Scouts-L Mail Archive for December of 1999: Demographics
Wed, 22 Dec 1999 10:58:03 -0800
Bill Sheehan, Jr. said:
A recent posting stated that a major reason for the decline in Scouting
was demographics, and was not really given the full examination it
should have. For instance this week it was announced that throughout
90's here in Cuyahoga County Ohio (Greater Cleveland) the birth rate to
single mothers has risen sharply. (no surprise) It was backed up with
the quantifying statement in 1998 fully 63% of the live births were to
single mothers. They stated is was the single greatest cause of poverty
in the county, too. That would follow that the average ten year old in
our neck of the woods is the child of a single parent family at or
the poverty level. It doesn't take a genius to determine that the REAL
available pool of Scouting candidates traditionally recruited from has
shrunk dramatically. As such so would the number of Scouts. So
demographics really are and will become an important factor.
It should also be a wake up call for all of us that the whole idea of
recruiting will have to change in the very near future. This multiple
recruiting approach will have to come from the top down to really work.
What you say makes a lot of sense.
I would like to make an observation.
(I am NOT now espousing a change in membership standards in doing this,
but simply pointing out something that I've thought about :)
Currently due to controversy, there's been a lot of statements from the
BSA and it's spokespeople about "Traditional Family Values".
These statements are made specifically to exclude certain individuals
from participation because their inclusion doesn't fall under the BSA's
stated goal of promoting "Traditional Family Values".
Even if the BSA continues to exclude certain members from participation
could the way this message is being presented be detrimental to the
program and recruiting?
I think it may send the messages, wrongly, that the BSA may be FOR
The BSA serves many kids that are not from "Traditional Families".
Could the BSA also include in that canned response (something along
these lines) "that we espouse Traditional Family Values but many of our
youth served are from non-traditional families and we want to give them
the opportunities that they might not otherwise have".
We know this, but that message is being undermined a bit..
To me it's a bit of a Catch-22 but bears thinking about...
Also on the topic of "Demographics" I think the numbers of available
male youth "overall" does not have a close correlation in a lot of the
dropping of numbers.
(See the new addition of calculated available youth to this page under
the Census Chart "Age and Sex of Total Population")
For demographics to be really useful I think they should be reflective
of the Council regions served and compared to that Councils memberships
But USA overall figures (which is the only easy thing for me to easily
look at) seem to indicate that the numbers of available male youth has
not been on the decline since the 90's, but rather has been pretty
stable and even has an upswing..
That would imply a saturation problem or declines due to other factors.
This is further complicated by trying to factor in all the program
changes and perhaps the cleaning up of previous years calculation
overstatements and/or problems.
Robert Riley said:
Also, IMHO, I think there is a high % of single parents with little or
no post high school education. They may not be able to appreciate the
benefits of a program like ours.
One of the things that would hold a lot of attraction for me if I were
a single parent would be a program that prepared my kid to deal with
the realities of the transition to adulthood in tangible ways.
(and if it does to TRUMPET those benefits so that it would seem that
being involved in Scouting was the RIGHT CHOICE for their kids and not
being involved was depriving them of a leg-up...)
- Such as budgeting, fiscal responsibility, resume preparation, etc...
This in addition to the mentoring, role models and wonderful
experiences that are awaiting the kids that they might not otherwise
have would be a persuasive argument.
I think there's several areas of focus.
* The youth - fun and productive, not being seen as negative to be a
* The Parent(s) and/or Guardian(s) - making it be and/or appear more
worthwhile and definely worth the effort.
* The workplace - seen as an incredibly good thing to have in an
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