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Thread: TSA UK National Census numbers

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    TSA UK National Census numbers

    Bit late this year, forgot all about this until on an american forum where they said they had 61,000 girl cubs sign up, that's from zero last year, which prompted me to look at our numbers, which weren't on my spreadsheet, so I fixed that. America is big isn't it?

    Anyhoo...spreadsheet...

    https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets...it?usp=sharing

    Based on numbers from

    https://scouts.org.uk/media/974857/T...rt-2017-18.pdf

    My adult numbers don't add up, not sure how to translate what's on my spreadsheet with what's in the report.

    And the Network, nearly doubling in a year? Hmm, that'll be counting all 18-25s as "Network" then.

    We have the numbers of sections being reported again, which is nice. Turns out in the last four years we've lost 14 counties/areas. That's careless!
    Ian Wilkins
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    GSL & AESL shiftypete's Avatar
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    I am really disappointed to see a 3rd succesive year of reducing Explorer numbers. I think Explorers is the Section with the most potential for growth in numbers given we still don't have provision correct in large swathes of the Country so simply providing more Units and linking better with Troops ought to be a relatively easy way to boost numbers.

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    It's not a huge reduction, but there do seem to be issues around the foggy nature of Explorer provision. I think not having that age range at group level is problematic. Say what you like about the structure, but districts and counties (etc) are still not set up to actually run sections.

    I'm surprised that number's generally keep rising given the challenges around getting adult volunteers. I'd like to see figures around retention and length of service these days.

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    It's not a huge reduction, but there do seem to be issues around the foggy nature of Explorer provision. I think not having that age range at group level is problematic. Say what you like about the structure, but districts and counties (etc) are still not set up to actually run sections.
    Okay, I will (say what I like)...the where and when and how and who of what Explorer Scouts is hasn't changed since 2002, it's grown massively since then, it just seems to have stalled/fallen back recently. So its growth or reduction has been nowt to do with how it's organised. Is what I think.

    Maybe it's reached its peak that's possible with the number of adults that want to work in that section? I mean, it can't go on growing forever, it's not a Ponzi scheme. Would it be fair to say that for every 3 adults that want to work with scout age there's only 1 that wants to work with Explorers? It's probably the section with the least parental involvement (Network excepted).

    In a way, it's a real shame, as a true believer in the good of explorer scouting, that there's such a massive drop off from Scouts. There's so much potential for Explorers to grow, but it's not happening for whatever reason. That's a hell of a lot of kids that miss out the best section

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also interesting that a few sections are only showing positive growth because there's more girls joining than boys leaving.
    Ian Wilkins
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    I can see why Explorers is problematic - finding leaders is doubly hard given that it really doesn't work at 14+ to have your mum or dad running the section (its borderline in Scouts!) so the pool is really only those who've always been involved in Scouting for its own sake.

    Historically we've lost kids at this age which coupled with the difficulty in finding leaders suggests that trying to run a unit attached to groups could lead to understaffed tiny units - which tends to suggest that having a smaller number of bigger, better resourced district units could be a better solution. I suspect in some places that is the case.

    Speaking as a parent of a near 14 year old, I don't think it necessarily works well everywhere. Our district provision has just been relaunched after a period with no provision. New DESC who has moved into the District with experience from elsewhere, has managed to recruit enough leaders to refloat the two old units - so far so good. Except it still has significant problems. They relaunched mid term so were reliant totally on any kids who'd previously been in Explorers or who could still be contacted having left Scouts at Easter or July to populate two units - they had 12 kids between the 2 on the launch night. One unit is staffed by current students at the Uni - which is great for enthusiasm etc but relatively few students will get a job locally and stay on. Locations are also a problem. Pretty much all our Groups are based in strong community areas (many absorbed former villages that keep that feel) so have an identity within that community. One of the units is based on the site of a group but its possibly the most geographically isolated group within the city boundary. The other is right in the centre which again requires young people to go into the city centre on a weekday evening (tues and weds). I'm pretty sure that unless I pretty much dictate to my 14 year old that I'm dropping him in town, he won't bother to go. So for us its hard to see District units really working unless we had about 4 meeting in neutral (expensive) venues to avoid tribal issues.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    In our district we once had three district ESUs, now it's down to two, but we still have provision for all Scouts turning 14 at their nearest Explorer Unit.

    Not everyone wants to go on to Explorers and take an active part in their sections programme and attending weekly meetings. We have Young Leaders that don't go to Explorers and just want to help within our group. Their only real contact with the Explorer Units is through Young Leader training.
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    Okay, I will (say what I like)...the where and when and how and who of what Explorer Scouts is hasn't changed since 2002, it's grown massively since then, it just seems to have stalled/fallen back recently. So its growth or reduction has been nowt to do with how it's organised. Is what I think.

    Maybe it's reached its peak that's possible with the number of adults that want to work in that section? I mean, it can't go on growing forever, it's not a Ponzi scheme. Would it be fair to say that for every 3 adults that want to work with scout age there's only 1 that wants to work with Explorers? It's probably the section with the least parental involvement (Network excepted).

    In a way, it's a real shame, as a true believer in the good of explorer scouting, that there's such a massive drop off from Scouts. There's so much potential for Explorers to grow, but it's not happening for whatever reason. That's a hell of a lot of kids that miss out the best section

    - - - Updated - - -

    Also interesting that a few sections are only showing positive growth because there's more girls joining than boys leaving.
    Disagree slightly.

    I suspect Explorers enjoyed the advances it did not because of the new structure, but despite of it. We never lost all the young folk at age ~14, just some of them. One wonders, if you added up all those under 18's/over 15.5's who went to ventures and over 14's who stayed at Scouts, whether there would be much of a net change in Explorer age group anyway.

    Back when Explorers started - as already pointed out, due to kids drifting away at 14-ish... I still cant quite figure out why they thought having something so similar to Scouts, would stop them drifting away - hence the still-existing drop off between Scouts and Explorers. That coupled with young folk going off to a completely new district group, (that was our big stumbling block...) It's a wonder it works at all.

    The problem with the Explorer section is, it relies on having an active district. A lot of districts aren't active. They struggle to get positions filled just as groups do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    One wonders, if you added up all those under 18's/over 15.5's who went to ventures and over 14's who stayed at Scouts, whether there would be much of a net change in Explorer age group anyway.
    The only stats we have are for the general section, I've definitely been here before, the spreadsheet has a row for "scouts + Ventures/Explorers", so numbers for 11-21 in the old age ranges v 10-18 in the new age ranges.

    1997 - 158,863
    2018 - 173,414

    That's a 9% increase over a smaller age range.

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    The problem with the Explorer section is, it relies on having an active district. A lot of districts aren't active. They struggle to get positions filled just as groups do.
    The problem with Explorers is it relies on having an active Explorer provision, get the place, the resource, the activity, and the promotion right*, scouts will come.

    * Yeah, probably getting 2 ish of those right at the moment.
    Ian Wilkins
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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post
    The only stats we have are for the general section, I've definitely been here before, the spreadsheet has a row for "scouts + Ventures/Explorers", so numbers for 11-21 in the old age ranges v 10-18 in the new age ranges.

    1997 - 158,863
    2018 - 173,414

    That's a 9% increase over a smaller age range.



    The problem with Explorers is it relies on having an active Explorer provision, get the place, the resource, the activity, and the promotion right*, scouts will come.

    * Yeah, probably getting 2 ish of those right at the moment.
    While I don't doubt Explorers might have stemmed (sort of) the numbers drifting away, I don't think those figures can be used to support any particular notions around the Explorer age range. That 9% increase could be (probably is, to me anyway) down to big increases in the cub section feeding through into scouts.

    When we switched to Explorers way back when, in our district, the first thing that happened was, all kids over 15.5 and under 18 left. They didn't want to go back to Scouts - which was what Explorers looked like. At VS's they were doing their own thing, organising their own stuff - they even had their own bank accounts....

    As you say, we've been here before. The way things are with us? We had an ESU attached to the group, which just closed due to the main brunt of members going to Uni. Currently, there is no 'district' provision for Explorers, although there are a couple (maybe three?) units attached to other groups who will accept Scouts from elsewhere. But, none of ours want to go elsewhere. I'm told this is true across the district. Troops tend to keep older Scouts on as YL's if they can.

    Which is what most troops seem to be doing.

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    I think that nicely explains why TSA hasn't given out PR about numbers this year, 2.3% is a lot less than the targets we've had locally.

    I wonder how the growth compares to the growth in population. I think last time I looked that penetration in the male population had reduced over a 10 year period whilst for girls it had obviously increased massively. I don't think that is at all good and when I tackled the HQ rep who came to eulogise about growth in the movement to our county conference she seemed completely unaware of the issue.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ianw View Post

    And the Network, nearly doubling in a year? Hmm, that'll be counting all 18-25s as "Network" then.
    Take that out and we are virtually level in youth provision

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    Individual Members 2017 = 41491 is that a typo (maybe 14491)?

    I still think there is a lot of double counting of adults due to multiple roles.

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    Senior Member CambridgeSkip's Avatar
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    Interesting that number of members up, number of sections up, number of groups down.

    This reflects what I have seen purely locally in my district. There are perhaps 5 groups that seem to be all conquering, with multiple sections in each age range while the over all number of groups is down with a couple more struggling. This polarisation seems more pronounced than I've ever seen it before.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    Interesting that number of members up, number of sections up, number of groups down.

    This reflects what I have seen purely locally in my district. There are perhaps 5 groups that seem to be all conquering, with multiple sections in each age range while the over all number of groups is down with a couple more struggling. This polarisation seems more pronounced than I've ever seen it before.
    In the local group of 4 rural districts and about 27 groups we are static over 10 years just about. I think because we've reached saturation. Groups the same, numbers the same. Whereas in some towns there are huge increases reflecting new housing estates.

    I've long thought we need to concentrate on consistency - there's a vast gulf between the "best"* and "worst"* sections in district, and sometimes that reflects leaders time and availability, sometimes intransigence. The gap in provision is so big that they might be part of different movements. I think if we could get every section "up" then numbers would follow. As it stands numbers are about the only measure the national organisation uses.

    * Measured by programme, balance in programme, awards and CSA, weekends away, week long camps, activities and level of adventure, leader numbers, section numbers, waiting list, retention into the section, and transfer out at the other end, engagement of youth, patrol/lodge/six organisation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by CambridgeSkip View Post
    Interesting that number of members up, number of sections up, number of groups down.

    This reflects what I have seen purely locally in my district. There are perhaps 5 groups that seem to be all conquering, with multiple sections in each age range while the over all number of groups is down with a couple more struggling. This polarisation seems more pronounced than I've ever seen it before.
    In my district (well in the city part of it) at least, this has to do with buildings. We have 3 Groups that have their own hut and one that meets in a community hall. We have lots of new housing and a rising demand for more sections. When faced with the choice between open new Sections in the existing Groups or opening a new group, the simplest solution is to expand the existing groups.

    It makes sense to use the buildings that we have to maximum effect - rather than open another group, meeting in a community hall.

    It is possible to run at least 9 sections out of one building (probably more if you were creative about it). If is also much more efficient from a financial perspective.

    I am not saying that big is better than small - just that there may be pressures to do with infrastructure that are leading to more larger groups.

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