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What to do about "Cub Book Work"

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  • What to do about "Cub Book Work"

    The disgust with all the cub book work has been rearing its head recently (and probably for a long time). So my question is how do you handle it ? Do you suffer through it ? Try to make it fun ? How ? Rush through it and decidedly not "do your best" ? Assign it as homework and have Akela sign off on it with a wink, wink, nod, nod say no more ? I don't have 10 hours a week to brainstorm and come up with a lesson plan that makes all the school work "fun"

  • #2
    KDD, did you have a particular requirement in mind?


    • #3
      I'm not real good with the book work stuff. I try to get it done at scouts because boys either don't do it at home, or don't do it thoroughly. (Yeah, kinda the "wink wink". I just had a boy bring me his book, which his mom signed off everything he supposedly did. We didn't have any den campouts, so I don't know how he could have possibly helped cook one of our den's meals. He had also supposedly given a 3 minute talk to the den. That makes me wonder if he really did talk to a librarian about the dewey decimal system.) I like to give the boys something to do with their hands, while we talk about "boring stuff". Talk while carving soap, modeling with clay, or making frames out of craft sticks. We also use playing charades as a time to have themed scenerarios and talk between turns.


      • sasha
        sasha commented
        Editing a comment
        I find sanding things to be a great activity when I need to read or talk to the scouts. I also try to serve it up in small doses. Our pack's goal is to cover every requirement for rank advancement short of the God requirements. Our scouts come from a variety of faith backgrounds so we feel that religion is best handled at home.

    • #4
      We need more info. Tiger, Wolf, Webe? Is the disgust over doing the book work or parent abuse? I had some boys who I was suspicious of parents were signing off on "completed at home" assignments that never took place. I was advised by older hands that playing the "gotcha police" was the wrong way to go. Cub scouts is not the same as Boy Scouts in that regard though it is rather sad and pathetic. On the other hands I have seen some boys so revved up over scouts that they fly through the material. I'd hate to discourage that.

      We did do more outdoorsy and scouty stuff at meeting and I would sign off on the spot. In Webelos we practiced setting up and taking down some tents--that was surprisingly popular.

      I hate to think what some of your parents might do for the pinewood derby!


      • #5
        By book work stuff also mean all the crafts. I don't have as big an issue with Webelos as they are getting older and can do more on their own. Although Citizenship was pretty dry, but hey we have lots more of that in BS. And yes, if you don't do it in a den meeting it probably didn't get done at home. Wolf, #12, 7, the bike safety quiz, food pyramid, job charting, read books about important people. All important stuff and certainly a building block for the schoolwork MBs. But where is the fun and adventure ? Bear 5,8, emergency phone numbers AGAIN (are there really communities without 911 ? ) 11 be ready AGAIN, 13 spending, chart chart chart, bike safety AGAIN, 17 they do this at school, 18 jot it down, school, 19 -24 ok now this fun. Go to a library ? Seriously. They do that every week at school. Part of my point is this is not the stuff we sold them on. We sold them on PWD, camping and games not charting, books and scissors and glue. Planning for and gathering all these crafting supplies is also a pain. At least in BS advancement is an option, with Cubs it is the program. PWD, yeah those pre made kits and CNC axels are something else. Down and Derby was a great movie.


        • christineka
          christineka commented
          Editing a comment
          In bears, you only have to do half the stuff. We didn't do the overall boring stuff. For self we did games, building muscles, shavings, and build a model. For family- they do family fun and outdoor adventures with their family. What's cooking can be fun with a little boring stuff mixed in. (The webelos' version is very boring.) For wolves, we had felt food pieces to help make the whole thing a bit more interesting. For the important people- we counted articles. I found a website with lots of articles on people, who have helped with the environment and they weren't quite so long. Bike safety can be covered with a bike rodeo. We did emergency phone numbers as a gathering activity- made a poster with a magnet on the back, so it could be kept on the fridge. For tall tales, we had a pretend campfire ( a real one would have been much better) and had each boy read a different tale, then we did the activities associated with it. There are a lot of fun field trips you can go on with these requirements: the newspaper, tv/radio station, the zoo, museum, government building, even the dump. (Our boys enjoyed the dump and so did one crafty leader.)

      • #6
        KDD, try a different approach. Remember if they do something at school it does count for Cub Scouts! (If you're sure the completed the req, just discuss it a bit and move on). If you have "dry" stuff to go over, counter it with a fun game or one of the more fun reqs. Personally, I like doing the emergency numbers twice. When done and posted on the refrigerator all you have to do is point to it when the baby sitter comes over.

        I wouldn't be surprised if there were some rural communities out there without 911. You can also teach your scouts that having your bicycle stolen is no reason to call 911. In that case, it would feel like an urgent call to them, but they would need to call the non-emergency number.

        Bike safety the second time around, have the boys do a skit to show what happens when you don't follow safety rules, let them over dramatize the injuries they suffer. They love that stuff.


        • #7
          What do think of the Den Meeting Resource Guide ? I started last year but we got hopelessly behind try to follow it. I have been looking over the Bear plans and I just don't see how to make it work. We are meeting immediately after school on premises. We can make some field trips work, but the bike stuff would be a logistical mess. Bear at least offers a lot more flexibility, so if we do the bike thing on a Saturday and some cubs don't show they can do it own their own or pick another one to do. My first two years as a leader was a small group of Webelos so that went fairly well, (except some of the science experiments I never could get to work. Tiger was easy enough because all the dads really pitched in. (Different city) Wolf last year was a pain, the prep work involved was just to much and I wasn't getting much help from the parents and the other leader was soaked at work and had a newborn. A meeting with the teachers to check their plans could save some work, just more time up front.


          • koolaidman
            koolaidman commented
            Editing a comment
            I didn't look at the Den Meeting Resource Guide. I made my own plan. We met in the evenings, which meant having to plan the outdoor activities, like bike riding, etc at a time in the year when the days were long and we had more sunlight during our meeting time.

          • dedkad
            dedkad commented
            Editing a comment
            The Den Meeting Resource Guide is sometimes helpful for giving me a fun way to teach a certain requirement. Otherwise, I don't follow it.

        • #8
          I was afraid that is what you meant for book work.

          I was lucky and had a mom co-leader. She did the crafty stuff and I did the "scouty" stuff. I started adding short hikes in the park, using the compass, etc, etc especially in the group. I think BSA has too much school work as it is and you want to whet the appetite of the boys who would be good Boy Scout candidates. In my final Webelos den it caused one late bloomer to get real excited about camping and crossing over. I lost a couple who really weren't all that interested in anything outdoors but they were good boys who had other interests they were really into. I'd trust your instincts and do the fun stuff. Lash catapults. water rockets, obstacle courses, games they never play at school, and a campout where they do some foil packet cooking are all good fun.

          When my older son was trying to decide which Troop to join it wasn't based on which gave more MB's or Eagles it was the one that had the more physically challenging outdoor program.

          Also there are no cub scout requirement police--I will substitute a more interesting activity if it met the intent of the activity.


          • #9
            I do almost no 'crafty' stuff with my dens, whatever rank. We build things or invent things or create things or make useful objects, but no crafting. The closest I usually come to crafting is making neckerchief slides, and we do those to spare parents the cost of the slides at the scout shop.


            • #10
              I pretty much have the year planned out before our first den meeting and know exactly which requirements we will be working on throughout the year. I also find out from the teachers what field trips they are going on to see if any of those would count toward a requirement. I then mix the boring stuff with the fun stuff at every meeting. It can take all year to complete some requirements since I break it out into such small chunks. It also is a record-keeping nightmare, but at least the boys aren't forced to sit down at an entire den meeting to learn about Citizenship.


              • #11
                I must admit, as Assistant DL every time I crack open the "Den Meeting Resource Guide" to get ideas to help my DL, my eyes just gloss over.......
                words.... way too many words......

                I like dedkad's approach, in theory at least. I think it would be great to start the year with a plan. As a parent, it would help me to know which tings in the book to do at home and which ones to skip in saving for the den meeting. I can't even remember how many things in Tiger and Wolf my son & I did at home, just to do them over again at a meeting down the road.
                Even if the plan changes a bit due to unforeseen events, it would still give a great basis to work from.

                I say "in theory" because I think it would be very hard to set a plan for the year in our case. We did that this year for committee and pack meetings, but the CM quit and now our new one (who was also the CM before) is coming back, and he and his click on the committee are making things "more flexible". hard to plan a den meeting schedule when you don't know when other things are.


                • #12
                  The den meeting resource guide especially for Bears seems to be written by a school teacher, rather than a fun den leader.
                  It is full of send this home as homework, do this worksheet in a meeting. It is NOT FUN!
                  Everything in the Bear book that is required can be done with very little write, sit and talk about it, worksheet, homework.
                  Break it up, if it's something to write, turn it into the fastest group writing project done as a group as gathering activity. If it's talk about it, do a very fast talk about one point right after you do a hands on flag ceremony, turn it into charades or role playing activity, a skit, add a song, joke or make something to liven it up.

                  " Bear 5,8, emergency phone numbers AGAIN (are there really communities without 911 ? ) 11 be ready AGAIN, 13 spending, chart chart chart, bike safety AGAIN, 17 they do this at school, 18 jot it down, school, 19 -24 ok now this fun. Go to a library ?"

                  5 is sharing your world with wildlife you need to do 4--so make a birdhouse, go to the zoo or a wildlife center, and talk to a wildlife officer. bring in some info about endangered species and toss it all out and make a group poster if you have to. that's 4, right? no homework, no sit and fill out a worksheet.

                  8, skip it and do something else, since they only have to do 4 out of the 6 choices. or go to a newspaper office and look up some history about your town(ask the newspaper people to find a couple of articles ahead of time. or make a scrapbook page/poster about all the silly guys in the den do the character connect right after a flag ceremony where you have their attention, or have the person at the newspaper office talk about the stuff with them.

                  Have a fireman or police man talk about the safety stuff, the uniform makes them pay more attention.


                  • #13
                    the above I tried to post several times yesterday but it wouldn't go thru. came back and it was saved so I posted it.
                    for the write stuff ones in bear, combine the scrapbook, history of the area or pack, jot it down, go to the newspaper office, all those into one meeting and one outing--make a den newspaper and go to the newspaper office and see if they'll give you enough newsprint (or buy some) that you can cut up to fit in your printer to make it look like a real newspaper. pass it out to the whole pack about what the bears are up to, picture of the whole den, history of something or other, upcoming events, whatever. make it fun or don't do it.

                    Since the new cub scout resource book came out I have had 2 dens use the Bear pages very strictly, right out of the book, lots of things sent home as homework, lots of sitting down and working activities for the den meetings. Both dens started with 8 and ended with 2 scouts. They were bored to tears! In the same time period, dens who used the resource book, plus the old program helps, and some hands on activities from old pow wow books, the ones who searched thru all those resources for adults but only stopped at the pictures of things to do or things to build ad ignored most of the words except a few silly songs or skits--those dens started with 8 and went UP in size (stopped them at 13 and those 13 in one den crossed to boy scouts together). Sure maybe it was totally the personalities of the people in the den and the den leader, or maybe not. Both sets of dens had similar numbers of adhd boys, and involved or not involved parents.

                    I really think that new resource needs to go away. who wants a theme of responsibility?Even boy scouts have better themes than that. when the same thing can be taught with a theme of Hometown Heroes with a focus on fire and police and first aid? they are adding those as ideas for pack meetings, but it needs to go all the way back down to the den level.


                    • #14
                      KDD, for the family section, I gave that to the boys to do with their families. They are getting older, and heck, I trusted them. I didn't use the guide. My old Pack was big on the Character Connections, and if an achievement had a connection tied to it, I correlated that to the correct month. What I did was always double dip. If there was a possibility of a belt loop being earned, I would do that achievement. I know there is one that you do a couple of sports, I think it is 15? Had the boys play kickball and softball. I found my old softball and the boys got a kick out of that. I also tied in 24 into new boys coming into the Den. There are numerous ways to combine.


                      • #15
                        I don't have a problem at all with the book stuff you refer to. We do present and talk about them in different ways than what is in the book. I do den leader training and instruct the new leaders to drop the den leader resource guide in the trash.

                        For example, the food pyramid or "myplate" stuff goes much better when you have two bagged lunches, one happy meal and one brown bag healthy lunch. Then explain that the happy meal has been on the counter for a week. The boys really react well to that.


                        • TSS_Chris
                          TSS_Chris commented
                          Editing a comment
                          For food pyramids, I start with the dry stuff from the To get them more interested, I start with my collection of some alternative food pyramids that I've collected over the years. The "zombie food pyramid" and the "You are here" cartoon are always hits.


                        • King Ding Dong
                          King Ding Dong commented
                          Editing a comment
                          Thanks. That stuff is great.

                        • dedkad
                          dedkad commented
                          Editing a comment
                          I gave the boys a bunch of food magazines and grocery ads and had them cut out pictures of food that went into each food group and have them put those on their plate or pyramid. Not super exciting, but any hands-on activity is better than just talking about it.