Welcome! This forum has a treasure trove of great info – Scouters helping Scouters! Just a heads up, though - all content, information, and opinions shared on this forum are those of the author, not the BSA.

Scouting Forums

2020 BSA Annual Report

Does anyone know if these numbers are reflective of the start of 2020, or the end of the year? If they are based on chartered numbers, I’d expect it is predominantly:
a) all the scouts who were rechartered at the end of 2019,
b) PLUS all the scouts who joined BSA in 2020 at any level.
This might or might not take into account scouts who left the program through “aging out” or officially withdrawing their membership. If I were creating this report, I’d be quoting the number of scouts the organization had served at any time during the year, so the total would only be items a & b with no subtractions.
The reason I’m asking is that if the numbers are based on something similar to the math above, they don’t reflect any of the effects of COVID or of the bankruptcy ads, other than possibly a smaller increase in new memberships than in a typical year.

1 Like

The 2021 report reflects the number of registrants in the year 2020. It is not specifically stated how the numbers are calculated. I suspect that since registering in the middle of the year then the fee is prorated to the end of the year and re-registration is required at the beginning of the following year. It does follow the same reports of previous years.

Bankruptcy and child abuse cases hit the news in 2019 so there effect on registrations is seen in the 2021 report on 2020!

The Cub scout numbers do reflect COVID because the recruitment drive is typically at the beginning of the fall school term for most councils.

Not only are registrations affected by aging out but also due to scouts obtaining Eagle (Eagle out) and have no where else to apply themselves unless there is a Venturing crew nearby. Boy Scouts should not have age limit but rather be based on grade. Don’t get me started on shortcomings of Venturing.

What do you call a space magician? A flying saucerer

Well, you got me there.

American death percentages have not come close to the percentages of those who are vitamin deficient.

The key to fighting this virus is to avoid the fight in the first place. What reduces the risk of contracting this virus is not vitamins, it’s taking good decisions about who, where and how you associate with people.

Doing my best to follow the oath and law, your position is nonsense.


This conversation is about the annual report report I thought.

1 Like

On a different site they shared the more detailed breakdown. These are end of 2020. It wasn’t clear how recharters factored in, but it was as of 12/31/2020.

Typically bean counters do whatever they can to spin the numbers to look as positive as possible and there is really no hiding from the fact that the BSA is taking huge hits in numbers. These numbers reflect how my are registered. My guess is a significant fewer number are actually participating regularly.

1 Like

What site had details?
If we had breakdown of the number of Lion/Tiger Cubs and Tenderfoot Scouts we could see how many youths newly entered cub scouts and how many Cubs crossed over to Boy Scouts. That would be more telling data.
The report should encompass 1/1/2020 - 12/31/2020

Great point. If the BSA is losing Tiger registrations from the previous year the organization is in trouble…big trouble.

We don’t see the full effect of COVID-19 and last summer’s endless radio ads in these numbers. A very large percentage of units recharter on December 31. My pack dropped about 2/3 of its on-paper members that day.

We do see the effect of the paucity of fall recruiting of Cub Scouts. However, many of those that are usually included in the Decemebr 31 numbers are not truly participating in the program. They signed up for a brief trial in the fall and then exited at recharter time. I did an analysis of my pack’s membership in 2019. Here’s what I found:

Members on January 1, 2019 - 10
New members recruited - 35
Graduated to Scouts BSA - 2
Transferred to another pack - 2
Dropped at recharter - 22
Members on January 1, 2020 - 19

So, they counted us in last year’s annual report as having 41 members. Ridiculous.

I broke down the new members recuited into categories to see what percentage from each recruiting source rechartered for 2020:

Found us on BeAScout.org - 6/8 - 75%
Parent already registered as a district volunteer - 2/2 - 100%
Recruited by a sibling or friend - 2/4 - 50% (one of the two who left transferred to another pack with her brother and was not a “drop”)
Found us on NextDoor app - 1/1 - 100%
Attended a Join Scouting Night at their school and registered on the spot - 1/13 - 8%
Attended a Join Scouting Night at their school and registered before attending a pack event - 0/1 - 0% (parent didn’t have cash or a credit card with her and registered her child as soon as she got home that night)
Attended a Join Scouting Night at their school and then attended two pack events at no cost or obligation before registering - 4/6 - 67%

So, at Deember 31, 2019, I had 41 Scouts on my pack’s roster. However, 13 of them registered, because the DE told them it would only cost $15 or so to try Scouting for the rest of the year, but they had long since stopped participating and never really participated in a meaningful way. Typically, they showed up once or twice and never again. We asked that they pay pack dues (pro rated) at the third event they attended. One girl registered and never came to any events. Her mother returned no emails, phone calls or text messages. I have no idea what she looks like.

When I put this together on a spreadhseet, my DE told me we had done pretty well holding on to our fall recuits. He said it was better than average.

All these extra Scouts in fall 2019, were just an administrative burden and nothing really more than that. The one Scout out of the 14 who were impulse registrations at or after JSNs was a Lion. He earned his rank in Fenruary, but he vanished, when the pandemic arrived.

We attended eight JSNs at local elementary schools in the fall of 2019. We are in a fairly densely populated area. One was at a charter school, and the other seven were public schools. Five of the public schools were grades K-5, one was grades K-1. and the other was grades 2-5. It took a huge effort on the part of our adults. We had at least one Scout register from each school except one. (Oddly, that’s the school my daughter attends. There’s a pack that meets at the church across the street, and I told the parents there that they should join that pack, unless they cannot do meetings on Thursdays.) All that work, and we kept one Scout. It’s hard to say that making Scouting available to one youth could ever not be worth the effort, but it really hurt when the family became COVID-19 ghosts after all we went through to get that one kid.

I was glad that the $25 joining fee was imposed. This deters people from just registering just to see what happens. I think we’ll actually keep more of the Scouts who register.

I expect we’ll see another huge drop in registered youth in the 2022 annual report. I just don’t see recruiting being able to replace all the Scouts who were chased away by the pandemic and the ads we all heard on the radio.

Hopefully, we can put all the things that have been hurting our movement behind us and look at 2021 as a new starting point. We need to look to the future and try to grow from where we are now.


That, of course, entirely depends on how Fall recruiting goes, as well as any spring recruiting those units and councils who are already spinning up can do.

It’s true that the 12/31/20 numbers don’t reflect the true impact of the pandemic, especially for councils who recharter with the calendar year. Any scouts that rechartered early in 2020 and dropped out are still counted in the end-of-year numbers, since registration is for the calendar year. (You can argue whether that makes sense, but the reality is, you have to pick a way to count, and none are perfect.)

Traditionally, 3/1 membership numbers (for councils on the calendar-year recharter cycle) are the lowest of the year, and are the best indicator of currently active scouts. One hopes that the 3/1 membership numbers this year are the absolute nadir from which we can bounce back.

Which is to say, the actual current membership numbers are probably 10-30% less than the 2020 figure, and so even reaching the 2020 numbers will be a challenge.

So, now it all comes down to recruiting this year. The good news is, there are several factors that might help:

  • Vaccines are available and schools and businesses are opening up. Hopefully this summer will look more normal, and the fall even more so.
  • There are a lot of families we might be able to easily reengage, who decided to sit out the last year because their units weren’t active or they weren’t interested in a virtual program.
  • We offer a great outdoor program, and folks who have been stuck inside with their kids for a year might be looking for something new to get them off their screens (to put it bluntly :wink: ).
  • One hopes that the negative press due the bankruptcy will be resolved soon.

That said, I suspect it will be quite some time before we get our membership back up to anywhere near 2019, let alone pre-LDS exit (if that’s even possible). Plus, we also lost a lot of units in the last year, and that will make it a lot harder to recruit in a lot of communities until we can rebuild those units. And while we can hope registration fees will stabilize, finances are still a big issue, especially after the last year.

So, it’s a big challenge, but as you say, hopefully this will be the new starting point we can grow from.

1 Like

Let’s not whitewash things on both ends of the age spectrum:

  • Tigers’ parents could just as readily pile all the kids in the caravan, not worry about needing a second adult, and use $100 registration for a whole lot of activities.
  • Youth who’ve met their scouting goals, pile in their car to the nearest piece of woods, not worry about needing any adult, and use heir $100 registration to keep the tank full.

BSA is pricing itself out of its market … both in terms of dollar cost and the demands on adults.
The pandemic has made it worse. But when it subsides, the basic issues will remain.



Whether there is a huge drop in registration in next year’s annual report can only be partially mitigated by recruiting this year.

My pack had 35 new recruits in 2019, We had zero in 2020. One potential Scout showed up for three activities. His mother told me he preferred another pack he visited once, because they had other second graders,

We didn’t sit on our hands. We got fliers printed and put them in the local pizza shop and heavy-traffic convenience stores. We put yard signs at busy intersections. We created a Facebook presence and posted actively to the page. We ran a Raingutter Regatta in September as a recruiting event. None of it worked at all. The one family that found us did so through BeAScout.org after a Google search.

I’m expecting a better than average recruiting year, but we would need to more than double the avergae recruiting year to make up for the paucity of 2020 recruiting and the Scouts we lost during the pandemic.

I’m optimistic that we’ve added three new Scouts in 2021, including one who vanished during the pandemic. Now, we have two Wolves, Perhaps that would have been enough for us to keep the one that got away last fall. Another parent planning to move to our area contacted us through BeAScout,org. If her child joins our pack, that will give us one Lion.

We have nine Scouts right now, and two are moving away over the summer. At least one more will graduate to a troop by the fall, Perhaps two by the end of the year. Nevertheless, my stretch goal is to recharter with 20 at the end of 2021. I don’t think we can get there, if we don’t get access to the schools to recruit in the fall.

1 Like

This is not an annual report. It is a marketing piece and a two page summary of nothing. What is lacking is vital information about the program, including financial reporting, status of the sexual abuse lawsuit, status of the GSA lawsuit, and any plans for the future. There is zero information on the results of recruiting efforts this past year and there was obviously no effort made to determine who was leaving scouting and why.

In order for this organization to survive and recover, it is going to require a massive change in how it operates and getting focused on mission critical tasks. This includes keeping membership fully informed about issues that impact our ability to recruit and serve scouts, actually listening to membership and asking us how they can best serve us, and providing unit leaders the tools and resources we need in order to be successful in building our units and our program.


Correct. For example here’s the 45 page 2017 Annual report: https://scoutingwire.org/wp-content/uploads/2018/05/2017-Annual-Report-Combined-FINAL-App-Version.pdf which doesn’t include what’s also supplied to congress, the 31 page Treasurer’s Report, the 72 page form 990, and the 52 page 990T.
There’s also a marketing product that’s also included for ceremonial presentations. All of this information is readily available on Scouting.org and also available from other easily located sources.

Interesting - I am finding the opposite - Cub Scouts are burning out of Scouting and doing something else. We are getting kids coming to us between 11-14 looking for a program, looking for Eagle and possible scholarships and formats for community service and skill building. Our retention rate with Cub Scouts is abysmal - maybe 17%? We are however showcasing the flexibility of Scouting and sports and kids who play hockey may miss a bunch of campouts but can still advance and work toward goals and then join back up and hit about 6 months of summer time activity. Part of the challenge is to assure to the Scouts it is not an “either or” proposition - they can do both.

The schools are part of the equation. We routinely invite non-Scouts to attend events with us like PWD, kite making, and even riding bikes or hiking. Once they get an understanding of the experience, they tend to be more interested in joining. A very strong tactic is “try before you buy” events. Local councils would be wise to open BB Gun shooting sports and archery to ay kids and market to non-BSA members. The conversion rate will be higher.

1 Like

@ChristopherDaly - Yes, as you can se from the statistics I posted above, we found roughly 9.6 times greater among Scouts who made a thoughtful decision to register compared with those who made an impusle buy.

Although we’ve tried to stage events open to the general public, no one took the bait last fall.

This topic was automatically closed 7 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.