If the question is about what policies will actually increase membership we need to roll back policies and failed marketing decisions starting at the beginning:
- Rescind the ageist policy on rank advancement imposed in the late 60s. Allow adults to continue to earn rank advancement so long as they are registered leaders in a troop.
- Acknowledge that leaders and youth who may be atheists can also be showing reverence by supporting the religious freedom of their fellow scouts.
- Remove all professional programs that incentivize membership numbers. A scout is trustworthy, but an executive whose paycheck is on the line may not be.
- Promote the aspirational concept of being a 1st Class Scout. Declare: First Class, first year is a lie. The skills therein are difficult to master.
- Get beyond the loggerheads of Seaton and Lowe and publicly invite members of GS/USA to national and world Jamborees.
- Peg registration fees to the cost of a large pizza and beverage. If it costs a venturer more than that, they will consider using their dimes on hiking and camping independently with their mates.
- Independent patrol overnights. ‘Nuff said.
- Report the empirical evidence undergirding each safety rule. The long term risk of cardiovascular disease due to inactivity should also be reported.
- Drop Scouts BSA, and restore the Boy Scout program. Add a parallel program called BSA for Girls. Treat them as parallel programs until American girls and boys are welcome to be in the same patrol camp under the same tent (personally, I’m fine if that’s a long way off … but that may be my Arab heritage talking).
- All councils should be named after the largest city in their boundaries. Communities that would rather be named after a nearer, smaller city may assemble the funds and recruit the COs to start their own council.
- Plain old ascii project workbook book. MB pamphlet covers in two color with minimum cost. Rescind instapalms. And generally be plain spoken. Especially in these 21st century surveys that are intended to promote certain initiatives rather than decide on policy.
- Finally get us green shirts off our high horses regarding “venturer” and “venture scouts”. The former was born out of some bizarre passion to be different, the latter makes more sense and is a whole lot easier to market.
That’s my short list. Work it from top to bottom. See growth. Otherwise, expect our numbers to halve again in five years.