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  • Blue&Gold Advancement.. Need a better answer..

    OK.. So at the CS committee meeting in discussing future pack meetings we hit March which is our Blue & Gold party.. And I asked the question, "How are you (Den Leaders) doing with advancement? Are your scouts going to make rank at this time? If not, no biggie, but it is what you should be targeting for."

    Now, background is it is a very young pack with only Tigers and wolves... So no Webs to cross over.. So the question by one of the DL's is "Why is this time the target date?"..


    Ahhh.... "Because it has always been this way?" (not really good..) kindof cushioned with "If we had Webs then this would be their crossover date.. So while celebrating their crossover we also try to celebrate everyones crossover." -and- "Once your done with rank advancement, then this gives you a few months to not worry so much about advancement, and you have time to kick back and just do fun things"..

    All of it seemed like lame reasoning.. So, I don't know if we will see many boys get rank at our B&G..

    Do others have better answers for this question of "Why"..

  • #2
    We end up with a fresh round of recruiting in January, there is a big Jewish Community event then. As a result, we sometimes get new Scouts. So we're all wrapping up our Rank Advancement in January/February for Blue and Gold (was scheduled for mid-Feb, we moved to late-Feb to give one Den a little more time). This way, if new Scouts join in January, they can do Bobcat for Blue and Gold.

    For us, February - May is filled with our Council Camporee, our District Cuboree, Pinewood Derby, Space Derby, Camp Cards, and electives, etc. So our Fall Semester is rank advancement, our Spring Semester is exciting fun activities at the Pack, District, and Council level.

    You see some of this reflected in JTE requirements. For the Calendar year, they expect Rank Advancement, so remaining Scouts should Rank Advance in the Spring. New Scouts come-in during the Spring/Summer/Fall and Rank Advance via Bobcat.

    Technically speaking, a Scout can earn their rank at any time. However, since most rely on the Den to do so, they need to have time for it. If Dens start in October, you have October, November, December, January, and February for Rank Advancement. Given 2 Meetings/Month, that's time for 10 Den Achievements. For Tigers: 5 Go See-Its, 5 Den Projects, plus the home achievements. For Wolf/Bear, you do 10 Achievements, and 2 for homework. For Webelos, that's plenty of time.

    For Webelos, it's weather permitting, but that gives them time to Rank Advance and/or finish up Arrow of Light. You also have boys ready to cross over and have some time with the troop before Summer Camp. Pretty sure that Boy Scout Summer Camp needs drive the entire discussion.

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    • #3
      In the packs that I have worked with, advancement is given once earned and recognition at the next pack meeting. It doesn't make any difference whether it is Blue/Gold or not. The boys earned it, they get it. We have stupid little beads for instant achievement, why would AOL be any different? And as far as the pack is concerned, cross-over is a Boy Scout activity, not a pack activity.

      Stosh

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      • #4
        Agree with you both that it could be met at any time.. Which is when I addressed it, I did say, if you are not ready.. Then no big deal..

        But.. This is a group that is not zippity doo da-ing through the advancement.. So I am not holding them from the rank until the B&G.. This is more a group that does not understand why we have the rank advancement before the last meeting before Summer Recess.. So I would like to plant in their heads reasons why at least they should plan, organize and set as a target date March for finishing up rank advancement.. If earlier so be it.. If later so be it.. But, I really don't want them to set their target date as the June pack meeting when they move from on rank to the other due to their grade.. Again, I do know that a scout that doesn't make it can summer over at the old rank.. But, I still think that as their target date is cutting it close, and if they cut it close, some kids will slip through the cracks.. Therefore looking for good reason to put in their minds that target date should be March.. If don't make it, don't sweat it.. But, try for then..

        Pack18 - This year we have plans to build a Chuckwagon and crash another districts CW.. Our district doesn't run them, except for one year about 4 or 5 years back.. A lot of packs built Chuckwagons and not they sit rotting in someones shed or barn.. Other then that our council doesn't run anything for the Cubs.. Now, our Webelos (which we don't have any) could go to the spring BS camporee, but not our other Cubs.. Our Pack is doing a pack campout.. Still, not as full an agenda as you guys seem to have going for you.. But, I did mention they can just have fun with no mind to advancement in the spring.. But, if they have no idea what to do, that might be more terrifying to them then exciting.

        jblake - perhaps in your council crossover is a BS activity.. In mine, it is a CS activity.. Most packs have a B&G pot luck supper, perhaps with a raffle for cakes.. The BS troops who the Webs will cross over to are invited to attend.. After 3 different troops, I can tell you in all of them it is run the same way for all of them. It is also... run that way at the mock B&G at the Woodbadge training.
        Last edited by moosetracker; 01-20-2014, 01:40 PM.

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        • jblake47
          jblake47 commented
          Editing a comment
          Our camporees have crossover ceremonies for the boys that don't crossover in the packs/troop processes. They seem to be well attended. Kinda makes me think that not many packs do it.

      • #5
        In our pack, the Blue & Gold Banquet takes the place of our February pack meeting and is a celebration of the anniversary of Scouting in the U.S. We try to make it a big deal, inviting all of the teachers and staff of the school where we meet as well as the usual relatives and friends. We encourage the dens and Scouts to set a goal to earn their ranks so that they may be recognized at this big event in front of their family and friends. We also try hard to make it clear that it is OK if they do not hit this goal and that they can still work on their ranks until the summer (exceptions handled on a case-by-case basis).

        We deliberately schedule a separate crossover for our March or April pack meeting so that the ceremony is the highlight of the meeting and there is nothing else to take away from the Webelos's crossover experience. AOL is not tied to crossover and is awarded when it is earned in a special ceremony, but in practice, most years both the AOL ceremony and the crossover ceremony are in March or April.

        Comment


        • #6
          MT, when our pack was new we held our B&G latter in the school year. We weren't really withholding ranks we just didn't have schedules that got the advancements done earlier. Part of this was we didn't have a big camping tradition yet, where a lot of advancements were completed. (Because basically you have the scout for more time.)

          As our pack calendar got more detailed and leaders became more experienced, we moved the B&G back to Feb and most dens were ready with rank. But, if they were not -- their den was recognized latter, typically at the May picnic. In the main, most boys in a den are done at the same time.

          In our council bridging is a pack event. Troops are invited. Seems mostly to happen in Feb although we saw one pack a few years ago wait until May. I don't recommend bridging that late.

          Comment


          • #7
            Our pack does rank advancements at Blue and Gold every year. The Blue and Gold Banquet is a celebration of the founding of the boy scouts and as such, we make it a REALLY BIG deal! We have a sit down dinner and do cake auctions and silent auctions, we even get a DJ for the scouts to have a good time dancing after blue and gold. We invite the families out for this and usually have the mayor, police chief and fire chief in attendance as well. If we have arrow of light and bridging ceremonies, we have to OA ceremonies team out to do these and it gives the younger scouts something to look forward to. Because we make such a big deal out of it, we invite the families out and we make it a celebration of "look at how hard your scouts have worked this year".

            We will give out only the special awards that night like rank advancements, we do plaques for scouts who sold over $1000 in popcorn and we also acknowledge any scouts who earned their religious emblems on Scout Sunday. Any knots leaders earned will be given out that night as well. Our pack makes such a significant event out of blue and gold that no one has ever questioned "why should we complete our ranks by this day?" If they did, my answer would probably be because that is why their families are coming, they want to see their children receive that rank, we are celebrating their kids hard work with a huge celebration and expect it to be done by then.

            I try to hold regular leader meetings quarterly with all of the den leaders (not to be confused with committee meetings) We start the year off with one and I tell them the date of all pack meetings including B&G. I also give them a target date toward the end of January (our B&G is held at the end of February) to have all rank advancements done. This is so if someone is struggling it gives us time to step in and help out in time for B&G. It's good if they start out the scout year knowing when rank advancements are expected to be completed.

            Edited: I wanted to put out there that we do not REQUIRE the scouts to advance this night, it is recommended but we will acknowledge them at our pack graduation later as well. If a scout does not have all of the work put in for advancement we still find a way to acknowledge them at B&G (usually a certificate for hard work, etc)
            Last edited by MommaScouter; 01-20-2014, 04:48 PM.

            Comment


            • #8
              I led to believe that packs that rank advance at BG tend to not have much programming for the rest of the school year. Maybe Derby but not much more.

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              • #9
                Hmmm... I guess we typically hold our Pinewood in Feb. because the district level Pinewood is in March, so we end up with the B&G in March.. So seems we are a bit slower then most you guys..

                I did not remember not having program after the B&G... But, then when my son went through most the advancement was done at home putting advancement into the den meeting was a change made about 2 to 3 years back.. I have no clue what we did though.. I know the Webelos was more schoolwork like and we did do the advancement in the den.. I also know we had something we were advancing in, because there was another den of the same rank, and they were just rushing through and getting all these awards, and our den had a pow-wow, on how we felt about them getting so much more bling then our den.. Our den decided it would be too stressful to always be advancing at that pace, and we wanted to have more fun then work.. The other den shortly after had some blow out, and the den imploded and absolutely no one in the den was left in the pack after that... So we definitely made the right decision. Perhaps our dens worked on the belt loops?? Maybe?? That was so long ago and my brain is very rusty.

                Comment


                • #10
                  I would tell the parents that rank advancement typically happens at the B&G because if a den is meeting weekly and following the program laid out in the Leader Guides, then February or March is when they should have completed all of their requirements for rank. The dens in our pack only meet once or twice a month, so we don't have our rank advancement until our end-of-year campout in early June. That's what works for us. In any case, I agree that it is good to set goals, otherwise people get lazy and put off for too long the things that need to get done.

                  Comment


                  • #11
                    Some of your problem could be in your terminology. Your Pack folks might be thinking "ADVANCEMENT". Meaning when the Cubs change levels. Hence "Crossing Over".

                    However when you earn your rank award, that is ALL you are doing - earning the award for your rank level. It really has nothing to do with "advancement" per se.

                    We hold "Blue & Gold" in February because, per BSA, B&G is a celebration of the birthday of Cub Scouting, and February is when the anniversary falls. Also per BSA, B&G is a time to celebrate your Scouts, and your Pack. One of the ways this is done is by awarding boys their current rank award in a fun ceremony - in front of all of the families and friends.

                    BSA recommends shooting for February Blue and Gold to complete all of the requirements for the rank awards. That is the main push behind their den meeting templates, and timetables.

                    Personally, I found that to be a great date to use as a goal. Families, and Scouts,respond better when given a specific goal to work toward. It helps (somewhat) to combat the (strong) urge to procrastinate until May 31 !

                    Another thing to keep in mind - While Cub Scouts can work on Electives all year long, they can only receive the recognitions, and display them, AFTER they have received their rank award. This can have bigger implications for your Tigers. If they do not receive their Tiger rank award until April, or even May, they will have little, to no, time to display all of the Electives they have earned.

                    We never held a boy back from receiving awards he had earned. Nor did we ever state they MUST be earned by B&G. However, we were always busy during March-May doing lot of non-rank award related fun stuff. To have all of that done by the end of February left us time to concentrate on other things without worrying about how to best get rank awards finished before the end of the school year.

                    Comment


                    • #12
                      I have had the opportunity to be involved with 2 different packs so I have seen different was that it can be handled. Both packs have a goal completing it prior to B&G. At the old pack B&G also included the cross over ceramony. While in the current pack cross over is a month later in March.

                      The benefit of having the goal of B&G to obtain rank is that it it is well attended. It seems that participations starts to drop off in the spring once spring sports starts.

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                      • #13
                        I think it's silly. I never saw the B&G as a time to be finished. In fact, we never gave out awards at the B&G. With the food and the presentation by FOS, we never really felt we had time. The main thing was fellowship over food.

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                        • #14
                          We rank advance at B&G when possible as well until Webelos. The ones that just joined the Pack (Dec-Jan) advance from Bobcat to their current rank they will be working on.

                          The Webelos move into that section at their B&G 4th Grade year (or 9 years old as we have homeschooled Scouts). Once they are there we hold a court of honor for them when they achieve Webelos and they each get their own Arrow of Light ceremony to move up to "big Boy Scouts" or one ceremony available a month if there are multiple that have finished AoL. They really enjoy having their AoL honored separate from the B&G and we invite the Troop to come as well and "receive" them as they move up whereas they don't usually attend the B&G. It works very well for us.

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                          • #15
                            We have the AOL and Bridging Ceremony in Jan/Feb (this year in Jan). We make that its own special ceremony.
                            Blue & Gold is not until the end of the school year in June.
                            We don't hold back awards. If boys have earned a rank badge, they get it upon earning - and then they add arrow points if they are chasing those too. However, it is a rare Scout who doesn't just turn it all in for the June celebration.

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