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  • We've always done it this way

    I have been in units where they got into the rut of doing the same things every year, For troops it was the winter cabin trip, the trip to the indoor rock climbing walls, the thanksgiving outing with the families.. With the pack it was the annual Christmas party where you all slept on the gym floor, the Halloween hayride of course it is hard for a pack to move away from the Pinewood Derby & Blue & Gold, which are pushed by the districts..

    Anyway, I am right now involved in resurrecting a Pack where every single leader was new at recharter time, but 2 had been in the Pack as parents for a few years.. Add to this a Troop that strangely seems too friendly to the pack.. They are also in trouble, they seem not to be able to keep their boys more then two years as their program doesn't interest older boys, so this bind with the Pack is not good for them.. In a span of 2 months the Troop has like 4 things they want to be apart of.. Two that are cub scout events, two that are boyscout events they have invited the cub scouts to.. Perhaps it is just the time of year.. I mean it is close to crossover time so, yeah they would be at the crossover and at least invite the Webs to some troop outing.

    I am looking at this Pack as a clean slate, a great place for new ideas and new blood to be creative. Yet between the two parents from the Pack and the Troop, I am finding this "We've always done it this way" creeping in, it is like I am working with leaders who have run the Pack for the last 10 years and are in a rut..

    The new Cub Master is in agreement that alot of this "in a rut" and Pack/Troop bond, is not healthy.. But, I guess when you are in the Pack/troop and just sink with it into a comfortable rut it is hard to see until you look back at it.. Yet when you are in basically a start from scratch unit, and want to be creative and imaginative, the words "We've always Done it this way", is kindof grating..

    So, would you consider your unit in a rut or not? If your unit has dodged this bullet, what would you credit for this success?

  • #2
    It is a good argument. On the one hand re-doing things means it the unit can get better at ironing out the kinks--continous improvement and all that. On the other hand doing the same yearly program breeds boredom after boys do it a couple times.

    Maybe a multi-year schedule or alternate events?

    Comment


    • #3
      True, but considering both Pack & unit are struggling for survival, I would say with these units it is not so much in a rut do to great successes and wanting to become better.. It is more the easy way out.. Also, if the troop is at most Pack events and the Pack is at most troop events, I really see this a the possible reason the troop can not keep boys more then about 2 years.. When they get to Boy Scouts it is not a different program that is challenging.. It is the same program they have done for the last 4 or 5 years while in the Pack.

      Comment


      • #4
        Hmmm... Some new error, the Post, will write out, but seems like it doesn't then gives some error and resets the post button so you can dup the post..

        Seeing Tempa Turtle is on his 3rd post (when I first came in he only had 2) I don't think he has figured this out yet.

        Comment


        • #5
          We do a lot of the same things from year to year. People get attached to doing things the same way, including both adults and scouts. We do try and mix things up, such as alternating a canoe campout with a bike ride campout every other year. We, and I mean the PLC and the Committee try to do something new every year. Sometimes it's a success, sometimes not. The fun/well attended events will be repeated while the others are reviewd and either filed away or jettisoned.

          I will say though that too much interaction between a pack and a troop isn't such a good thing. I think it dilutes the cache of working towards being a Boy Scout for the Cubs and holds back those older Scouts who may feel that Scouts has just become an extension of Cub Scouts. No wonder some lose interest.

          Comment


          • #6
            Different country but similar concept.

            My troop is not stuck in that rut and I think it all boils down to balance.

            There is a lot of truth in the old saying "if it ain't broke don't fix it" so if something is popular there is nothing at all wrong with doing it year it year out. BUT it must be balanced with variarty. Kids have a lot of options these days and a lot of new things they can try. If scouting isn't offering them something new on a regular basis they will go elsewhere. So be prepared to do something a bit left field sometimes. Every now and then just bin the official programme and do something off the wall. One Christmas rather than having the traditional trip to see a pantomime we went to the ballet instead. Certainly not your average scout programme but the scouts, especially the boys, loved it. They had no idea what to expect and were able to see the pure athleticism of the dancers. One night we had a local martial arts group come in to run a night. Again, completely different to the standard programme. But equally we have our annual pan cake making night, There would be a riot if we scrapped it! We have an annual inter patrol cook off as well.

            Also watch out for whole youth lead thing, but again with balance. If you give the scouts the opportunity to lead and influence the programme as much as possible then they will naturally end up doing the programme that they want. BUT..... scouts are, ultimately, children, They don't have the experience of the world that adults have. We do have that experience and can introduce them to things that they may not have even thought about doing or trying.

            In terms of links with the pack, we work on the basis of one night per term doing something with the cubs to get them into the mindset of scouts being what they naturally move onto. Also on most cub camps they ask for 2 or 3 scouts to go along with them to simply be a presence, to get to know the cubs and make sure they move on to us in due course.

            Comment


            • #7
              Oh I agree Cambridgeskip, I am not advocating NO interaction between the two units.. Just too much, like linking to each others events all the time in my opinion may just be worse then none at all.. Especially if the Troop lives in Webelos III mode which makes them not see a problem with being joined at the hip to the Pack.. Eventually I would like to see these cubbies move up to the Troop, and the Troop offer a challenging enough program to keep their interest..

              Comment


              • #8
                If what one is doing leads them to a certain destination and they don't like what they find once they get there, either one can keep doing what they are doing and basically end up in the same place every time. Otherwise, would a different route be beneficial? What route? Doesn't really make any difference as long as it goes someplace else.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I guess the question comes down to are we stuck in a rut or do we love tradiiton? if the unit enjoys a repeated activity, then its a time honored beloved tradition, such as the Pinewood Derby should be. If the activity garners no love but is always done because its always been done, then thats a rut. Doing new events and activites keeps the program fresh, unless there are real ties to tradiitonal events. Which is what is up to the unit

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I suppose ruts are like holes. The first step in getting out of a hole is to quit digging. The first rule of getting out of a rut is to quit riding through it. OGE''s right. Figure out what works and what doesn't the plan your calendar accordingly. One of the hallmarks of a good leader is knowing when to shake up the organization.

                    As far as the Boy Scout troop goes, play dumb.

                    "Gosh, I would have never imagined the Boy Scouts would have wanted to participate in the Pinewood Derby. It never occurred to me we shouldn't have it the same weekend as your campout."

                    "We're not comfortable with our younger boys going on the campout with the troop. The level of difficulty is too much for them, plus we want to give them something to look forward to when they're older. Have you spoken to the Webelos II den? The outing may be more appropriate for them."

                    Be very careful with this, but I may have a very quiet conversation with the COR or unit commissioner regarding the troop's program. If the leaders are clingiing to the Cub Scout program and are losing boys after a couple of years because of it, the COR may want to nudge the program in a different direction.

                    It would be interesting to know why the troop is doing this -- none of our business, but interesting. Do they think this is a good transition program? Were the programs developed for the convenience of leaders with boys in both the troop and pack? It strikes me as odd as the problem is more often with new troop leaders who think their new Scouts need to tackle Denali right off the bat. I'm not familiar with a troop clinging to the cub program like this.

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                    • #11
                      In regards to what do the Scouts want? Some events may be so special that folks do not do away with them. I knwo one event, our survival weekend, woudl have ASMs caming back from college for the weekend.

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                      • #12
                        I suppose ruts are like holes. The first step in getting out of a hole is to quit digging. The first rule of getting out of a rut is to quit riding through it. OGE''s right. Figure out what works and what doesn't the plan your calendar accordingly. One of the hallmarks of a good leader is knowing when to shake up the organization.

                        As far as the Boy Scout troop goes, play dumb.

                        "Gosh, I would have never imagined the Boy Scouts would have wanted to participate in the Pinewood Derby. It never occurred to me we shouldn't have it the same weekend as your campout."

                        "We're not comfortable with our younger boys going on the campout with the troop. The level of difficulty is too much for them, plus we want to give them something to look forward to when they're older. Have you spoken to the Webelos II den? The outing may be more appropriate for them."

                        Be very careful with this, but I may have a very quiet conversation with the COR or unit commissioner regarding the troop's program. If the leaders are clingiing to the Cub Scout program and are losing boys after a couple of years because of it, the COR may want to nudge the program in a different direction.

                        It would be interesting to know why the troop is doing this -- none of our business, but interesting. Do they think this is a good transition program? Were the programs developed for the convenience of leaders with boys in both the troop and pack? It strikes me as odd as the problem is more often with new troop leaders who think their new Scouts need to tackle Denali right off the bat. I'm not familiar with a troop clinging to the cub program like this.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          One of the biggest issues I see in what has been said so far is how involved the pack is with the troop. I do think it's cool to have troop members help with pack events, but there should be a total separation with the troop other than an occassional campout where the Webelos are invited. I know my son could not wait to get to boy scouts and then he'd be able to do x,y,z. If boys are already doing those things while a cub then there is nothing special to cross over into.

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Similar situation -- my nephew's pack all meets together for den meetings -- Tigers to Webelos -- all in the same room doing the same thing, just the different dens sitting together. The Cubmaster runs everything, the DL's just babysit their tables.

                            What sort of program do you think that is for the older boys?

                            Hint -- nephew never made it to Bear

                            Remember when "Ages and Stages" was one of the very first training modules you took?

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Ahhhhh... Twocub you might have hit upon part of the problem of why these two units are so closely bonded.. Last year I visited them, all the dens met at the same time & location as you said.. But, it was also at the same time same location as the troop.. They just were divided by a moving wall partition.. The strange thing I observed was that the boy scouts had the side of the room for movement & games (which yes BS do need that).. But the CS had the tables & chairs and basically sat and did school work type of den meetings..

                              Luckily now, the dens meet different times & places and we hold the Pack meeting together not while the troop is meeting.

                              For them this current activity is probably to the point of giving them separation anxiety.
                              Ahhhhh... Twocub you might have hit upon part of the problem of why these two units are so closely bonded.. Last year I visited them, all the dens met at the same time & location as you said.. But, it was also at the same time same location as the troop.. They just were divided by a moving wall partition.. The strange thing I observed was that the boy scouts had the side of the room for movement & games (which yes BS do need that).. But the CS had the tables & chairs and basically sat and did school work type of den meetings..

                              Luckily now, the dens meet different times & places and we hold the Pack meeting together not while the troop is meeting.

                              For them this current activity is probably to the point of giving them seperation anxity.

                              Comment

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