Scholarly analysis of the Improved Scouting Program and Membership Decline


Here is an excerpt of a fascinating academic paper on Boy Scouts of America membership trends from its foundation through to publication. This section concerns the abject failure of SCOUTING/USA, SCOUT:B.S.A. and the Improved Scouting Program of 1971.

Written in 2016, Cartographic Depiction and Exploration of the Boy Scouts of America’s Historical Membership Patterns is a master’s thesis by University of Kansas graduate student Matthew Finn Hubbard.

The paper is well worth reading. It’s a quantitative analysis of BSA membership trends by geography over time. Hubbard’s main interest is “scout density” as a function of “available boys” or put another way, “What fraction of school-age boys are involved with the Boy Scouts of America” and how that fraction varied over the years.

He has a secondary interest in the contrast of rural and urban membership density. The insight is bolstered by factual discussion of related events and trends, such as the Great Depression (economic deprivation) and demographic disruptions (the Baby Boomers). He uses available membership data from counterpart organizations like Future Farmers of America and the Girls Scouts of the United States of America to differentiate membership fluctuations as a function of broad secular trends (i.e., market risk) and narrow BSA policy decisions (i.e., company risk).

Continue reading “Scholarly analysis of the Improved Scouting Program and Membership Decline”

#FakeScouts Canada


This is a follow on to the last post, Coed Membership Failure: SCOUTS/CANADA.

Not only will Scouts/Canada not exist in a few short years, it’s not even actual scouting boy or otherwise.

Get a load of their watered down, meaningless and wholly converged “Scout Promise” and “Law.” It’s laughable if you can keep from weeping:

The Scout Promise

On my honour;
I promise that I will do my best;
To do my duty to God and the Queen;
To help other people at all times;
and to carry out the spirit of the Scout Law.

The Scout Law

A Scout is helpful and trustworthy,
Kind and cheerful,
Considerate and clean,
and Wise in the use of all resources.

Source: http://www.scouts.ca/about/values/

No wonder Canadian boys will have nothing to do with unsexed “scouting.” Soon their North American cousins will join them.

Coed Membership Failure: SCOUTS/CANADA


If I’ve heard it once I’ve heard it a hundred times.

“Yeah but the whole rest of the world’s scouts are coed and they’re doing just fine. Huah.”

Except, not.

If the 35 year trend holds, there won’t be a SCOUTS/CANADA in five years.

Source: http://www.scoutscan.com/issues/membership.html

The Disastrous Scouting/USA and 8th Edition of the Handbook


This worthy entry is from the authoritative Troop 97 collection of handbooks used by B.S.A. Inc.

the 8th edition of the handbook spelled out the ultra cool, modern and absolutely not “square” Improved Scouting, branded as “Scouting/USA.”  It introduced American boys to abusable street drugs, race consciousness, the generic World Scouting “left handed handshake”, premarital sex, metal belt loops for “achievements” (revised Cub Scout program ringing a bell here?) red berets, and most importantly, in consideration for their blatant currying of “inner city youth”, did it at a sixth-grade reading level.

The Troop 97 webpage describes Improved Scouting,

BSA

Boy Scout Handbook introduced in 1972

The 1970s decade was a dark time for the Boy Scouts of America. The period from 1972-80 was a national disaster, when BSA membership declined nationwide by 34% (a loss of 2.2 million members)! Although many changes in our society had an adverse impact on all youth programs, much of the cause for the drastic BSA membership decline was due to the radically changed Scout program of the period.

In 1972, the BSA made sudden and radical changes to the Scouting program, abandoning much of the traditional outdoor program, and applying inner-city programming to ALL of Scouting (what to do if lost?—The new Scout handbook’s entire “Lost” section showed a boy talking to a policeman with the instructions, “Ask for directions to find the way”). New, “politically-correct” terminology defined the era (the BSA had no “boys” or “Boy Scouts” because “boy” was considered demeaning; no longer an outdoorsman, the Scoutmaster became a “manager of learning” who taught Scouts the 11 “leadership competencies;” he guided Scouts through “personal growth agreement conferences” as they advanced through the various “progress awards.”)

The BSA began modifying the short-lived “Improved Scouting Program” in 1975, and finally scrapped the program in 1978-79, after only six years of use. The program stands in sharp contrast to Scouting before 1972 or since 1978.

During the 1970s, the BSA finally updated its heavy-impact conservation practices to modern low-impact policies designed to protect our rapidly dwindling outdoor resources.

BSA membership peaked at 6.5 million in 1972, and reached bottom in 1980 with 4.3 million.

8th Edition—Scout Handbook (1972-1979)

This edition represents the most radical change in Handbook content the BSA ever made. It introduced more new concepts and deleted more traditional subjects than any other edition. The drastic program changes it presented were a disastrous failure for Scouting. From September 1, 1972, through the end of 1977, the “Improved Scouting Program” de-emphasized camping by making outdoor skills optional in the lower three ranks and by eliminating outdoor merit badges from the required list for the higher three ranks (the Eagle list dropped Camping, Cooking, Nature, Swimming, Lifesaving). The new program also extended inner-city programming to ALL of Scouting. (The Handbook’s entire section on “Lost” shows a drawing of a boy talking to a policeman, with the text: “Ask for directions to find the way.”). The Scouting program represented by this Handbook stands in sharp contrast to Scouting before 1972 or since 1978.

The 8th Edition leaves out a lot of other traditional Handbook information: how to wear a neckerchief, when to wear the uniform, lashings, stars, fire without matches, tracking/trailing, silent signals, semaphore and Morse signaling, edible wild plants, finding directions without a compass.

Continue reading “The Disastrous Scouting/USA and 8th Edition of the Handbook”

How Scouting was Saved in ’79 – Scouting Rediscovered


How Scouting was Saved in ’79

There is a period in the history of the Boy Scouts of America that not many people like to talk about.

Some of you may have heard the story before; some of you may have lived through it. I think it is vitally important for all Scouters to know because of what it teaches us about Scouting and its place in the modern world.

It was the late 1960’s, and youth membership in the BSA began to decline. People weren’t quite sure why. Some suspected that the modern world was starting to outgrow the traditional framework of Scouting. Everyone agreed that we still needed a good youth organization… but maybe the stuff of the past didn’t really appeal to boys anymore.

So, in the spirit of the time, we set to work crafting an “Improved Scouting Program”. This was going to be a modern program that fit the needs of the modern boy. We went back to the drawing board and reworked advancement, leadership, and the entire Scouting program. Finally, it was ready to launch.

Continue reading “How Scouting was Saved in ’79 – Scouting Rediscovered”

A Boy Scout’s Lament


Further down the disqus comments is this poignant comment by a First Class Boy Scout. It might have been written by my own son or any of his brother scouts:

 

Hey boys need time to be boys and I’m thirteen a first class boy scout.there would be so many more problems like boys and girls sharing the same tent.there is something call venture scouts it is a boy girl program just like scouts but I think boys join boy scouts partly to just be boys with their friends

A Father’s Lament


From the “Bryan on Scouting” blog interview with Chief Cuck Michael Surbaugh.

(You know the video – Bryan is full squish soyboy and Surbaugh can’t help blushing for the outrageous whoppers he lobs at us.)

 

To BSA’s leadership:
You guys are captains of industry and I’m not.
You are all millionaires many times over and I’m not.
You are probably graduates of Ivy League schools and geniuses, and I’m not. I’m just a regular dad.

But I’ll tell you this: I am the gatekeeper to your access to my son, and that’s not going to change.

I don’t need scouting to do fun things with my son. We can go fishing and backpacking and all the rest all on our own just fine. And truthfully, the hassle factor is a lot less.

So, you should ask yourselves why someone like me is involved in scouting, and the answer is values. I want some help transmitting a certain set of values to my son and I enjoy being part of an organization that shares those values. So when you start tinkering with those values you are altering our relationship at a fundamental level and causing me to question that relationship.

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Trail Life USA Founder Assails Condom Policy at Boy Scouts Jamboree


Trail Life USA Founder Assails Condom Policy at Boy Scouts Jamboree

Folks, the institutional collapse of the Boy Scouts of America is one of the more stunning indicators of our nation’ moral and spiritual decline. (See my comments to AFA’s One News Now regarding the Mormon Church pulling out of the Scouts.) John Stemberger, founder and chairman of the board of Trail Life USA, deserves great credit for creating this Christian alternative to the corrupt–Trump would say “failing”–“Scouts BSA.” You cannot mix sexual perversion (proud homosexuality) with wholesomeness, wrong with right, and sin with “reverence” toward God–and still preserve the trust of parents and churches. We’ll be on the lookout for the Scouts to introduce “Safer Sodomy” (“safer sex”) merit badges anytime now. (I hope that’s a joke.) — Peter LaBarbera, AFTAH; Twitter: @PeterLaBarbera

Continue reading “Trail Life USA Founder Assails Condom Policy at Boy Scouts Jamboree”

THEY NEVER QUIT: Atheists “Tell congressman Boy Scouts still discriminate”


Action Alert

Tell congressman Boy Scouts still discriminate

We, as a secular nation, must not tolerate ongoing discrimination by the Boy Scouts of America. And our leaders shouldn’t either.

Recently, Rep. Matt Cartwright, D-Pa., sent out an email praising the Boy Scouts of America (soon to be “Scouts BSA”) for welcoming girls into the organization. But the Boy Scouts of America have not dismantled all of its barriers. It still has a rule barring atheists and nonreligious members.

Please tell Cartwright that by stigmatizing the nearly one-quarter of Americans who are not religious, the Boy Scouts are weakening and dividing the community. Any bigotry is ugly and socially unacceptable.

The Boy Scouts may have started to shed its Religious Right image when it repealed its prohibition against gay boys, announced it would accept transgender boys, and inviting girls to join. But one thing is clear: Nonreligious boys (and now girls) and their families are still not welcome in the Boy Scouts. This attitude is not only ugly and discriminatory, but verges on head-in-the-sand regressive.

Ask Cartwright to demand an end to this un-American and hypocritical exclusion of atheists and other nonreligious children!

CONTACT

Please bombard Cartwright’s Facebook page, where he has requested stories about the Boy Scouts or other organizations to be posted, with comments demanding an end to the scouts divisive policy. Feel free to utilize the talking points we have included at the bottom of this email Action Alert.

You might also take further action by utilizing social media to contact Boy Scouts USA on its Facebook page and by tweeting to the Chief Scout Executive at @BSAchief, or to the Boy Scouts of America’s official Twitter account at @boyscouts.

If you have a Twitter account you might tweet a message such as:

@boyscouts After lifting LGBTQ bans and now accepting girls, it’s time for BSA to repeal its bigoted policy to exclude the nonreligious.

BACKGROUND

The official position of the Boy Scouts of America — “No member can grow into the best kind of citizen without recognizing his obligation to God” — turns secular boys into pariahs and second-class citizens, and defames nonbelief.

Furthermore, Boy Scouts has a congressional charter as a fraternal (not a religious group), and the president serves as the honorary commander in chief, all additional reasons why its religiously discriminatory policy must go.

While many local troops undoubtedly look the other way, Boy Scouts officially pushes a Declaration of Religious Principles. Leaders have even turned away crying 6-year-olds from recruitment events held in public schools after advertising that “Any boy may join.”

The Girl Scouts scrapped its requirements long ago that girls, to join, must believe in a God. While the group did not drop religion from its oath, it announced an official position that girls need not be religious or recite that part of the oath in order to join. The Boy Scouts of America has nothing to lose in adopting a similar policy. Boy Scouts should be teaching harmony, not bigotry.

FFRF proudly offers nonreligious Boy Scouts a badge, by the way.

TAlKING POINTS

  • In the last year, the Boy Scouts of America has lifted its hurtful bans against gays, the transgendered community and now are allowing girls to join the organization. Please call on the Boy Scouts to lift its policy shunning kids from nonreligious families.
  • The Boy Scouts must stop stigmatizing the nearly one-quarter of Americans who are not religious. This divides and weakens the community the organization seeks to serve. Any bigotry is ugly and socially unacceptable. Furthermore, with 38 percent of Millennials identifying as nonreligious, its policy against atheists and other freethinkers is regressive as well as unjust.
  • The policy should be rewritten to say: No one can grow into the best kind of citizen who discriminates (period).
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