Integrate K-12... you can solve this. I have problems with GSUSA's program, but their structure is informative:
My wife is a Girl Scout Troop leader, in their program, they have two general "options."
Option 1: Single Level Troop, you take your daughter and her friends, and year after year you bridge to the next level, think a Cub Scout Tiger Den walking through Eagle generally with the same leaders. These Troops don't acquire gear or any permanence, but they have fun, and they use Council/Service Unit gear/events. Their service unit offers a "Mall Campout" and a "Movie Theatre Lock In" and other stuff... all the things we arrange at the Pack level for Cubs is done via the Service Unit, since most Troops are glorified Dens. The two leaders run their program, not Pack leadership exhaustion. All you need is the few meeting leaders, and you're off and running.
Option 2: Multi-level Troop: whatever levels you want, you register. The girls work on their appropriate level achievements (hopefully with leaders for each). This gives you some permanence, because you're recruiting new Kindergarten Daisies each year. You can meet your levels separately or together, whatever you want, total flexibility.
In my District, nearly every active Pack we have has a related Troop through the CO (there might be a few Elementary School PTA affiliated ones, but I think even they have a troop that meets at the Elementary school as well). We nod at Round Table about letting the boys explore different troops, and there is SOME people switching, but as a rule, the Boys migrate from Pack to Troop. The well run Troops have their grizzled experienced leaders help out in the Pack and make sure it's feeding good Scouts in.
I'm generalizing, apologize if it appears sexist, occaisionally the genders flip, but this seems the general trend:
Pack Leadership is one to two dads with a few boys running campouts.
Den Leadership is the moms running the den activities.
The Pack Leadership moves on to the troop when their boys cross over, the Den leadership is tired and burnt out.
This isn't how my pack functions, BTW, just my observation from Round Table.
Our Pack Committees are all a joke, our Troop Committees might be better, not sure, mostly because people spend more time there. Once their oldest son hits Troop, parent moves their attention there (why worry about the pack when your younger sons will be in the troop soon anyway), so the Troops have way more volunteers.
I'd replace our named Unit Level Committees with a Charter Org: Scouting Committee (obviously you could run two or three committees if you want). The Committee Chair would be responsible for Scouting, K-20. I'd allow flexibility in finances, the Committee can set policies for how to allocate funds between Scout Accounts, Den Budgets, Pack Budgets, Patrol Budgets, Troop Budgets. Create positions for Pack Subcommittee Chair, Webelos Subcommittee Chair, Troop Subcommittee Chair, Venture Subcommittee Chair that Units can use if they want. Basically, unify the paperwork.
I'd Split: Cub Pack: Lions, Tigers, Wolves, Bears: Create a special badge you wear on the Webelos/Boy Scout Uniform that shows you Cub Ranks earned like we do for Arrow of Light, replace the Tiger "Elective Beads" with Arrow heads, make Lions a SIMPLE program, they just get a bead every week, no 10 Electives = bead nonsense, too advanced for young kids.
Webelos Patrols: Autonomous, with a Patrol Master, transitioning between them. Get rid of Bobcat from Webelos, start learning the stuff you need for your Scout Rank. You can wear the Cub Belt Loops, because why not. For Webelos, I would create a GTSS that explains when they do things with the Pack (leadership at Pack Meetings), when they do things with the Troop (Den Campouts), but start moving them towards Troop, but an Adult Led Patrol. Maybe Webelos is one year only, but I think rising 5th graders might be young for Boy Scout Camp... Maybe a junior Scout Webelos Camp where they start working on Scout Skills in a more age appropriate manner. Not sure here.
Troop/Patrols: more or less as is, but focus on it as a three to four year core program. This should be a boys to manhood program that we acknowledge they age out of. Down here, most Eagles were active in middle school, in high school they get involved in other things and go to an occasional camp out, and maybe Scout Camp to wrap up their merit badges, then come back for their Eagle project at 16 or 17. Instead of the senior scout real leadership, use makeshift leadership to give middle schoolers a taste of it.
Venturers/Sea Scouts: integrate more. Troops should evolve into them. High Schoolers don't want to hang out with Middle Schoolers, let along fifth graders. Make this a more appropriate program for high school scouts who aren't going to make time for Scout craft but can hone leadership and really grow.
Sorry, I wrote a book, but in summary:
One Committee: let the parents unify efforts, let me run one set of books for all programs even if the levels have bank accounts, let that be our choice. Simply the administrative paperwork.
Cub Scouts: Lower Elementary School, K to 3
Webelos Patrol: Upper Elementary School (4-5)
Scout Troop: Middle School (6-8)
Venturer Crew: High School (9-12)
For reference, GSUSA Levels:
While Seniors/Ambassadors have different activities, as far as we can tell, in my wife's service unit, they are all either single grade units so they just swap books/uniforms, or a multi-age Troop that is Seniors/Ambassadors, but that might be because the weird Ambassador level is only 5 years old.
I think this is an effort by GSUSA to sell more stuff, since girls won't outgrow uniforms like boys and can use the same one from 6 to 12, so first they switch the levels, then the switch the vest/sash, but we'll see.
Either way, they let you organize how you wish (a K-12 multi-age Troop could have a single Bank Account, Treasurer, Budget, etc), and set your own Camping Rules (could do a Family Camp for Brownies/Juniors, and a Patrol Camp for Cadettes/Seniors/Ambassadors if you want). They don't really do "ranks" like we do anymore, but are totally flexible and have age based stuff to do.
But I think that Cubs is burning out your leaders because Den Leader is really intense, and almost none of us, on the ground, have separate Pack Committees from Den Leadership. Letting us join forces with the Troop would let us focus on our Dens, and would let the Troop parents focus on making sure we're feeding them good Scouts. In Practice here, since most Webelos->Troop Transitions are in the CO (my SE told me to focus on relationship with our Troop since that's where we want the boys to go), having us run two or three parent committees simply requires more adult leadership than we can muster.
Added Benefit, Cub Parents would SEE what is going on at the Troop more if they were encouraged to interact more, and they'd understand that once their boys leave Cubs for Webelos, their involvement lessons, and after that to Troop, the boys are on their own.
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07-11-2013, 02:00 PMEditing a commentFully agree. That's how it should be. "One Unit" concept, K - 20. One committee of experienced people to help the new Cub leaders.
dcsimmons commented07-11-2013, 03:44 PMEditing a commentTwo thumbs way up for the single committee part, I'm also becoming more interested in the AHG model of one troop with the various age levels. I'm coming around on the Boy Scouts = MIddle School part with a forced migration to Venturing. If you're going to do that though I'd make Star - Eagle part of the venturing program.
- Feb 2005
Not what I've been told... been told "you can dual register" but the committees are supposed to be separate.
I also think if we're adding Kindergarteners, we gotta get the 4th/5th graders far away from them.
I don't think Cub Scouts is too long, I think the Tiger age is fine. I think the program is too repetitive from rank to rank and often requires more volunteers to easily implement than are available. It could be much more streamlined, focused on core ideas and have more clarity. I think the standard and the goal should be to meet twice a month with quarterly pack meetings instead of monthly. In my experience, it is the pace of a standard Cub year that burns out leaders. In Cub Scouts, the leaders have to entertain the boys every week in some fashion. Totally different than Boy Scouts where the scouts entertain themselves. The time commitment is higher in Boy Scouts but the amount of planning is less. That is what I see in my household with two top unit leaders and boys in both programs.
We have a GSUSA leader in our pack right now who keeps making comparisons to what GSUSA does and what BSA does, or at least in the ways it is interpreted locally. BSA frustrates her. I can see why, it frustrates me too. Most of the differences come down to two factors. First, BSA has much more stringent safety guidelines. Girl Scouts are not restricted from many of the fun activities that Cub Scouts are not allowed to do according to the GTSS. Second, structure. A troop of 12 girls with a few committed parents can do more and be much more flexible about what they do than a pack of 30 with a few overworked leaders. A troop also does not have to spend nearly the time our pack does in recruitment. It's time away from the program
I think the really good GSUSA troops take the meatier, outdoor-oriented BSA content and translate it to smaller unit model. I have a former CM and current CM doing this right now with their daughters and their troops are very successful.
- 1 Like
07-11-2013, 03:33 PMEditing a commentSasha, it's a trade off. BSA has a ton of red tape and process, but it's a standardized process that works relatively fine for all involved. If you are a Cub Scout Pack in rural Nebraska or Suburban New York, you get a roughly similar program as long as your Den Leaders are trained and follow the program. While "every Pack is different," we all follow the same trail, have the same meeting guides to start from, and the same general framework.
Now, if you're a really good BSA leader, the paperwork is a headache (including the fact that I need three committees if I want to run Ages 6-20 and/or co-ed, two committees if I'm 6-18 male only), the Unit Infrastructure is painful, and the process hard, but it does make the program relatively easy to duplicate.
GSUSA groups are all over the place. I'm pretty sure the BSA oriented GSUSA leaders really enjoy the flexibility and not needing to set anything up. OTOH, I can watch BSA flash videos for a few hours and see how to do EVERYTHING. I can download an Excel Template of a Budget, and an Excel Template of an annual plan. On the GSUSA side they say "do whatever you want." Most GSUSA troops are single level, do journies in meetings, and dump the rest of the responsibility on the service unit for their "big stuff."
So if you have a great GSUSA leader (probably one that learned from the BSA), they can apply the BSA program on a small unit and get great results without headaches. OTOH, if you take a GSUSA leader with no BSA experience... expect some crafting, service projects, mall campouts. The GSUSA service unit trainer here isn't camping certified and has never taken her (single age) troop camping, has no interest in it, and says that its fine either way.
I'm sure it is possible to do BSA without ever really camping, I assume the boys can do their required camping at summer camp, but it's certainly integral to the program in a way it is NOT integral to GSUSA.
- Mar 2008
The GSUSA model is flawed.....
I have ran into more than a few single rank troop.....Plus the the GSUSA encourages limiting troops to a single school, ethnic group, neighborhood........
So why aren't the GS limiting fun activities yet????? Probably because some bone head volunteer has screwed up and got them sued yet.... Did I tell you about the Cub dad playing woodsman that drove his 3/4 ax into the ground cutting the camps water line??????? Summer camp is a great comparison......Webelos and cubs are limited to a 4 day camp....the Girl scouts go for 6....Why the difference? The girls sleep in air conditioned cabins complete with bathrooms and showers.....They have a huge air conditioned main building were most of the activities occur.
I find it interesting that the Cub leaders don't think it is too long and the Boy Scout leaders do.....
perdidochas commented07-12-2013, 02:34 PMEditing a commentThe burn out was from Den Leader work. I did Tiger Cub (1yr), Bear (1yr), and Webelos (2 1/2 yrs), as well as a very active Wolf parent before becoming a DL. I agree that DLs aren't a good choice for ASM at first. I spent three years as a Troop committee member (Advancement coord) before becoming an ASM for that reason. I needed to learn to step back.
07-12-2013, 03:06 PMEditing a commentI gots to know
Alex how many years have you been involved in scouting as an adult????
07-15-2013, 10:25 AMEditing a commentBD, Very new and in over my head... but having fun and Doing My Best!
- Aug 2008
A Couple of comments.
1) It is entirely possible for one set of folks on a committee to run multiple units. I've seen this with a SCOUTREACH program where the committee was the same for 3 or 4 different units, and I've seen it with A troop/crew combination. Is it easy, no people should really "wear one hat" (HAHAHAHA pot calling the kettle black )but it is possible and allowed by BSA
2) In some countries, that is how scouting is done, i.e. one committee supports all the units. If I remember correcetly, and one of our Brit members please tell me if I am wrong, A scout groups will consist of Cubs, Scouts, and Explorers. The group leadership is essentially a committee that supports the pack, troop, and crew. Some units have been around longer than some councils have been around.
3) Because of the small unit nature of GSUSA, their troops are essentially the size of BSA patrols, of course more activities can be done. BUT becasue they are so small, there is not enough room for everyone and some girls are denied the program.
Moggie commented07-13-2013, 01:41 PMEditing a comment"2) In some countries, that is how scouting is done, i.e. one committee supports all the units. If I remember correcetly, and one of our Brit members please tell me if I am wrong, A scout groups will consist of Cubs, Scouts, and Explorers. The group leadership is essentially a committee that supports the pack, troop, and crew. Some units have been around longer than some councils have been around."
This is indeed how we broadly operate. In my group 1st Westbury in common with most UK groups, we have a single committee, the group is headed by a Group Scout Leader. A young person joins the group at age 6 as a beaver scout, progresses to cubs at 8yrs, to scouts at 10 1/2yrs and then at 14, if the group supports an explorer unit becomes an explorer scout. Explorer units operate at district level rather than at group, although in rural and small towns the explorers tend to be formed around the scout groups.
- May 2007
Pack18Alex, I like your ideas of creating some more distinct levels. Pairing the pack and troop wouldn't work so well in my area. We bring in Webelos from a couple of different packs. We roughly have a pack per elementary school and not as many troops. Another option might be splitting off Webelos from cubs. I think that was the original intent. Part of the time they could be a den and part of the time they could be a patrol in a troop (when the weather is nice and mom or dad want to camp). That would be a better transition. The webs could join the troop for day events and a couple of campouts a year when the weather is nice and still do pinewood derby and crafts. The adults would have much less to organize (hopefully) as web den leaders. The troops would have PORs set to be automatic den chiefs.
07-12-2013, 01:02 AMEditing a commentFor those of you following the proper approach... Packs and Troops are distinct, my proposal doesn't really solve them directly...
What I would say in your Case:
The Elementary School's CO Charters a Cub Pack and Webelos Patrol. The Webelos Patrol does their Pack stuff with the Cub Pack. Since you don't have a Joint Webelos Patrol / Scout Troop under the CO, the GTSS should provide guidelines for visiting Webelos Patrols, which should be different from a unified Scouting setup.
I think that with Lions you need some separation for Webelos. I believe a big part of why I have dropoff problems is that we get a ton of Tigers and they interact with the Webelos too much. They should be "older mature Cubs" to look up to.
My point was NOT that a CO needs to run all the units, but that all the units under a CO share a committee (unless they choose to form different committees).
Interestingly, a Boy Scout Troop is the sum of its patrols. According to my training, a Cub Scout Pack consists of all the Dens at a CO. So if one CO were running Dens at 3 schools, that CO can't have 3 Packs, they are one pack.
Agreed on the Pinewood Derby/Crafts...
On paper, the Webelos have more autonomy than the Cubs. In practice, at least here, they are Cub Scouts wearing Boy Scout Uniforms. When I was a lad, the Webelos emblem went where the Tiger one does now... and apparently where the Lion Badge once went... But ideally, the Webelos are either off doing activity pins, or visiting a Troop as a Patrol or showing leadership when the visit the Pack as a Patrol. Ideally, Webelos have 2 Patrol meetings + 1 Troop Meeting + 1 Pack Meeting each month.
07-12-2013, 03:07 PMEditing a commentI wish I have multiple packs feeding our troop......then hitting my max troop size would be easy.
MattR commented07-12-2013, 05:40 PMEditing a commentBD, it's not that every web in few packs always come to my troop. It sort of shifts around. Sometimes it's one troop, sometimes a couple. It's a process that starts about now. Historically we've taken webs from 7 or 8 packs, but usually they mostly come from 1 or 2 a year. Different people want different things. When we tell people that 95% of our scouts get Eagle after it's too late to wear the patch, many go elsewhere. So I think keeping the Web dens autonomous so they can try out a few different troops is a good thing. We try and get the webelos to join us on two campouts.
I'm a cub leader, starting our Bear or third year...... & I chimed in that it is too long.
We have way too many leaders on committee that checked out a long time ago. In almost every case, it seems that it's some time in the 3rd or 4th year that they start smoldering.... then by the time their oldest boys crosses to a troop, they have checked out and are more of a hindrance to the committee during their tenure for their younger boys.
Honestly, I think the burn out if from dealing with the adults than the boys, but it's there.
- Mar 2009
Interesting conversation. I don't think the transition from cub scouts to boy scouts looses so many boys because they are burned out. (Is it about 50% loss at end of Webelos and then another 50% in the first year?) I see that the boys are not choosing the Boy Scout program (possibly because they don't know what it is, possibly because they don't like the heavy outdoor component, possibly because their sport now requires so much from boy.)
I do see cub leaders and parents burning out. (My experience was with a new pack, so maybe it is different with established packs. We had to figure out so much and received so little support.) But the involved adults in the Boy Scout program tend to have been involved in their son's Pack program.
I don't see the BSA shortening cub scouting because some Scouters think it is too long. Because at those early ages the BSA is reaching BSA goals of providing a program and teaching kids character and citizenship at those developmental ages. Sorry to say, the goal of cub scouting is not to grow Boy or Eagle scouts. The goal is not even to retain them for a certain length of years in either program.
On the practical matter of separating the young cubs from Webelos, that is a small matter. Around here what is common is to rent the "multipurpose room" at the elementary school one night a week and send the dens into different corners. This is easier for a Pack Committee and cheaper and perhaps they don't know any better. Instead our pack dens met after school on different days in different rooms. DL's and parent volunteers figured out the calendar for the den. Have less pack meetings and more pack events.
I had a den of 8 over 5 years but 13 boys transitioned through that. In the end five bridged to a troop and we still have them a year latter. All of them learned some things, and did some things, and had some good experiences in their formative years they never would have had if they had not joined. Isn't that what it is about?
(In little league we never worry about retaining our t ballers until the end of sixth grade, let alone until they graduate high school, we're just happy they're there to play ball.)
- Sep 2006
I was never so happy not ot ever have to go to a Pack meeting again. After two sons in Cubs, yes, it's too long. I think that if there were a different expectation for leaders that would help. If a DL comes in with a Tiger, then they are ready to pack it in by the end of Bears but sometimes gut it out through WEBs. If I could set up leadership in a Pack, I would have a permanent Tiger leader who helps recruit the Wolf/Bear DLs. At the end of Bears, transition to a new DL for WEB with an active ASM as an ADL or consulting DL. And two years of WEB's is rough. Our den made it 18 months and crossed.
One thing about GS is that the age levels are all two years with the exception of Cadettes, which is three. Most leaders can get through two years with a single program. It could be the same in Cubs if age levels were intelligently aligned and the programs were not repetitive.
- 1 Like
- Mar 2013
An interesting idea about integrating webs more with the troop. At the web II fall camporee where I noticed the older boys complaining about the obnoxious webs. They were joining the troop in six months. Does that six months add some maturity ? Does the whole crossing over part add a bit of seriousness to them ? Interesting thoughts on separating the webs from the Tigers because my son has been very nurturing to the younger cubs and maybe in the next six months to a year would make a good den chief for tigers. Rather than separate them, how about have the Webelos use their skills from the Forestry badge and lead the mini hike talking about trees and help the tigers make their leaf rubbings. Seems to me that approach would help the transition to BS better than separating them and also help show the new parents what we are trying to achieve in scouts.
07-13-2013, 04:41 PMEditing a commentThat is why you let the older guys pick some older guy only activities.....
I know you will get some knuckleheads on here that will say that it ok to take a new 11 year old crossover backpacking ten miles.......But you are just asking to lose the boy... I witness a lad at a district level event ....just joined the troop in feb.....in april they take him on a 20 mile backpacking trip.....First the pack didn't fit right and second his walmart gear was way too heavy for him to carry. He was in tears at the end and told mom and scoutleader he was done...and from the yelling the rest of his friends were too......
I am not looking forward to this years crop of Webelos, they are complete animals....I see challenges a head.
perdidochas commented07-18-2013, 03:56 PMEditing a commentJust the way it happens. Every year in our troop, I've listened to the older Scouts moan about how wild and uncontrollable the new Crossovers are. I've done this 4 times now, so I've had a chance to hear two groups of Scouts who were the "wild crossovers" complain about the new "wild crossovers." The first group of "wild crossovers" are now pretty much the leaders of the troop. (young enough to be still active, old enough to have been around enough to know what's expected).
I'm active as a Cub Scout leader and as a Boy Scout leader. I don't think Cub Scouts is too long even with the Boy Scout perspective added to my world view. I think the program is too repetitive and leans too heavily on the den leaders.
I do think there are leaders who work better with older boys who might see the Cub Scout years as endless. I think it might also help if volunteers could work with a preferred rank rather than following their son through the ranks.
Just spent a few minutes going through the bear book this morning. It truly is too repetitive. Granted, a scout can choose to not do some particular activity that he did last year..... and oh yeah, the year before...... but when you cull all of that out, there aren't that many choices!
If I step back away from it for a little perspective I can see that it really is a good idea to have a dedicated leader rather than have a leader follow the boy, but there are problems with that too. Not such a big deal bear year, but one of our boys' dad is the leader for his older brother's den..... so his son has been dropped off for his den leader to watch except the occasion that mom brought him. Especially for the Tiger year, the program is clear that it's not to be baby sitting. The parent is "supposed to be" an integral and active part of it.
Also, there's the angle that the parent who wants to be active & become a leader..... wants to work with their own kid...... especially at first.
Now if you have a Lem Siddons (just watced that movie for the first time today) that can be the tiger leader..... & I guess soon we'll need another Lem for the Lions...... then the parents can just be a parent until the boys get older and don't have to be with the parent.... also would give the parents and prospective Wolf, Bear, & Webs leaders a better orientation and time to filter out the more interested leaders from the rest of the parents. Has great potential for a better program, but finding the right person to take over tigers permanently, and making that happen in my pack is not likely to happen anytime soon.
- Aug 2008
As a former CM, with a son beginning again in Tigers this year, and a current ASM for a troop in which my older son is beginning his 2nd year (almost done with 1st class)... I'm living boht sides of this issue...
If I was king of BSA for a day, I would make the following changes: 1) get rid of Lions, 1st grade is soon enough to start. 2) Make Webelos 1 year instead of 2, and make itthe beginning part of Boy Scouts instead of the end of Cub Scouts.
The big change this would bring is that Boy Scouts is a "go at your own pace" program, unlike Cubbies that is a "do it all together in the same year" program. Let the older kids advance at their own speed and do their own things. It would also reduce the amount of years spent in Cubland, and thus decrease leader burnout with the younger kids.
- Jun 2013
Webelos I and II go much meatier and more interesting.
Baden-Powell Scouting (BPSA) has kids in grades 3-5 together as one group, and that grouping seems good to me. GSUSA has Brownies as girls in grads 2-3. I'd say being a troop leader, grade 3 (second year of Brownies) was where it really got fun.
I don't know why we all are pushing so hard to get little little children into Scouting. When I was young, Girl Scouts didn't even start till 2nd grade! I see moms and dads in my town trying so hard to get Daisies started for their little girls (k-1st grade) and the evening meetings are just so hard on kids that young, and the parents are tearing their hair out. We have a big retention problems in 4th and 5th grade too (Juniors) and I think it is because the parents are so burned out.
I have a question about pack camping. Why is is Cub Scouts don't camp just with their leaders? I know it is popular to state the Girl Scouts don't go camping, and I'm sure that's true for many troops. But many troops DO go troop camping, and if they are doing it the "official Girl Scout way" they camp with their leaders and perhaps a chaperone or two. This starts as early as Brownies, so 2nd grade, in most cases. Certainly girls in grades 4 and 5 (Juniors) are not family camping where each girl has her parent along.
I have been on very pleasant Girl Scout camping trips (where we prepared the girls to do most of the work through practice and progression of skills) and I have been on some dreadful Cub Scout family camping trips, where boys ran around with no responsibility, and a passel of adults did all the work. Even with a good deal of planning, it just felt like there were too many adults around. What is the point of having all those parents come along on a camping trip for the boys?
King Ding Dong commented07-16-2013, 08:08 PMEditing a commentOur BSA council has the same mom and dad can't tent together rule. I like to call it the No Marriage Rule or the Ricky and Lucy Rule. Total idiocy.
Moggie commented07-18-2013, 03:46 PMEditing a commentDaft question from across the pond - how old are your cubs? K- 20 means nothing to me really.
I'm taking cubs camping this weekend, we don't take parents. Me, two assistants, a cook and 23 cubs aged 8 - 10yrs
King Ding Dong commented07-18-2013, 04:12 PMEditing a commentIn general a boy starts kindergarten at age 5 is a Tiger at 6, Wolf 7, Bear 8, Webelos 9, Webelos II 10. There are exceptions because not all Packs are grade based, some parents hold their children back a year from school, some private schools operate differently, each state has its own cut off birthdate for starting Kindergarten, home schooled kids are a mystery to me. My own son started kindergarten at 4 because he was bored with preschool, was very tall (at the time) and met the age cut off at the time.
What you are doing would not be allowed in the BSA. I doubt any leader would want a 1:5 ratio camping at that age. To many cats to herd.
Some tall fences, moats, guard dogs, armed security forces, extraction helicopters, predator drones, pepper spray, tazers, and lots of Valium or Zanex and we might consider it.
Joking aside, I know some grade school teachers who could pull it off. Most of us parents are just not that good managing herds of small boys.