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Thread: 2019 National Census numbers

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    2019 National Census numbers

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

    Data from here:
    https://www.scouts.org.uk/media/1092...rt-2018-19.pdf

    Headlines:
    Youth members in negative growth (just) for the first time since 2005.
    Losses are from the younger sections.
    More boys leaving than girls joining.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    Senior Member Bushfella's Avatar
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    Do you have a glitch?

    Individual members...
    14,025 18,386 -27,466 -231.1%

    I doubt that an overall youth drop of 487 is in itself a worry. More concerning is the loss of Beavers and Cubs. If that were to continue over the next four years, that would have an impact on overall numbers that could indicate a downward trend, and that could be of concern. However, I would consider the results you show as a one year stagnation. It works out at somewhere like the loss of half of one cub/beaver per group across the country... hardly massive losses.

    So why am I interested? You may ask.

    I am increasingly coming to the understanding that in our wider communities we need as many options as possible to involve young people, keep them invlved and help them develop a sense of belonging - because if we don't, as a society, we create the opportunity for the criminal sector to become involved in providing that sense of belonging. It alradyhappens in urban areas, it is now sprading to rural areas. So, I want all of us to be healthy and offering provision.
    Ewan Scott

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    Nawyecka Comanch'": "Means roundabout--man says he's going one way, means to go t'other" Ethan Edwards - The Searchers



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    Equally important is section leader numbers stalling - probably too early to say falling back but the last decent increase was during 2016 to report in 2017. That said the section numbers are still rising.
    Does anyone know what's going on?

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bushfella View Post
    Do you have a glitch?
    Yes. Ta.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
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    Assistant Beaver Leader Keith's Avatar
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    Is the drop in numbers in Beavers and Cubs because members are leaving or because we can't provide the same number of places due to lack of volunteers coming forward to lead these sections?

    We have a waiting list, always have done, and probably always will, but our problem over the years has been recruiting new volunteers. My capacity is 24, but i'm currently running 3/4 full (I'm due to take names off the waiting list but we're being too adventurous for new starters this week). I'd love to take our numbers up to 30, by adding an extra lodge, but to do this I need more adults, atleast one of them to become a leader.

    A neighbouring Cub pack is also struggling for adult volunteers.
    Keith "Hawkeye"
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    Section Leaders, Assistant Section Leaders, Sectional Assistants, Occasional Helpers, etc.


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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Keith View Post
    Is the drop in numbers in Beavers and Cubs because members are leaving or because we can't provide the same number of places due to lack of volunteers coming forward to lead these sections?
    The number of leaders is static, the number of helpers/section assistants is up, the number of colonies and packs is up, so there's a small shift in the number of kids per colony/pack down.

    Usual thing is, difficult to equate national stats with local issues. Waiting lists and lack of leaders is a perennial problem.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
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    I wonder if there might be a trend toward lowering pack/colony numbers. I know our Beaver section has limited (quite drastically) the numbers it'll accept.

    Obviously it's recently been limited even more drastically to zero. But before that, it went from 24 to 20, on it's last meeting, it was down at 16. That was a reaction to parental expectation (I think) and also to a lack of adult volunteers for that section.

    It's such a small change (in this years census), I don't think you can read anything into it.

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    HQ silent on these numbers? It would be interesting to get their perspective and thoughts on action. As I recall the growth in boys numbers has been similar or less than the general population for some time whilst girls have obviously grown significantly and I airways thought that that maybe for boys we'd reached some sort of saturation. Maybe the same for the girls now...

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    ESL and DESC ianw's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    HQ silent on these numbers? It would be interesting to get their perspective and thoughts on action.
    From the Chair's intro to the annual report, first sentence...

    Not every organisation can say they’ve
    significantly grown their membership
    over the last decade.


    Of course, that's the gloss and spin of the annual report, no doubt there will be meetings going on. Strategy. Goals. Pillars of work. All that stuff that triggers Pa Broon. And a faith that that will deliver what's needed.
    Ian Wilkins
    Farnham District Explorer Scout Commissioner

    Jambowlree - Worldwide Scout Ten Pin Bowling Competition
    All sections, all countries, runs December 2018 - May 2019
    http://www.jambowlree.org

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    Senior Member bernwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I wonder if there might be a trend toward lowering pack/colony numbers. I know our Beaver section has limited (quite drastically) the numbers it'll accept.

    Obviously it's recently been limited even more drastically to zero. But before that, it went from 24 to 20, on it's last meeting, it was down at 16. That was a reaction to parental expectation (I think) and also to a lack of adult volunteers for that section.

    It's such a small change (in this years census), I don't think you can read anything into it.
    I always had a running battle with my GSL as I would let my cub pack expand to 36-38 on occasions, as I hated waiting lists and would squeeze every could I safely could into the pack. I had 5 leaders , two OH and two YLs so ratios were never a problem, but my GSL was adamant we should never be above 24. Waiting lists are infectious if even a few kids don't get a place, it spreads through their peers like wild fire and I would argue that is what is fueling the albeit small down turn among the younger units. More of a worry to me is that only 12 new cub packs opened up last year despite a drop in numbers. Their is also the case for relevance in society today, in my experience at least we are catering mainly for the middle class professional families at least outside the major cities.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernwood View Post
    I always had a running battle with my GSL as I would let my cub pack expand to 36-38 on occasions, as I hated waiting lists and would squeeze every could I safely could into the pack. I had 5 leaders , two OH and two YLs so ratios were never a problem, but my GSL was adamant we should never be above 24. Waiting lists are infectious if even a few kids don't get a place, it spreads through their peers like wild fire and I would argue that is what is fueling the albeit small down turn among the younger units. More of a worry to me is that only 12 new cub packs opened up last year despite a drop in numbers. Their is also the case for relevance in society today, in my experience at least we are catering mainly for the middle class professional families at least outside the major cities.
    I think cramming them in in Cubs will lead to problems in Scouts in terms of moving up. All that would have happened was, many of your cubs would be denied places in Scouts due to what ever their limits on numbers were, (if they had a limit.) Forward planning is dry and boring, but important.

    I don't disagree with the middle class thing though. While those kids don't have some of the challenges others in less affluent areas do, they still have the full range of growing up things that go on.

    What I do find somewhat concerning, is the service user family. While I think it's very subtle, its the families that think of Scouts as being a throw-away activity that can be picked up or dropped as and when the next thing comes along. I think the corporate nature of Scouts rather plays into that agenda too. I wonder if perhaps if we've plataue, hold on - plataeaud, no - platowed? Oh no.

    Peaked.

    And we'll either stay as we are numbers-wise, drop slightly or just meander above and below current figures.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bernwood View Post
    I always had a running battle with my GSL as I would let my cub pack expand to 36-38 on occasions, as I hated waiting lists and would squeeze every could I safely could into the pack. I had 5 leaders , two OH and two YLs so ratios were never a problem, but my GSL was adamant we should never be above 24. Waiting lists are infectious if even a few kids don't get a place, it spreads through their peers like wild fire and I would argue that is what is fueling the albeit small down turn among the younger units. More of a worry to me is that only 12 new cub packs opened up last year despite a drop in numbers. Their is also the case for relevance in society today, in my experience at least we are catering mainly for the middle class professional families at least outside the major cities.
    But there's no point in expanding to 36-38 if there isn't capacity down the road in Scouts to accommodate them. That's why Groups were invented so that sections didn't operate in isolation.

    - - - Updated - - -

    Quote Originally Posted by pa_broon74 View Post
    I think cramming them in in Cubs will lead to problems in Scouts in terms of moving up. All that would have happened was, many of your cubs would be denied places in Scouts due to what ever their limits on numbers were, (if they had a limit.) Forward planning is dry and boring, but important.

    I don't disagree with the middle class thing though. While those kids don't have some of the challenges others in less affluent areas do, they still have the full range of growing up things that go on.

    What I do find somewhat concerning, is the service user family. While I think it's very subtle, its the families that think of Scouts as being a throw-away activity that can be picked up or dropped as and when the next thing comes along. I think the corporate nature of Scouts rather plays into that agenda too. I wonder if perhaps if we've plataue, hold on - plataeaud, no - platowed? Oh no.

    Peaked.

    And we'll either stay as we are numbers-wise, drop slightly or just meander above and below current figures.
    Not sure we've peaked. Back in 1980 we had 307,856 Cubs, 203,796 Scouts and 32,436 Venture Scouts, so we a way to go to get back to those numbers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RisingStar View Post
    HQ silent on these numbers?
    My experience has been that when membership figures rise, that rise is attributed by HQ to what ever was their latest pet project. But when membership figure fall, all you get is crickets...


    Allan.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ayates View Post
    My experience has been that when membership figures rise, that rise is attributed by HQ to what ever was their latest pet project. But when membership figure fall, all you get is crickets...


    Allan.
    Yep - wise words. I do hate the HQ crowing about expanding membership as if it is BBC ratings and a rank of success.

    Leadership is what dictates the numbers above all else and when there are waiting lists at a majority of Sections (why isn't that crucial info in the summaries?) then clearly we do not have enough Leaders. I also have a problem with the way the Census is written. We don't have a waiting list for Cubs and Scouts as admissions are closed - and have been for years. But read the data and it looks like Beavers are in crisis (with 15 on the waiting list) but comparatively Cubs and Scouts have no waiting list. How do we convey that in the Census?

    I don't buy the "waiting lists are infectious" and result in a drop in membership... that makes no sense as a waiting list ensues you run at capacity.

    I also think cramming in YP into sections is short sighted and will ultimately lead to discipline issues, lack of quality in the programme and eventual closure of sections due to loss of Leaders. I note the census shows average Section sizes are always under 20... is that under capacity? Our Sections are nearly always in the mid 20's.

    I am suspicious of any HQ initiative rolled out on the back of their interpretation of data. There are no conclusions to be made from diversity and religious data as it is incomplete with such a large number of "prefer not to say" replies. So it would be negligent to deduce anything from that data to influence policy.

    I also am surprised by the census data stating 24% of Scouts are female. Does anyone run a Section where 1 in 4 are girls? We are lucky to get one per six.
    The financial summary is all very well - I am still waiting for the bill for Compass - how can SA hide the millions that have been expended on that? How many years is it since the panic to switch Compass off? 5 years? Just think what we could have done with those millions... it could have bought the first 15 minutes of the World Jamboree opening ceremony!
    Last edited by Paul o; 11-09-2019 at 11:26 PM.

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    I was an ASL in a Troop if 90% girls. It died a death as none of the boys wished to move up to it.


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