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Webelos - 4th time ... a lot less fun

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  • Webelos - 4th time ... a lot less fun

    This is my 4th time through Webelos and it's a lot less fun this time. The big difference is the advancement attitude. I have two families that are motivated and driving each individual requirement for their own boys and want each individual requirement tracked in a 3rd party advancement tracking web site. That's fine. It's their right. I'm used to having things recorded in the back of the Webelos book and I like it that way. But I'm okay with parents emailing me when pin X requirement 3a subsection four is done.

    My issue is that it has really broken the fellowship the scouts experience in the den. The previous three times the parents became best friends for life. With this group, it's really stressed and fractured. I have Webelos that come to meetings saying "oh I've already done this one" even though the den hasn't touched it yet. Some have used it as the reason to choose between competing events.

    I wish my last son could have gone through what "I THINK" is the new program coming. I think it would help.
    Last edited by fred johnson; 05-05-2014, 02:20 PM.

  • #2
    Sorry to hear that.

    I hope you have a chance to explain to parents how their boy (by not collecting the signatures in his book) may be losing a keepsake they'll cherish years later.

    But, it should be no bother to those "tiger parents" if you focus your agenda on those few boys who are plodding through in a less supervised way.

    I would also suggest you give those further advanced boys the benefit of the doubt in case one or two of them are high achievers (and not really helicoptered) by asking them to lead an activity they already got signed off. For example, if they know their knots, have them teach them to the other boys.

    I had a similar experience with teaching Sunday school once. A few 4th-6th grade girls from Christian schools would be in a huff that they already knew the story. It was becoming a weekly rant. So, I showed them the syllabus for the next lesson and asked them if they knew that one too. They did. I handed them the teachers' guide and asked if they would teach next week. One of them said she would and (with a little help from mom during the week and me with discipline during the class) wound up doing a fine job. Then I started freely offering the opportunity to teach to any child who seemed like they wanted to give it a try. It did a lot to improve the fellowship among those kids (and myself).

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    • #3
      Did you know that in Webelos that it's the Webelos DL that signs off on the book...Not the parents.

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      • #4
        "Show me" is how we handle that one in MO

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        • #5
          Your the den leader, it's your rodeo. I would show all the parents the yearly schedule and then say we will work on the items as they come up. The homework items can be done at any time, but the den activities will be done as a group. If they have a problem point to the door. I had a parent tell me that rank items were boring and we should work on belt loops. I thanked her for her input then continued on rank items. I agree with your assessment that the Webelos need to began working as a group, not as individuals.

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          • #6
            It's hard to throw out anything to a scouter who has been there and done that FOUR times. I imagine there isn't much you haven't done, seen, or tried.

            But you did make me think back and smile on some memories. I had two dens of Webelos and I ran them each completely different. With my first den, we planned all the activities so that the scouts knocked off a few requirements. All 12 of those Webelos earned all 20 Activity Badges, Woohoo!

            I also planned the activities with my 2nd den under activity badge themes, but this time with the primary objective to have FUN. Whether or not some of the boys boys already knocked off the requirements was in inconsequential because they all had fun. Only one of my 16 Webelos in the 2nd den got all 20 badges, but all of them including the den leaders had a lot more fun.

            I don't hardly remember any of the activities in the first den. But I still remember a lot of the cool stuff we did with the second Den.

            Barry

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            • #7
              Care to share your guide to making it fun ?

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              • #8
                And, was there a difference in the percentage that went on to Boy Scouts?

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                • #9
                  My first son's Webelos den had 100% cross over. Second son had 100%. Third son 80%. This den is different. I'll be lucky if 75% cross and they will be crossing into three different troops.

                  It's not that the boys are high achievers. They are good kids. It's the parents. After I had mentioned that I want to keep sign-offs to the den leader instead of the parents, later I get a call on the phone from a Webelos scout. He wanted to let me know the exact completed requirements that were done (badge X requirement #.#). He had a list of about 20. I could hear his dad coaching him the background. What am I to do? All I could was thank him and let him know how much I appreciated him working on these and getting them done. And then I recorded them. Really no different than the parent signing off on the requirements. I may have been smiling, but I was really upset. The parent wanted certain results. So he circumvented the intention and met the letter of the request.

                  The other parent is finding Webelos activity pin opportunities at the same places when she takes her older son to get Boy Scout merit badges done. There are plenty of places offering badges.

                  I think it comes down to approach. Do you put the experiences first or advancement first. You can be highly driven both ways. But I want my sons to go for the experiences and their ranks and merit badges reflect those experiences.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by SM bob View Post
                    ..... I would show all the parents the yearly schedule and then say we will work on the items as they come up. ....
                    Now that assumes that there's a yearly schedule. What a great goal, for a personality type like mine anyway...... but for some folks that's too hard and might be a drag!
                    My son's DL is probably the best we have, but he only plans out a months worth of meetings at a time We have run into this exact issue more than a couple times, and I gotta admit it frustrates me to have worked on something at home, then to take an evening to go do it again........... and I've corrected my son a couple times for blurting out and repeating over and over that "I already knew that...." or "I already did that....". I've been trying to teach him humbleness and being polite.... but now that I'm typing this maybe I should have let him go on and on to make the point.
                    As mentioned before though, I'm not clear on how this could happen in WEBELOS, unless the pin was done at a camp or other council event where they do that stuff....

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                    • #11
                      So are the parents actually covering the items or just going through the motions and signing off? Why are they motivated do they want to obtain all 20 and that is not the plan for the den?

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                      • #12
                        These kind of parents really ruin the scouting experience for the boys. Scouting is supposed to teach the boys self reliance, organizational skills and leadership, instead these parents push the boys the way they think is right, do all the organization for the boys, and force them into activities they may not want to do. In other words all work, no play, no fun, and limited interaction with other scouts. These boys wind up leaving scouts feeling it is" boring and no fun".

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                        • #13
                          You are playing their game, Fred.

                          I agree your first step is to sit down with the parents and explain the purpose of the advancement program to them. Explain to them that their sons going off reservation are spoiling the program for both their sons and the others in the den. It will probably fall on deaf ears, but this conversation is prelude to step two:

                          New rule: you don't accept sign-offs by phone or email. Make it face-to-face. The Do, Show, Demonstrate and Discuss stuff needs to be done, shown, demonstrated and discussed WITH YOU. Even the stuff where the kid only had to show up need some discussion so that, 1) you are comfortable that the Scout actually did it, and 2) for the Scout to get the benefit of the bigger picture -- what he did, what he learned, and if he had fun.

                          New rule #2: the "official" record is the boy's handbook backed up by the den records you keep. Parents can keep all the records they want, you only look at handbooks.

                          Yes, this is going to take a little extra time on your part -- but not much. Have these meetings AFTER den meetings. Parents will be in a hurry to get home. You limit them to about 10 minutes -- you are in a hurry to get home, too. If other Scouts have stuff to sign off or if both the "high achievers" have stuff to sign off, they take turns going over one requirement with you until the 10 minutes is up.

                          In other words, you control the flow. Dear Sweetness can do 87 achievements -- you're only signing off on a couple at a time.

                          This is a hot button for me. I HATE the whole notion of Webelos Super Achiever awards. I'm the one who has to clean up this mess next year when the Webelos have learned this lesson well and think Boy Scout advancement should work the same way.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Twocubdad View Post
                            You are playing their game, Fred.
                            I agree your first step is to sit down with the parents and explain the purpose of the advancement program to them. Explain to them that their sons going off reservation are spoiling the program for both their sons and the others in the den. It will probably fall on deaf ears, but this conversation is prelude to step two:
                            New rule: you don't accept sign-offs by phone or email. Make it face-to-face. The Do, Show, Demonstrate and Discuss stuff needs to be done, shown, demonstrated and discussed WITH YOU. Even the stuff where the kid only had to show up need some discussion so that, 1) you are comfortable that the Scout actually did it, and 2) for the Scout to get the benefit of the bigger picture -- what he did, what he learned, and if he had fun.
                            New rule #2: the "official" record is the boy's handbook backed up by the den records you keep. Parents can keep all the records they want, you only look at handbooks.
                            Yes, this is going to take a little extra time on your part -- but not much. Have these meetings AFTER den meetings. Parents will be in a hurry to get home. You limit them to about 10 minutes -- you are in a hurry to get home, too. If other Scouts have stuff to sign off or if both the "high achievers" have stuff to sign off, they take turns going over one requirement with you until the 10 minutes is up.
                            In other words, you control the flow. Dear Sweetness can do 87 achievements -- you're only signing off on a couple at a time.
                            This is a hot button for me. I HATE the whole notion of Webelos Super Achiever awards. I'm the one who has to clean up this mess next year when the Webelos have learned this lesson well and think Boy Scout advancement should work the same way.
                            Good advice, and it is a good way to get the boys ready for BSA advancement.

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