I’ve reread this thread and there are several interesting ideas to enhance the program which is great once the Scouts are enrolled. How do we get the horses to the water? None of these great ideas are going to mean a lot if kids and parents don’t know about it.
I hate to use the expression "when I was a kid’ but in this case it seems apropos. There was a time when most boys and parents knew about the Boy Scouts and held it in high regard and wanted to be a part of it. Many still do, but not nearly like it was before the internet and social media… I think fewer and fewer parents know much about the program and the boys and girls don’t get the BSA program on their Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram “alerts”.
As fewer parents participate in Scouting as youths, there will be fewer to pass that experience on to their kids which will continue to shrink membership. This is a trend that needs to change. The BSA really needs to get to the parents to steer their kids in to Scouting early! As it was mentioned, kids have many more activities to entice their entrance and the BSA’s recruiting is antiquated.
I haven’t seen research data, but it’s my strong opinion adult and kids spend far more time on the internet and various gaming consoles than watching TV. Someone mentioned how poor the BSA’s YouTube channel was and that was being kind because it’s a dumpster fire. The BSA has to become extremely aggressive on social media. You can darn sure get an alert from some ambulance chaser wanting to get a piece of the lawsuit action but the only Pro-Scout advertisement I get is from sources I’ve already “liked” or “followed”.
How do you draw attention to the BSA program with so many other distractions? It’s going to take some serious “out of the box” ideas. I’m going to ramble a bit with this example of successful recruiting so bear with me. I’m a huge college football fan. Recruiting is the lifeblood of a successful college football program. Oregon used to be a very mediocre team. One day, they decided to come out with these crazy uniform schemes and it caught the eye of the nation. It’s hard to believe that top athletes would go to a school to wear a certain uniform but darned if it didn’t happen. Those crazy uniforms with a good investment in infrastructure created a program in a remote area (as to a top college program) where some of the nations top athletes want to play…My point is that some of the traditional thinking needs to be brought into this century.
Speaking of uniforms, I think an upgrade wouldn’t hurt. I’ve heard the term “brown-shits” as a pejorative on more than one occasion. Can they be made to look “cooler”? To an over 50 Y/O like me they are comfortable and serviceable, but to a 21st century kid? It’s not the kids in the program I’m speaking to, rather the kids and parents that see the uniform. Does it entice them? The various branches of the military are always changes the uniforms.
Uniforms is just one small part of a much bigger challenge the BSA has to get the type of message out that really touches parents and youths in a way that makes them want to try the program.
I’ve got to stop myself. Here’s my feelings in a nut shell: