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2 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

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.

35-40 minutes away is the McDonald.

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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

How about going back to an earlier version?

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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16 hours ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Seriously, wifi in the past has been a serious concern.

Our camp upgraded it's wifi to help leaders who need to work. While it's only accessible from "base camp" and not at the campsites, it seems that the password gets leaked to the scouts and they end up sitting all over the place. It turned into an "encampment" and it was disturbing. Resolving one situation created another one. 

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10 minutes ago, OaklandAndy said:

Our camp upgraded it's wifi to help leaders who need to work. While it's only accessible from "base camp" and not at the campsites.... 

You are lucky. There are some places that are so remote, big telecom does not provide internet services. Only option is satellite, which is extremely pricey. Sadly out state legislators nixed local government agencies from forming their own after big telecom complained about losing customers in the two areas that had it.

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20 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

There are some places that are so remote, big telecom does not provide internet services.

We are pretty remote. They paid a couple hundred thousand to run fiber optic under/above ground for about 3 miles. But I guess we're not that remote if we were able to get it. Just expensive! 

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WOW.  

I wish that would have been the case for friends of mine. One friend of mine had the cable line across the street from his house. His house was less than 100 feet from the poles they were using, and they would not connect him.

Worse was the friend who, lived on a corner lot. because his physical address was on a street not in their service area, they would not connect him to the network despite the cable going through his side yard, and connecting neighbors on the street his address was not on.

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We're straying a little but I'll bite on this one. 

The internet thing is a big deal where I am at. There are parent/leader lounges at most of the camps in my state to allow remote work for parents. Last year it doubled the number of adults able to accompany my sons troop to camp; I agree that we need to keep the scouts off of that wifi, but we need amenities like this to keep some families in the scouting game so-to-speak. 

Sports are a big deal in my area as well. Most families are delusional with these 4 season sports and the traveling/club leagues. Most varsity teams for any sport have a cap of about 20 players total. If you don't play varsity in HS it's very unlikely that a kid will make it onto a team in college, and then there's little to no chance of professional (or Olympic if your sport veers that direction). My sons unit lost a kid to baseball this Spring and it's a joke; the mom and dad are both around 5'6" and not fat, but clearly they have never had an athletic build. The dad was all like, we might be back, but we're setting him up for varsity in a few years, and then on to college ball; the delusion of these parents that don't understand the genetics aspect of high level sport play. I feel bad for the kid, unless he has some magical growth spurt that puts him 6-10 inches taller than both his parents they're building him up for a very big fall. 

I think the new AOL program is going to fix some of these crossover problems. Several years ago the pack my family came out of started pushing Scouting Adventure super hard, first, and it has had much higher success in successfully crossing over AOLs to troops. The pack also started pushing multiple troop visits. The new AOL Bobcat adventure codifies those activities and establishes that troop visits start in September. Now that packs and troops are being told in doctrine that troop visits need to happen often and early I think we're going to see more AOLs crossover. This last minute go visit a troop in Feb-Mar crap has never been good.

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10 minutes ago, Tron said:

The new AOL Bobcat adventure codifies those activities and establishes that troop visits start in September. Now that packs and troops are being told in doctrine that troop visits need to happen often and early I think we're going to see more AOLs crossover. This last minute go visit a troop in Feb-Mar crap has never been good.

Agreed. I am blessed to live in an area with multiple active troops. But so many of the Pack parents are strapped for time, they decide at the last minute to visit one troop in the early spring to satisfy AOL requirements. After they crossover to the same troop, they decide they don't like it and assume everyone does the same program, so they drop scouts. 

First-year summer camp is a big deal and the Cub parents have no idea. We stress to our Pack AOL leader to finish crossover by March so the scouts have time to acclimate to the new troop. Really that's barely enough time. We have already made summer camp deposits and program selections before they arrive. I am thinking they should meet several times with their prospective troop as AOL scouts before crossover.

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29 minutes ago, Tron said:


Sports are a big deal in my area as well. Most families are delusional with these 4 season sports and the traveling/club leagues. Most varsity teams for any sport have a cap of about 20 players total. If you don't play varsity in HS it's very unlikely that a kid will make it onto a team in college, and then there's little to no chance of professional (or Olympic if your sport veers that direction). My sons unit lost a kid to baseball this Spring and it's a joke; the mom and dad are both around 5'6" and not fat, but clearly they have never had an athletic build. The dad was all like, we might be back, but we're setting him up for varsity in a few years, and then on to college ball; the delusion of these parents that don't understand the genetics aspect of high level sport play. I feel bad for the kid, unless he has some magical growth spurt that puts him 6-10 inches taller than both his parents they're building him up for a very big fall. 
 

Scouting is tilting at the wrong windmills when it compares itself to youth involvement in sports. Many youth simply find sports more fun than scouting. Some people may be delusional about professional sports careers or scholarships to D1 schools, but for most families, sports is merely a good activity for youth to be involved in during middle and high school careers. Even if they don't make a varsity team in high school, or make the team but spend a lot of time on the bench, they are still spending 4-5 days afterschool practicing, involved in team spirit events, involved in clinics and practices and team social events off season. They also have something equally good to put on their college application. As far as travel, there are elite teams that cost thousands, but there are far more travel teams that are just a way to continue playing if you aren't good enough to make a school team --there are elite travel teams that go around the country in their custom buses, but there are a ton more travel teams that are simply glorified rec level teams. Sometimes parents will overemphasize the sports prestige and goals so as not to offend scout leaders -- it's easier to say they are focusing on sports in hopes of getting a scholarship vs. they really don't like scouting as much. Sports involvement is also portable. It is really easy to play for one team in the spring that serves one need, and another over the summer or in the fall to serve another. There is no easy, real corollary to that in scouting other than maybe combined HA crews for things like Philmont. As far as the unfit, short family, maybe that's why they want to encourage their kid in sports. Unless you are in a unit that does a lot of hiking or high adventuring, scouts seems to be becoming increasingly sedentary and advancement focused. 

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Scouting must be able to operate along with sports ... our Troop always has; however, there are limitations.  It is tough to form solid patrols if kids are absent every weekend all year.  The only benefit of the increasing cost of scouting is I see fewer scouts who have low participation rates.

One of our ASMs brought up a good point.  From what she has seen (two kids both high school grads), sports picks up a lot during middle school, but drops (for many kids) early in High School.  I've seen the same ... many kids & parents drop sports Freshman year as school gets more challenging and sitting on the bench watching games loses its appeal ... especially sports that take high time commitments. 

The ASM said we should be recruiting 8th - 10th graders as they may have dropped out of cubs, never did cubs or didn't bridge over to Scouts immediately.  The ASM is a member of our Council's executive board and has raised this suggestion, but the focus is on recruiting Cubs.

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42 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

One of our ASMs brought up a good point.  From what she has seen (two kids both high school grads), sports picks up a lot during middle school, but drops (for many kids) early in High School.  I've seen the same ... many kids & parents drop sports Freshman year as school gets more challenging and sitting on the bench watching games loses its appeal ... especially sports that take high time commitments. 

 

From where we are, many kids drop travel sports (which consumes weekends) when they reach high school.  They transition to high school teams which play during the week.  The sports conflict is then usually limited to practices conflicting with troop meetings. 

 

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55 minutes ago, Eagle1993 said:

The ASM said we should be recruiting 8th - 10th graders as they may have dropped out of cubs, never did cubs or didn't bridge over to Scouts immediately.  The ASM is a member of our Council's executive board and has raised this suggestion, but the focus is on recruiting Cubs.

I find high school recruits make a different sort of scout.  They discover their friends are training to go on high adventure: Philmont, Sea Base, etc. They decide they want to go too. So they join for a year, go on the shakedowns, go on the high adventure trip... Once the trip is over, we rarely see them again. Crossover scouts are more interested in earning rank advancement and merit badges, especially in the middle school grades. So that they are ready to go on high adventure in high school. Occasionally we get a lapsed scout who comes back later in high school, deciding they want to advance to Eagle at the last minute.

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6 hours ago, Tron said:

The new AOL Bobcat adventure codifies those activities and establishes that troop visits start in September. Now that packs and troops are being told in doctrine that troop visits need to happen often and early I think we're going to see more AOLs crossover. This last minute go visit a troop in Feb-Mar crap has never been good.

I'm continuously surprised that my Scouting experience is so different from others, or at least is appears that way.
When growing up 35 years ago and in our Troop today, we put a special emphasis on Den Chiefs to engage with a Den in a Pack.  Its a near-certain way to recruit a whole Den of new Scouts.
The Troop also puts a premium on engagement with Packs.  The Troop staffs the Cuboree.  The Troop staffs the Webelos Woods/Trail to Troop.  The Troop hosts an October open house directed to AOL Adventure completions.  The Troop hosts an October campout with Webelos.  The Troop tries to camp with the Pack and to cook meals for them.  The Troop helps to recruit Cub Scouts.  We go to the Blue and Gold and receive new Scouts.
We don't wait for them to find us.  They have too many choices.
Are we a rarity in this? 

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41 minutes ago, BinTharDunThat said:

I'm continuously surprised that my Scouting experience is so different from others, or at least is appears that way.
When growing up 35 years ago and in our Troop today, we put a special emphasis on Den Chiefs to engage with a Den in a Pack.  Its a near-certain way to recruit a whole Den of new Scouts.
The Troop also puts a premium on engagement with Packs.  The Troop staffs the Cuboree.  The Troop staffs the Webelos Woods/Trail to Troop.  The Troop hosts an October open house directed to AOL Adventure completions.  The Troop hosts an October campout with Webelos.  The Troop tries to camp with the Pack and to cook meals for them.  The Troop helps to recruit Cub Scouts.  We go to the Blue and Gold and receive new Scouts.
We don't wait for them to find us.  They have too many choices.
Are we a rarity in this? 

In our Troop there was a big change pre and post Covid.

We have had a few den chiefs and traditionally Cub scouts participated in a hike, meeting and our winter Klondike.   We held a pretty elaborate crossover ceremony as well.  That died since Covid. 

The packs had substantial losses, we had no Scouts interested in being den chiefs, the pack leaders and parents were no longer interested in hiking or camping with the Troop (at least vs the numbers we had 2019 and prior). 

1 of our feeder packs collapsed once the Catholic Church stopped their recharter and the adults no longer cared to continue.  The other pack dropped down to 8 kids and the leaders there were no longer interested in continuing so they disbanded this spring.

We are left with the one large pack, who does extremely well as a pack but their leaders and parents show no interest in Scouts.  We have met, had personal invites to hiking, camping, etc. and no one attended. 

I do think Den Chiefs would help and hopefully the Packs new Cubmaster is more engaging.  The change since 2019 has been dramatic.

I'm not sure about other Troops in my area.  But all of them are struggling with low membership at this time.

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14 hours ago, BinTharDunThat said:

I'm continuously surprised that my Scouting experience is so different from others, or at least is appears that way.
When growing up 35 years ago and in our Troop today, we put a special emphasis on Den Chiefs to engage with a Den in a Pack.  Its a near-certain way to recruit a whole Den of new Scouts.
The Troop also puts a premium on engagement with Packs.  The Troop staffs the Cuboree.  The Troop staffs the Webelos Woods/Trail to Troop.  The Troop hosts an October open house directed to AOL Adventure completions.  The Troop hosts an October campout with Webelos.  The Troop tries to camp with the Pack and to cook meals for them.  The Troop helps to recruit Cub Scouts.  We go to the Blue and Gold and receive new Scouts.
We don't wait for them to find us.  They have too many choices.
Are we a rarity in this? 

You are well ahead of the curve.

The Pack my son participated in was not linked to a troop. Therefore once Cub scouts advanced beyond AOL, if they continued in the program they found a troop under a different charter and left. Older scouts came to Blue & Gold receive them at crossover. Afterwards they were never to be seen again. When we attended Webelos camporee, they encouraged Cubs to visit Scout troops linked under the same charter org in their camps at night. Instead our Pack was left to spend the evening on our own. The troops invited their linked Cub Pack to join them on an overnight campout. We were invited to a day trip. (This was all during Covid years). So the older program was a total mystery. On the plus side, our Pack was free to run the Cubs program how we saw fit and didn't have to share space with a troop (meeting times, activities, storage, etc.)

In my experience, if you want to be seen then you must send Den Chiefs and staff Cub events (camporees, day camps, etc.). Look beyond your charter.  Last year a troop in the opposite situation (no linked Cub Scout Pack sponsored by the charter) found the Pack, offered to lead a den meeting during our meeting time at our space, and invited them to go on trips. In turn, 4 of the 5 scouts who crossed-over joined that troop.

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