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Everything posted by frankj

  1. frankj

    Pinewood Derby

    reply to eisley and CubMaster Mick: in our "single elimination" event, each car raced 3 times because we have a 3 lane track. The track was pretty old and this helped even out problems if a particular lane was "slow". This year we have a brand new track so all lanes should be equal. Each car raced against two other cars in three heats. Generally, the fastest car of the three won either all three heats or 2 heats. This identified a clear heat winner which then went on to race more. With the new track we will probably still have each car race on all three lanes. As far as "fair and appropriate" the individual pack determines the elimination process -- it should be whatever they are up to. It does all depend on tracks, space, how much time you have and how many parents help out.
  2. frankj

    Pinewood Derby

    I went to the site google.com and did a search on pinewood derby -- it came up with enough links that you could spend from now until Derby Day looking at info on the Web! There is the race itself and the overall event. Regarding the race itself, our pack uses a single elimination method. We race members of one den against one another to identify a den winner. Then these winners come back to race each other to determine the overall den winner. There is a website at http://www/rahul.net/mcgrew/derby/methods/html that explains the different types of elimination methods. We have a registration table set up so that when boys arrive at the meeting they weigh in on the official scale. There is a table nearby where they can put graphite on the wheels if they need to. This stuff can be messy so we try and have an adult on duty in the "pit area" where this is being used. We have used one track as the official racetrack and had a spare track for the boys to race on after they are eliminated. It helps to have enough parents on hand so you can run another activity at the same time the race is going on. The guys who are eliminated won't all want to watch the race. Also, after registration and before the official start of the Pack Meeting, we have all the boys place their cars on tables in the back of the room. Then while we are making announcements and giving out advancement awards, etc. a committee awards each car a certificate such as "best paint job" "most aerodynamic" etc., Every car gets a certificate. Line up lots of parents to help on race day. Good luck.
  3. frankj

    crossover to Scouts

    Replying to post from the Commish: That is interesting about the Activity Pin fair. What I did was communicate in writing to all the parental "Akelas" telling them the schedule for completion of requirements with the request that they call me with any questions. In my view, the responsibility for advancement should be split about equally between me and the den leader and them as the parents. Some of the guys have only a few things left -- the ones who have a lot left to do simply will not make it. I made it clear that any of the boys can enroll in the Scout troop, it is a question of whether they will do so with or without the Webelos and Arrow of Light. Regarding the activity pin fair you suggested, I wish I had thought of it earlier in the program. At this stage, it strikes me as a little too much like spoonfeeding the program to the boys and parents, something I don't want to do. In any event, thanks for your post. I started with these boys in kindergarten as the Tiger Coach, and moved along with them to this point. The years flew by! It has been hectic, frustrating, rewarding and fun for me. The experience reinforced my previously held beliefs that boys NEED fathers or father-figures to guide them and that Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts is a great forum for development. A co-worker, who happens to be an Eagle Scout said, " What society would NOT WANT an volunteer organization like this working with boys?" This in reference to the fallout from the Supreme Court decision on the Scouts' right to exclude the gays as leaders.
  4. i have 7 boys in my webelos 2 den. As we approach the crossover to Scouts, I am reminded of the contest between the hare and the tortise. 3 of these guys are "tortises." They showed steady progress over the past 18 months and they will easily meet or have already met the requirements. Among the other 4 boys, I anticipate that some of the parents will adopt the "hare syndrome" and sign off on a lot of stuff at the last minute just so their boys qualify for the Webelos patch. I don't look forward to the prospect of challenging these folks on whether they completed some of the required activity pins in the proper spirit, but it cheapens the work the other boys did over the long haul. Since they started the Webelos program in the 4th grade I have kept parents apprised of the requirements and progress, so as to avoid this situation, but here we are. Any suggestions?
  5. frankj

    crossover to Scouts

    I should have been clearer. I do sign off on the items they need to complete for the Webelos patch, but as you probably know, parental involvement is how some requirements for activity pins are earned. We don't complete every requirement in den meetings or on outings. My plan has been to get an activity underway and then let the boys and parents know there are some additional requirements to do in order to earn the pin. This has worked for the "tortises" mentioned above. The exercise portion of the Fitness activity is an example of one where I have to take the parents and the boys word that the boy actually did the exercises. I have one parent and possibly two who have simply never spent time going through the Webelos book in order to understand what is required.
  6. When I was in scouts, the one guy in our troop who attained Eagle rank did not do so until he was about 16 or 17. This was in the mid 1960's -- has BSA revised the program so that 14 year olds are the optimum age?
  7. frankj

    Need an Opinion

    Yes, tomahowk throwing would be a big hit. It can be safely conducted if supervised. Emphasize pack-owned or troop-owned tomahawks designed for throwing versus axes, hatchets and whatever the boys may bring. Try and situate it where the targets will be in front of a natural barrier like a high embankment.
  8. frankj

    Moral Values

    This past weekend the Webelos had an overnight and on Sunday morning I sat in front of the campfire with one of the Dads and we discussed the upcoming move into Boy Scouts. He said he was not going to let his son go on to Boy Scouts because of their stance on homosexuals. According to him, disallowing homosexuals was the equivalent of "teaching hatred" in his words. I explained to him the Supremes ruled on the issue of freedom of association, not whether homosexuals were good or bad and it had nothing to do with hatred or bigotry on the part of the national organization. I told him the Scouts have standards and society at large benefits from Scouting because boys of successive generations are taught the precepts of Scouting. These boys grow to manhood and take with them the things they learn in Scouts. I told him the Supreme court would have decided the same way if the plaintiff had been an atheist because there is a religious component to Scouting. Finally, I told him that because of this ruling, pressure is being brought to bear on the organizations to withdraw financial support and facilities for Scout activities. I asked him what is better for society: to deny Scouting opportunities for boys in certain locales or, to allow Scout activities to continue but to deny leadership opportunities for a tiny group of homosexuals who want to be Scout leaders? I did not convince him to let his boy continue into Boy Scouts, but I hope I made him think beyond the TV sound bites about this court case.
  9. frankj

    getting maps for compass

    If your local sheriff's dept has a search and rescue unit, they may have topographic maps for your locale and be willing to let you borrow and photocopy. However, there is no substitute for the United States Geological Survey Quadrangle maps. The 7.5 minute series has a map scale of one inch = 2000 feet (1:24000) and it shows an area of about 7 miles by 14 miles. Make sure you teach the boys about something called "declination" which is the angle difference between where the compass needle points (magnetic north) and true north (North Pole). They are NOT in the same place. Get a globe and find magnetic north, it is located approximately on a line that would connect Atlanta GA with the North Pole.
  10. frankj

    den leader/assistant cub master

    I agree with the other response, that you should assign parents to help with stuff. Make an effort to contact the slacker parents and make it clear (tactfully) that the Cub Scout program is designed for the parents to work with the boy and unless this takes place, advancement will not be possible. Keep an activity in your "hip pocket" in case a parent does not come through at a scheduled den meeting.