Jump to content

What is your Council doing to address declining Membership?

Recommended Posts

Although we have not seen the membership decline the many other councils have, our board has decided to put some money and effort into working this issue.


On tap for us are some print adds, and TV slots (donated time). Of course bringing in new members is only a part of the larger membership challenge. I am interested in seeing what other things are being done to address this concern.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Our council just had a Cub Scout recruitment drive through Burger King.

Thsi was done on a Sat. afternoon and there was a rep. from council at all our local Burger Kings

Any boy who registered at this received a free Kids Meal.


I talked with the DE from one district who said they picked up 30 kids, I don't know about council-wide.


Link to post
Share on other sites

Last fall or spring, my council added a professional responsible for retention. Not exactly the same thing as recruitment, but an important membership issue, nonetheless. Still too early to tell if there have been any positive results.

Link to post
Share on other sites

What is my (oops, the council to which I belong - inside joke for those who have not been members for a few years) council doing?


Raising fees for Council owned properties, adding a fuel surcharge (after sites were booked in advance), and adding an "internet charge" for allowing, no make that making us, register for events on-line.


Can you keep a secret? It isn't doing much to alleviate declining membership.

Link to post
Share on other sites

It has become a hot topic around here too. Problem is, the answer to your question appears to be "not much." I've seen a lot of hand wringing but not much in the way of a serious plan.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Our council is offering some recruitment incentives this spring. Every pack that recruits 5 new Tigers and every troop that recruits two new Scouts (not Webelos crossovers) gets to participate in a mid-June fishing derby at a local park and a late August fun night at our minor-league ballpark (night game, fireworks, movie on the big screen, camp out on the field, breakfast the next morning).


Our pack is doing its first-ever spring Tiger recruitments in hopes of getting to do these cool things. Our troop is more lackadaisical, figuring that by August, the council will open up the ballpark event to everyone, regardless of recruitment goals.



Link to post
Share on other sites



This plan was devised and implemented to attract more scouts and retain the ones we have. I know it looks like just another slick advertisment, but click on the blue headers and look at the nuts and bolts items and goals and I can tell you these are items being worked on.


In 2004 all Scoutmasters, Cubmasters, or Venture Crew Advisors had to be trained for the unit to recharter. In 2005 it was all Committee Chairs, for 2006 it was all new contact personnel. I know we have had the discussion about whether or not you could "mandate training" and while that debate may continue, does not every youth deserve a trained leader?

Link to post
Share on other sites



An impressive and lofty plan by your council, at least they are trying something unlike mine and most other councils. My only question is how are they going to enforce mandatory training since it is not a BSA mandate? Second, when number crunch time comes around and they want to look good to National what do you want to bet that the professionals start letting these training standards slide.


Still it is the first well thought out and designed plan from a council I have seen or heard about. May the force be with them. And yes every scout deserves a trained leader.

Link to post
Share on other sites

We "HAD" a Venture Crew whose leaders refused to get training, they were not rechartered. I was holding my breath as well as I didnt think the Council would actually dump a unit, but they did. The Council said if the leaders didnt bother to find out what the promise is, how can they deliver it?

Link to post
Share on other sites

I know this sounds bad.

But after ten years of worrying about membership and tracking membership in the District, it's nice not having to worry about it.My focus is now on the Sea Scout Ship, that I serve.

We didn't make Quality District last year, because we lost a number of units. Mostly Crews that were one year wonders and we didn't reach the +1 needed in Boy Scouts.

It seems that we as a council focus mainly on recruiting Cub Scouts.

We spend a lot of time and money recruiting these little fellows.

Last year we had the Lunch Box with the Pine-wood Derby kit. To be very honest I don't think it made a lot of difference in the number recruited.

The much hyped partnership with Chevrolet Division of General Motors and NASCAR racing champion Jeff Gordon seemed to stall before it ever got going.

As far as I know or can see so far this year there are no new plans or ideas, this might because the finances of the Council have overshadowed membership.

Some of the things I used to do when I was District Chairman:

Membership starts (ends?) at Rechartering. Not at the end of the year. While recruitment should be on-going and year round the real numbers are the unit rechartering numbers.

We had the Commissioner Staff call every person who had been taken off a charter. We asked why they had left and invited them back, either to the unit they had been in or another unit.

We shared the real numbers with the District Committee (Real being the recharter numbers.) We used these numbers to set recruitment goals for the units. Packs who had a lot of Lads cross over thought these were unfair. As a rule these goals were the end of the year total plus one.

At the end of May we held a Tiger Safari to recruit little fellows. The results of these were far better when we did these by School District rather than by Scout District.

Sadly we lost a lot of the new recruits due to lack of activity from packs over the summer.

Working with the local Cable TV company we placed BSA ads on the TV.

I was talking to a few of the DE's and asked how the rechartering numbers looked? One DE said that three of the four Districts looked "Dismal" but one was way ahead. I happened to meet the DE of the District that was ahead, I congratulated her on the achievement. I was a little shocked when she shook her head and said that all the new members were from HUD units and that she new nothing about them.

I mentioned that HUD really couldn't charter units.She said she didn't know about that, but felt that she was being set up, just like another DE had been when a Crew of over 400 had been signed up and then lost.

We discussed how this sort of thing never really works and does in time come back to bite us in the tail.

Sadly it seems that some people never learn and this sort of "Creativity" which seems to bypass the board will continue.

I had hoped that with the elimination of the 2% growth the " creativeness" would disappear, sadly it looks like it has found a new home in Scoutreach.

Scoutreach is and can be a really good thing. It's a real shame that it will become the new home for what is just cheating.


Link to post
Share on other sites

I understand about people "not having time for training" but consider:


What would you do if your son's baseball coach had no concept of the infield fly rule or didn't know that a runner hit in fair territory by a batted ball is out and the batter is awarded a hit?


What about a Soccer coach who couldnt rudimentary explain what constitutes "Offsides" ?


What about a football coach who teaches tackling head down, leading with the helmet ideally aimed at the opponents knees?


I don't offer the comment, every youth deserves a trained leader to be coy or flip, I offer it because I beleive in it.


BTW, yes, it takes a tremoundous amount of time and committment to provide the training, whether its a group session, a unit session or a single one on one session.(This message has been edited by OldGreyEagle)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Every boy deserves a competent leader. Trained or not. Don't get me wrong, I believe in training. I've Commissioner Basic, Commissioners College (Bachelors), Leader Specific (for Den Leader & Scoutmaster), Youth Protection (at least a dozen times!), First Aid, CPR, Wood Badge, Safety Afloat, Basic Leader Training, Fast Start, New Leader Essentials, Opik (cold weather), Introduction to Outdoor Skills, Various University of Scouting courses, Outdoor Leader Specific for Webelos Leaders (OWL), Safe Swim Defense, Leave No Trace, Troop Committee Challenge and a few I'm sure I've forgotten. However, training in and of itself does not make a great leader. I've also never seen training hurt a leader.


That said, I'd love to see training become mandatory for specific positions. I'd also like to see a "test" similar to the Red Cross First Aid and CPR training classes that make not just attendance but the demonstration of some level of competence a necessary part of being trained. And, because I love a challenge ...


1.When is a SM signature required on a MB card? as soon as the Scout puts his name and MB choice on the card (before he starts). White card only has one place.

2.Who is expected to initiate starting a MB? Scout

3.What does the BSA say about group MB sessions? only for limited reasons. Advancement Guide is great resource (for example troop meeting MB classes are not a good idea!)

4.How many adults are required on a Patrol Campout? 0

5.How many adults are required at a Den meeting or PLC meeting? 1 (unless at an outdoor activity/outing)

6.Pick the best answer: A _______ is not an authorized scouting activity.


A. Paint Ball, B. Riding a Jet Ski, C. Laser Tag. D. All the above, E. None of the Above unless done with fireworks ;-)


Now for some harder questions:


7.) Your troop is planning an outing and you have invited a Webelos Den to accompany your troop. Some of the Webelos parents want to attend and bring along a younger (Bear Scout) and daughter (11 years old). Is that allowed? Should they be added to the tour permit?


8.) A Scout who is just starting organizing his Eagle project has gotten unit approval (his Scoutmaster and Troop commitee both approved his project.) He now need his Council/District approval. Who initiates contact with the Council/

District advancement committee? a) Scoutmaster b) Troop Committee Chair c) Life Scout d) Troop Advancement Chair


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...