This was sent out today to some volunteers. Since I didn’t get it myself, thought I would share in case others are interested:
I am sorry to see Mike retire. His Chief’s Corner articles are especially well-written and gave a good view from his seat. I do have a bias since I met him when he was a council SE and was very impressed with his vision at the time. I hope he recovers and finds opportunity to compile his experiences.
My only regret with his tenure is the lack of plain-spokeness as National explored allowing girls to work the Boy Scout program. Family scouting was, and continues to be, a terrible buzzword for what most boots on the ground want for our girls. That is, we want to inculcate in them a vision of the pinnacle scouting experience of hiking and camping independently with their mates. Oddly, that’s the same thing we want for our boys. We think it’s good for them, for their faith, and for their country.
I hope CSE Roger – with more life experience from outside of scouting than in – can build on valuing the act of backyard adventure from the Den-parent’s back yard to the majestic lands and seas that scouts may traverse. That will be hard to do when the pressure is on to market big-ticket scouting to pay mortgages and fund impending litigation. But, I wish him well in the attempt.
[quote=“Qwazse, post:2, topic:155940”]
I hope CSE Roger – with more life experience from outside of scouting than in – can build on valuing the act of backyard adventure from the Den-parent’s back yard to the majestic lands and seas that scouts may traverse.[/quote]
I am really hoping that bringing in someone from outside the organizational structure can help the program recover. I believe that without some major transformation it is only a matter of time before the organization can’t function. We can’t continue the decline in membership forever. My council is one of few showing increases, but if it were not for scholarships we would be declining as well.
Make no mistake - I love the program. I love the ideals even more.
I agree the term “Family Scouting” isn’t clear. To some it might mean “family camping” as in the whole family (no matter the age or gender) goes on all campouts. This isn’t what it means (YPT standards are clear on this), but one can see where that could be confusing.
Our Chartered Org Rep has made it clear that for us “Family Scouting” means the pack meetings, den meetings, boy troop meetings, and girl troop meetings are at the same place and the same time. It also means camp on the same weekends (even if going to a different location), and go to summer camp the same week (even if different site). Not everyone can swing such a large meeting place, but it really seems like “Family Scouting” when Scouts (boy or girl) ages 6-18 are all meeting at the same time. For families, it is easy to plan for.
That is probably the best use of “Family Scouting” right now. If resources allowed, one could even include a Venturing Crew (or two if you want to keep the older scouts apart). One thing is that if the girls and boys go to different sites at the same time, you also need equipment to support that, though for many such wouldn’t be a show stopper.
In the case of two troops, a discussion should occur concerning how much the troops will develop their own personalities. At summer camp one leader of a female troop has already run into that issue. In their case, the girls want much more backpacking that the boys. She wishes now they had different numbers.To be sure, even “separate but equal” can have some hiccups.
Michael B. Surbaugh has been a failure for this great organization. He has presided over the decline of a 100+ year organization and has done very little to stabilize the decline which will continue ,in part, because of his policies. His vision for our organization was muddy at best.
The Executive Board should have stepped in sooner!
Boy Scout membership in the USA is down by 11% in the past 10 years and Cub Scouts have seen their membership drop by 23% during the same time.
Membership decline has accelerated in the last 4 years.
Concerned leaders and parents reading this should be asking, “what now”?
We need to get behind the new CEO and encourage him to educated everyone on the mission of scouting in 2020 . Why are we debating what “Family Scouting” means? We need to have a clear message for families about the benefits of scouting.
Scouting activities are competing with a lot of “stuff”. From sports to electronic games and the wonders of the internet .
The future of this great organization is in doubt and I know we share in Mr Mosby’s concerns that this is something worth fighting for!
Godspeed Mr Mosby!
I disagree. The BSA had been declining for a lot of lot a reasons, for a lot of years. The policies were antiqued and it was becoming quickly irrelevant in the modern world.
Micheal Surbaugh took the helm and made a lot of hard choices, and did a lot of work, in a short time, to correct an obviously bad trajectory. Of course there is going to be fallout from this actions, and we don’t know yet what the results will be, but we definitely know we couldn’t continue the way things were going. He put his neck on the line with some radical changes that, I personally think, were badly needed.
I hope Mr Mosby has half the character Mr Surbaugh demonstrated.
Surely you are not thinking the decline started under him?? It has been declining for a VERY long time. The truth is that BSA chose to engage in a culture war and is suffering the consequences.
No Mr. Wood. I was not suggesting the decline started with Mr Surbaugh.
Maybe I was not clear in my post. BSA membership peaked around 1974. It has been in slow decline since then.
I agree with your post. BSA decided it was a good idea to engage in a culture war and it is losing badly.
BSA had an almost 100 year winning formula before they started tinkering with it. Much like original Coke formula, but with much higher stakes, the new formula will lead to its demise.
After reading other writers praise of Mr Surbaugh’s tenure both here and in other publications, I was pointing out that praise would not be a word I would use. BSA decline accelerated under Surbaugh. The Executive Board should have stepped in years ago.
I wonder if we will have someone post praise for the 80 % increase in BSA dues to pay for insurance.
I prefer to leave Surbaugh in the rear view mirror and focus on the future.
A national campaign to “Save Scouting” might be appropriate. I hope Mr Mosby has a plan.
Happy New Year to all our scout parents!
I will say that bringing in someone from outside the established professional scouters is a good sign. It is well passed time.
I would love to see a save scouting discussion and we need to be open to REAL changes. The huge step would be to stop the bleed of Webelos to Scouts transition. In our pack it is definitely well over 50% loss.
Any time a scout leaves a unit there is about a 50% loss. That is the case whether it is weblos to scouts BSA, Scout troop to Scout troop, because a pack folded, etc.
Stabilizing the health of our units and making for better transitions from Cubs to Scouts BSA is critical to the health of the BSA.
Jim Turley is national president, right? Why does the new Chief Scout Executive also have that “president” title?
Addressing other concerns in this thread, the BSA made good membership policy changes this decade. The BSA did not enter a culture war; it dropped anachronistic policies. Clinging to anachronisms is never a growth model.
I wish these changes could have happened decades earlier! (I think I know why, but it’s still a lost opportunity.)
Anachronistic polices are often the means of fighting a culture war. At any rate, many of the policies are direct contributors to the membership decline. And while we have some improvements, we have a ways to go.
You are spot on. I’m glad to see the changes, too bad we had to suffer for so long before they were made. We do have a long way to go and an uphill battle to fully implement those changes (as anybody involved with girls in cub scouting and girls troops BSA can tell you).
I must be having a different experience.
I am Cubmaster of a huge pack (just rechartered with 115), and the girls are absolutely eating up our program. They are doing great!
We graduated five girl Webelos IIs last year to Scouts BSA, and they are killing it at a local girl-troop that is about as integrated with the boy-troop as it can be and still meet program rules. It’s working very well.
I also just got back from staffing at my council’s winter camp. It was a record-breaking camp size–over 900 youth participants–and about 150 were girls. I led the STEM area, and they were all over my area’s merit badges. They were also eating it up.
The only additional work I see at this time is additional girl-troops, including one at the same chartered org as my pack (which charters the boy-troop that most of my Cub Scouts go to), and that is a problem that will easily be solved once the count of female youth Scouts increases.
I fought for 2 years to get a girl den in spite of my being Assistant CM. We just got a new CM who ushered that in. I just heard from a parent in our pack that my daughter’s presence is a “Distraction” to his 7 year old. My girls on the troop level are discriminated against at every turn and at summer camp the way I saw the girls troop there get treated was abhorrent and clearly sexist (often at the hands of female staff).
Girls are doing well in all aspects of scouting but they have to fight at every turn.
Wow, I am sorry you’re going through that. Our experience couldn’t be more different. Last school year, we had two independent girl dens: a 5th grade den that graduated, and a kindergarten Lion den that is now a larger first grade Tiger den. For all other grades, while we technically have girl dens, they are small, so they simply meet with the boy dens.
I really enjoy having girls with us. They and their parents bring a valuable element to the program, and I am so happy we’re able to give them the same Scouting experience their male friends and brothers had for decades.
We didn’t get a kindergarten girls den this year–none of the five families would stand up to be den leader, and the pack leadership was overwhelmed with recruitment and getting the annual program going to lead it. We are rebooting this effort this month, though. Plans are in action!
As Cubmaster, I was adamant that we are including girls as soon as BSA national permitted it. Due to unfortunate politics, we were run off by our former chartered organization–of all things, a PTA! We moved to a new chartered org, a church that accepts Family Scouting with open arms. As a result, we lost exactly one family, and the pack surged to its largest size in its 49 year history.
One then I don’t understand is the distinct personalities of different troops. We are in our fifth year with the boys even if we never had new kids join us , our 16 year old scouts are not the same as the 11 year olds we started out with. Our troop w it’s the boys and now going on year two with the girls changes each year as new kids join and their enterist changes.
While the scouts grow and change personality, most troops I have seen have a group personality that changes much more slowly. They have certain activities that tend to remain favorites over a long period of time. They have certain annual activities.
Troops that go backpacking a lot, tend to remain troops that backpack a lot. Part of this is that the program attracts scouts that like that program.
Another factor is that the SM imparts some of his/her personality upon the troop.
Did anyone lose site of the fact that scouting is a movement not a static environment