 membership in Scouting that will require getting younger leadership at all levels.  I say that as a fellow who has earned leadership after decades of volunteering and will likely need to step aside.   

 

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I haven't seen the '21 report but our numbers were cut in half in '20. We had about 4000 cubs and scouts in '20. I don't keep in touch with those in the know anymore. Other than we were losing packs before covid, for lack of volunteers, I really don't know more. As @vol_scouter said, it's time for someone younger to take over.

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I think CynicalScouter was the one who used to dig out the real membership reports for us. Sure do miss him. My understanding is that the numbers aren't solid until after the recharter grace period is over, which I think is March/three months? Whatever numbers we are looking at now are likely subject to change downward and then possibly again depending on what happens with the UMC extensions in June. I think one of the big issues with membership going forward is going to be COs. As this process continues, some of the smaller CO groups that have been out of the loop have seemed to catch up and are developing cold feet. A number of units who were dropped by their church based COs shifted over to Elks for example. Elks were initially very welcoming but there were rumors of a change of heart and now actual letters have been posted advising Elk Lodges not to charter scout units next year. If BSA survives bankruptcy it is going to have to fix the CO model both to address membership as well as be able to ensure any kind of real oversight of the program going forward. The current structure doesn't work.  In my local neck of the woods I have not seen data on any of the nearby councils but can report similar results. Troop level units had slight losses but are hanging on. Packs have imploded -- closed or lost significant membership. Our home Troop has no cubs crossing over for the first time in memory. One of the issues at the cub level is adult volunteers. Parents during the pandemic have been pulled in nine directions trying to cope with school closures, quarantines, child care, etc. They seem to have no bandwidth for anything as involved as scouting. I'm involved in a number of youth and community organizations and have observed that while scout numbers have dropped, nature center youth programs, horseback riding programs, golf and tennis programs, ad hoc rec sports programs,  have record participation and in some cases months long waiting lists. 

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On 2/19/2022 at 12:34 PM, Eagle1993 said:

Just saw some numbers from my council and was wondering if others are seeing similar trends.  Changes from Jan 2020 to Jan 2022. 

The numbers you showed are inspiring in my mind.  This is during COVID ... and a bankruptcy ... and political turmoil.  IMHO, it shows strong promise for the future IF and WHEN we can get past current distracting challenges.

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On 2/19/2022 at 12:34 PM, Eagle1993 said:

Venturing is on life support.  Adding girls to Scouts BSA is probably killing venturing.  I do think there is potential there, but at least for our council, it is nearly dead.

Venturing has always been on life support.  Fits and starts with sputtering along until the unit dies for some reason.  The fact is:  venturing is not a stable long-term program.  Girls in troops solves much of the venturing problem.  IMHO, something should be put-in-place for the 18 to 21 year old scouts.  Perhaps camp volunteers or local scouting volunteers.  Pull them out of units into the next volunteering level to see a broader picture.  ... I'm not sure ... Just saying ... venturing has been problematic for as long as I've seen it. 

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The demise of Venturing has been going on for a long time.  At one time there were over 200K members. At the end of 2020 there were 24K members. By April 2021 there were 14K.  How many almost a year later...unsure.

Explorers likely not much better. 

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This is indeed a tough one.  After rough, rough year with covid, as of October 2021 the deline from October 2020 nationwide was 20.48%.  Mergers will continue with 39 councils having youth numbers under 1,000 members and larger councils having large losses.  71 councils had 25% or greater loss over that time frame despite aggressive membership push.  Only 9 councils met recruitment goals.  Scouting has nearly always been a local program and councils with active local program have done better.  But as they consolidate and there is less local program the sense of community will continue to decline and CTD will likely accelerate (circle the drain).  The program has become near impossible to pull off both with Cubs and Scouts with new leaders.  Geez, tough even for experienced Scouters to keep up with all the changes and requirements.  Look at how long the advancement chart is now for Scouts to mark down progress.  Used to be 24 inches long, now it is at least twice as long.  Scouts look at that and sigh, I'll never be able to get it done.  Then you add in the fact (well documented) that each time BSA has tried to make social changes there has been a drastic decline in membership.  Well, here we go again with DEI.  I know that there are folks who like it, but many think that people should acheive and stand on their own two feet, not be given welfare in one form or another.  That may not be a popular statement, but if you look at what Equity means, then my council camp should have a swimming pool just like the council down the road.  Yet their camp still is having trouble with signups for 2022.  Some of us old timers are not happy and we have been the ones to help mentor the younger adults coming into the program and help them navigate the morass that is BSA online systems and program.  This old timer sent the national key 3 a resignation letter and that leaves a little bit bigger gap in meeting the needs of Scouting, but I can't stomach anymore DEI and still abide by the Scout Law.  In the meantime national advancement folks have devalued and diluted the importance of camping and the experience in decision making Scouts get from camping.  That dilution has had a catastrophic effect.  Camps are closing at an alarming rate and there are councils without resident camps now.  With no sense of direction and the disaster of national thinking they can do anything online (like take on chartering) the ship is sinking lower and lower in the water.

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12 minutes ago, Wyobkr said:

Well, here we go again with DEI.  I know that there are folks who like it, but many think that people should acheive and stand on their own two feet, not be given welfare in one form or another.

oh come on. 

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2 hours ago, malraux said:

oh come on. 

I lived through affirmative action already.  Had enough and wont participate again.  Until you have been part of reverse discrimination.....

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5 hours ago, Wyobkr said:

This old timer sent the national key 3 a resignation letter and that leaves a little bit bigger gap in meeting the needs of Scouting, but I can't stomach anymore DEI and still abide by the Scout Law. 

Good for you realizing that you cannot meet the requirements of Boy Scouts and stepping aside.  

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BSA's DEI statement. 

 

I struggle to see how the statement below would cause anyone to resign.  

 

The Boy Scouts of America promotes a culture where each youth, volunteer, and employee feels a sense of belonging and builds communities where every person feels respected and valued.

Leading by example and encouraging each other to live by the values expressed by the Scout Oath and Scout Law, we welcome families of all backgrounds to help prepare young people to serve as successful members and leaders of our nation’s increasingly diverse communities.

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3 hours ago, Navybone said:

Good for you realizing that you cannot meet the requirements of Boy Scouts and stepping aside.  

Being typed I can't hear the tone of your post. Nor can I judge it's intent by your facial expression.  But sure seems  like a cheap shot at an honest man to me.

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