There was a big scouting media frenzy this side of the pond yesterday. Essentially a big press release that made most national papers and TV channels about the need for more volunteers. Currently 50,000 kids on waiting list and the need for more adults to shift them.
What was interesting though was the reasoning on the numbers. The line from HQ is that while there is a record number of adult members each individual is only able to commit to a smaller amount of time than they would have historically. Hence while the 3:1 child to adult ratio looks like a lot adults it doesn't really tell the full story. Now on a personal anecdotal level this bears out. My troop of 35 scouts can call on 12 adults at full strength. Now if they were all there it would be far too many given that scouts should do as much as they can for themselves. However it's not the full story. Due to various personal, work, academic and family commitments it would be rare to see more than 5 on any given night or event. Indeed I don't think that all 12 have ever been in the same room at once and I think 2 of them have never even met!
However..... if you look "below the line" at the commentators on various website a different story seems to play out. Look at the Guardian and comments from its readers. Various thoughts given but the one that comes up most regularly is that of men scared of having the finger pointed at them either officially or via gossip for behaving inappropriately with children. Now the Guardian is an unashamedly left wing paper. Zip over to the other end of the spectrum at the Daily Mail (makes Fox News look like Socialists!) and you get a very similar pattern. So it doesn't seem to be a let wing v right wing issue.
So I'm not really sure which is the bigger issue, time or fear.
How do things tend to play out your side of the Atlantic? Are these the biggest issues? Which one seems worse? I'm curious!