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Beavah

Membership Decline Reasons

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I've been away from this thread a few days. Forgive me if I have missed some important info.

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If you've ever been a 14 year old boy or been around them (and I assume most of us have) it is a pretty safe bet that you have seen introducing girls into the equation makes for a vastly different experience than the experience a 14 year old boy gets from a "guys only" or "guys only but with a few mom's as leaders" experience.

 

 

It does not matter if it is camping or band camp or computer camp at the local college.

 

FOR THAT REASON

I am 100% convinced that making troops co-ed is putting the entire scouting movement at risk.

- Doing so coincided with the near death of scouting in Canada.

- Doing so coincided with a vast seascape change in the nature of scouting UK.

 

Can girls do what BSA boys do? Of course?

But making troops co-ed presents a HUGE risking to BSA ans we should not take that kind of risk over a 10% drop in membership. Given that visits to Nat'l parks have dropped MUCH more than 10% I firmly believe that we are doing quite well. BSA is a SUCCESS STORY. In the gameboy generation outdoor interest has dropped 20-30% yet BSA membership has dropped only 10%.

 

 

- Ya wanna open up BSA camps for a "girls only" week? I will support it.

 

- Ya wanna have all-girl troops? Okay buy me a donut and I won't object.

 

- but if you want put the entire scouting movement at risk on some sort of radical, illogical and coincidentally-failed-every-time-it's-been-tried experiment, all I can say is I will pull my son and so will millions of parents like me (as they did in Canada and the UK.) So much for you membership numbers.

 

- If you want to campfire kids then join campfire kids. Leave my son's troop alone

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Basement, you are so right, and that statement is way bigger than the statement itself!

 

Think about it this way: Suppose we were to turn into that fly on the wall...or I guess the fly on the tree in this arguement. :)

 

Listening to the boys, how many things wopuld we hear them say, and completely agree on?

 

For instance: How the view the importance of homework or good grades. Maybe about how much honest effort the put into something or even they way they will spend twice as much effort trying to make a chore easier than the effort required to just do it right. Know what I mean?

 

Youth approach things differently than we do in both a logical way and in the way they work out the details.

 

A teen just might argue all day long over a fine point without ever conceding that the bigger picture outweighs the fine point.

 

Teens tend to be self absorbed and are more about the instant gratification that the long haul.

 

 

Let me blunt: How many of you ever think to yourselves: "Oh man, In cannot wait until he grows up and enters the real world!"

 

And that is my point! Teens think differently than us, act differently than us to particular situations. They process information differently and also live in a completely different state of mind than us.

 

So when did teens startacting differently than when we were younger?

 

THEY DIDN'T!

 

We grew up. We became adults who lived on our own ad became responcible for ourselves. We started watching the news, we stated watchoing the government and making choices ( by voting) we started thinking of our retirement one day by either saving or investing in 401-K's. We looked at medical, dental and life insurance policies. We started thinking about how a HI-FI stereo with 36" speakers was not the best investment. We went from CD"s that go in stereos to CD's that are from the bank.

 

We grew up. We started thinking differently and started acting differently.

 

We started deciding what the younger guys ( who do not think like us) really wanted, when in fact, we decided what we "thought" they wanted.

 

But since we do not think like them.....we missed the mark

 

Now, I am not saying that every single one of us "lost it", or that none of us have a connection with kids anymore. I'm just saying, our perception is not the same perception as the youth of today.

 

You want to test it?

 

Follow the boys in your troop around for a month and start talking like them, play their games, dress like them, listen to their music and watch their shows.

 

SCarey isn't it? :)

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OldGreyEagle, "I thought it strange the only time the scout talked about camping was with the OA, he couldnt remember a troop camping trip that stuck out to him. That was the point, perhaps obtusely made"

 

Arrow Corps Five was a big deal for those who were involved. I know with the boy we took it was one of the biggest things they have ever done and they still are talking about it. I wish every boy could have the experience that was offered through AC5.

 

I know for my son that being on Camp Staff and the OA is what kept him going in scouting. The unit (LDS) he was in was had very weak leaders and almost no program. Luckily for a time he was duel enrolled in another troop, because the SM was also the OA chapter Advisor, in which he was able to experience many outdoor activities, like a canoe trip into Yellowstone's back country.

 

Although he did lots of things and attended loots of leadership training, held lots of leadership positions (currently OA Lodge Chief) he never made Eagle Scout. Lots of which I attribute to the weak program he was in during most of his scouting, although I also know it was up to him to. He was just more interested in OA and Camp staff than he was in finishing up his eagle. When I asked him about how he felt about not finishing Eagle he said, "I have done more though the OA and Camp staff and have more leadership skills than most Eagle Scouts can even dream of having. I think he will make a great SM someday.

 

 

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LIBob said "- Doing so coincided with a vast seascape change in the nature of scouting UK."

 

Not In my neck of the woods. Scouting in the UK has been co-ed (Venture Scouts were always co-ed) for a few decades, in 2007 it was announced that to coincide with the scouting centenary that all groups would have to provide scouting experience for girls (there are some exceptions such as where scouting is provided in single sex establishments). My own scout group changed in 2006 in anticipation of the 2007 requirement. I can assure you that the nature of scouting has not changed in my group nor in the other groups in district. I wouldn't argue that this change didn't cause some angst at the time but with hindsight our concerns have proved to be unfounded.

 

Cheers

 

Gareth

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Gary,

 

I had the exact same experience as your son. After just three years of "regular" Boy Scouts, I joined camp staff and sealed my membership in the Order, and didn't look back. I wanted bigger challenges than my troop was able to give me.

 

This brings me to a bigger question that goes back to the actual reason for the start of this thread. In the corporate world, companies spend lots of money to find out information about their customers - even former customers. When someone leaves, they try to find out why. That information is crucial to focusing their product or service even more.

 

Does National - or any local councils that anyone knows of - survey former Scouts about their reasons for dropping out? It seems to me that'd be crucial in figuring out whether we're seeing an exodus over the three G issues, or between Cubs and Boy Scouts, or at the older ages, and, most importantly, why. Without that information, we're just guessing and recounting anecdotal information.

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Gary,

 

I had the exact same experience as your son. After just three years of "regular" Boy Scouts, I joined camp staff and sealed my membership in the Order, and didn't look back. I wanted bigger challenges than my troop was able to give me.

 

This brings me to a bigger question that goes back to the actual reason for the start of this thread. In the corporate world, companies spend lots of money to find out information about their customers - even former customers. When someone leaves, they try to find out why. That information is crucial to focusing their product or service even more.

 

Does National - or any local councils that anyone knows of - survey former Scouts about their reasons for dropping out? It seems to me that'd be crucial in figuring out whether we're seeing an exodus over the three G issues, or between Cubs and Boy Scouts, or at the older ages, and, most importantly, why. Without that information, we're just guessing and recounting anecdotal information.

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"Does National - or any local councils that anyone knows of - survey former Scouts about their reasons for dropping out? It seems to me that'd be crucial in figuring out whether we're seeing an exodus over the three G issues, or between Cubs and Boy Scouts, or at the older ages, and, most importantly, why. Without that information, we're just guessing and recounting anecdotal information."

 

Thank you, shortridge! This is an instance where the BSA COULD and SHOULD use some of that management theory we just love to talk about in these forums. It seems to me that while 3G issues certainly get us all excited, and gets Scouting a lot of bad press, it doesn't begin to explain the problems Scouting is experiencing.

 

One aspect of BSA training that I know very little about is professional training. Does the BSA educate its professionals in data collection and making decisions based on that data? If not, I believe that starting to do this would be a great start toward identifying and solving the problem.

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In my experience, by the time I was 15 the OA provided about the only interesting thing left in the program for me.

 

I think the BSA should keep studying ways to retain older, experienced boys, ideally in the troop setting.

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After reviewing my council's annual reports going back to the late 70's, the only time I see huge declines in membership was when a new Scout Executive came to town. Membership declines during these times are 5000 to 8000 members. Then there is a steady increase in membership during the SE's tenure.

 

It has happened 4 times in my council since the 70's. Facinating stuff. But for anybody in the general Scouting community outside the executive board to notice it, one has to keep last years annual report or have access to annual reports through the years.

 

thoughts on this?

 

 

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Pack212Scouter writes:

 

1) Getting outdoors isn't a priority for alot of the nation anymore. If they live in a city, they see going to the park as getting outdoors. Most people seem to want to go and see "things". Museums, concerts, going to the beach, etc. When I was growing up you took a trip to see national parks and the like.

 

US Forest Service Visitors Report released: People love their National Forests

 

Written on August 12, 2011 by Sarah McIntyre in News

 

This week, the US Forest Service released their National Visitor Use Monitoring report, illustrating the value that our national forests provide to both recreational visitors and the economic impact they have on nearby communities. In the past year, our national forests attracted 170.8 million visitors, sustained 223,000 jobs in rural communities, and helped to contribute $14.5 billion to the US economy.

 

About the report, Forest Service Chief Tom Tidwell says, This data shows once again just what a boon our forests are to local economies. Because of forest activities, thousands of jobs are supported in hundreds of rural communities. We are proud of helping to put a paycheck into the pockets of so many hardworking Americans. As the land of many uses, national forests not only contribute to our economy, but also provide economic relief for visitors. Less than half of the 17,000 Forest Services developed sites charge a fee to visitors.

 

Last year, the Forest Service interviewed 44,700 visitors to national forests, and found that approximately 94% of those surveyed were happy with their experience of the national forests. Thats probably not a surprise to many, as the national forests provide a place where we can enjoy our favorite outdoor activities, whether it be hiking, skiing, camping, or backpacking.

 

Other facts gleaned from the report:

Recreation activities help to sustain 223,000 jobs in the rural communities within 50 miles of the national forests and grasslands, thanks to visitors that purchase goods and services.

Visitors spend $13 billion directly in those communities within 50 miles of the national forests and grasslands.

For those that do have to pay fees to access national forest lands, approximately 83% are content with the value received.

Almost 95 million visitors (over 55%) visit a national forest to engage in an recreational activity.

 

http://www.dailyhiker.com/news/forest-service-visitors-report-released-people-love-their-national-forests/

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