There is an Arabic proverb that goes something like this:
Once the camel gets his nose in the tent, his body will follow.
Pointing this out might result in a lecture about the “slippery slope” fallacy. Well, it’s not exactly a fallacy if it’s actually the strategy! The Boy Scouts of America are a case study for this.
The BSA is over a century old, a venerable institution that has since then instructed over a hundred million youths in positive values and practical skills. For generations, it’s been a way to connect with nature, a great social opportunity, and a place to have fun.
Things started to get shaky during the 1970s. Scouting was becoming increasingly at odds with the zeitgeist, but I’ll spare you a rant about all that. They tried to adapt and get hip with the times. Unfortunately, the moves turned out to be ill-considered. They survived by going back to the basics, and membership numbers began climbing again.
Today, they face an even greater crisis, and membership levels are below half of their former peak. It’s a little more than just today’s kids who can’t be convinced to drag themselves away from video games.