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LDS Dropping Senior Youth Scouting


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#41 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 01:41 PM

One overlooked point is that a lot of LDS boys join BSA because LDS tells them to do so. "This is a good organization for boys, and you should join it." And so they do. Will some of the boys stay in BSA outside of LDS units? Undoubtedly. But I bet most of them will leave for whatever church-approved activity is next promoted by LDS. Most of those boys are gone.

 

Actually it is my understanding that boys of the correct age in the LDS church are automatically registered in the appropriate level of Scouting regardless of whether they ask to be or not.  The LDS Church pays the fees.  In other words, the LDS Church does not say "you should join", they say "you HAVE joined."  The boys are then automatically moved along to the next level in the LDS Scouting program.  In other words, when they turn 14, they are not asked whether they wish to move from the Boy Scout troop to the Varsity team.  They are moved.

 

Based on what I have read, some do not even participate, even though they are registered, but the large majority do participate, because the LDS version of the BSA program is the official youth organization of the LDS.  But now it is only for those ages 8-13.

 

I am not saying that everybody or even a majority would "vote with their feet" and join a non-LDS troop where they can remain in the troop until they are 18 or join a "regular" Venturing crew when they individually decide to, not automatically at age 16.  But I think some would make that choice.


Edited by NJCubScouter, 11 May 2017 - 01:42 PM.

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#42 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 02:00 PM

How will the BSA deal with this reduced revenue?
 
First of all, there may be some reduced expense associated with the reduced revenue, so the reduction is not necessarily the full amount the BSA currently receives from the LDS church.
 
Second, whatever the net loss may be, the BSA has the same options for dealing with lost revenue as everybody else:
 
1. Reduce staff.  There are some comments above that doubt BSA's ability to do that, but I recall at least one major staff cutback at National during the time I have been reading this forum.  Maybe there has been more than one.  I suspect that there will be some staff reduction as a result of this.  (The following is not about national, but I suspect there will be a few councils, such as those in Utah, where a very large proportion of revenue is lost, and the councils merge or disappear.  But that is nothing new either, when I was a Scout there were probably more than 20 councils in New Jersey, now there are 6 or 7.  I don't know what that did to the total number of paid council staffers in NJ, but I can guess.)
 
2. Cut the top salaries at National.  This probably won't happen, but it probably should regardless oef this latest news.
 
3. Sell properties.  I know that isn't very popular around here, but it has to be an option when revenues are declining.
 
4. Increase fees, increase costs of products (uniforms), increase the hard-sell of useless knicknacks from the national supply catalog, etc. etc.  Fee increases and price increases will not make people happy - just like all the other times this has happened.
 
5. Cut other expenses.  Maybe stop printing some publications altogether and go all-digital.  I would hate to see this happen, but this is the way things are going, and not just in Scouting.
 
The BSA will survive this, even if the LDS Church goes its own way completely. They will do what they have to do.

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#43 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 02:05 PM

Most districts around me are hosted by LDS Churches. Looks like we will need to look for someone else to host us monthly. Good luck with that.

 

The LDS church has not cut its ties with the BSA.  They have pulled out of the two smallest traditional Scouting programs.  There is no logical reason why your districts would not be able to meet where they meet now.


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#44 Lurking...

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 02:33 PM

LDS has not cut Cub Scouts or Boy Scouts, only Varsity and Venturing.  Venturing is pretty much dead weight with our council.  I ran a Crew for 13 years and it survived in longevity longer than most.  Getting Crews started is impossible.  I have tried as well as many others.  Just ain't gonna happen 'round here.

 

Varsity?  Don't know of any in the council.

 

So Boy Scouts runs only from 11 - 14?  Okay, that's at church expense, but any boy that wants to continue can do so with a $1 transfer to a non-LDS troop at his own expense.

 

I don't see this as a real panic attack moment where all-male scouting needs to be thrown under the bus. 

 

BSA has shot itself in the foot.  There's no reason to shoot the other one, too.


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#45 fred johnson

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 02:53 PM

I'm with Stosh on this.  It is possible that the article should be taken on face value.  Varsity and Venturing are hard to implement and do not meet the objectives of the LDS church.  

 

Beyond $$$, I'm not sure this is that big of news.  I know several LDS Eagle scouts who value scouting because of scouting ... not because of the LDS youth component.  There will be a membership hit, but I bet it's not that bad.  Lost varsity and venturing membership will be seen as some troop growth.  I doubt troops will be affected as those over 14 in a troop would continue in the troop.

 

In my opinion, this could be good.  Varsity is an unknown and poorly supported and poorly understood program.  Venturing is usually not a real long term option.  

 

BSA might save money not having to describe Varsity scouting yet again.  BSA might do better to ditch the Venturing model and create something new and different ... like troop young adult partners ... or college reserves.


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#46 Col. Flagg

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 02:58 PM

The LDS church has not cut its ties with the BSA.  They have pulled out of the two smallest traditional Scouting programs.  There is no logical reason why your districts would not be able to meet where they meet now.

 

But there is no guarantee that they will either. This will be a slow pull back, but I expect it to be a complete pull pack at some point. It is only a matter of time before they replace the 11-13 LDS Boy Scout program with something else. At that point, what incentive does the local LDS Church have in hosting district meetings?


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#47 fred johnson

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:04 PM

I think we'll continue to see changes like the LDS because BSA has played a grey area trying to be all things to everyone.  Open but filtering membership.  Faith based but recruiting from public schools.  Boy only but needing adult female mom help.  
 
IMHO, BSA will always have a faith based component at the heart of the program.  It will always have citizenship.  Always have outdoors.  Always promote skills and responsibility.  
 
Getting to a more consistent core program is important.  
 
The rest is noise and BSA will survive it.  A hundred years from now BSA will look very much like BSA.  Even with girls.  Even with irrational liberal democrats. 

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#48 fred johnson

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:06 PM

But there is no guarantee that they will either. This will be a slow pull back, but I expect it to be a complete pull pack at some point. It is only a matter of time before they replace the 11-13 LDS Boy Scout program with something else. At that point, what incentive does the local LDS Church have in hosting district meetings?

 

I'm not so sure on this.  Camp fires and ceremonies and new experiences is the perfect environment for a young faith based program.  Perhaps it's Varsity and Venturing that did not serve well as a youth faith program.


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#49 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:12 PM

But there is no guarantee that they will either. This will be a slow pull back, but I expect it to be a complete pull pack at some point. It is only a matter of time before they replace the 11-13 LDS Boy Scout program with something else. At that point, what incentive does the local LDS Church have in hosting district meetings?

 

Guarantee?  There is no guarantee that when I go to sleep tonight, I will ever wake up.  Or of anything else, really.

 

If your district has to find a new place to meet, they will find a new place to meet.  My district was meeting in the facility of a company that decided to donate its space for evening use every two weeks by the district, until they decided not to.  So now the district meets in two different places, a school and an American Legion hall.  It happens.

 

You will have to excuse me if I do not join the sky-is-falling crowd on this issue. The sky, and the BSA, will remain where they are.


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#50 NJCubScouter

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:28 PM

I do think the Varsity "program" will disappear as a result of this.  It is my understanding that virtually all Varsity teams are LDS units, so if they are not using it anymore, there really is no need for it.  They can "re-purpose" the "blaze" shoulder loops for Venture Patrols in troops, which is how some troops near me use them now anyway.  I think Venturing will survive.  


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#51 Sentinel947

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:28 PM

This doesn't look as bad as I thought at first glance. My area won't see too much impact from this, but change is scary.
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#52 Gwaihir

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 03:35 PM

LOL, not one scouting organization in North America increased membership after it switched to include the other genders, lifestyle and non religious (3Gs). Accepting girls will make progressives happy, but it will not fix the membership or revenue struggles. In fact it will likely exacerbate the problems for the near future until National adjust the program to fit a more urban lifestyle.

 

As for civic organization vs. religious institutions, the political environment is discouraging civic organizations from getting into the outdoor youth programs. They will likely decrease their support instead of increase.

 

Ironically the religious institutions took on the BSA because their missions are similar for youth. The religious institutions, more than most civic COs, have the most motivation for a Scouting program simply because of the the BSA mission.

 

I think what the progressives really want is to change the BSA Mission so that religion isn't a critical element of the program. But going that direction will only add to the heated cultural tension, so it won't increase membership or funding either.

 

What scouting is today is as good as it will ever be. The future is less boy run (youth run), less outdoors, and less personal decision making. 

 

Barry

 

this. 


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#53 JasonG172

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 04:00 PM

We need to refocus and get Scouting back in the hands of the volunteers, the unit level volunteers.  Too many paid scouters are completely out of touch with the units and the non LDS chartered units. 

 

A FREAKIN MEN!


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#54 Col. Flagg

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 04:38 PM

You will have to excuse me if I do not join the sky-is-falling crowd on this issue. The sky, and the BSA, will remain where they are.

 

I haven't seen any of that. What I have seen:

  • A concern that the potential for 200,000+ kids and adults leaving an organization will have a real (and felt) financial impact on the rest of us.
     
  • Concern that this is Step 1 of a multi-step process of the LDS leaving BSA entirely. This would mean over 500,000+ kids and adults leaving the program.
     
  • Discussion around how BSA will (over) react to this news and make further poor choices with regard to 1) program tinkering, and 2) membership policy changes (read: allowing girls in Boy Scouts).

No one sitting at their dinner table of New Year's Eve 2012 would have guessed in just five years that there would be two major policy changes and the loss of 200,000+ members. We keep hearing about how positive these changes have been, but the bottom line has been a loss of members, volunteers, charter orgs, units and money. 

 

Imagine what BSA will look like in 5 years at THIS rate? Sure BSA will be around...but will it even be a shadow of what it was in 2012?


Edited by Col. Flagg, 11 May 2017 - 04:39 PM.

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#55 Back Pack

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:08 PM

Only this forum would someone see the loss of that many people as positive.

That's a huge hit. It will be felt and it won't be the last.
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#56 desertrat77

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:12 PM

I'm not worried.  National assured me that STEM and soccer are the keys to success.


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#57 desertrat77

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:17 PM

Only this forum would someone see the loss of that many people as positive.

That's a huge hit. It will be felt and it won't be the last.

+1

 

Well said.


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#58 UncleP

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:20 PM

Benjamin Franklin said "It is better to be silent and thought a fool, rather than to speak up and remove all doubt."  That has been one of my guiding principles, but this one time I will not follow it.

 

I saw the news about the change on TV, and realize that it will be a hard loss to accommodate.  But counter-intuitively, it might in the long run benefit BSA:

 

1.  Sometimes getting smaller helps an organization to re-focus on its mission.  Such as a football team getting rid of fancy plays and going back to "three yards and a cloud of dust" type play.

 

2.  Being smaller and more cohesive may make decision making more straightforward, and

 

3.  It has been my observation that organizations do not change because they SHOULD, but that organizations change because they MUST.  Maybe this change will force leadership to make changes and improvements that hurt, but in the long term are beneficial.

 

A smaller better BSA (even with all the pain involved), might be better than a larger lower quality organization.


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#59 Lurking...

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:31 PM

When I was in college back in the early 70's in one of my business classes it was noted that "General Motors is too big to fail.."  It would be a disaster to the world economy.  Well, 40 years later we have GM collapsing and the taxpayer has to bail them out....yet in my lifetime!  Well, the world didn't come to an end, the streetlights came on that evening and they held school the next day.  Still had to go to work.  Life went on.  It was kinda like the Y2K hype that we all heard about for 10 years before....NOTHING HAPPENED.

 

BSA has palmed one too many cards in this game of poker and how now to play out it's hand.  They might think they have the winning hand, but so far, everyone's playing it close to the vest.  I guess we'll find out right quick on this whole thing.

 

I'm not a bettin' man, but I'm willing to lay out 2-cents that says this is gonna hurt for a while until BSA gets its head out of the sand.  Quicker the better.


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#60 desertrat77

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Posted 11 May 2017 - 05:32 PM

Benjamin Franklin said "It is better to be silent and thought a fool, rather than to speak up and remove all doubt."  That has been one of my guiding principles, but this one time I will not follow it.

 

I saw the news about the change on TV, and realize that it will be a hard loss to accommodate.  But counter-intuitively, it might in the long run benefit BSA:

 

1.  Sometimes getting smaller helps an organization to re-focus on its mission.  Such as a football team getting rid of fancy plays and going back to "three yards and a cloud of dust" type play.

 

2.  Being smaller and more cohesive may make decision making more straightforward, and

 

3.  It has been my observation that organizations do not change because they SHOULD, but that organizations change because they MUST.  Maybe this change will force leadership to make changes and improvements that hurt, but in the long term are beneficial.

 

A smaller better BSA (even with all the pain involved), might be better than a larger lower quality organization.

 

Agreed!

 

The BSA needs to dump a bunch of stuff, and get re-focused on outdoors and high adventure.

 

The problem is there are too many leaders in positions of influence that don't think much of the outdoors. 


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