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2023 Recruiting Update


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To put current membership in perspective, there are now about 312 youth participating in Scouts (on average) in each county in the United States.  Your results may vary

979,902 participants / 3,143 counties = 311.77

 

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With our Council's new service fee of $80/year, our Council will no longer do FOS at the unit level.  Prior to this, I had my 2 units (a Troop and a Ship) make an annual unit contribution to the Counc

In 2023, LaSalle Council (Northern Indiana, Southern Michigan) ranked second of 245 councils in membership growth (Who's on First? I dunno.) with a 21% growth rate of Cub and scouts. Female scouts inc

We have 10 Webelos from our pack visiting next week. It looks like nearly all of them intend to crossover. The crazy just keeps coming for us.

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1 hour ago, PACAN said:

I was wondering what OaklandAndy's percentage were compared to?   Sept 2023 or October 2022.

 

Based on some of the above posts, standby for recharter results!!

I know at least three Troops in our area have notified council they will not be rechartering.  Do not know their membership numbers, though.  My guess is that they were somewhat small.... <=10

Several Scouts who want to continue are moving over to us.  And we are getting some gear to help fill in a few of our gaps.

Our attrition was normal.  We had 53 on the books before recharter season... have gained 5 from Troops not rechartering already (so now at 58).  (Expecting a few more in the weeks to come.)  We will lose 6 who have been pretty much no-shows, 1 who is moving into multiple sports, and two (Eagle Scouts) have turned 18 this year.

So, we recharter with 49 out of 58 total... that's 84.4% Not bad, but not great either.  We have seen about a 10-12% attrition rate each year over the past seven years.  That has been holding our numbers fairly steady.

I look at differently... splitting hairs, maybe... I see 7 losses out of 51 "eligible" (not counting adults Eagles or new arrivals)  that's a 13.7% attrition.  Somewhat normal... Gold Level JTE metric met, which is 85% retention...

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2 hours ago, OaklandAndy said:

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This is as of Oct '23. 

I bet we do see overall growth Jan to Jan by the end of the year (the would need to add at least 11,902 more scouts).  However, rechartering impact probably won't be officially counted until March.  Expect the revised Cub and Scouts BSA to show declines there.  I think in Jan 2023 we showed 3% overall growth which was nearly completely wiped away by March.  Personally I think the March to March numbers are most accurate (however, that will change going forward with rolling renewals).

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Our Troop will likely hit around 24 scouts by the end of the year.  5 years ago we were 84 and had 53 attend summer camp.  12 of my 24 age out by 2025, so we really need to see more Cubs crossing over soon. 

 Two other Troops in my area have shuttered and one went from 70-80 to 8.  

I fear we are headed to a future of BSA having 90% of members in Cub Scouts and Scouts BSA limited to a small barely supported group maintaining a tradition.

 

Edited by Eagle1993
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We have not had a feeder pack in about 12 years. Our Scouts recruited by word of mouth, and until recently most Scouts transferred from other troops in the area. We went from48+ back then, to 7 currently on the charter, and one of those ages out this year.  We will not be folding this year, but it may happen next year.

Because we have not been able to recruit in the schools, we are down to 2 packs in my county. 26 years ago when I first moved here, 10 active packs in the county. We had 11 active troops in the county, with 24-48 scouts each. we are down to 7 troops, with 6-24 scouts each. There were over 750 Cub Scouts, Scouts, and Explorers/Venturers in the county back in the day. Today there are under 400 Cub Scouts, Scouts, Explorers, and Venturers in the 7 counties that comprise my current district.

It is depressing. 

 

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Something is going to have to give on the Venturing/Sea Scout programs. The amount of money BSA is spending in stock of items specific to those programs alone has to be a drain. In corporate world, even having to hold items in inventory translates to ongoing expense (warehousing storage). Like the programs, would hate to think of a time we don't have them, but the amount of money BSA has to have poured into merchandise expense at a time when they are raising fees overall every year makes me sick to my stomach.

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14 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:

Something is going to have to give on the Venturing/Sea Scout programs. The amount of money BSA is spending in stock of items specific to those programs alone has to be a drain. In corporate world, even having to hold items in inventory translates to ongoing expense (warehousing storage). Like the programs, would hate to think of a time we don't have them, but the amount of money BSA has to have poured into merchandise expense at a time when they are raising fees overall every year makes me sick to my stomach.

What money? A handful of spiral bound books and some green/blue shirts? It’s not like there are stacks of older-youth equivalents of pinewood derby kits and other nick-knacks piling up. The remaining Venturers and Sea Scouts drop dimes on HA bases and Jamborees (or their region level equivalents), so National will be very slow to dispense with those niche markets.

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16 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

We have not had a feeder pack in about 12 years. Our Scouts recruited by word of mouth, and until recently most Scouts transferred from other troops in the area. We went from48+ back then, to 7 currently on the charter, and one of those ages out this year.  We will not be folding this year, but it may happen next year.

Because we have not been able to recruit in the schools, we are down to 2 packs in my county. 26 years ago when I first moved here, 10 active packs in the county. We had 11 active troops in the county, with 24-48 scouts each. we are down to 7 troops, with 6-24 scouts each. There were over 750 Cub Scouts, Scouts, and Explorers/Venturers in the county back in the day. Today there are under 400 Cub Scouts, Scouts, Explorers, and Venturers in the 7 counties that comprise my current district.

It is depressing. 

 

In our district we have one troop rolling into ours as they are not re-chartering, the SM's son crossed over to our troop and last 2 years we have had some of them attend camp with us.  Many of our scouts an theirs go to the same school, so they all know each other.  In talking with another SM recently they may nor re-charter, just not enough scouts.  They are not as close to us as the first one.

That is 2 troops units down in a small district.

10 years ago within 2 to 3 miles of our CO (church), we are heavy suburban, there were maybe 375 Cubs and 250 Scouts, today maybe 150 Cubs and 100 Scouts.  Big decrease.  Do not see the numbers of years past coming back.

 

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These numbers are painful to me. 

A few decades ago, Cub Scouts existed as a place for kids who want to be like their big brothers in troops; a waiting ground until they could do the big boy activities.  Now, it's the main membership.  I really question it's value.  I really do.  ...  The massive drop off in Cub numbers before joining troops makes me think others question the value too.  ... Plus, I think there are other stronger little kid programs out there that are easier to do.  

Scouting shines in troops and getting older kids in the outdoors camping, facing challenges, and having adventures.  I really, really, really question scouting's value when the emphasis is as a younger kids program.  It just does not shine the same way.  

I always envisioned Scouting as an affordable version of Outward Bound.  "Outward Bound USA is the leading provider of outdoor education programs that allow young people to explore their personal potential, since 1962. From expeditions in some of the most remote locations in the U.S. to programs in local schools and neighborhoods, young people nationwide are cultivating a passion for learning, and discovering greater success in school, work and life."  https://outwardbound.org/

Scouting has a major branding issue and has lost it's focus.  It's not about membership or lost values.  It's about the value of the program. 

As scouting exists now, I really question the future of scouting. 

Sadly, society really has a real need for a program like scouting "WAS".   Every day, I see young men that are lost and lacking confidence.  I see youth that would benefit from outdoor challenges; to know they are capable on their own. 

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4 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Do not see the numbers of years past coming back.

Me neither. Our area is as rural one, with a high poverty rate. Median income is barely over poverty levels. If I had to pay for all three hoodlums, and myself, I could not afford the program, and I drank the council Flavor-aid when they were Cubs. Over $500 on national and council fees alone, then add $180 for pack fees. And I am not including uniforms.

The new fees will definitely shrink the program.

 

1 hour ago, qwazse said:

What money? A handful of spiral bound books and some green/blue shirts? It’s not like there are stacks of older-youth equivalents of pinewood derby kits and other nick-knacks piling up. The remaining Venturers and Sea Scouts drop dimes on HA bases and Jamborees (or their region level equivalents), so National will be very slow to dispense with those niche markets.

I am not big into Sea Scouts as I used to be, but up until a few years back, national only supplied patches, not uniform shirts and pants. Why someone said Sea Scouts wore "Piratical Costumes." Most ships purchased from SHIPS STORES in CA instead of National because A. National only kept a limited number of items, and B. Better quality. In fact the last time I purchased items form National, and they were on sale at the time, all of the labels had "Sea Explorer' (item name)" on it, and this was over  10-15 years after Sea Explorers became Sea Scouts again.

 

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We're seeing good growth in our area. We're a mixed financial class area and still picking up scouts in packs and troops. Our problems stem from lack of adult engagement hurting district and council event planning. What I do notice from speaking with surrounding areas is that the hot packs and troops are waning while other packs and troops are getting stronger(which might be what is happening in my area as well). Overall though we're seeing year-over-year growth.

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On the Pack side, the scouts crossing over from Cubs to Scouts this year and next year are the ones who started during COVID quarantine, or they joined after quarantine was lifted. So they've had an abbreviated experience. The amount of Webelos and AOL scouts in our Pack remained relatively low. This year our Pack is heavy in the Wolves and Bears dens (2nd and 3rd grades). We've had smaller numbers of Lions and Tigers join recently, but those dens also seem to grow each year. We retain plus add a few more Cubs to those dens each year. When they reach crossover, I see a trend towards the linked boy-girl troops. There are fewer girl troops in our area to choose from. And the boys do not want to split from the girls they grew up scouting with in Cubs. Even though they end up in different patrols in different troops; there is a benefit having the same meeting place and camping trips in the linked troops. 

The higher fees makes it harder to recruit upfront. However, since national has requested their dues directly we've been able to chunk it into two payments: the national dues + Unit dues. Having split payments makes it a little easier to digest. Then we explain to parents that scouting is a yearlong program. And really those two payments equates to two seasons of sports. So parents understand the cost. What I see less of are kids double-dipping: coming from a sports practice to a scouts meeting. They commit to one program or the other. While the amount of scouts seems less than years past, the scouts in our unit seem more committed than ever.

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8 hours ago, qwazse said:

What money? A handful of spiral bound books and some green/blue shirts? It’s not like there are stacks of older-youth equivalents of pinewood derby kits and other nick-knacks piling up. The remaining Venturers and Sea Scouts drop dimes on HA bases and Jamborees (or their region level equivalents), so National will be very slow to dispense with those niche markets.

National Supply never orders a handful of anything from their manufacturers. If they are re-stocking olive green shorts, size Youth - Medium, they are ordering in the thousands and warehousing them (on the basis that buying in larger bulk = lower price per item to them). If they spent $3,000,000 in January on various sizes of green shorts, then they should have on their balance sheet a continuing liability each month until they indeed are able to shift those as stock to sales (corporate bookkeeping would want you to know how much that stock is a rolling asset).

For Venturing, you have Venturing branded belts, shorts, socks, caps, all the position patches and emblem patches.

For Sea Scouts, similar aside from the shirt/pants/socks.

My comment is more on if the numbers are growing that small and showing no signs of slowing on the decline, the return on recoup of those bulk purchases is getting longer and longer, which isn't so great for the longer term balance sheet. 

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On 11/28/2023 at 3:53 PM, HashTagScouts said:

Something is going to have to give on the Venturing/Sea Scout programs. The amount of money BSA is spending in stock of items specific to those programs alone has to be a drain. In corporate world, even having to hold items in inventory translates to ongoing expense (warehousing storage). Like the programs, would hate to think of a time we don't have them, but the amount of money BSA has to have poured into merchandise expense at a time when they are raising fees overall every year makes me sick to my stomach.

Sea Scouts does not use BSA national and Scout stores for their uniforms.

The shirt and pants are Dickies® work shirts (or equivalent) and work pants available from many retailers (including Walmart).

https://seascout.org/uniforming/

  Where can we obtain a uniform?

  The garments are commercially available work clothing similar to Dickies® work shirts and work pants. The garments can be purchased at local retailers or   online at SG Trading Post or Dickies.com.

History of the Sea Scout Uniform (including the changes in 2010 to move to more readily available uniforms:

https://seascout.org/download/the-history-of-the-official-sea-scout-uniform/?wpdmdl=22315

 

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