Thursday, July 22, 2010

Another sign of American decline

In another sign of American decline, the number of Boy Scouts dropped by 600,000 over the past decade. But at least the dwindling numbers are not as bad as Europe: they now allow girls. Some of my fondest (wholesome) childhood memories are of scouting, but if I had shared a tent with a girl, my memories would be a bit different. And what's with female Scout leaders now? Is there no escape from women for a boy?  A life of Perpetual Mom. I'm sure the knitting merit badge is much more popular now than was firearms when I was a boy.   


  1. Anonymous4:48 PM

    Who allows girls? Europe? Because the Boy Scouts in the USA don't. They do have Venture Scouts but that is separate.

    I blame the damned schools for requiring community service which takes young people out of healthy activities they choose for themselves or that their parents choose and sucks up their time with government sponsored and promoted PC help-losers-in-the-hood type activities.

  2. Right, they're mixed in some places in Europe now.

  3. I tried to figure out the pattern over time from the NYT, but the data are pretty poor and confusing.

    Looks like the all-time peak was 1972 at 4.9 million, but we really want to divide by the population of boys of scouting age. This year is when the peak year of the Baby Boom was of scouting age, so apparent declines after that may not be so, given that the population of kids is shrinking too.

    All levels of scouting increased from just over 3 million to 4.2 million during the '80s. Seems like that stalled out through 1996 or so, then rose slightly by 1999 to 4.6 million. Then there's the decline mentioned during the 2000s.

    This looks like another safe times / dangerous times difference. National park visits per capita rose during the '70s and most of the '80s, then stalled and fell from the late '80s through today. Wouldn't be surprising then if scouting stalled and decline during that time as well.

    Blame the parents and the kids themselves, not the schools. Helicopter parents are over-protective and kids themselves are wimpy, as the book series says. In times of rising crime, parents figure their kids need to know how to take care of themselves. When violence rates seem to be plateauing or falling, then what's the use? Little Jayden will be safe without having to learn any of that scouting stuff.

  4. Some reasons for woman scout leaders: (a) it's easier to get women to do anything ritual (look at the churches); (b) male scout leaders risk false accusations of child molesting and/or imputations of homosexuality; (c) single moms want their sons to join scouts to learn some masculinity but find that the dad-shortage means the moms have to run the scouts themselves, despite the self-confuting quality of the exercise.

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  6. AnotherDad9:01 AM

    Another thing going is that we're in competition with the increasingly exciting "home environment". When i was a kid going out on a scout outing--way less exciting in Ohio than the ones we do here in Washington (Cascades, the Sound, the EW desert)--was way cooler than staying home. Now these kids think staying home is pretty neat.

    Pitching to parents i always mention that "getting 'em out there" is great, anything to get them away from "video game crack". It's a pretty good selling pitch.

    The other thing of note is that with the upper middle class kids, there's a lot more homework pressure as everyone has some sense of the gapingly unequal society mass immigration has produced and is thinking "Yale or Jail". Lots of boys are nixed from active participation for long stretches because they "need to concentrate on their studies". I get a lot of those guys back for summer camp.

  7. AnotherDad9:07 AM

    Re feminization.

    Well we still do firearms. At minimum seems like every summer camp has rifle. My son got the shotgun merit badge back in 2009 at Camp Easton (a terrific camp on Lake Coeur d'Alene in Idaho). No knitting MB yet i sight.

    However, the female scouters ... oh God! Incredibly ugly. The single mom thing noted in one of the comments is probably why BSA allows it ... but it is ugly, ugly, ugly. I blame men for letting this happen--shirking their duty to raise their boys to men, and not being willing to challenge PC, and just tell women "this is not your place". Nature abhors a vacuum and women are part of nature. They'll stick their noses into everything and anything if not specifically pushed out.


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