Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
Stosh

By the numbers

Recommended Posts

I was playing around with my spreadsheet program and decided to do a little project based on the numbers being produced by BSA to see just how accurate/reliable they are.

 

If a boy is in Cubs for 5 years (Tiger, Wolf, Bear and 2 Webelos) and then goes on to 7 years of Boys (11 - 17 years old), with a 25% attrition rate, how many Cubs must come into the program to create the 2 - 3 Eagles on the other end. I worked the numbers and they come out correct. 75 Tiger Cubs are needed to have 3 boys left over after that attrition rate, and by the way, 4% of 75 is 3. Kinda makes one wonder what kind of program can survive under those circumstances, especially when we seem to accept the losses in numbers especially when it comes to let's say Webelos cross-overs, girls, cars, sports, and every other program out there that seems to offer more to the boys than the programs of the BSA.

 

Maybe the adage, if it ain't broke don't fix it applies here. It ain't working so maybe we ought to do something about it. Why has such losses become acceptable to the program?

 

Stosh

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Stosh,

 

It seems that at least a couple of the regular defenders of the BSA status quos I keep reading on this site might argue that there ain't nothing wrong with the program, that instead the problems are with those folks who aren't getting the proper BSA training. That if they follow the program, they will see the results, and their units will grow and thrive. But I don't really see that this is necessarily true.

 

It seems to me that there is a little bit of disconnect going on between BSA and boys - I don't mean in terms of BSA having to cow-tow to popular culture and its vulgarities that pull boys away from wholesome activities- but if you look at what good boys are getting involved with I think you'll get an idea.

 

Why do sports and games seem to resonate so much with boys? Why are boys attracted to contact activities? Why do boys like to flirt with danger? Why do boys want to fantasize about being heroes and villains and role play these types of characters?

 

Why are boys both attracted to being free from parental constraint and yet eager to join an organization that will give them identity and a purpose?

 

Why do boys get into gangs?

 

I think, from what my kids and their friends tell me, is that scouting can be fun, but mostly it is really dull and really "cheesy".

 

They tell me that moms don't get boys, and that cub scouts was mostly like school. My older boy and his buddies just shudder at the idea of wearing scout uniforms and belonging to the group in our town. They tell me that the scouts are mostly "rejects", who have a lot of personality issues and don't seem to fit into anything else at school.

 

This seems a dirty shame, because from what I can tell, scouting seems to at least suggest that it could be a real adventure. I am a little confused as to why it seems to so often manifest itself as motley crews of un-uniformed sloppy kids and often times extremely over-weight scout leaders.

 

It seems that BSA has drifted far from those old posters of the vital scoutmaster and the perky scouts in the woods.

 

Maybe scouting needs to reassess its relevance in the boy's life.

 

You know- I really don't get a sense in BSA of a human- in touch, personalilty of leadership. For all the talk of leadership, you would think that BSA would attempt to get out the PSA's and lead. Get a national spokesman and grab the headlines. Something.

I was a scout back in the early 80's, but I don't really get scouting anymore.

 

Jeff

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stosh & Jeff

 

I couldn't agree with you more. One of the problems I see is that adult leadership, especially in boy scouts has become more passive and are more comfortable in front of a computer than being out in the woods and they tend to attract the same type of boys. I see Mazzuca's plan for the reorganization of scouting going down that same slippery slope. Scouting does have unfortunately received the label of being for the "nerds and dorks" to quote some teens when I asked them about trying scouting. Even though it may hurt a bit I am willing to bet every scout leader currently serving in a troop has heard the same thing. There is even one pack in my district who decided to go with the Cub Scout soccer shirts only because the parents and the boys refused to buy or wear the regular cub uniform. The DE is aware of this but doesn't want to lose the unit, the boys put their rank badges on their soccer shirts, quite a sight to see at district events.

 

So my question is where did the BSA miss the boat? Is scouting no longer relevant to todays youth? My venturing crew youth seem to thrive on outdoor activities and never seem to get enough, the coed group is growing larger every year and many of them have been selected to lead or teach for Kodiak and other events. So I think the thrill of an exciting outdoor program still draws youth, teaching them leadership, outdoor skills, and challenging them to go out of their comfort zone to try and succeed in experiences they thought were impossible to accomplish. So why does National insist on messing with what works, if we don't watch out pretty soon we will be doing all scouting on line.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

"Scouting does have unfortunately received the label of being for the "nerds and dorks" to quote some teens when I asked them about trying scouting."

 

It's the counter-culture thing that swept the nation. Marshall Dillon, James West and Sgt. Saunders are no longer the heroes of the youth of today. The Beach Boys aren't the hot group anymore. Being a good kid isn't popular today and Scouts are supposed to be good.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Not to defend the ratio,

 

Let's also remember our mission isn't to get every youth who joins to Eagle, it's to inculcate 3 fundamental values in young American men, and at the older teen level, young women.

 

I agree with all of you about training. At the same time, GW has a point, and we have to market what we do where it matters ... churches, VFWs, Legion Posts, schools...

 

We also have to disregard the Pappy's of the world, who want their kids being young basic trainees. I think he's going to get a shock when a real Marine talks about Leaving No Trace, not because it's environmentally friendly, but because it keeps soldiers operating in small groups forward alive.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Truth in advertising fellas. All the ads in world will not help if the units are not actually delivering the Scouting program. Judging from a number of the posts found on sites like this there are a number of units that don't know, let alone don't use, the Methods of scouting. It does nor take many bad unit programs to negatively impact the gains of the good ones.

 

Talk with your local District commissioner like Beavah. How many unhealthy or failed units does his district see every year, and how do they affect the numbers that jblake is using?

 

How many scouts leave good units as compared with the numbers that leave units with poor unit programs? Is it possible that the solution isn't more ads but better local unit programs? And what effects the quality of a unit program more than any other element? Quality adult leadership.

 

Rather than want more advertising why not want, and work for, better local leadership?

 

Better leadership will improve the local scouting programs, not advertising.

 

Marketing does not make the product better, marketing makes the product more well known. Who do you know that hasn't heard of Scouting?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Bob but no one here even mentioned advertising so your remarks are irrelevant and not on topic.

 

We were discussing what has happened to the image of scouting and why it is not attracting the numbers it used to and how all the revamping of the program has been of no real value to the retention of numbers. Now we know that one poster here puts all the blame on the scoutmasters for not following the program, however on a national level units that follow the program and those who do not as closely are still losing numbers at almost the same percentage rates. Boy Scouts is just not cool anymore to 11-16 year old boys, and we have to ask why. Is scouting no longer relevant to the youth of today who do not even want to join in the first place? A bad program only applies to those who wanted to become scouts and have already joined scouting, those kids can be salvaged with a change of leadership. If Nationals program is truly in touch with todays youth then every scouting unit should be bursting at the seams with members. The truth is the more National modifies and changes the emphasis of the scouting program the decline in numbers continues to grow. As Stosh quoted in his post, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" seems to apply or maybe the reality is that the scouting program itself is broke and needs fixin. In my district currently only the cub packs and venturing crews are thriving, more than half of the troops are gone and those left are struggling, and its not because they are not following the program BW.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've said it before and I'll say it again, the sad truth is that for too many of our youth, adventure is a video game. So the promise of going off into the woods doesn't appeal to them. "Wot! Like no cell phone. How can I text my buds? No ipod? I gotta have my tunes."

 

We old codgers ran amok without parental supervision. Going inside to play was a last resort. We explored neighborhoods, the woods, the railyards, the city.

 

Sports are far more attractive to kids and many parents because there is instant gratification. The coach revs them up before the game. After the game, they're given pizza and soda. In Scouting you hike 10 miles and then get to clean your gear. Wow! Sure, you learned alot on that hike but if you're 13, you won't realize it for about 13 more years.

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Stosh,

 

Its funny John in KC should mention Pappy and his disregard for leave no trace. (Though if I read my Pappy correctly he had managed to get his little group of scouts onto some private land to play lumberjack). My daughter retuned last weekend from a Girl Scout overnight pretty darned upset (My wife , who chaperoned wasnt too happy either). Apparently the new unit leader, a woman with a long history in Boy Scout leadership, was yelling at the girls all Saturday for various things and haranguing the moms for not having taught the girls about leave no trace, a concept apparently very near and dear to this womans heart.

My daughter at one point, with a few other girls, were playfully chasing after a deer they had spooted a few dozen or so yards away, and the unit leader screamed that she and her friends were negatively impacting the environment. On another occasion, my daughter had found a small pretty rock along a trail that she wanted to keep and bring to show her brothers, (who collect rocks and other natural objects they find on their hikes) and she was scolded by this same "leader"" and told to put the rock back where she found it.

 

This is unbelievable political correctness run amuck. I can tell you that my wife and a few of the other moms were pretty darned unimpressed with this woman. And she is without question the most highly trained" scout leader this school girl scout and brownie unit has ever had.

 

And Bob White, I knew you might jump in to this one. Sometimes I think so called "scouters" love the program more than they love the boy and the potential man that they can become. There is a new book out there, that Dangerous Book for Boys. My boys absolutely love it. They are making paper airplanes, and designing a tree fort, and today they asked me to help them fold a piece of paper into a water bomb. You know, it seems to me that working with boys involves plain common sense. And I think a lot of scouters have forgotten what it means to be a boy. I'm not suggesting that you have Bob, but reading all your posts I get the feeling that your pretty hard-headed about the wrong thing. I really do suspect that if Powell were alive today he might not agree with your uncompromising stance on the perfection of the program, and he might suspect that you open your eyes a little.

 

If I have learned anything from a lot of you fellas, it is that when scouting is done right it is a game- It is played. I get that. I think boys would get that. My sons and my daughter like games and like to do things adults like to do too. It just seems that Cub Scouting has turned into kind of a weird mediocre program in our parts. And Boy Scouting is practically nonexistent. Scouts don't wear the uniforms. One church has a group of scouts that just get together and play Frisbee and they combine this with their church male youth group. Another unit just gathers in a Church gym and practices knots and checks off stuff in their scout manuals. Holy Cow.

 

I can tell you that scouting in our community is mostly a dirty word. And that seems criminal. And I am sick of believing that it is because the fullness and perfection of the scouting promise is not being delivered because lazy or ill-intentioned adults are not getting the proper training.

I have met some of these professional scouter fellas at Rotary meetings and other community events in my town, and I can tell you that they are some pretty creepy fellows. Friends of mine in the business and professional communities do not understand what has happened to the scouting movement. They are pretty convinced that it is dying. And they will have nothing to do with it.

For What Its Worth

 

And Gold Winger - my boys would love to go on a 10 mile hike. Troops around here only hike once or twice a year at best. And cub scouts hardly ever go outside. So we just hike.

 

Jeff

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Stosh,

 

In your calculations I think you forgot to take into account the number of Scouts that join along the way. For instance while working with the pack in town I saw one den cycle through about 30 boys in 5 years. The den size was never over 8. The number joining was great. The attrition rate was horrible.

 

Along those same lines I have been wondering lately about the whole 2-5% statistics. A couple years ago I found solid numbers that since inception the BSA has had about 2% of the Scouts involved earn Eagle and in 2005 in particular 5% of the Scouts involved earned Eagle. Does this mean it is easier, the leaders are better trained or more focused on advancemet, or something else.

 

I started to wonder if percentages are a good measure. For instance would it be better to look at the number of Eagle Scouts each year to see if there are more or less. Simple because 5% of 100 is 5 and 2% of 250 is 5. If we have more Scouts involved that don't make Eagle but become good, healthy, productive citizens isn't that better.

 

Another random thought along the lines of how statistic will hurt you is the whole first class first year thing. "If a Scout earns first class in the first year he is more likely to stay in Scouting." Therefore let's focus on getting them to first class in the first year. Perhaps the reason is that because the Scouts that earn First Class, without being pushed, in the first year like Scouting more.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Morning guys,

 

I suppose this could be another random spin-off thought, but your last comment brought it to mind. My wife, who has work in Human Resources for twenty years in some very large industries, has found that being an Eagle Scout does not have really any meaning any more from her perspective. She has told me that conversations that she has had with presidents and senior executives in her current company, a few of which were Life and Eagle scouts, that they recognize that BSA is not what it once was, and that being an Eagle scout is not likely to indicate performance one way or another. Their theory, she tells me, is that the culture of helicopter parents who closely monitor their children development and successes in school and sports have had their effect on scouting, and that boys are now rushed through their scouting experience to get their eagle on the way to land that coveted spot at a prestigious State university or private college.

 

Bottom line, Scouting and Eagle are losing their perceived value in the work force (at least the circles my wife has experienced).

 

Are their statistics or poles conducted to monitor the rates of success of former scouts and eagles in business and the adult world? Such as rates of divorce, military service, higher political office, etc. This would probably be helpful for recruiting to parents of the relative merits of the program. I have seen the lists of former famous boy scouts, but over a hundred years of existence, these lists seem thin and lack a little meaning.

 

Jeff

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

An altogether interesting thread . . . can't wait to jump in with my two cents.

 

After almost 2 years in Scouts, here are some conclusions I've reached:

 

1. Men who are obese and physically unfit are fundamentally incapable of being effective Scoutmasters. Period. If are under 6' tall, and wear a size 40 or larger pants, you are failing as a Scoutmaster.

 

2. Many men today do NOT have a background that equips them with the fundamental skills needed to be an expert 1st Class Scout, and a teacher of 1st Class skills. For them, acquiring this expertise is hard work, but essential. Weekend OLS sessions, taught by unskilled Scouters, are NOT a solution.

 

3. Scouting is for nerds, geeks, and dorks. But, this is not necessarily a bad thing. Scouting, from its origin, was intended to provide an 'alternate gang'. High schools and junior highs today permit only a small group of guys to be 'cool'. The rest have to find their place elsewhere. Thus, all the weird little groups that stratify American high schools today result. An effective Scouting program can be a better -- and no weirder -- alternative. A boy, who's willing to work a bit, can genuinely acquire Scouting skills, even if he's not terribly co-ordinated or socially adept.

 

4. Dealing with danger and challenge is fundamental to Scouting. Remove it, and Scouting becomes an empty shell. (See #1 above!)

 

5. Most CO's and many Scouters do not actually believe in the principles of the Scout law. You cannot be a wholehearted American consumer, and demonstrate "thrift". You cannot live in an isolated commute from work to home to Scout house and back again, with no stops in between and be "helpful". You cannot "revere" the idea of a god; you can only revere a God you ACTUALLY believe in! You cannot practice 'risk-management' and ask, "Is it covered?" at every turn, and be "brave"!

 

6. "Leave No Trace" is dishonest BS. Any of you with even minimal outdoor experience know this. My skills pale in comparison to what 1st Class Scouts learned 70 years ago, but I'll guarantee you I can follow the "trace" of your patrol of 6 boys, no matter how "conservation minded" they are, everywhere they WALK, unless it's on rock or pavement. The only way to "leave no trace", is to stay home. Many elements of the modern environmental movement see mankind as an infection of Mother Earth, and this belief has trickled into mainstream jargon. The "Leave no trace" slogan is only one example. Fortunately, it's possible to pledge "The Outdoor Code" without crossing your fingers, but BSA needs to dump LNT as EITHER dishonest or ELSE incompatible with Scouting.

 

7. There needs to be some way of distinguishing 'real Scouts' from the fake ones produced by Eagle mills, MBCs, and camps run by unskilled teens and twenties. I've seen many of you report the disgust sincere boys express when they see bogus ranks, honors and MBs handed out. My own son, after watching who was elected to OA at the last Camporee, swore he'd never enter OA. IF the advancement program my son's troop is beginning to implement succeeds, I'll almost certainly propose adding an unofficial "blue star" or something like it to the uniforms of Scouts in our troop who earn their ranks and Eagle MBs legitimately, and who actually possess 1st Class skills.

 

8. Uniforms are nerdy and uncool, only till they stand for something worth standing for! Scouts who are in a program they are proud of, and doing things that mean something to them will not be ashamed of their uniform. Till then, they will.

 

9. It's not possible for a troop to succeed AND to tolerate senior Scouts who are leading in the wrong direction. If I understand some of Kudu's reports, and the things I've read for myself of B-P's writings, B-P himself would absolutely not hesitate to demote, marginalize or expel a senior Scout who was leading his troop astray. One of the strongest practical arguments for a "patrol method" troop, is that if offers an acceptable method of stripping dysfunctional older boys of the control they tend to have in a boy led "troop method" troop. Never say never, but the chances of turning around a 16 year old Life Scout who's 'succeeded' acquiring 5 or 6 years longevity in a dysfunctional troop are small.

 

 

Hm-mh, that's enough for now.

 

 

GaHillBilly

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Count me as one of the "ain't broke so don't fix it" crowd. Yeah numbers were down and have made a modest up turn. Was the drop something to get our knickers all in a twist over? Nope! Now there was a faction who was preaching gloom & doom since the numbers were down! Remember the one poster who thought catchy slogans & cool threads was the answer?

 

If the BSA stays the course and updates what needs updating, they will be around in the same form for another 100 years!

 

Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

asm 111,

 

I realize I left out the "adds later on" statistic in my calculations, but I only had the two numbers, % of attrition and % of Eagles to work with. I do know that older boys do join and that is a good thing.

 

The only point I was trying to get a handle on his the acceptable degree of attrition contributed to the program. We have an opportunity to influence the boys almost their entire lives and what we see happening is that in the adolesent years, those most critical, we seem to really drop the ball.

 

It's hard to believe that it takes 30 Cub Scouts to attrition down to a huge troop of 50 boys, and yet we pat ourselves on the back and say how great this is when in fact the numbers are quite embarrassing.

 

I've done some things different than the standard program and the boys seem to like it. It might not work in the other programs, but it seems to be working in the Crew and Troop I'm involved with.

 

As an adult I see how Scouting is a good thing for our youth, but that's not the purpose of the program, it's to show our youth it's a good thing for them. Somehow that message is not getting across to them. I don't know what the reason for that, but I'm sure it's a far bigger fix than one or two "easy answers" just floating around waiting to get picked up by accident somewhere.

 

I do know that if any organization experiences a 25% attrition rate, 1) it isn't going to grow, 2) it's not going to be anything of lasting value, and/or 3) eventually it's going to pick up a bad reputation. From the numbers, I can only assume that there are a lot of boys and their parents that have great expectations when they enroll their boys in the program, only to have them disappointed along the way and they seek out other alternatives looking for something of lasting value for their kids.

 

I'm thinking it's something fundamental that is going to need to be changed, not just a gimmick that's added on to bandaid the problem until the world changes again. Scouting may have "changed to meet the needs of a changing world", but in fact I'm thinking it may have just become disconnected somewhere along the way.

 

Stosh(This message has been edited by jblake47)

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

×