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One of our packs narrowly escaped closing down due to lack of adult leaders. Now we're in process of training a new group of leaders that grudgingly volunteered. One thing I noticed that of the new leaders, not one had scouting experience as a youth. This got me thinking on what "today's" scout leaders are like demographically. Does anyone know if BSA publishes these stats? I know the military services keep close eyes on demographics of the force, leadership, etc. and adjust recruiting, training, etc. based on those statistics. Here's what I would be interested in:


NOTE: I make a lot of generalizations and assumptions that may or may not be correct, but it's meant to be thought provoking.


- Average age of registered leaders as a whole and program level (CS, BS, Ven, District, council, national, etc). Is leadership getting older/younger. As we change generations, we may see changes of outdoor experience/skills, technology usage, etc. For example, older leaders may be used to more outdoor activities than younger leaders who may not have had a lot of outdoor experience (i.e. need more outdoor skills/exposure for initial leader training and program helps). Likewise the next generation may be more risk taking (extreme sports/thrill seeking) than the previous (e.g. taking Tiger Cubs white water rafting. May mean greater emphasis on Age Appropriate Guidelines)

- Average years of registered adult service in BSA (by whole and program level). Is the average getting longer/shorter. We do a lot on recruiting, but what about retention. Isn't having scouters with experience better for programs? Could drive more emphasis on recruiting or retention.

- Percentage with scouting experience as a youth. Again if a majority of leaders come in without scouting experience, more initial training may be needed since the leaders don't have their childhood memories to fall back on.

- Percentage male vs. female (by whole and program level). It seems we have a lot of women in CS, but there's a dramatic drop off at cross over. Is that a good thing or not?


We see the SM as the sage, worldly, leader that knew how to handle everything in the outdoors (think "The Scoutmaster" painting), but has that changed?

(This message has been edited by Ohanadad)

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Okay, I'll bite and toss out a few unfounded perceptions.


Average age at first adult leadership position is usually 6 + age of firstborn son for pack leaders, 11 + age of firstborn son for troop leaders, 14 + age of first born son/daughter for crew leaders. Entry into distric/councilt leadership is usually 15 + age of youngest child.

In general, the National Parks service claims that they have more visitors than ever before, so I'm skeptical of any trend that suggest older leaders are more likely to be outdoor type. I know here in PA few families have a member who goes hunting or fishing, but a lot more go hiking and biking.

Experienced scouters have been my lifeline. I know the economy impacts how available those scouters can be.

Scouting as youth. Doesn't impact program on a unit basis, but I'm sure that across a district, it's a whole lot easier to train the folks who've enjoyed the program as youths.

I get the male role-model thing, but it totally stinks to lose women to other programs and then try to regroup them to come on crew outings 4 years later. For this and other reasons, our troop is really trying to put an end to the "old boy's club." On the other hand, maybe being a den mom is good prep for other work in the community that's not scouting related.


That whole "sage, worldly" bit gave me a chuckle. There's always the side that isn't shown in the portriat! I think we still want to see that bit of polish in our SMs. But, there always has been and should always be that "overgrown boy" that makes the scouts know that fun is part of the game!

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