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Reaching Millennials: BSA's Answer Will Cost You...

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#41 cyclops

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 01:17 AM

LOL...I have t-shirts older than you. I know, I know, but some t-shirts are classic (The Who at Red Rocks, Stones at Wembly, etc.).
 
 
Every generation is shaped by their environment. The "Me" generation of the 60s brought you the greed of the 80s. Ironic, isn't it. I have been saying that the Millennials are narcissistic and self-absorbed. Of course they didn't get that way coming out of the womb. They developed that by how society helped share them (common core, the Internet and dual-income parents creating more latch-key kids). So the parents are in part to blame for why the Millennials are the way they are.
 
That said, I am not fully on board with the argument that -- because society has caused Millennials not to trust government and corporations -- that is the reason for the drop in volunteerism for that age group. I volunteer, not out of a sense of duty to my community or for the good of the whole, but because I want MY KID to have the best experience possible. I want them to see that when *I* am involved I care for them, I want to help them (directly or indirectly) and I want them to have a role model they can emulate.
 
I fear many of the self-absorbed Millennials are merely mirroring what their self-absorbed parents taught them.

 

My unit does this for all roles...and yet, unless you hold their hand, the under-30 crowd is more lost than ever. Not sure the answer, but the problem is clear. Few self-motivated thinkers.

 

LOL, I blame all of it on smart phones.


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#42 Krampus

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 05:04 AM

And you have to hold your former Scout, now volunteers hands? Do you think you babysit them any more than older volunteers?


OH no. They're fine. It's the younger parents that are the problem.
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#43 Sentinel947

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 10:39 AM

OH no. They're fine. It's the younger parents that are the problem.

 

Krampus: So are these younger parents millennials? or Gen X? I don't think this is going to get better over time... lol. I don't know if many Millennials can have scout aged kids yet. Most of our current Scouts are born post 2000, and are therefore a different generation that nobody talks about. Then again, I think all this generational stuff is hogwash... so....

 To all: (So nobody in particular)
 

Is this really a generational thing? Or a cultural thing? More and more leaders involved in Scouting have no prior Scouting experience. My Troop Has 8 ASM/SM's. Half of us had Scouting experience as youth, which I feel like is abnormally high.

 

Maybe beyond the selfishness, there's a sense of "I was never a Scout, so I can't possibly help." I think people are smart to avoid volunteer roles that aren't defined to them. (I know my Troop struggles to define role responsibilities). 

​Back to the OP, such a course seems like a waste of time. I know the communicating across generations module at Wood Badge was.

 

Sentinel947


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#44 Eagledad

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 02:24 PM

You are pretty wise for your age Sentinel. And I'm not saying that because your thoughts are basically the same as mine; ok maybe because they are the same as mine. Lol

But I wanted to further your thought on getting volunteers; when it was observed that I had a talent for getting volunteers, the district started using me to fill committee positions. When Comittee Chairman asked me for my secret, I told him I simply asked them personally. I won't go into all the details of getting volunteers, everyone can refer back to your post. But you hit the high points well.

Barry
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"Experience is the hardest teacher. It gives the test first, then the lesson."


#45 MattR

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Posted 26 March 2016 - 10:50 PM

Is this really a generational thing? Or a cultural thing? More and more leaders involved in Scouting have no prior Scouting experience. My Troop Has 8 ASM/SM's. Half of us had Scouting experience as youth, which I feel like is abnormally high.

 

I'm not sure it matters. The adults that are eagle scouts are no more likely to help out than the other parents. It's just that those that do help come up to speed much faster.

 

It gets down to getting to know the parents, and preferably before asking them to do something. I talked to a rabbi that turned a synagogue around and I asked her what her secret was to getting more people involved. She said it's easy; get to know the people. Invite them over. Treat them like guests. Their age has nothing to do with it. In a world that's becoming more impersonal people like the human touch. Granted, this takes time, but the recipe is simple.

 

Isn't this exactly how we treat the scouts? On the one hand we tell scouts that leadership is more about the people than the task. On the other we want parents to follow us into the troop and be a part of the team. We have a new CC and my only request was that we get someone that enjoys talking to people and getting to know them. I want the CC to get to know every parent the way I get to know every scout.


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#46 Krampus

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 06:05 AM

@Sentinel947, the problem folks are the ones under 35. They're more self absorbed than the 35-50 crowd.
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#47 Lurking...

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 02:02 PM

I have found that being an scout of eagle rank does not necessarily make a good adult leader.  They have just as much, if not more trouble transitioning than say a parent of a Cub Scout.  Cub Scout leaders have to be told, the boys are running the program in a boy-led unit.  On the other hand, eagle ranked scouts have to be told, the boys are running the program in a boy-led unit....   I really don't see much difference.  A brand new parent coming into the program has to be taught the set-up of a Boy Scout program.  A Cub Scout leader and former Boy Scout has to be UNTAUGHT old habits then taught the set-up of a Boy Scout program.


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#48 Sentinel947

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 04:05 PM

@Sentinel947, the problem folks are the ones under 35. They're more self absorbed than the 35-50 crowd.

 

I'll buy that. My Troop has exactly one regular volunteer under 35 years old, and it's me. Can't say if I'm more or less self absorbed than anybody else. I'm not the introspective type.


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#49 Eagledad

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Posted 27 March 2016 - 05:12 PM

I have found that being an scout of eagle rank does not necessarily make a good adult leader. They have just as much, if not more trouble transitioning than say a parent of a Cub Scout. Cub Scout leaders have to be told, the boys are running the program in a boy-led unit. On the other hand, eagle ranked scouts have to be told, the boys are running the program in a boy-led unit.... I really don't see much difference. A brand new parent coming into the program has to be taught the set-up of a Boy Scout program. A Cub Scout leader and former Boy Scout has to be UNTAUGHT old habits then taught the set-up of a Boy Scout program.

I have worked with a lot of new adults and new troops, my experience is adults with a youth scouting experience are three years a head of adults without it. Adults who never experienced boy run rarely understand it or its advantages and never really get it. Their programs typically turn into advancement driven troops where the maximum age is around 14.There is only so much scout skills a scout can learn before the program gets boring.

Adults with the youth scouting experience may struggle some at first with boy run because we have to get them past their parenting instinct, but they are so comfortable with the camping and scout skills part of the program, their scouts settle into the program much faster because they are having more fun with the adventure. I had a dozen Eagle ASMs while I was scoutmaster, I can't recall having to untrained any of them.

I also found that adults with no scouting experience had to prove to themselves that they were worthy of being scouts. Their programs were basically their experiment to prove to themselves they were qualified to be scouts, which is one reason they were advance driven. Women Scoutmasters particularly struggled with this problem.

Don't get me wrong, I appreciate all volunteers and their time, but if I had my choice for starting a new troop with new leaders, give me adults with a youth scouting experience every time. We skip the hard stuff and move strait to working on scout growth..

Barry

Edited by Eagledad, 27 March 2016 - 05:13 PM.

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#50 Prepared

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 10:42 AM

Ummm...I am a Millennial and I joined on my own. Also, I already know how to reach the parents in my age group...however, I do not know how to reach the people who are older than me (40s) because they are older with kids that are my son's age and they just want to move past these ages with nothing added on (from what I can see). Very odd that they would make a training class on how to reach people like myself...just talk to them, it is easy...

 

Also, "How to recruit children of Millennial parents" is part of the syllabus...BAH HA HA HA HA...that is too funny...you want to know how to do that, show them the cool things they get to build and have the kids who do it help you tell them, works every time!!


Edited by David14, 05 April 2016 - 10:49 AM.

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#51 Krampus

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 11:19 AM

Ummm...I am a Millennial and I joined on my own. Also, I already know how to reach the parents in my age group...however, I do not know how to reach the people who are older than me (40s) because they are older with kids that are my son's age and they just want to move past these ages with nothing added on (from what I can see). Very odd that they would make a training class on how to reach people like myself...just talk to them, it is easy...


The problem is not talking to Millennial parents. The problems are more complex than that. And while not entirely unique to Millennials, these problems tend to be more and more pervasive with this age group than any other I've encountered in my life time:

  1. Self-Absorbed: More concerned about when tee-time or happy is than with sticking around and participating (or even showing up for) their kid's activities.
  2. Not Problem Solvers: Give them something to do and at the first road block or barrier they throw up their hands and walk away.
  3. Communication Issues: Despite being the generation that grew up with the most variety of communication channels, they seem challenged and managing ANY of them effectively.
  4. Accountability: Rather than admit to any wrong-doing they seem to find a way to blame their lack of (insert topic) on missed emails, missed texts, phone dying, not using voice-mail (why set it up then rather than say "I don't use this so don't leave a message", etc.), not having enough time, or my personal favorite, "I'm very busy". Really? And me running your kid's Scout troop, soccer team and dance group is NOT busy? How'd you like that cruise you went on while we were babysitting your kid at summer camp? Please.
  5. Expertise: Reading a blog about "how to" something and they think they're Bear Grylls.

There are more but these are the ones that come to mind.

 

Whether it's Scouting volunteers or a member of my IT team, I am looking for problem-solving go-getters that will stop at nothing to make EVERYTHING they touch as good as it possibly can be. If I wanted someone to do a halfhearted job and then give up, I'd assign it to a 10 year-old. 


Edited by Krampus, 05 April 2016 - 11:21 AM.

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#52 Prepared

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 11:33 AM

The problem is not talking to Millennial parents. The problems are more complex than that. And while not entirely unique to Millennials, these problems tend to be more and more pervasive with this age group than any other I've encountered in my life time:

  1. Self-Absorbed: More concerned about when tee-time or happy is than with sticking around and participating (or even showing up for) their kid's activities.
    I can see that...in fact I see it a lot in my pack. However, it is about the kids and I try and get my kids so excited about doing something that if the parent does not do it, they feel guilty about it. It is kind of mean, but it works. At first it seemed to not work, but over time I have noticed that we have more participation. We are about to have our spring campout with the pack at the end of the month and it looks like we might actually get the whole pack to camp (normally about half would camp). I feel like getting the parents who REALLY give a hoot about their kids enjoyment is all about getting them to think it is their idea to have their kids be happy
     
  2. Not Problem Solvers: Give them something to do and at the first road block or barrier they throw up their hands and walk away.
    This one I do not see, me being a Millennial myself I really do not see things this way. If I come across an issue, it makes me stronger. It may take me some time to overcome said obstacle, but I will do it. Then again, I "was" a Marine for 9 years and have been in the IT world for almost 14 years...
     
  3. Communication Issues: Despite being the generation that grew up with the most variety of communication channels, they seem challenged and managing ANY of them effectively.
    AGREED
     
  4. Accountability: Rather than admit to any wrong-doing they seem to find a way to blame their lack of (insert topic) on missed emails, missed texts, phone dying, not using voice-mail (why set it up then rather than say "I don't use this so don't leave a message", etc.), not having enough time, or my personal favorite, "I'm very busy". Really? And me running your kid's Scout troop, soccer team and dance group is NOT busy? How'd you like that cruise you went on while we were babysitting your kid at summer camp? Please.
    AGREED
     
  5. Expertise: Reading a blog about "how to" something and they think they're Bear Grylls.
    I sort of fall into this one, but not completely. I read things and then do them and try things out and ask you all and work through them all, but then I know my limits and understand the difference between being an expert and someone who is knowledgeable. Also, this made me really LOL
     

There are more but these are the ones that come to mind.

 

Whether it's Scouting volunteers or a member of my IT team, I am looking for problem-solving go-getters that will stop at nothing to make EVERYTHING they touch as good as it possibly can be. If I wanted someone to do a halfhearted job and then give up, I'd assign it to a 10 year-old. 

I think saying just talk to them was a little to vague. What I really mean is to talk to them about all the important things the kids can learn and how they will learn it. I use the new program slogan of Putting the Outing back in Scouting all the time. Kids need to be outside and parents know this. They do not mind their kids being inside, but would rather get them outside and doing something important. Scouting gets them this and more. It is really how you "pitch" it to the family. I am pretty sure I guilt tripped a couple parents to sign their kids up after talking with the parents while the kids went and played an activity.


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#53 Krampus

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 11:44 AM

I think saying just talk to them was a little to vague. What I really mean is to talk to them about all the important things the kids can learn and how they will learn it. I use the new program slogan of Putting the Outing back in Scouting all the time. Kids need to be outside and parents know this. They do not mind their kids being inside, but would rather get them outside and doing something important. Scouting gets them this and more. It is really how you "pitch" it to the family. I am pretty sure I guilt tripped a couple parents to sign their kids up after talking with the parents while the kids went and played an activity.

 

You seem not to be part of your generation's mold, and that's a good thing. Maybe what BSA really needs is to get Millennials to recruit Millennials. Of course, that begs the question how you recruit Millennials which runs us around the proverbial circle. Feeback loop, anyone? This is the same approach my district took to solving recruiting "minorities". They simply said, "Recruit more minorities, then more minorities will come."

 

At some point I started to channel Basil Fawlty during that round table topic...

2648593-9192882452-basil.gif


Edited by Krampus, 05 April 2016 - 11:44 AM.

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#54 Prepared

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 11:56 AM

You seem not to be part of your generation's mold,

I am in no way a millennial mold...I feel like I could have been if I had not been through the things I have been through though. However, I understand them (for the most part). It is not about recruiting millennial parents or in your council's case minorities, it is about recruiting their kids. Yes, the parents have the final say on what their child does, but at some point the parent will cave and allow their kid to the be a kid and enjoy scouting for what it is. When my son joined, he joined because I made him. However, he wouldn't leave it for anything now. He enjoys the time with friends and being outside and doing the things that he can do in scouting. Yesterday, we went to a troop meeting for his AOL and he asked questions and added things to what the boy scouts were talking about. To me that makes me proud. He has learned so much that he could have learned on his own with me, but with his friends seems to work 100% better than alone.This is the "secret" thing recruitment needs to use. The kids (although not completely) decide what they want. If the scouting was the old way of indoor craftivities, most kids would not want to do it.  The move to the outdoor thing is going to help get more kids involved, because most boys just want to be outside with their friends, which is exactly what scouting is...


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#55 Krampus

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Posted 05 April 2016 - 12:21 PM

However, I understand them (for the most part). It is not about recruiting millennial parents or in your council's case minorities, it is about recruiting their kids.


Recruiting their kids is not problem. We have that covered. We show them archery (own 50 bows/1000 arrows), tomahawks (own 25 plus homemade 4x4 wooden targets), slingshots (own 10, use dog kibble as shot), have own clay thrower for shotguns, do water and Estes-style rockets, build rat-trap racers, canoeing, climbing, go karts, etc. We can hook them in. Had a Scout make a recruiting video where he replicated an entire summer camp in Minecraft. We play that at open house and the kids go insane. Getting kids is never the problem...thankfully.

 

It is back-filling for the older parents that leave that remains the issue.


Edited by Krampus, 05 April 2016 - 12:21 PM.

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#56 MtnScouter

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Posted 10 April 2016 - 11:26 AM

The kid was spot on in this case. Dad ONLY works during the week. The rest of the time after work and on weekends is all about dad. Sits in the car during his kid's soccer games. Goes to Starbucks and surfs wifi during daughter's dance class. Golf's rather than spending time with other son. The list goes on.
 

Sorry, but the reason you have kids is to spend time nurturing them. Glad to see the kid is NOT is father's son.

 

Fathers take weekends off, Dads work 7 days a week, 24 hours a day at the best job in the world, being a DAD. *Puffs out chest*


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#57 Prepared

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 11:06 AM

Recruiting their kids is not problem. We have that covered. We show them archery (own 50 bows/1000 arrows), tomahawks (own 25 plus homemade 4x4 wooden targets), slingshots (own 10, use dog kibble as shot), have own clay thrower for shotguns, do water and Estes-style rockets, build rat-trap racers, canoeing, climbing, go karts, etc. We can hook them in. Had a Scout make a recruiting video where he replicated an entire summer camp in Minecraft. We play that at open house and the kids go insane. Getting kids is never the problem...thankfully.

 

It is back-filling for the older parents that leave that remains the issue.

Ahh, I guess I misunderstood the point of it all. Leadership wise, I say find those Eagle Millennial scouts and get them into the leadership position worked for me. My Assistant Cub Master is slightly younger than me and was an Eagle. He has a lot to learn about being outgoing and being in front of kids in the manner I am, but he is slowly getting there. After that I really believe it is about finding the gems that are active even though they are not a leader, then tagging them for leadership positions. I am at the Cub Scout level (for now) so my experience is a little different than most of you, but I really feel like Millennial adults are only difficult to bring in as leaders if they have no experience at all in scouting, outdoors, or military.


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#58 Krampus

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Posted 11 April 2016 - 11:27 AM

Ahh, I guess I misunderstood the point of it all. Leadership wise, I say find those Eagle Millennial scouts and get them into the leadership position worked for me. My Assistant Cub Master is slightly younger than me and was an Eagle. He has a lot to learn about being outgoing and being in front of kids in the manner I am, but he is slowly getting there.


Not everyone is going to be the same with kids. My ADL and ACM were so uptight in front of the kids but they were great behind the scenes. They were patient as Job, but did not have the rapport with the kids I did. To each his own.
 

After that I really believe it is about finding the gems that are active even though they are not a leader, then tagging them for leadership positions. I am at the Cub Scout level (for now) so my experience is a little different than most of you, but I really feel like Millennial adults are only difficult to bring in as leaders if they have no experience at all in scouting, outdoors, or military.


I think that is true of any parent. If they don't know Scouting it is harder to bring them in. If they are not Americans and do not have exposure to Scouting I think that makes them even harder to bring in.

 

Maybe the generational issue is that the current 40-50-somethings that are volunteers had their kids later in life and were more established as parents, professionally, etc.; whereas the Millennials had kids (by and large) comparatively earlier and may still feel that "me factor" that compels some of them to focus on their needs rather than on those of their kids.

 

Would love to see some studies on the issue from professionals. Would make interesting reading.


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