Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Re: Traditional Scouting Programs and Trends
Re: Traditional Scouting Programs and Trends
Mon, 20 Dec 1999 23:29:07 EST
First, I would like to thank Vince Scanio for pointing out an error in my
Participant-based programs (LFL and Venturing) have nothing but up side for
the BSA. They are very donor-friendly, can be marketed effectively in urban
and rural areas, and require little to no volunteer structure.
This is not true. I meant to say LFL and Exploring. Exploring, being part
of the LFL family are now only participants.
Some issues come to mind...
Headcount Issue 1. Venturing
Venturing is a membership-based BSA program open to both young men and women
ages 14-20. Using the "old Explorer exemption," young men first class or
above may continue rank advancement (through multiple membership through a
Boy Scout Troop or Varsity Scout Team). Also, continued OA activities for
established male members can only be maintained through multiple memberships.
This will obviously encourage multiple membership/registrations leading to
inflated membership numbers.
Headcount Issue 2. Summer Camp Units
In urban areas, councils provide camperships to inner-city youth for a week
at summer camp. To get around many issues (insurance coverage, being a major
one), the council registers all of the kids as Boy Scouts. These "Scouts"
stay on the books for the year, but are only involved in the program for 7
Headcount Issue 3. The Name Game
Look closely at the terms being used...
Youth served includes Tigers, Cubs, Webelos, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts,
Venturers, and LFL (including Exploring).
Youth Members include Tigers, Cubs, Webelos, Boy Scouts, Varsity Scouts, and
Headcount Issue 4: The Number Game
What do the numbers mean? In many cases, almost nothing. To make sense of
the numbers you have to "convert" and "scale" them. Over the past 70 years
you have had
- 4 different variations of Explorers (Senior Scouts, Coed Exploring, Career
Exploring, and LFL Exploring);
- 4 different variations of Cub Scout Programs (9 year old / 3 year Cub
Program, 8 year old / 3 year Cub Program, 4 year Cub Program, and 5 year Cub
- 3 different variations of Boy Scout Programs (12 year old Scout Program, 11
year old Scout Program, and Varsity Scout Program);
- the round-robin movement of venerable Senior Scout programs such as Air
and Sea Scouting;
- several major membership initiatives (Urban Scouting Initiative of 1972, to
- documented membership numbers fraud;
- two good size baby booms;
- the initiation and expansion of Learning for Life.
As we blast each other over motives, the program continues to drop in
membership. The bottom line is I don't really care what Mike's motives are.
All I know is back when I was a Scout, a good-size troop was 25-30 boys and
we had 3 or 4 in town. Now, a good-size troop is anything over 15 and 2 or 3
are in town. You don't need to be a statistician to figure out that the
numbers are down.
The question is how can we turn it around?