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Where Do You See Scouting Membership In The Next 5 Years? What Can We Do To Grow The Program?

I don’t agree with the idea of crossing early. Seems to me that except for the year I was the Scoutmaster and the AOL Den Leader, the boys are not ready to crossover to Boy Scouts, even with the 2nd year under them. I think the Den Leaders need to do a better job preparing the boys to be Boy Scouts, rather than continuing to do the “same ole same ole” Den Meeting through 5th grade.

Having been a Den leader myself I totally understand you position. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to have these kids grow up too fast. There is another part of me the sees the changing world and how much more information these kids are taking in at much earlier ages.

The Webelos Program is really about 1 year and a half if a Pack takes the summer off. That means the Webelos 2 (AOL Den) is only together about 6 months or so if meeting resume in say August and they earn the Arrow of Light and can crossover is early as Jan or February. I know some packs to keep them longer but I’m speaking of eligibility to crossover. Since the Webelos 2 time is designed to basically begin visiting Troop meetings and integrating into the Boy Scouts I feel that essentially taking 6 months out of the program and getting them into a Troop would be something to consider. In fact the Arrow of Light Scouting Adventure, which is the final “pin” to earn the Arrow of Light is mostly the requirements to earn the “Scout Rank” in Boy Scouts.

Of course the boys are young when they cross over. That’s why the formation of a new scout patrol to keep the den together with a solid Troop Guide ( or 2) the be that go-to person to teach them the ropes and to keep the bigger and older Scouts at proper distance to speed up the integration is essential to making the transition. As each new Scout matures, and they will at different speeds, can be transitioned into regular patrols when it’s decided they can handle the move up.

Not every idea or thought is a good one, but keeping the discussion up is hopefully a good nugget can be found and used.

Commissioner supporting Venturing and Sea Scouting and Venturing Advisor here. I think it’s important that people here share their suggestions with the Churchill groups, which are currently preparing recommendations to the National Executive Committee for major changes to programming for the BSA. One major change coming is the ending of all youth programs at age 18 and the re-installation of a “core of young adult volunteers over 18” which would be Rovering. For those on here who slighted that program, it’s coming back. It never died in many other countries, and it can serve a positive role here, helping to retain older Scouts beyond 21 upward to 25, giving them a meaningful program of development, bridging the gap until they can feel more comfortable (and trained) to be Scouters. My information is that it’s likely going to happen next year. I’ve been informed personally by BSA CEO Roger Mosby that John Mosby, Assistant CSE, is the contact to forward information to the Churchill groups; both have been responsive to my emails. I formulated a report detailing my recommendations which he confirmed he sent to the groups. He can be reached at john.mosby@scouting.org. One thing I would suggest is to be professional, be positive, and be specific with your suggestions. We’re on a rocky road now, but if we pull together, Scouting will survive this and evolve to be an even better program. Please respect one another’s ideas…we need them all. Yours in Scouting, Ken Pataky


I predict that BSA will not exist in its present format in five years. Not the Boy Scouts of America that was founded over 100 years ago. What is happening is a perfect storm. You have the bankruptcy filing which is impacting every council and district pocket books. You have COVID-19 pandemic which has had a deleterious impact on families and their ability to spend what money they have. You have Councils canceling their summer camps and thus revenue is not coming in. And another nail in the coffin is the BSA’s announcement to mandate an inclusion and diversity merit badge for the rank of Eagle. I was under the impression that the Citizenship Merit Badges were providing that message about civics, democracy and representative form of government. My concern is that Scouting has moved away from its core message and now responds to any socially, politically charged movement of the day. It is not the organization that I had joined when I was a scout. Alas, the shrinking membership, lack of revenue and no sense of direction will lead to the inevitable demise of the Boy Scouts. Hell they even removed Lord Baden Powell’s Statue.2020-06-30T04:00:00Z

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I don’t have a good idea of how this would work. Without reading about it in-depth for other countries, my guess has been that Rovers are their own program, and not “volunteers”. Would these Rovers support traditional units? Or would it just be “another core program”?

My opinion is for the BSA to eliminate STEM Scouts and Exploring (or cut them free). Make 18 year-olds “officially normal adults” and strengthen the core. Get the big body of adults in the district, council, area, region, and national roles back helping the core units. There is too much of a “shadow” Scout program that is insulated from where “real scouting” takes place.

As I was saying upthread… Change is not death, even though some act like it may be.


I grew up in a troop that was probably more of the scout led model, my memory of the scout meetings was game of kick ball. Yes we went camping and Boating and summer camp but there was no rank sign off at meetings or campouts if you wanted to advance you did on your own. I truelly believe that’s why it went from two troops in town when I first joined to one to folding a few years after I aged out. And it was just in my time I remember talking to my father after we started the boys back up and then the girls, it was about summer camp and he mentioned when he went to summer camp no body in his troop took badges he found out later that’s what some of the other troops were doing but his leaders never brought up the possibility. Now maybe because I liked to read and was injury prone each time I tried sports I had the time to get my eagle, but this was without mbc, (besides the ones I earned at camp) truthfully I learned more about the eagle badges as a mbc (at least the ones that were required then on now, and I think it’s great they added family life, personal management and the new badge they are talking about) then I did as a scout. I guess what I sm saying is you got to be flexible ( yes we have done scout master conference and reviews at campouts, but we also do them at meetings) well most of our meetings we do plan for the next activity if we do not have anything coming up we offer instruction ( first aid , knots etc what other the scouts want to work on) the scouts know on campouts if they want to work on merit badges I am there for them if they want to play a game of catch that’s fine to, but at least they know if they want to work scout stuff we are available…yes virus is hitting us hard we had our first meeting last Sunday and plan on more in July and hopefully go camping in August…but I tell we all got to prepared for another shut down ( I am sitting her at my farm next couple of days waiting to hear if people I have been in contact with come back with positive test, I already had to cancel a eagle project work day tommow because if it) I sm saying this I know none of us was prepared when this happened last winter and we all got to be flexible happens again.

Okay, how do we contact “churchill” and tell them this is the worst idea they have presented and why?

I hear about “Churchill” a lot but no idea who they are and they have never asked me anything.

While we have a lot of distractions including the pending Diversity Merit Badge, the constand ads by law firms seeking clients to sue the BSA including the possibility of local councils being sued, the adjustment to girls in all levels of program, and of course Covid-19 and the fact that many youth and local leaders may not have been very active in the program for half a year by the time schools hopefully reopen in September the future of membership and the program is up to us, the grassroots volunteers and our local council leadership. Scouting has not had a true year of growth since the mid 1970’s. We need to return to basics and rebuild not only the quality of local programs but our relationship with local schools and school districts. A high quality, 12 month program creates solid retention and growth. Personally, I expect that with the leadership in most councils and at the National Level that membership will continue to decline but it doesn’t have to. That is the tragedy… Now, if you want my thoughts on how to grow the program, that is another issue.


Talk about good timing. The only thing that’s permanent is change. (That’s from a song from my favorite rock group). The BSA isn’t the same program is was 2 years ago much less back in the day when we had to walk to school uphill in “both” directions in the snow and rain. It’s taken some time for me to adjust to the times but you cannot tell me that every kid of any background, boy or girl, can’t benefit from the Scouting program. The Scouts BSA may not be the same program it was a generation or two ago but it’s one of the best (if not absolute) program available to kids.


So now the BSA is going to become sexist by increasing the new girl member fees? So how is that fair to the girls? IMHO, BSA is passing the lawsuit fees NOT COVERED BY THEIR INSURANCE, into SCOUTS, BSA. The name change was more than just allowing girls into the organization. It is because Boy Scouts of America as an organization had to fix the situation BECAUSE of the lawsuit. They reorganized and changed the name allowing the Boy Scouts of America entity to file for bankruptcy and allowing girls to join as a cover for the name change. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure it out. And yes, I am a troop master for a girls troop.
So once again, by raising fees for new girl troop members, you wish to play with another hornets nest by making girls pay more to join. Really?
As far as the current new fees are concerned, as a troop in a very small and underprivileged rural area of this country, we may not be able to recharter AT ALL. And when the notice of aligning with BLM, I was very tempted to resign. Scouts, BSA said this was "not political ". I’m sorry. When you align with such an organization, it becomes POLITICAL! One can agree with the message without having to support the politics behind it.
Frankly, I see this once proud organization crashing and burning. You’re pricing this organization out of existence. And you’re driving away good leaders and parents away from the organization by making political aliences with organizations like BLM.

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The fee for new members is not gender specific. If you have girls who want to join, have them join before August 1st. If they are a member of any BSA program prior to August 1st, then they will not have to pay the new member fee.

BSA Membership Fee Increase Details and FAQ – UPDATED 6/1/2020


I like your suggestions and yes, focusing efforts on a robust social media presence should be a high priority.

I am happy that my daughter was able to join Scouts BSA but disappointed that her linked troop is really a separate troop even though we function as one. The program should be truly co-ed, integrated. With linked troops we have to have double the adult volunteers for everything and it makes the administration and coordination more difficult.

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Personally, I tend to agree with this, and have since the BSA announced that packs and troops would be accepting female youth. It seems to me that, if there are concerns that chartering organizations will want to maintain separate male and female units rather than implementing mixed gender units, then the BSA could accommodate that by allowing the chartering organization to decide whether to operate co-ed or separate gender units.

If it’s a concern scout-on-scout assault, then it’s not clear why the Venturing, Sea Scout and Exploring programs have been so successful with mixed gender units. It seems like the older ages would be the range where those risks would increase. I haven’t seen any indications that this is the case, or perhaps it’s simply not as public as other problems that the BSA has been facing?

I guess at the root of things, I’d like to see more transparency with the volunteers about what’s being considered and why the BSA is making the decisions it is making. What is the information being presented to the decision-makers that is driving these decisions?

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This has been my response to every person that’s tried to gripe about the changes (Sorry, I know quoting myself can be a bit gauche, but I want to be clear about what I say and what the response is):

There’s not really a way to disagree with that without admitting you’re sexist, racist, or homophobic, or just want to stir up trouble.

I have had very few people that hear that response disagree, and it typically flips the discussion from “But there are gurls in teh troops now!” to “Hey, you mean my GRANDDAUGHTER can do this stuff, too?!”


I have no problem with coed Troops. With that said, It still needs to be up to each charter. With most Troops being sponsored by churches, I would not want the BSA to put a rule down that is in the form of an ultimatum that could create a condition where sponsor could cease support. In time it will happen.


I agree that giving the chartering org the option to operate single-gender or mixed-gender troops, at their discretion, would be a great step forward by the BSA.

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I think the BSA needs to market to youth at the Scouts BSA level. It has always bothered me that little is done to attract youth who were not Cub Scouts.


My understanding is that younger teenage girls develop at a faster rate than boys and having separate single-sex troops allows more boys to participate as leaders,

I predict that units which provide excellent programs with solid adult guidance and that really engage their scouts, and that also do a good job recruiting from their packs, will do well. Those that don’t, won’t.

I say this as someone who has been a DL in a pack that was among the first to adopt family scouting, and who is a TC or ASM in both my son’s and daughter’s troops.

The success/failure of the kid’s scouting experience has nothing to do with whether they are co-ed or not, but has everything to do with how trained, engaged, and organized the parent leadership is.

To add further, I have been engaged with other units as well, and it’s pretty clear that well-run units do very well with size/recruiting/success, and poorly led ones do not.