Presented by Oliver Perry District Commissioner Thomas Dunmire Jr.
Happy New Year Scouters! The National BSA Organization has met the recruiting goal for 2022. This is great news for the BSA. Now, as we look onward to our 2023 recruitment goals, we need to work on retention of our youth. But why do youth leave Scouting? BSA research has determined that the number one reason why youth leave Scouting is, and always has been, Poor Unit Leadership. There are many ways to combat this reason, Leader Specific Training, Outdoor Leadership Skills, Basic Adult Outdoor Orientation, Wood Badge, University of Scouting, and Round Table.
What does training do for you? Training provides what parents and youth want, a good leader! The research shows these desirable traits of a Unit Leader:
Cub Scout Parents:
1. Support from Scouting Leaders
2. Great outdoor activities
3. Meetings that are a good use of their time
4. We feel like we belong in our Pack / Den
5. Scouting is a partner in providing positive youth programs
Scouts BSA Parents:
1. Scout meetings are a good use of time
2. Our family feels like we belong in our Troop
3. Our Troop has great outdoor activities
4. Support from our Scouting leaders
Scouts BSA Youth:
1. Scouting is really fun
2. Scouting is constantly reinforcing worthwhile values
3. Being in Scouting makes me feel like I am a part of something bigger than myself
4. Troop meetings are a good use of my time
5. I feel like I belong in my Troop
6. Adult leaders in my Troop help me be a better Scout
As you can see from this research, parents and youth want the same thing but in slightly different order. The following are key takeaways from the study that makes them stay or leave Scouting:
1. Leaders are key to having a positive experience or a negative experience.
2. Great Unit program is key to keeping families engaged – poor Unit program ensures they will leave.
3. Fostering a unit atmosphere where everyone feels like they belong is key to making youth and families feel welcome.
4. Ensuring older youth have access to activities that let them see the larger Scouting movement is key to making them feel they are in something bigger than themselves.
In my next Commissioners Corner, I will talk about being a Better Mentor.