Re: Stats, etc.
Don Izard (IZARD@UBVM.BITNET)
Wed, 17 Nov 1993 14:13:08 EST
Steve Tobin and a previous reply or two pointed out some FACTS about
statistics that we should all be cautious about! Any number of people
can examine the same set of numbers, and use the numbers to PROVE almost
any point they want, by clever manipulation. Apparently that is WHY
BSA instituted the FIRST Class emphasis with in one year! They apparently
reviewed some stats that seemed to indicate that First Class scouts tend
to remain in the program for a longer time. Also the highest drop out
rates appeared to have been from 6 months to 18 months. SO, some one
made the conclusion, MAKE everyone first class with in one year, and
it will SOLVE the proble, and stop or reduce the drop outs.
I agree with Steve that the FIRST class scout in a YEAR or less, is not
as SKILLED as the FIRST class scout of the 70's and 80's who had to
Earn first aid merit badge etc. I have observed recently, NEW FIRST
class scouts at OA ordeal weekends. Some did NOT know how to camp! They
paniced when they find out that they will have to be self reliant for
up to 8 hours, "ALONE" for the night! Many show up at the camp without
even the proper equipment, or the knowlege of how to tie a clove hitch,
or lash two poles etc. TO me the FIRST class scout was the MODEL scout,
with the TYPICAL skills for first aid, cooking and camping. Some how
the OA is being over run by 12 year old FIRST CLASS scouts, that do
not appear to be the HONOR campers of the past 50 or more years of the OA.
The OLDER scouts find that the OA is no longer a place they can get
"away" from the rigors of being a PL or SPL in the troops, and in fact
some seem to have left the OA as more YOUNGER scouts are joining.
The OA is NOT an older scout function any longer.
Some how, I do not think that the FULL impact on the overall scouting
program was really considered when the FIRST CLASS empahsis was created
to help with retention. It does not appear to many, that it has helped
build a better program for scouting, and I can not see where the retention
numbers have changed very much. All we have now, is a devalued FIRST class
scout, WHO NOW needs MORE programs for AFTER first class. If the troop is
not expected to RUN a merit badge factory, what are the 12 and 13 year
old first class scouts going to be doing at meetings, other than
beging bored. They all can not be SPL or PL or teaching skills to the
8 or 10 scouts left at second class. Adding a new required MB may
just be the first step. I think BSA will need to find a new program
for 12 and 13 year old scouts. IF we expect to retain them, we need
a program for them to work on advancements at the TROOP meetings!
At least that is my 2 cents, and apparently there are others out
there, both on the inter NET and OFF, that agree.
still scouting since '57
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City