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I wonder if work culture has also had an impact on membership declines.

Both of my parents had good, steady jobs with the same employer for 30+ years, but they rarely worked over 40 hours per week. Today, my wife and are always within 20 feet of our laptops. We log-in during off hours to get caught up or work ahead. At times, I wonder if this is really necessary since our jobs aren't that great; however, they are good enough where we don't want to lose them. I'm sorry to say the thought of taking kids camping for a full weekend sounds exhausting.

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How about going back to an earlier version?

I would say my troop is pretty outdoorsy. We camp 10/12 months, with a lock in IF possible in December and 2 weekends of Scouting For Food in February, being the 2 months we do not camp. Even during C

LOL, he says they have doubled in size while BSA has steeply lost members. Their self reporting that they have 60k members right now, total, nationwide. Trail Life is a joke.

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I am not that worried about a DBA, or Trademark name. I am also not concerned about co-ed troops. I understand the concerns that some have expressed. However, if the Patrol Method and Scout-Led is done correctly, I see those as the mitigating factor for all the concerns.

For example, one concern was that some boys want to be separate from the girls; to do their own thing without having to worry about primping etc... Then the Patrol Method and Scout Led is the solution. In a Scout Led, Patrol Method troop, the scouts choose their own patrols so these boys can choose to be all together as an all -boy patrol and they can decide on their own adventures. There is no requirement that this patrrol do the same campout, event, adventures as the other patrols which may be all-girl, or co-ed. They do not even have to travel to the same forest for their campout. This has been true even before the discussion about girls. There were issues with scouts not wanting to be with other scouts in their patrol or did not want to go on the same camporee for the 5th time. The solution is and has always been, use the Patrol Method and have a Scout -Led troop. Issues arise due to adult interference. The adult objection I have heard over the decades is, they have to go to the same event as the other patrols because we do not have enough adults to drive to separate events. This is hogwash IMO, and here is why. In order to transport each patrol of say 6 scouts, this will require two vehicles, thus two adults. Each patrol has their own independent transportation and 2-deep leadership by default.

So, back to my original comment. I am not concerned if the adults will get out of the way of the patrol method and eliminate practices and decisions which erode the Scout Led and Patrol Method of their troop.

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Random thought this morning, what happens when people realize that Tenderfoot is a derogatory name for a beginner and people get upset at being called a "Second Class Scout"?  Is that suddenly where BSA/SA will put its foot down?  Seems kind of arbitrary.  If you can change the name of the organization, why can't you change the names of the ranks?  On top of that, why have ranks?  The rest of WOSM doesn't have ranks, except for the top one in each program.  How inclusive is it to say you can't be a certain rank if you haven't spent this certain length of time as the previous rank?

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Sadly, that would truly not surprise me in the least.  So many of our challenges relate directly to people being too self-centered or simply completely clueless.  That, of course brings us back to why Scouting IS still important, if we could just work the basic programs with arm distant adult mentoring.  Oh, and lock the lawyers up unless they have a valid reason to be let out.  If our society would simply "live the twelve" and see that foundation for what it still is, and was with a few sad exceptions, we would maybe be better off.  But blinders seem to have taken over the role of glasses and sunglasses.  

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On 5/8/2024 at 5:00 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

I would say my troop is pretty outdoorsy. We camp 10/12 months, with a lock in IF possible in December and 2 weekends of Scouting For Food in February, being the 2 months we do not camp. Even during COVID, we continued to meet, virtually and outside, had monthly day trips in the outdoors, and even did our own summer camp. Yes we car camp, but we also backpack, cycle, and do canoeing and whitewater activities. And the Scouts pick Summer Camps with the program they want, with the only caveat being it has to be within an 8 hour drive.

The last 2 batches of Webelos that visited, the activities scared the parents.

We have faced some of the same challenges

During visits (AOLs were off with the scouts as we meet in the woods behind the church) our leadership discussed with the parents the various outings (gorge trip, boating, kayaking, backpacking, biking, etc);  youth led troop, servant leadership, Scouts camping away from leaders, etc etc.  As I watched the parents and listened to the few questions, my comment as we huddled after...they are not buying what we're selling.  They expect Cubs part 2 and we scare them.  Programming for 11 year olds means the youth likely leave in a year or 2.  Need to challenge and inspire.

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1 hour ago, Jameson76 said:

They expect Cubs part 2 and we scare them.  Programming for 11 year olds means the youth likely leave in a year or 2.  Need to challenge and inspire.

Yeah the parents are not the ones who are ready, especially in those packs that wait until 5th grade to begin transitioning.

Problem since circa 2008 when Cub Scout Leader Specific came out, IMHO.  The Webelos DL section is almost cut and pasted from CSDL section. And now that training is modular and online, many folks think they are trained for all levels because they got most of the modules completed already, and they have been a DL for 1-4 years already. WDLs are continuing with CSs at 4th and 5th Webelos level. And now national will be making it worse with the new program. I expect retention to drop further, as older Cub leaders, or folks trained by them,  will no longer be allowed to begin the transition process in 4th grade as it was intended since circa 1990s.

Why I really miss the in person, all day Cub Scout Leader Basic Training as it went over all the CS levels, as well as Pack level roles.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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I just did a crossover with our primary feeder pack.  The pack has 90 scouts.  Roughly 20 Lions, 20 Tigers, 20 Wolves, 15 Bears, 10 Webelos and 5 AOL.  Of the 5 AOL only 1 wants to continue in Scouts.  That 1 only joined Cub Scouts this year....

I talked with the other 4 parents. 

- They are looking to reduce activities after 5th grade

- All are planning to increase their kids involvement in travel sports.... So no time left for scouts

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33 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I just did a crossover with our primary feeder pack.  The pack has 90 scouts.  Roughly 20 Lions, 20 Tigers, 20 Wolves, 15 Bears, 10 Webelos and 5 AOL.  Of the 5 AOL only 1 wants to continue in Scouts.  That 1 only joined Cub Scouts this year....

I talked with the other 4 parents. 

- They are looking to reduce activities after 5th grade

- All are planning to increase their kids involvement in travel sports.... So no time left for scouts

What am I missing with the "travel sports" thing?  It seems far more time stealing and financially draining to me.  And few of the kids ever will go beyond to make a living, though perhaps it will help some gets scholarships.  Again though, I missed most of those options as a youth due to the time period of the late fifties.  Local sports groups often were very selective, or developed on civic lines.  In my case, while I wanted to do Little League, I could not, as we lived in an L.A. County area surrounded by the city of Azusa, and my address did not allow me to join.  Of course, that was before the onset of so many other sports and parental fanaticism.  

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23 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

I just did a crossover with our primary feeder pack.  The pack has 90 scouts.  Roughly 20 Lions, 20 Tigers, 20 Wolves, 15 Bears, 10 Webelos and 5 AOL.  Of the 5 AOL only 1 wants to continue in Scouts.  That 1 only joined Cub Scouts this year....

I talked with the other 4 parents. 

- They are looking to reduce activities after 5th grade

- All are planning to increase their kids involvement in travel sports.... So no time left for scouts

This mirrors my observations in my area:

  • There is a big hole in the program, the bubble is currently at the age of crossover scouts. These kids missed the first years of Cub Scouting during Covid lockdown. Then when these families returned to activities, they limited themselves. Some chose to stick to sports or other activities, so they didn't consider scouting. So fewer kids made it up the ranks in Cub Scouts. It doesn't effect younger scouts as much: Lions, Tigers, Wolves... because they began school/activities after lockdown.
  • Families are in a crunch. It takes more and more commitment to choose an activity. Especially sports are not one season anymore. It gets really competitive starting in middle grades: there is off-season training and competitions that last more than one season, etc. Whether it is fall baseball, indoor soccer in the winter, etc. They feel left out if they only play one season of a sport. Not to mention all the costs involved. So if the kid chooses a sport, it doesn't leave much room for scouting. 
  • Even though there are fewer scouts remaining, it means the scouts that continue in the program are more committed than ever.
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On 5/11/2024 at 7:11 AM, BetterWithCheddar said:

I wonder if work culture has also had an impact on membership declines.

Both of my parents had good, steady jobs with the same employer for 30+ years, but they rarely worked over 40 hours per week. Today, my wife and are always within 20 feet of our laptops. We log-in during off hours to get caught up or work ahead. At times, I wonder if this is really necessary since our jobs aren't that great; however, they are good enough where we don't want to lose them. I'm sorry to say the thought of taking kids camping for a full weekend sounds exhausting.

Few to virtually none of my troop's parents attend every monthly campout. Instead, we have a pool of adults that are able to go every other month or less and still have enough adult supervision. Frankly, the scouts seem to enjoy the campouts more when less adults are in the way. Many of our adult leaders take work with them to summer camp. They work in the adult leader lounge while the scouts are in MB sessions. They don't put in anything close to 40 hours that week, but they are able to knock out some work hours on WiFi.

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1 hour ago, skeptic said:

What am I missing with the "travel sports" thing?  It seems far more time stealing and financially draining to me.  And few of the kids ever will go beyond to make a living, though perhaps it will help some gets scholarships.  Again though, I missed most of those options as a youth due to the time period of the late fifties.  Local sports groups often were very selective, or developed on civic lines.  In my case, while I wanted to do Little League, I could not, as we lived in an L.A. County area surrounded by the city of Azusa, and my address did not allow me to join.  Of course, that was before the onset of so many other sports and parental fanaticism.  

You may be missing the whole "community" aspect of the travel sports lifestyle.  You are more than a family,  your child is an (insert sport here) athlete.  Yes there is time, but no real planning other than financial commitment.  You drop them off for practice, pick them up.  Go to games, hang out, head home.  You hang out with the other families and commiserate on how much time all this takes up.

Kids also get burned out and the casual participation declines considerably after 8th grade.  Also good observation in that if the fees for travel (can be $3k or more per season / 2 seasons annually) were to be put into standard investments college would be paid for over some years.

Edited by Jameson76
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38 minutes ago, DannyG said:

They don't put in anything close to 40 hours that week, but they are able to knock out some work hours on WiFi.

Your camps have wifi? LOL

 

Seriously, wifi in the past has been a serious concern. There is one camp the troop likes that has extremely pour internet, to the point where their office staff will take turns driving into town to use the local McDonald's wifi.

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7 hours ago, Jameson76 said:

As I watched the parents and listened to the few questions, my comment as we huddled after...they are not buying what we're selling.  They expect Cubs part 2 and we scare them.  Programming for 11 year olds means the youth likely leave in a year or 2.  Need to challenge and inspire.

Another aspect of this is that today's 11 year old is less mature than those of 20 years ago. Whether it's cell phones, social media, games, helicopter parents or whatever, kids have less ability at dealing with hard, challenging stuff.

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12 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Your camps have wifi? LOL

Seriously, wifi in the past has been a serious concern. There is one camp the troop likes that has extremely pour internet, to the point where their office staff will take turns driving into town to use the local McDonald's wifi.

Your camps have a McDonald's nearby !?!? 😛

I'm jealous. Our favorite council camp is way the heck out there. It's delightful ... until you need something.

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15 hours ago, skeptic said:

What am I missing with the "travel sports" thing?  It seems far more time stealing and financially draining to me.  And few of the kids ever will go beyond to make a living, though perhaps it will help some gets scholarships. 

We are just now gearing up for travel (or "club") basketball in my household, which starts in 3rd grade. I assure you, I'm not delusional. My son will never play pro basketball or receive an athletic scholarship. My only hope for him is that he's able to play varsity basketball in high school.

We live in a large suburban school district. There are currently ~50 boys in his grade participating in the high school's youth program. Only 8 will ever get to play varsity basketball. Beginning in 5th grade, the school sorts the kids by ability through the formation of "A", "B", "C", and "D" teams. The boys who make the A-team in 5th grade will be at a huge advantage because they are likely to receive better coaching, face better competition, and play more games than their B thru D-team peers. In order to make the A-team in 5th grade, most kids need to play extra basketball outside of the traditional school season.

Our family's participation in off-season basketball teams and camps is entirely driven by my son's interest. If it stops being enjoyable, he's been instructed to let me know so we can find a different activity. This is not the path I would have chosen, but I'm happy to indulge him because he's exercising and making friends.

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