The Boy Scouts of America and the Girl Scouts of the USA both saw steep declines in membership from 2019 to 2020, according to The Associated Press.
Figures reported by the AP showed a 43 percent plunge in membership for the Boy Scouts last year, falling to 1.12 million from 1.97 million in 2019.
Membership in the Girl Scouts fell at a smaller rate, down to a little over 1 million from 1.4 million the previous year.
“Like many youth-serving organizations, some of our members paused their Girl Scout experience during the pandemic,” a spokesperson for the Girl Scouts said in a statement to The Hill.
“We’ve seen a substantial rebound this spring and summer—registering over 370K members in April, our highest month for renewals in some time—and nearly all of our camps are sold out across the country. We are excited to head into fall recruitment, which is our largest recruitment season for both new and returning members,” the spokesperson added.
Boy Scouts of America said they are also seeing a rebound in their numbers after hitting a snag during the pandemic.
“Like many youth-serving organizations, we saw an overall decline in membership in 2020; however, most Cub Scout packs and Scouts BSA troops that were registered at the beginning of 2020 have signed up for another year of Scouting,” a BSA spokesperson said. “And this summer, 95% of traditional overnight local council camps will be open to youth and families — with demand up this year compared to recent pre-pandemic years.”
Both organizations have been losing members for years, but the pandemic coupled with internal issues for both groups led to a bigger drops in 2020.
The two groups are also facing other challenges.
The national Girl Scouts headquarters is involved in litigation against two local chapters due to noncompliance with a nationwide technology platform, the AP reported, while the Boy Scouts filed for bankruptcy and is facing allegations that many of the group's leaders molested children.