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@skeptic, I'm pro-Scouting. I'm just trying to provide an objective account of why Scouting seems to be losing the "Battle for Bodies" to youth sports. The YP concerns you mentioned are valid, but if we're being honest, youth sports doesn't carry the same baggage as Scouting.

I'm not suggesting Scouting allow alcohol - rather, the youth sports scene is just more conducive to fraternization. Some parents enjoy ordering a drink with dinner or a nightcap at the team hotel. Further, the youth-to-adult ratio is often 1:1. Everyone is responsible for their own child unless special arrangements are made. This simply doesn't work in the woods. A smaller number of adults shouldn't take a group of scouts camping AND consume alcohol.

My son is still a Cub, but the thought of taking him and his friends camping for a full weekend sounds exhausting. I'll still do it because I know how valuable that experience can be, but a hotel room sounds like a nice alternative. I still get to spend time outdoors with my son, but I can also hit the gym, log-in to work, and eat properly-cooked food. Can you really blame parents for leaning into that experience?

And no, the sportsmanship concerns don't go completely away because coaches have some leeway to make cuts - but it can be an effective tool for reducing distractions. There will always be talented jerks who escape accountability because they are high performers or well-connected. Most club teams will serve as many youths as possible, provided they have enough volunteers, your child is well-behaved, and your check clears. 🙂

I see a lot of value in both programs.

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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.

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?

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One big reason why families choose travel sports vs. scouting: parents travel with their child. A lot of adults don't like camping in the woods; whether they don't have much experience in the outdoors, they don't have the equipment, the arrangements are not comfortable, they don't like the bugs, whatever. But they will travel and stay in a hotel. The parents are nearby to keep an eye on their own kids. Many parents today want to spend their free time with their kids. They don't want to ship them off to other adults and leave them in the woods all weekend. 

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^^^

If I could upvote this twice, I would. It's probably the most concise explanation for why families choose youth sports over Scouting.

Rather than try to compete with youth sports, Scouting just needs to acknowledge it's fundamentally different and position itself as a compliment or alternative. We might consider making the program more inviting by offering additional day camps or 1-night camping options. I find this preferable to an indoor program (or no program).

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8 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

We might consider making the program more inviting by offering additional day camps or 1-night camping options

Perhaps for Cub Scouts but absolutely not for Scouts BSA.  Scouting isn't for everyone.  If a kid doesn't like camping out two nights or wants a day camp experience perhaps just stick with travel indoor sports.  Also, while adult leader meetings are a great time for adults to drink and eventually discuss the Troop, scout outings are not.  As a parent who has kids in both travel sports and scouts, I find the fewer parents involved in scouting a major benefit.  

Let's not destroy scouting by taking everything that is bad with travel sports and applying it to Scouts BSA.

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10 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

We might consider making the program more inviting by offering additional day camps or 1-night camping options. I find this preferable to an indoor program (or no program).

Wise man once said, "OUTING is three-fourths of ScOUTING." ( The author of the 2010's edition misquoted him, he obviously didn't do the math).

Scouting and sports are two completely separate programs, with completely different goals and objectives.

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10 hours ago, BetterWithCheddar said:

Rather than try to compete with youth sports, Scouting just needs to acknowledge it's fundamentally different and position itself as a compliment or alternative. We might consider making the program more inviting by offering additional day camps or 1-night camping options. I find this preferable to an indoor program (or no program).

If this works for your unit, then I say try it. It worked very well for us in Cub Scouts to have open campouts. Join us when your schedule allows so you don't have to write-off the entire weekend. If you have another obligation Friday night, but you can camp with us Saturday night, then join us late. Or if you don't have the personal gear or are unsure about camping out the entire night, make it a day camp and join us for activities. This works well with Cubs family camping, with parents providing transportation to/from camp and staying. Logistically, this sort of transportation arrangement for a troop is tricky (adults have to be on the charter, YPT and background check, to stay at camp). Our troop has allowed it on extenuating circumstances (ie. parent drops off kid at camp late and leaves) but it doesn't always work for everyone. Sometimes the troop is camping for fun nearby, so we can make it work out . Sometimes the troop is out on a trek in the wilderness and you wouldn't be able to find us as easily. But I think we have to realize this gap exists on the older side of the program, not just Cubs.  I see both sides.

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5 minutes ago, DannyG said:

Our troop has allowed it on extenuating circumstances (ie. parent drops off kid at camp late and leaves) but it doesn't always work for everyone. Sometimes the troop is camping for fun nearby, so we can make it work out . Sometimes the troop is out on a trek in the wilderness and you wouldn't be able to find us as easily. But I think we have to realize this gap exists on the older side of the program, not just Cubs.  I see both sides.

During COVID, we had no choice but to allow families to pick up and drop off. Since everything was within 90 minutes (usually 45 minutes or less, but that one day trip) we had a few issues, but they were workable.

HOWEVER post COVID  had a major trip, 6+ hours away. family was going to be in the area prior to us and afterwards, so the decision to let us meet and drop off and pick up was made. That was a mistake. We got to the meet up point about 30 minutes late due to an accident on the highway. Family was upset that we were late. When asked when to expect arrival for pick up, we told them one time, but also said we could get back earlier, depending upon the backpacking pace. We said we would call them if we got back earlier.  We did get back 2 hours earlier than anticipated, and called them. Because of the remoteness of the area cell service was limited and we could not get them. We waited and attempted to get them multiple times. The parents show up an hour after we told them. Yes we waited for 3 hours for the parents to show up. We could have been almost halfway to home. The Scouts were not happy.

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The sporting thing; there's an aspect of this compare and contrast that is not being discussed. 

https://childusa.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Five-Key-Findings-from-the-EAS-7.9.2021-Updated.pdf#:~:text=18.3% (nearly 1 in 5) of elite athletes,minor by a sport official or peer athlete.

Because of the decentralized nature of sports, schools, clubs, etc ... there's no great big target with a big pocket of money (when comparing to BSA). So for 30 years there are local discussion when a pedo coach or physically abusive coach or exclusionary club gets caught doing the wrong thing; however, there has never been a national discussion about this. Contrast that with national media constantly on BSA about the lawsuits, accusations, and most recently the settlement and bankruptcy. Perception is reality; some parents falsely think their kids are safer in sports.

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1 hour ago, Tron said:

 Perception is reality; some parents falsely think their kids are safer in sports.

Well, the  parents would be right. The average kid is far safer from sexual abuse in sports than the average kid in scouting. Sexual abuse of children is a society wide problem in any setting where adults have access to kids, but a kid on a soccer field for two hours in public view is far safer than a kid on a campground overnight in a remote location with unrelated adults. Studies like this highlight our problems with CSA but have little bearing on BSA's experiences and track record with it. 

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14 hours ago, yknot said:

Well, the  parents would be right. The average kid is far safer from sexual abuse in sports than the average kid in scouting. Sexual abuse of children is a society wide problem in any setting where adults have access to kids, but a kid on a soccer field for two hours in public view is far safer than a kid on a campground overnight in a remote location with unrelated adults. Studies like this highlight our problems with CSA but have little bearing on BSA's experiences and track record with it. 

That’s some serious wishful thinking! Those “two hours in public view” are just the tip of the iceberg! From there, while noble coaches are trying to guide kids into a lifetime enjoyment of athletic pass time, the neighborhood predator, on the field or in the stands, is getting acquainted with hundreds of kids and ranking them by vulnerability. Sports and band camps are notorious for providing first exposures to pornography and worse. Some of the kids who are routinely assaulted at home:work their way up in the structure to where they can propagate assault.  USA Gymnastics learned the hard way that large numbers of their athletes were extremely vulnerable because of inordinate trust in professional positions.

The types of assaults that I became aware of as my kids advanced through varsity sports made me (and their coaches) nauseous. Moreover, because there is no national oversight of leadership in youth sports, we have no idea of the risks to participants.

With what I’ve learned now, would I still allow my kids to participate fully in athletics? Yes. Do I believe that structures like Sandusky laws have helped mitigate risk to some degree? Yes. Do I believe we’ve had a net effect of protecting our nation’s youth from CSA? Jury’s still out, my hope is that one day overall risks to youth will be as low as BSA’s rate, but we have quite a way to go.

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1 minute ago, qwazse said:

That’s some serious wishful thinking! Those “two hours in public view” are just the tip of the iceberg! From there, while noble coaches are trying to guide kids into a lifetime enjoyment of athletic pass time, the neighborhood predator, on the field or in the stands, is getting acquainted with hundreds of kids and ranking them by vulnerability. Sports and band camps are notorious for providing first exposures to pornography and worse. Some of the kids who are routinely assaulted at home:work their way up in the structure to where they can propagate assault.  USA Gymnastics learned the hard way that large numbers of their athletes were extremely vulnerable because of inordinate trust in professional positions.

The types of assaults that I became aware of as my kids advanced through varsity sports made me (and their coaches) nauseous. Moreover, because there is no national oversight of leadership in youth sports, we have no idea of the risks to participants.

With what I’ve learned now, would I still allow my kids to participate fully in athletics? Yes. Do I believe that structures like Sandusky laws have helped mitigate risk to some degree? Yes. Do I believe we’ve had a net effect of protecting our nation’s youth from CSA? Jury’s still out, my hope is that one day overall risks to youth will be as low as BSA’s rate, but we have quite a way to go.

That is a new one I haven't heard before: It's not coaches, then, but lurking predators who scope out kids and swipe them off the field in view of the public, other kids, parents, and ubiquitous surveillance cameras?  Interesting. I guess these lurkers don't go after the tuba players very often. 

I think it's significant that BSA, the youth organization that probably has the most data about child sexual abuse cases over time, and that could produce information useful to scout parents and leaders as well as all other youth organizations regarding incident characteristics, age, gender of victims and perpetrators, setting, type, perpetrator profiles, etc., has never compiled or produced any useful or comprehensive research or reports about it. Many other youth or youth linked organizations have done so on CSA, mental health, safety, etc.  Never BSA, the organization that you hope all other youth organizations will emulate. 

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5 hours ago, qwazse said:

That’s some serious wishful thinking! Those “two hours in public view” are just the tip of the iceberg! From there, while noble coaches are trying to guide kids into a lifetime enjoyment of athletic pass time, the neighborhood predator, on the field or in the stands, is getting acquainted with hundreds of kids and ranking them by vulnerability. Sports and band camps are notorious for providing first exposures to pornography and worse. Some of the kids who are routinely assaulted at home:work their way up in the structure to where they can propagate assault.  USA Gymnastics learned the hard way that large numbers of their athletes were extremely vulnerable because of inordinate trust in professional positions.

The types of assaults that I became aware of as my kids advanced through varsity sports made me (and their coaches) nauseous. Moreover, because there is no national oversight of leadership in youth sports, we have no idea of the risks to participants.

With what I’ve learned now, would I still allow my kids to participate fully in athletics? Yes. Do I believe that structures like Sandusky laws have helped mitigate risk to some degree? Yes. Do I believe we’ve had a net effect of protecting our nation’s youth from CSA? Jury’s still out, my hope is that one day overall risks to youth will be as low as BSA’s rate, but we have quite a way to go.

I am curious at the comment of the BSA rate and a comparison.  That suggests that BSA or Scouts America has one of the lower stats compared to others in the comparative fields.  Is that something that might be important to share more directly?  I am asking, as a number of times when I have noted percenage comparisons I have been shouted down and called names.  So, a verifiable link or notation would be useful, if nothing else.  Thanks.

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5 hours ago, yknot said:

I think it's significant that BSA, the youth organization that probably has the most data about child sexual abuse cases over time, and that could produce information useful to scout parents and leaders as well as all other youth organizations regarding incident characteristics, age, gender of victims and perpetrators, setting, type, perpetrator profiles, etc., has never compiled or produced any useful or comprehensive research or reports about it.

It is common knowledge that BSA made its ineligible volunteer files available to an independent researcher at the University of Virginia.

Here's the reference to her formal work on the files, published years later on a sample of 6878 perpetrators of CSA:

Those conclusions have been folded into the YPT program that we ask all parents to take.

This year, one other publication reported on a randomly drawn sample of 48 cases ...

It goes over many of the structural problems unique to the organization and tries to make optimistic conclusions.

We need to remind ourselves that criminology is hard. The data that are gleaned from these reports are also studied by folks who think it is their God-given right to lure our nation's children for their basest desires. May none of us make the error that any given activity is such a safe haven that our guard should be lowered to any degree.

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