Posts posted by fotoscout
Within a 5 mile radius we have at least 5 troops. My pack has a history of visiting three or more of them each year. Each is very different. One very structured , one very unstructured, one very new, one very old, one not so new, one very intent on promoting itself.. etc. The program varies from one to another, as does the amount and type (trained vs untrained) of adult leadership.
This year I accompanied our Sr. Webelos den leader on these visits. Now, after having thought about it for a few weeks Ive come to the conclusion that it was, at this time, a very unnecessary adventure. Now hold on before you start in on me, let me explain why. Please note that I make the conclusion here that all of our boys move together.With the exception of parents with ties to a specific troop our boys always seem to move as a group.
First, lets remember that we are talking about 5th graders. Unless they come from a family thats heavy into outdoor activities, they dont know if they want to join a backpacking troop or a tailgate camping troop, or a troop that concentrates on canoeing/kayaking, or a even a troop that concentrates on high adventure activities. The idea for new scouts is to give them a broad view of whats available to them. So the concept of asking 10-11 year olds to choose a troop based on its program seems, to me anyway, to be just a little to mature for them. To the boys the concepts of Patrol Method, New Scout Patrol, trained leaders, strong committee mean nothing, so I wont even add them to the discussion.
Secondly, our den leader was asking the boys if they felt comfortable with the older boys in the Boy Scout troop. In a busy visit that lasted not more than two hours, how would a bunch of 10-11 year olds make this determination? If you remember my earlier comment that one of the troops was very new, you wont be surprised that all of our boys liked that troop. None of the boy in that troop was more than two years older than our oldest boy. It was very comfortable for them. In fact it was more like a SuperPack than a troop.
Thirdly, as our den leader talked to the our boys at the end of each troop meeting, she would ask them how they liked the troop. One boy would chirp up and say, I like that they go backpacking, another would add, me too, then they would all agree. Then one of boys would offer that he also liked troop xzy because they went family camping, now another boy would say, yeah, I like that troop also. And soon they all would comment that they liked the troop that went family camping. The best was when one of the boys opined that he liked troop abc because his friend Mikey was in that troop. Some of the other boys then agreed because they also knew Mikey, ( I asked one of them to tell me how he knew Mikey, basically the answer was that he knew of Mikey as someone that his den-mate also knew of.
In the end, I got the distinct impression that the alpha male in the den would prevail and that all the boys would follow him to whichever troop he decided to go with.
Getting back to my comment about this exercise being unnecessary, our boys ultimately choose to join our local troop, the troop that we share our numbers with. For the most part, the boys, and their parents, dont have a clue about what scouting has in store for them. As they grow and learn more about the program they are free to move into other troops that offer an opportunity for other adventures, but for now, for the new scout, the lesson should be to support your community.
Obviously, if there are real problems with the local troop other alternative need to be evaluated. As a closing note, last year our Sr. Webelos did the same drill, they choose to join a troop two towns away. Six of the eight boys that bridged have left scouting.
(This message has been edited by fotoscout)(This message has been edited by fotoscout)(This message has been edited by fotoscout)
Id like to post an update to close out this thread. None of the boys chose to join the particular troop that I was concerned about. I suspect the parents had a lot to do with it. The boys will be joining our local troop (same CO), which if anything is the polar opposite of the first troop.
A few days ago I received a phone call from one of the ASMs of the first troop. He wanted to know what our boys thought of his troop? I told him in very plain words that there was great concern about their policy of not allowing adults on trips. Then there was a pause, and a deep breath. The next comment from him was this, The SM did it again.
Apparently, this SM has a delivery style that might need some tweaking. The truth seems to be that although they prefer that dozens of parents dont accompany them on trips, they will allow them along with some very clear guidance. So the lessons here are very clear, know who is promoting your Pack or Troop, and stop to do a reality check every once and while.
Thanks for the reassurance.
I always wonder if we look at this in a backwards sense. The energy of the Cub Scout Program is most definitely in the Pack but the strength is in the Den. The Den is what meets with greater frequency. The Den is where the boys (and the parents), make lasting friendships. The Den is where the aims of scouting are brought to the boys in a personal sense. The Den is where they earn (not receive) their advancements and awards. I believe that it is what happens in the Den that keeps the boys excited about Scouting.
It is very easy to focus on the CM because we all see what he does. But maybe you need to step back and look at your Den Leaders. Are they exciting the boys? Do they make the boys really want to attend Pack functions? Do the boys have FUN at their Den meetings? Are the Den Leaders trained?
I'd like to see ALL the resources of BSA (HQ)focused on the Webelos to Scout transition. Too many boys fall by the wayside during this period and in the year following. There must be a common thread. It's time someone applied the resources to figuring out why all these boys drop out.
A correction to my above posting.
I realize that I had the wrong ages noted for the Den Chiefs. But the queston still exsists, even with Den Chiefs that are 12-13-14 and maybe even 15.
I have a large Wolf Den. On one occasion I used Boy Scouts to help teach and demonstrate flag etiquette. It worked out very well, but only because I had a well planned program that lent itself to the possibility of 10 or 11 year olds teaching 7-8 year olds. I was able to productively utilize the two Boy Scouts that came to work with the Wolfs. Unfortunately, I cant visualize just how I would use Den Chiefs on a regular basis. Much of the program simply doesnt lend itself to 10-11 year olds teaching 7-8 year olds.
A few months ago I incorporated Denners into my program and the kids love it! I dont need Den Chiefs to do what the Denners are doing. So would someone please tell me how I would productively utilize Den Chiefs on a regular basis. I think its a great idea to have the younger boys exposed to a Boy Scout on a regular basis, but I dont want to have the boy around just so he can look good for my Cub Scouts. That would not be in his best interest.
By the way I have plenty of parental help so I dont need an extra set of eyes to keep an eye on things.
If a Cub Scout Leader, who has been with boys since tiger scouts, moves into boy scouts with the same kids, is it a good idea to assign that person as the ASM for New Scout Patrol?
Personally, I think it's a great idea as long as he has a good Troop Guide to work with. What are your thoughts?
Kindergarten age boys are not same as kindergarten age girls. Just ask any day care provider or teacher. To compare the viability of the Girl Scout Daisy program with any BSA program for that age group is simply a bad thing to do. I would argue that making any comparison between Wolves and Bears, and the equivalent Girl Scout Program is also a bad thing to do. Boys behave differently than Girls, especially in a group setting. Given the one hour a week (or every other week) that you might set aside for a den meeting I doubt that any real learning could happen with a group of per Tiger aged boys. If you had enough meetings you might be able to invoke some conditioned responses, but as for real learning, I doubt it.
As for siblings, like the rest of you I have some that come to our den meetings. They are welcome and I always ask if they want to join in, BUT, I dont encourage them. Why you might ask?? I have a limited amount of money to work with. That money is intended for the boys in my den. When I go out to buy materials I dont plan for extra participants. We also have a limited amount of time. If I spend time with one of the siblings, then there is that much less time to spend with my boys.
Oh yeah, one last thing. Always remember, BSA does not stand for Baby Sitters of America.
You and I could be in the same Pack. The only difference is that our Cubmaster is not moving on. I envy you!
People are funny, they want to be a part of a winning team. When the parents see a positive change in the Pack meetings they will begin to step forward, or at least they will not take a step backward when you ask for help. As they come to realize that youre committed to doing this thing the right way, they will come forward on their own.
As for songs, Im the only one in our Pack that does any songs with the kids. To answer your next question, no, I cannot sing, in fact I joke that the most important thing I learned at Wood Badge was that I need to go for voice lessons. Most often I do simple songs with the kids, but given the opportunity I target the adults. For instance, when it was our turn to do the opening at our Pack meeting, I had my kids hand out song sheets with the first two verses of America the Beautiful. Everyone had song sheets, I asked all the kids to go stand by their parents. Then we sang. Of course the kids had trouble carrying the second verse, but the parents fought their way through it. In the end I had no less than 20 parents come up to me and tell me that they didnt know the song had more verses. They were involved and next time theyll be a little less negative when we sing a song. Another time I had my den parents sing Auld Lang Syne, they thought I was crazy, but some of them took the song sheets with them on New Years Eve.
One of the things that is not emphasized often enough is how we the leaders, interact with the parents. I am convinced that in Cub Scouts the parents are as much our audience as are the boys. Not every Pack is staffed well enough to do a by the book pack meeting. By that I mean that the Cubmaster would have plenty of time to Greet and talk to the parents prior to and after the meeting. Someone else here mentioned Newsletters, email, mailing and other forms of communication. If you want the parents involved they need to see that are committed, and excited about doing this job. Nothing is more contagious than excitement!! Communicate with them, ask them for feedback, ask them for ideas, and they will feel apart of the your operation.
Can anyone tell me where I can buy Cub Scout Molds. The Supply division has stopped selling them and I am not having any luck with the various search engines that I use.
Thanks for the response.
I am fully trained and then some....I used to be Buffalo.
What I'm trying to do here is find out how common or uncommon this practice is. Are these Scout Leaders just doing a good job, or are they a bit "over the top".
Oh yeah, I did leave out a portion of the story. I asked about new adult leaders in the troop and I was told,'we don't take everybody, we conduct interviews', then fill the adult slots as they come available.
I just did a troop visit with my pack's Sr Webelos. The Scoutmaster told us that, with the exception of one trip per year, they do not allow parents to attend any trips. Although I appreciate and understand the thought behind this, it makes me uncomfortable. I would like to here any thoughts on this.
He sounds like Buffalo material to me!!!
Like the Nike commercials... JUST DO IT! To quote one of my fellow Wood Badge participants, "It was more fun than a bunch of adults should be allowed to have".
The expierance will envigorate you. Spending time with other people who are as committed as you are to bringing the boys the very best they can offer will charge you up, build your confidence as a leader, and in the end help you to be a better leader. Don't be concerned about the tickets. If you're working hard as a leader, than you are probably doing some ticket material right now.
Recruitment into Boy Scouts
in New to Scouting?
I honestly don't know. The father of one of those six boys was the Webelos DL. He was very on the ball. I'll try to follow and let you know how it turns out.