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Membership Decline Reasons

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I did not say I agree with Merlyn but I have wondered what would happen to our numbers if the DRP and the gay issue disappeared. As far as WB and National are concerned I do agree they show a real disconnect between the theory and the reality of the scouting program and its membership.


There is no denying that boy scouting is shrinking more and more each year, and if this disconnect isn't addressed soon the results will be disasterous.

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"Horse Hockey" ??


I'll see your horse hockey and raise you "Buffalo Chips".


I have work far more hours per week than my father did. You either work the hours, or your employer finds someone who will. (And yes, I am an exempt employee, so that time is for free.)


And most mothers are working as well. My wife will start again next fall.


Couple that with the SPFs (Single Parenting Factors) and School Work and you have a time black hole.


So to simply dismiss the time element is downright myopic on your part...


Regardless, of all the activities that my kids have been and are involved in, Scouting takes more time and more resources that all of the other activities combined, and yet it benefits only one child. One evening every week and every Saturday.


If by chance you volunteer, like my wife, there is 10-20 hours a week the parent will spend on Scouting, depending on what you volunteer to do.


Someone should right a book, "Care and Feeding Your SM ... What to Expect from Scouting".



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As an azimuth check, I'd like to see the Census estimates on male youth 7-10 and 11-18 in the same time frames.


I'd also like to see those estimates broken down by Caucasian, Hispanic, and other groupings.


Are we making contact in target populations ?

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Yeah, that's my point, John. My hunch is our traditional markets are growing much more slowly or maybe even declining compared to the overall population.


Tapping expanding markets while maintaining the base is tough, especially for an organization based on what many see as deeply held, personal principles. Does anyone think tweaking the camping or advancement program is going to bring Merlyn around to our side?


Any of you looking forward to taking entertaining a host of parents and younger siblings at summer camp this year?

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Based upon my limited expereince with parents, save trained leaders of course, and siblings on a Boy Scout camp out (2 such events in a 12 year period), the answer is HECK NO! The first time parents and sibs came along, it was a complete and total waste of an entire weekend, and a long one at that (Thanksgiving day weekend trip). A 14 hour round trip drive was ruined b/c some parents thought their sons couldn't handle a little ran and/or didn't want to deal with their younger kids complaining that the Scouts were doing the hike and they were not. PLUS one sibling caused extensive water damage to the facility we were in by leqaving water running on the first floor that flooded that and the basement. Long story short a year of planning and a 14 hour drive to the event completely wasted. PLC said no more family trips.


The second time we did a family trip, only 2 remembered what happened the last time as it was 6 or 7 years later. New SM, new member of the PLC. One committee member and myself were the only one with reservations. Good news was that most of the youth were camping in tents. bad news was that we had a bunch of popups and 1 RV for the family members

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During financial downturns many councils can't afford to pay for membership for low-income and scoutreach families. Unfortunately that's one of the first things to go out of a budget. That explains a lot of the drop in the last two years. Units that were chartered for the purposes of after-school programs and paid for by grants and other such methods -- there's just no money there.


And really? The exact same year Scoutcraft was removed from Wood Badge, there was a downturn in membership, and you can blame one year of training on this? I find no basis for that claim except a personal hatred of a training program.


I find it more productive to talk to districts and councils that have steady increases in membership and find out just how they are doing it. With a steady 3% increase every year in my neck of the woods, I enjoy sharing the trials, victories and encouragement that can come from seeing even more boys and teens enter the program.



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I do not know of many employers who allow their employees to work the hours the employees want

I did not know Engineer61 is privy to my fathers work schdeule in 50's 60's and 70's aong with the rest of the world.


To say the employees of today are so much busier than any preceeding generation is enabling them to be the self obsessed ego centric weinnies that the are

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"Isn't it ironic that an organization who universally agrees there's a membership decline problem, work so hard defending their right to keep people from joining?"


This is what I like to refer to as "taking your eye off the ball." Mind you, I don't think this is the main reason for the decline. It is a minor symptom of a much more serious problem: too many of the decision-makers in Scouting today have forgotten about the task at hand and concentrate on making Scouting more "modern," changing uniforms, and concentrating way too much time and energy on things like this! It seems that points of emphasis like this to which they desperately cling take energy and resources away from the primary objective, namely building boys up into productive citizens.

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To say the employees of today are so much busier than any preceeding generation is enabling them to be the self obsessed ego centric weinnies that the are


Yah, don't hold back there, OGE! :) I remember when I had to hike 5 miles to school, uphill in a blizzard both ways!


Much as we like to blame da young people, though, I don't think that the data supports it. As far as volunteerin' goes, there's some good data on that, eh? See http://www.nationalservice.gov/pdf/06_1203_volunteer_growth.pdf.


Right now, we're at an all-time high in volunteering nationwide, across almost all age groups. Young and old people in particular are volunteering at record high rates, with mid-life folks volunteering near their historical highs (and volunteering more than us old farts, I'm ashamed to say). As you'd expect, with the exception of older folks, the more leisure time yeh have (shorter the commute, not having kids at home, not being economically stressed, etc.) the more folks volunteer. So quite naturally, teenagers and college students volunteer more than workers with kids at home, and folks with shorter commutes (like small towns) volunteer more than folks with longer commutes. One of da interesting things is that folks with longer-term ties to the community volunteer more, and since young folks these days are more mobile than we used to be, that has an impact. But despite that impact, the young folks do us proud.


So not much reason to call young folks ego-centric weenies or to believe that us older folks are any better. In fact, the young people are by and large doin' as much or more volunteering than we did at their age, and are doin' more in their busy mid-life than we are in our older years. In fact, given that we older folks are pretty financially stable and don't have kids at home anymore, our numbers are a bit disappointing compared to theirs.


Maybe we're the ego-centric weenies after all. :p


As for work hours, a quick check on stuff that the Bureau of Labor Statistics has suggests that work hours have stayed pretty steady or declined slightly for males. Those are kinda funky statistics, because downturns in the economy show a downturn in work hours, so it's not always a measure of leisure time. But probably safe to say that we're not workin' harder now than we were in the past.


Women, on da other hand, are a lot more in the workforce, eh? So da average family has less "at home" adult time, either because of both parents workin' or because of more single-parent homes. At da same time, families are smaller and happenin' a bit later in life, so the average 2 parent household has more economic resources and fewer kids to take care of.


Put that all together, and I think what yeh get is something like this:


1) Modern suburban families have more money compared with time than we used to, so are more willing to spend $$ on professional kids programs than spend volunteer time on 'em, even though overall they volunteer at the same rate we did (and they support their kids volunteering significantly more as teenagers than we did).


2) Modern suburban families have enough time and fewer kids to be able to focus their time tightly on the kid, being more involved in scheduling the kid's time and driving 'em hither and yon and less likely to let the kid run around the neighborhood while they get work done.


3) The result of both parents workin', lots of volunteering, and especially the heightened hour-by-hour involvement with their kids feels more busy and burdensome.


Again, not weenies, eh? Just a bit more hyper/micro involved with their kids on a daily basis than we were.




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Lets face it.......People do not like to camp as much as they used too. That is what we sell in scouting to deliver the rest of the program.


Beyond that we are competing for the dollars and Time.


Flag football


Travel Football


Club Volleyball


Travel Hockey


Travel Soccer


Travel Baseball


Mega Churches with mega youth groups




other than Baseball the rest is new since I was a boy.


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Don't know if this counts as Mega church youthgroup or not, but around my neck of the woods, a lot of churches participate in Church league sports, i.e. flag football, basketball, soccer, and baseball.

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