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Questions and answers for parents and leaders new to Scouting.

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    • The 18 to 24 month Webelos program is designed to be the bridge for Cub Scouts to prepare them for Scouts BSA. From my personal experience (back when Cub Scouts was a 3 year program), from completing the old Cub Scout Leader Basic Training ( CSBLT, a full day course covering ALL Cub Scout positions), and observation of those units following the program correctly, IT WORKS (emphasis)! What is suppose to happen is the Webelos Den Leader starts implementing elements of the Scouts BSA program, and starts having the parents back away and allowing the Cubs to do stuff on their own. The elected Denner is suppose to take some responsibility, hopefully under the guidance of a Den Chief, but if not with the WDL. WDL training goes over the differences between Cub Scout Dens and Webelos Dens and how the purpose is to prepare them for Scouts BSA. Webelos  Dens are suppose to do some things with a Scout troop, and hopefully develop relationships. While the CSBLT was longer, because it covered all CS leader position, IMHO it was better because it went into the details and differences with every role.  You didn't have to do training every time your den moved up, and redo sections you had already done previously. I do not know how it is with the current online format, but I have heard a lot of complaints about how it is hard to keep track of the various modules you need to do to complete the different training programs. Plus locally we have folks with internet connectivity issues making online training harder. Then you add in the human factor, I've already taken Den Leader  Specific Training, why do I need WDL Specific, they are still Cubs I know what I am doing attitude. Also you can add  the this is how I have always done it, it works and I am not changing attitude. Finally att some of the  the Cubs aren't ready for this attitude, and the transition doesn't happen like it is suppose to. Grant you this is anecdotal, but I will give you an example. One troop I was in had Webelos from 2 packs join with different mentalities. First pack started the transition process as soon as they became Webelos. They elected a denner who took on some responsibility,  did camping with a troop the both years, started doing things on their own without parents' help etc. They would allow Scouts to teach certain  Activity Badges, like Castaway By the time December hit of 5th grade, they were ready to go. The Cubs, and their parents joined a troop, and had no problems whatsoever. The Second pack would not begin the transition process until 5th grade, if then. Parents never did allow the Cub Scouts do things on their own. When Scouts offered to help teach skills, like Castaway, they were rebuffed by the parents. Both Webelos dens were invited to the troop's Wilderness Survival Camp Out so they could apply what they learned for Castaway. Den 1 planned to stay the nite, den 2 turned it into a day trip. Den 1 packed like they were taught, brought survival kits and the supplies they would need including food that didn't need to be refrigerated. Den 2 had the parents carrying a large cooler, and did not have everything they needed. Den 1 Scouts went right to it, building individual shelters, starting their fires, etc. In fact 2 of the Webelos had their shelters built, fires going, and cooking their lunch before the Scouts finished building their shelters! Den 2 goofed off, did not follow the directions of the Scout working with them, had their parents cook for them, and eventually had the parents build a group survival shelter right before they left so they could get it signed off. And I would not let anyone sleep in it if it was going to rain, because it was that bad. Den 1 Crossed Over January 2nd ( Castaway Weekend was after the last meeting in December, and they wanted the badge), and 4 years later all of them are still active. Den 2 Crossed Over in March, and within 3 months, 1/2 the den dropped out. Common reason was it was not what they expected. 4 years later, only 1 remains active. The only changes I would suggest, besides training, would be to make Scouting Adventure a Webelos Badge requirement instead of AOL. Get the Cubs, and more importantly the parents prepping for Scouting ASAP. This is a bit of a sore point for me because I am friends with one of the folks on the committee that came up with the original changes (If your Webelos like Castaway, You are welcome  ) , and National not only did NOT tell the committee the December 2016 changes were being made, they did not even allow the original changes a chance by changing the requirements 17 months after implementation. Anyone who attended the Roundtable sessions leading up to the changes knew the changes would require a lot more planning because 1) they were new, and 2) some of the requirement were much more involved. I know that my pack had attendance at those RT, and we planned for the changes. We had very minor problems implementing the 2015 program, and many DLs were not happy when the 2016 changes came about. Long story short, we kept our original program we planned, and kept the original 2015 requirements because it was not fair to anyone to change them mid year. Locally the packs that did not attend RT had major issues and were not prepared for the 2015 changes. I am told by my friend that a lot of Packs apparently did not prepare properly, and complained. Camping got cut because some councils apparently still have the attitude "Cubs don't need to camp." My council does not have a dedicated Cub Scout approved camp ground list. Closest we have is the OA's WHERE TO GO CAMPING book, that many packs use. Yes the youth need to do a better job communicating. I even see it with ILST Scouts. But the Webelos program as I mentioned above is suppose to give a taste of what lies ahead in Scouts BSA. Some of the issues DO occur at the Webelos level, and I have found if you talk to the parents then, it won't hurt as much when the Scouts are in a troop. DITTO! Being a Scouter is an art, not a science, it takes, patience, time, training, and teamwork to get the right balance between Interfering and Guiding. I have described being a Scouter as walking a tightrope, because it is. And I would make the tightrope Zing It, when it comes to my hoodlums. One of my mentors had would jokingly say, 'Is anyone dead? No! OK, is anyone going to the hospital? NO! then we don't have a problem."   I need some sleep will finish up tomorrow
    • I'm seeing a similar dynamic in our troop at present.   Any good advice?
    • Thank you for the wonderfully constructed thoughts on this. How much do you think this is about Scouters simply not having something that they can emulate?  What I noticed in our Troop was a general lack of understanding of how patrol method and a youth led troop functions.  This is saying a lot in a troop with 30+ volunteers and 75+ Scouts.  I like to think we were not adult led, but yet as I as Committee Chair looked around I could tell there was too much adult decision making and interference.  I think in our case it really was lack of knowledge. What, for example, should a PLC do to organize a troop meeting?  What does a fun troop meeting even look like? What does a well run, Scout led camping trip look like? What do you do with the group of 11 year old new Scouts while the SPL is busy focused on sorting out the night's plan with the PLC? How do you really organize a weekend camping trip for 40 Scouts and have it be anywhere close to youth led? How do you plan for a year when the PLC can't plan the next troop meeting? etc...   What I saw in our case was adults who were happy to embrace youth led - but none of us really knew what it looked like.  At best, we could point to vague ideas and concepts about letting Scouts make mistakes and sort things out.  However, it always seemed like youth led was some sort of vague panacea that everyone wanted to achieve, but no one had any idea what it really looked like.  
    • I think the focus on false metrics is such an apt phrase. I think it's part of why scouting has lost the sense of fun for some scouts.  I return to youth led however.  I myself struggle with what the guard rails are. What is an acceptable mistake? If you don't store or cook your meat properly and make everyone sick, that is certainly a lesson learned but then that camp out has not been fun. A patrol where the Type A personalities constantly over  shout the Type B personalities until the Type B's eventually leave is maybe a lesson learned for the Type A's -- be overbearing enough and you'll eventually get your way -- but then we've lost some more reserved scouts who might have actually been the more scout like scouts and better leaders. In my reality, I don't see adults dealing well with this. They either overcompensate and take it all over or they are gleefully and completely hands off. In both case, scouting is not fun for our target audience, the scouts and in my neck of the woods I see a lot of dismaying attrition.  I think this is why this comment of "scouting is supposed to be fun" keeps resurfacing. It makes me think that scouting boils down more to alchemy more than training: If you get the right mix of gifted leaders and impressive scouts, it will work beautifully. If you don't have that, scouting can be very difficult to deliver.  
    • The saying in our neck of the woods was, "no scout ever died of starvation on a weekend camping trip".
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