Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

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aaslett
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Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby aaslett » Mon Jan 18, 2016 8:37 pm

Re the Dec.14, 2015 article interviewing past National Youth Commissioner, Kaylee Galipeau at http://www.dailyheraldtribune.com/2015/12/14/scouts-canada-volunteer-wraps-term - it is a good article supporting Scouts Canada, but towards the end Kaylee is quoted as saying that "Scouts Canada's nation-wide membership has been increasing over the last four or five years". This is contradictory to Scouts Canada's own figures? On our page http://www.scouts.ca/ca/annual-report you can see in the Annual Reports available that...

2014-2015 Report - 64,693 Youth, 20,717 Volunteers,
281 Employees, 85,691 Total
2013-2014 Report - 66,741 Youth, 21,437 Volunteers,
275 Employees, 88,453 Total
2012-2013 Report - 69,946 Youth, 27,898 Volunteers,
296 Employees, 98,140 Total
2011-2012 Report - 73,947 Youth, 26,873 Volunteers,
296 Employees, 101,283 Total
2010-2011 Report - No figures in Annual Report
2009-2010 Report - 77,469 Youth, 23,280 Volunteers,
300 Employees, 101,049 Total

Which is correct please?
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby aaslett » Wed Jan 27, 2016 7:30 am

Anybody ??
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Hawkeye3 » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:17 am

What do you want us to say? Few of us work for SC. Most of us are local. Plus, this same discussion already occurred on Facebook.

Just do your best locally to ensure your group grows and retains. That's all we can do individually. If we all do it and provide a good program, SC will grow.

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby aaslett » Wed Jan 27, 2016 12:23 pm

There was no answer from Scouts Canada on Facebook, so I hoped to get one here as this is the official Forum.
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Sam Wallis » Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:33 am

I like your optimism. I don't share it. I doubt that our new NYC knows this forum exists. Certainly while it may be official its rarely if ever used. Which is a shame but another topic.

On the numbers not matching I recall a commissioner (Council or National, cant recall) a few years ago issued a public release boasting of growth. The same day the same person sent out an email to the commissioners under them announcing yet another year of declining membership.

Finding a way to spin numbers appears to be a pastime, not an accident.
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby BalooTwo » Sun Jan 31, 2016 7:33 am

Very Interesting. I have been busy, but this one warrants a post. I am not sure what is more disappointing - the decrease in youth numbers, the big decrease in volunteer numbers OR the increase in staff. I remember being called 'the problem' on this forum because I didn't believe that a 15% increase a year for the next four years was a realistic goal. And, I think that year the numbers posted a first-in-a-long-time increase (but I think the numbers were spun a bit too). Hello people, the Titanic is sinking - impossible yes, but it is sinking. Real talk needs to happen, and I can safely say that I am NOT the one come up with the saving ideas - it really needs to be a group effort.

Let's look at the past a ways. Letting girls join Scouts was an effort to tap into 100% more of the market - the numbers didn't increase but a steady decrease. Let's have a new uniform - nope. Let's bubble-wrap things to make it safer - nope. Let's develop better leader training - nope. All of these should have netted some type of increase, but the decline continued. Ignoring this is one thing, but misrepresenting the truth, well, I think there is something in the Scouts Law about being trustworthy.

Maybe the program needs a complete over-haul? Maybe it is time to re-organize Scouts Canada to have stronger provincial or area powers? Maybe something that was done needs to be un-done? Maybe there needs to be different programs for different areas (urban versus rural)?

Scouting is less of an organization and more of a lifestyle. Youth should be in the program to embrace that lifestyle. Volunteers should be in Scouting to further the moment and further the youth in the moment - no other reason. Maybe start with that?

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby aaslett » Mon Feb 01, 2016 2:34 pm

I think part of it is how much we charge Youth for Membership, a fee that now goes entirely to Ottawa. See http://yates.ca/sc/history/membership_national.htm, particularly the graph titled "Kid Membership & Fee"....
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Sam Wallis » Tue Feb 02, 2016 10:44 am

I am betting that more than the fee the fact that we have no standards, and dont interest kids to stay is driving the registration down. Sure there are good groups, but there are loads of bad ones. We register 10000 beavers a year, but very few of those get to scouts. Will this change with the path, no because the beaver groups will not have anyone skilled to run them still. People try, but have no knowledge and not enough time.
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Hawkeye3 » Tue Feb 02, 2016 11:35 am

Here is the statistic that really worries me...
https://www12.statcan.gc.ca/census-recensement/2011/as-sa/98-311-x/2011001/fig/fig1-eng.cfm

The number of Canadian youth has remained relatively flat since the early 1990s. That means that SC participation as a fraction of society decreased in both real numbers and as a percentage of the population.

Last year, I tried to give a presentation at Area about growth and how our Area could open new groups via collaboration. I sent two documents to the AC for sharing at the Area Team meetings. I received one comment, no request to chat with them about it, not request to try to proceed with opening new groups. I live in a suburban area where our groups are all in older, dying areas with no groups in the new, young areas.

What more can be done to convince GCs and ACs to collaborate for growth? I have had two GCs who aren't interested in collaborating for growth; both are worried about maintaining the status quo and keeping the current ship floating (both ships were floating relatively well).

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Sam Wallis » Wed Feb 03, 2016 11:11 am

Hawkeye, that stat bothers me also. The silo mentality bothers me more. I live in a growing community. if we get to similar numbers every year then we call that good enough, where in a growing community we should grow, right? But we have no real communication with other groups. I look at guides in my community, They used to hold a joint registration night, every group in town, 1st thru 7th sparks, up to the only ranger group were there. parents could come, see what met the schedule, and what groups had what interest. if the girl wants lots of camping she wants first guides, second camps less, if she wants sewing, second did more. And the leaders were open about each groups strengths and weaknesses.

I don't know enough about 2nd, 5th, whatever scouts in my community. so if a kid leaves beavers they ask us when cubs is, we say Tuesday, if that's bad for kid or parent, all we can do is say maybe check the scouts website, there are other groups. but if a kid wants a craft oriented program, I should know. but I don't, and I don't know anyone who does.

Area covers a 5 hour drive so area meetings are not the answer, but even an annual get together of all section scouters in this town would be useful. the idea that the only way to communicate is I tell Akela, who tells the GC, who tells the AC, who tells the GC of the next group, who tells Akela is doomed. Hopefully in other areas this goes better.
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Hawkeye3 » Thu Feb 04, 2016 3:24 pm

In your experience, what motivates ACs and GCs to consider expansion? I haven't found that trigger yet.

The number of houses going up within a 15 minute drive of my group is incredible. But I haven't heard of any initiatives to recruit. Just reasons (normally risk based) of why it cannot happen... In the mean time, the neighbourhoods with groups slowly die as the households become more and more empty nest households.

So, what works to motivate those in power?

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Sam Wallis » Fri Feb 05, 2016 10:40 am

I have no clue. If anything I could ascribe motive against expansion, its a lot of work I am sure, and once the group is up and running its still one more group to watch.
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby BalooTwo » Sun Feb 07, 2016 8:22 am

All very interesting. I have heard that it is getting ' too expensive' before but as compared to hockey? With the No one left behind and jumpstart funding, it is a very cheap alternative. But in my opinion, it is not about the fees. The retention report was interesting because it doesn't really point to one 'big' reason. And, I wonder if anyone at the top read this. For example, only a small percentage had issues with the uniform, so it was changed (sorry, this one is a pet peeve of mine). When I see reports like this or even talking to non-returning parents, I am under the impression it is nothing but a time issue. Parents are happy to drop off their child for an hour and a half meeting or weekend camp, but ask them to come out to a clean-up Saturday - nope. And when the night is no longer convenient for the family, no more Scouts. I live in an area with a population growth too. Groups are closing down annually now - I don't understand it. Talking others (hockey, soccer, dance, guides, etc.) all the numbers are down - all over.

So maybe it is too many alternative programs that fit the family life style. Sorry, not really coming up with solutions on this yet.

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Roxybeaver1 » Mon Feb 15, 2016 11:43 am

I think I see the same things as BalooTwo: competing for time. In our house, we do Scouts and that's it. I don't have time for anything else and I really boggles my mind to think of those families who do scouts and music and violin and hockey and and and. We are full-time, fully committed to the program. But I've had some kids do piano lessons right before our Pack meeting and that lack of flexibility means that they often cannot handle our frequent change of start up times based on what we have planned.

I've heard no complaints about the uniforms (for the youth, except that the Beaver XL was still quite small). I've heard no complaints about the fees (especially compared to hockey, dance or $25/hour guitar lessons).

It's time and friends: if so and so signs up because his friend is in it, but then the friend leaves, is the first kid still engaged enough to stay? Or, if the friends don't end up in the same lodge/lair/patrol, do they stay engaged? (some kids are that finnicky). Ideally, if the program is well run, it shouldn't matter if the friend leaves. I find that some kids show up, see their friends, and behave as if it is another play date, making running our evening very challenging some nights.

And some kids are signed up because dad used to be in the program years ago and loved it...and the kid hates it. I have one kid who loves being outdoors with his step dad but comes to our Pack meetings completly disinterested (what time is it and how long until my mom picks me up?).

Language/culture could also be an issue in some places: I ran a table last late-April to hand out pamphlets to prospective members at an event and I was asked if there was a local French group (not in our immediate vicinity) and our GC was asked if there were any Chinese language groups (not to our knowledge, despite the high numbers of Chinese people in our area). This suggests to me that if there were other language options, they would go but it's not interesting enough if not in the language of their choice. While I understand that POV, I also find that a bit sad: they are missing out on a lot of fun.

Our numbers seem to be up this year: a bumper crop of Beavers; and we keep adding new Cubs to the pack, almost one a month. Troop got so big they are considering splitting into two; but note, there are not a lot of third- or fourth-year Scouts. My son is the only one left from his original cohort of Beavers who swam up with him seven years ago.

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby BalooTwo » Wed Feb 17, 2016 5:39 pm

Roxy, I think you summed up the problem/issue quite nicely. Commitment seems to be a big issue to overcome. As a side note, I got a lot of those 'dads' that were in Scouts years ago and send their kids. Usually lasts a year until they realize that it is NOT the same old Scouting - and I am amazed and never realized, that for some reason, those kids are the one's not interested in the program more so than others.

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Bob Gordon » Sun Feb 28, 2016 2:11 am

I haven't looked at this forum for awhile and am happy to see some substantive discussion about an issue of concern to me — the dissonance between what SC says about membership growth and what the numbers show. Having worked for a publicly traded company, providing rigorous information for the Management Discussion and Analysis section of Annual Reports (including 5-year history of important numbers analogous to SC membership figures) makes me unhappy about the low level of transparency in SC communications.

I will, after some checking, provide membership data augmenting what Alan led off this thread with, and my comments on some of the concerns I have about the numbers.

Bob Gordon
25th Dunbar Heights
Vancouver

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Sam Wallis » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:58 pm

in 2009 we had a plan to radically increase membership by 2015. Didn't happen

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=161

At some point I recall steve kent saying that if we dont fix the membership drop we would be out of biz by 2020. Seems likely to happen.
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Scouter James J » Wed May 25, 2016 5:57 pm

Hi Sam,
I have not logged on for a bit, lots going on with my group and area.
I see you'r statement of:
Sam Wallis wrote:in 2009 we had a plan to radically increase membership by 2015. Didn't happen

viewtopic.php?f=19&t=161

At some point I recall steve kent saying that if we dont fix the membership drop we would be out of biz by 2020. Seems likely to happen.


From what I can see a few things happen. 1. CBC and there wonderful smear campaign angst Scouting in Canada. 2.We stopped talking about ourself. Any good marketer would agree that this was a big thing. I understand why we did but I don't agree. 3.We are still not visible. We still are not being seen in the community enough and we still like to hide in the corners.

That being said, with "the path" coming on line it will help a lot to help growth if we have scouters willing to work with it. I also thing we need area commissioners to help out with growth in positive ways (I'm really holding ours feet to the fire and not just because he is my father). We also need to make sure as scouters that we are holding ourselves to a higher standard. We need to make sure we are not just a parent in a red shirt we are scouters and we are helping other scouters with growing the program. Ask your youth what they need and want from the program. Make sure the we have a troop goal or mission statement for the scouting year. Make sure your group commissioners are asking how they can help and make sure they ask every meeting what your section has done to be seen the the community.

Lastly go find an old scouter or if all else an old(pre 1980) cub/scout leaders hand book and learn something that your group has not tried before. the 1973ish cub handbook page 268(ish) has a great craft in how to build a two burner stove. Great idea! Don't be afraid to hand out some of these books to your youth and let them give you some idea's of what they want to do! If they have fun they will do the recruitment for you.
Scout Master
Crossroads 36 Scout troup
Calgary Ab
31 years with Crossroads

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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby Sam Wallis » Thu May 26, 2016 10:46 am

need to make sure we are not just a parent in a red shirt

Of all the issues you raise this is the one that in my limited experience I see the most of. Sure they might mean well, but do they do scouting things? do they know what scouting is?
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Re: Scouts Canada Membership over last Five Years ??

Postby BalooTwo » Sun Jun 26, 2016 7:26 am

Very interesting perspective - the parents in a red shirt. Starving for leaders, i would take a parent in a red shirt for a few years any day. I think the training is not that effective to become a red shirt, but that is another topic of discussion. WHile it is easy to blame the media and lack of commitment, these are two very real problems. However, we needs solutions to these problems. Being 'out there' is an excellent long standing way of creating membership, but how? The senior people (group commissions on up) need to be the champions of this cause. But sadly, paperwork and popcorn sales seems to be the highest priority on their agendas. Scouting was about adventure and the environment, among other things, so why isn't scouting fully embracing the climate change moment? or if they are I don't see it. The turn out at our community clean up event was pitiful - enough said. And what has happened here is that the local Boys and Girls club has surpassed the scouting membership over the last 5 years - what is their secret?

On a side note, i did flip through my old cub and scout handbooks, it did bring back a lot of good memories.


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