After what has been discussed about Scouting in the Church, I wanted to share some inside information that I have to explain why the Church will probably stay with Scouting (Cetus Paribus, meaning the homosexual ban remaining).
A year ago I was part of a seminar with Frazier Bullock, who is an area authority in Utah, who presented a presentation about Scouting. If you’d like it I have it and can send it to you. The presentation outlined that along the Wasatch Front, 40-50% of young men are going inactive. This is not because they are reading Fawn Brodie, guys and coming to some “enlightened” agency-based conclusion, but more like they are loosing their agency to cigarettes, immorality, and peer-based distraction. He also showed a graph that showcased some research results:
When Bishops were asked to rate their ward Scouting units quality (training, outdoors, achievement) as Poor, Fair, Good, or Great a matrix of results appeared.
Poor = Baseline
Fair = Slight Increase in Retention and Prospective Missionaries (about .3 increase from poor)
Good = Moderate Increase in Retention and Prospective Missionaries (about 1.5 times from poor)
Great = Large Increase in Retention and Prospective Missionaries (about double from poor)
In the presentation there are actual variable numbers applied. With this research data, it is showing to the Church that Scouting is making a difference. Now, it also may be autocorrelated with great leaders, not a great program, so its still hard to prove causality unless there is some sort of regression on the data. I’m not sure this was done, and it probably should be done.
Another market research I was involved with at BYU asking boys ages 16-18 about Scouting and what their feeling were about it as a series of older boy scouting events. About 85% of the boys reported that they had a positive experience. Now this doesn’t measure boys who have dropped out since 14-16, and its indicative of a those that already have buy-in. However, since this activity was billed to youth as a Young Men’s event and that it baited boys with Shotgun shooting, there was bound to be some boys that weren’t necessarily big scouters. Leaders on the other hand, when they were asked, only about 50% of the leaders submitted that they thought the boys has a positivie feeling about Scouting, showing a bit of discontect between what leaders think boys want and what boys actually want.
Now, why are this research important? One of my collegues sits on the General Young Men’s Board. On that board they were approached by Elder Oaks and Holland and told with respect to retention of young men “Bretheren, this is where the action of the Church is at.” They stated that it was much easier to retain teenagers than to retrain prosective Elders or the dissaffected. They stated that Scouting was an integral and seminal part of this retention process and thus, Scouting was more relevant to the Bretheren now than ever before. They were encouraging Stake Presidencies to put their top-tier Priesthood leadership over the Young Men and Scouting and not in Bishoprics and Elders’ quorums.
Unless the gay thing changes, I don’t see Scouting going away any time soon.