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  • Inspiring kids to be sharp

    I attended a scout leadership meeting last night. Some things I heard were just reiterated, not anything new. (Like this topic.) I have the webelos. They've been in scouts for 2 - 2.5 years. It's something they do because they have to, though I know my son enjoys it as does one other boy. I know one boy comes because his parents make him and the last, I'm not real sure about, though my guess is that he comes because he has to, yet he is compliant and enjoys himself.

    The two boys, who come because they want to, wear their uniform, their shirt is buttoned, have their neckerchief, bring their books, and have both the cub scout and boy scout law, promise, etc memorized.

    The other boys might or might not wear their uniform shirt. It's never buttoned and they ignore me when I ask for them to button. I have not seen their books. (Having inherited this position after someone else, who had been mia for months, I really need to see those books to find out what those boys have and have not completed!) One boy will read the promise, law, etc from the book (guess which) and the other refuses.

    How can I inspire my boys to show up with their shirts on, buttoned, and bring their books? I wear my scout shirt. I bring all the things I need for the den meeting. We used to offer double treats to the boys, who wore their uniform and brought their books, but I have issues with treats as rewards.

  • #2
    I have heard of all kinds of methods such as little beads and such for rewards. I think it starts with the parents, if they don't care, the scout isn't going to care.

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    • #3
      Can you offer something other than a treat as a reward to the best-dressed scout? Something fun from the Dollar Store, Michaels or from a garage sale? One year I decided to make it my goal to have all my scouts in full uniform. When they arrived at the meeting, I would have them all stand up. Then I would start asking a series of questions and the boys had to sit down if they didn't meet that uniform requirement. I'd ask things like "If your shirt is buttoned up, remaining standing, otherwise sit down." "If you're wearing your necker..." "If you have a hat on, is it the correct Cub Scout hat..." and so on until only one boy was standing. That boy would get a reward. The boys got so serious about it, that I had to have multiple rewards because several starting passing the whole uniform requirement. Some didn't care and ended up sitting down on the first question every time. Reward those who meet your expectations and don't stress over the ones who don't. If a reward won't motivate them, or their parents, then there is probably nothing you can do to get them to wear their uniform properly.

      One other thing just came to mind. Maybe you can have a fully-dressed police officer or military person come in to speak to the boys about the importance of being in uniform and what it represents.

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      • #4
        Originally posted by christineka View Post
        I attended a scout leadership meeting last night. Some things I heard were just reiterated, not anything new. (Like this topic.) I have the webelos. They've been in scouts for 2 - 2.5 years. It's something they do because they have to, though I know my son enjoys it as does one other boy. I know one boy comes because his parents make him and the last, I'm not real sure about, though my guess is that he comes because he has to, yet he is compliant and enjoys himself.

        The two boys, who come because they want to, wear their uniform, their shirt is buttoned, have their neckerchief, bring their books, and have both the cub scout and boy scout law, promise, etc memorized.

        The other boys might or might not wear their uniform shirt. It's never buttoned and they ignore me when I ask for them to button. I have not seen their books. (Having inherited this position after someone else, who had been mia for months, I really need to see those books to find out what those boys have and have not completed!) One boy will read the promise, law, etc from the book (guess which) and the other refuses.

        How can I inspire my boys to show up with their shirts on, buttoned, and bring their books? I wear my scout shirt. I bring all the things I need for the den meeting. We used to offer double treats to the boys, who wore their uniform and brought their books, but I have issues with treats as rewards.
        Try very inexpensive outdoor gear. Go to harbor freight. They often have good LED flashlights at great prices. Go to the scout shop. They have ferro rod firestarters for about $3 or less. A couple of these higher dollar treats will get the boys' attention.

        Comment


        • King Ding Dong
          King Ding Dong commented
          Editing a comment
          Great thoughts, but Mom might get a little peeved if on the way home Johnny starts up a sparkfest in the back of the mini van. Check with the parents on that one.

        • perdidochas
          perdidochas commented
          Editing a comment
          KDD,

          That's why I'm glad I'm a Boy Scout Leader, not a Cub Scout leader. I figure if a boy has earned his Totin' Chip, his parents don't mind.

      • #5
        Originally posted by dedkad View Post
        One other thing just came to mind. Maybe you can have a fully-dressed police officer or military person come in to speak to the boys about the importance of being in uniform and what it represents.
        I second this.

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        • #6
          I started having occasional unannounced uniform inspections in my Webelos Den this year and it's really working... they voted amongst themselves to ask me to wear a leader necker (never have in the past for Cubs) and they want to know what happens if it is ever a 10-way tie, lol. I give pretty good prizes... they have a lot of questions about proper uniforming and it has turned into a good learning experience for them which is not what I expected. Also, the inspection is the first thing after the flag so if you're late you;re out of luck.

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          • #7
            As for tracking their achievements /pins - I used a spreadsheet I found online. Webelos tracks. It was free and I would update it at home on my computer after each meeting and then pass out the printed sheet every month or so as we completed things -still signed the book. Out troop uses a similar advancement sheet system so it was art of the getting ready to cross over preps. Prizes for uniform are fun, but be careful because you might have boys that come to the meeting right from a sport. And while it doesn't ake long to change a shirt, it might be the one thing the parent can't tackle. For me it was better to have the kid there in a sweaty sport uniform tan not have the kid there at all and miss the opportunity to earn pins. Usually the peer pressure of everyone else being dressed correctly was enough for the kid. You want it to be inclusive & fun.

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            • christineka
              christineka commented
              Editing a comment
              I have a nice spreadsheet to track advancement. It pretty much has only two boys' achievements tracked. One boy really hasn't completed much. The other was a webelos for 8 months before I became leader and his family does stuff at home as well. I don't know what he's completed- only a general idea. (Because he has earned webelos and went to camp, which I attended.) I've got to see the book, which has not yet been produced for me.

              I'm going to try to start implementing talking to the boy before passing stuff off, since that's the way we should be doing it. Not sure how I interview my own son, when he lives in my house and I do these interviews at home as he tells me of completing a requirement.

            • dedkad
              dedkad commented
              Editing a comment
              Have you seen these Webelos Activity Badge worksheets? http://meritbadge.org/wiki/index.php...dge_Worksheets
              They tend to lean too much toward homework for my taste, but they are useful for sending home to a boy who misses a meeting, or for things that have to be done at home anyway like tracking your meals for the Fitness badge.

          • #8
            I guess the thing that bothers me the most is that you said "Its never buttoned and they ignore me when I ask for them to button."

            A child not listening to an adult would never merit a "prize" from me for doing what they were asked to do in the first place. The "prize" would be for the kids who were already doing what they should be doing and trying to do it well, going above and beyond.

            Fair enough if they just aren't showing up in uniform, but if they are sitting there wearing it in a manner you deem sloppy, they need to fix that. I think I would rather have our kids show up out of uniform than in uniform and sloppy about it.

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