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Membership Growth? Has your Council, District, Service Area shown growth, how did they do it?

For literally decades the program has seen dropping membership numbers. There must be success stories out there and I would hope that they are shared. I hope to rebuild a Pack and perhaps start a girls troop this year and would love to hear some encouraging stories.

Deliver on the promise of Scouting and your unit will enjoy organic growth.

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For a program to grow, you need 2 things. The first is a good program that holds the scout’s attention and makes them want to stay. The second is for people to know about it. The simple fact is that a good program does not assure growth. Even in cases where it does, the growth is often slow and sporadic. For good growth, you have to tell people what you are doing, why their children should join, and then repeatedly remind them. Every person on this forum knows the brands of Coke, Toyota, McDonald’s. Yet their ads are everywhere. Why, because people forget. Those ads need to be in place during the times of decision. For scouting, we need to keep recruiting all year round. The days of a single spring recruitment are over, we need to be looking for new members all year. Look for new scouts when school activities change, at semester change and at season change.


I really like your opening of a good program that holds the scouts attention and makes them want to stay. I think it is wrong that the JTE allows for 24% attrition annually. At that rate a unit can lose nearly 150% of membership over the 6 years that a youth goes through the program. Growth happens as much or more by retention than by recruiting.

My understanding is that the JTE scorecard objectives were based on the last three years’ average national performance. Councils can set higher goals.

I do not know if ending the BSA/Church of Latter Day Saints alliance at the end of 2019 was allowed to affect the scorecard objectives for 2020-2023.

A past JTE scorecard reviewer.

Hi Bill… I was a professional for 30 years, initially 6 years, then out for 8 when I started a family and as the boys got older I rebuilt a dead pack. We had near zero losses over 3 years and that continued even after I left. We ran a great program and spun a 30 boy pack off of ours. When units have significant losses the district staff needs to take action to help them get the kind of program that retains members. It is a challenge that has become compounded in recent years as in person training is replaced by on line. We have lost a lot of the sharing, mutual support and strengths that we used to have. Personally, I find it frustrating to say the least and this year I hope to rebuild at least one pack and give it the support to be close to a 100% retention program. Wish me luck…

Sorry if I’m a little picky, but a 24% attrition rate equals 80.7% over 6 years, not 150%. If you start with 100 scouts, in 6 years you would have 19 scouts + 1 arm (or leg).

The biggest issue I am seeing is that the local cub scout packs have been nearly wiped out from the pandemic. That is compounded by a committee that doesn’t want to spend any money to recruit outside of the packs. I have managed to get the troop to nearly 100% retention, but I haven’t figured out how to keep them from turning 18 and leaving for college.

Might be fuzzy math but I was figuring recruiting and dropping 24% each year which results in a loss = to roughly 150% of the average annual membership of 100. Great to hear that you hold your Scouts to age 18. That is great work. I have seen Packs with great partner shipping with troops. One Troop put on the pack B&G each year. Den Chiefs, hosting Webelos or a Pack family outing… When Cubs and parents have positive interactions with Troops the kids want to stay in and become Scouts. Keep up the good work!

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