Scouting programs falter and sometimes fold because they don’t answer these questions:
1. What is the minimum annual number of new members (youth and adult) to maintain our unit?
2. Who are our key unit leaders for the next five years?
3. How will we reach and or maintain financial stability?
4. Do we meet key indicators of effectively presenting our program?
The tenure of most adult leaders in Scouting lasts as long as their children’s participation. A relatively few continue on when their children age out of the program. Successive groups of leaders often have little to define the way forward when experienced leaders move on and must retrench the foundations of the program.
Fresh starts may waste lots of energy. Membership and morale may falter, discouragement sets in and a lot of effort must be extended towards reaching past levels of service. For those units that do recover the curve may be very shallow and very long indeed. Sometimes the leadership has spent so much energy to bring the unit back they are ready to move on and the whole process hits another bump.
Fortunately many units are buoyed by strong leadership with an expansive, infectious vision that inspires a lot of interest and energy. One or several charismatic leaders are usually the source of this inspiration. When they leave the inspiration may leave with them.
No doubt many other things will contribute to the success and relevance of Scouting in any particular place and time. Demographics and other vagarious influences aside how can we better perpetuate the service we offer to youth?
Over the next several days I will have a go at answering the four questions that should shape a long range plan for any Scout Pack, Troop, Crew or Team.
Other articles in this series: