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About MarkF

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  1. We usually have a campout in June, which we use as our advancement crossover ceremony as well. Next month we are planning a local fishing expedition as well as getting to tour a medical helicopter that will land in the baseball field close to our meeting place. August we start back to school so hopefully we can plan a scouting kickoff/return to scouting event I see everyone else mentioning. Great ideas.
  2. momof2cubs, The mentoring of potential new Tiger leaders seems like a great idea. I'd like our pack to try that so our new Tiger DL doesn't feel lost or overwhelmed or abandoned. If you don't mind, I am also going to steal it and mention it at the August Roundtable meeting. I also think BD has a point. Unless you already know the parents/adults in question, it is hard to ascertain in one night who would make a good leader. Of course the way things are, the best leader may be the one who will volunteer to do it. Is the Tiger night held right away? Or do you take, say, a month to see who works well with the kids before you have it? If you take some time first to get the adults oriented and so you can get to know the adults as well, it could work out well. The problem is you need to have someone else willing to step in and help with the Tiger Den until Tiger night. All in all, it has potential. And is obviously working for you. Some more details would be helpful.
  3. Awesome ideas ... taking notes and hoping for great new adventures, as well as adult leaders, for our pack after our Fall Roundup.
  4. Welcome back. That will be one lucky scout troop.
  5. I think others have addressed most of the usual problems with: - leaders - parents - program Another big problem is communication. Our CM needs to communicate better with our adult leaders and vice versa. Last year we had one leader meeting at the beginning of the year, and that was it. Not nearly enough in my opinion. This year I'd like to help make sure that the new crop of adult leaders is given every possible means to communicate with me and the CM if they have questions or need anything. I'd also like to make sure that we have more adult leader meetings as well. The biggest hurdle we are running into at this time is getting parents to step up as volunteers and leaders. Most of them just want someone else to run the program so they can just bring their kids and sit around socializing during the meeting. As of right now, we need a bear leader, a wolf leader and a tiger leader. Our CM already commented to our DE that if it had not been for me stepping up and having activities each week for the boys to do we would have folded as a pack. He also singled me out and mentioned this at our advancement ceremony/campout we had for the boys this past weekend. I am torn about this. On the one hand it is nice to be recognized for my efforts and have the respect of the other adults and especially for me the kids. On the other hand, I feel kind of down that none of the other parents/adults stepped up when our other leaders stepped out. And to be honest I did not get the parents involved enough this past year. I plan on changing that in the coming year. Point is, it is hard getting parents to volunteer and I am not sure why. Retention - we seem to have trouble keeping our tigers ... and our leaders. Very much tied to the consistency of program lisabob mentioned. Having a good leader who provides a good program for the kids keeps the kids wanting to come back. Dealing with the grown ups. This is usually where scouts seem to disappear as most parents won't bring their kids back if they don't like what is going on for one reason or other. The parents don't like the CM or the DL, or they don't approve of an activity, or ... well you get the picture. Most times the kids are fine, it's the parents who are the ones creating problems. Of course this is a general problem, not just with the Tiger dens.
  6. Thanks for the wonderful replies. I've already learned a lot, and confirmed some of my suspicions. I expected the webelos program should be more outdoors and less indoors, more like boy scouts and less like cub scouts. For me, that part is easy. The artsy-craftsy part of Tigers/Wolves had me doubting whether my son even NEEDED to continue in scouting. I was expecting more of the outdoorsy stuff right out of the gate. Looking back, I can see why the scouting program is not set up that way, but to be honest, it almost turned me away. Luckily, my son decided he wanted to stick with it ... it was, after all, his decision to make, not mine. Which also makes the boy led program part perfect for me. I think the boys should have more input. Given that we are a more non-traditional, rural program, it may prove difficult at times (see my other thread under new to scouting called "Always learning something new" to see what I mean). However, as I see it I have 3 choices: 1) Quit, 2) Start my own pack through our church, or 3) Make the best of a less than ideal situation and give the boys the best experiences I possibly can. Obviously, I chose number three or I wouldn't be here. I realize going to another pack is a 4th option to the three above but in our area it is impractical. Sorry to be rambling again. It's a recurring issue with me. Anyway thanks to those who have already posted on this thread and to anyone else who may post later on. I greatly appreciate all the input, especially from the voices of experience.
  7. I have been involved with Scouting now for 3 years, since my son was a Tiger. Tiger year was very wierd; Tiger leader quit about halfway through and I didn't realize we could still continue coming to meetings without a leader. I figured the CM would call when we had a new Tiger leader. No call came, and we didn't even realize the Pack was still active until we saw them in a local parade in the spring. So the following fall we returned. The Pack was still small, and my son was the only Wolf there so, since I was always with him, CM had us do stuff with the Bears and Webelos. On paper, I was the Wolf leader. I was still quite frustrated with the apparent lack of leadership and organization, but we stayed with it and my son advanced to a Bear. This past year, I started as the Bear leader on paper, but since my son was the only Bear at first, and he was involved in football, I came to meetings and assisted the de facto Webelos leader. We picked up one new Bear at Fall Roundup, so we kept him with the Webelos temporarily, but I knew I'd eventually have to brake from the group to do Bear stuff once my son was done with football and joined the group (of course we worked on some of the requirements at home). Meantime, the de facto Webelos leader quit, and after one fiasco of a meeting (again I assumed the CM would communicate with me but didn't), I had an activity planned for every meeting after that. Since I was officially the Bear leader, I did activities relating to the Bears. The CM, who was supposed to be the Webelos leader as well, had his Webelos do whatever activity me and my Bears were doing. We continued this way until the Tiger leader quit as well, taking her child with her because they moved to another area and joined that pack. After that the Wolf leader took in the Tigers, and around February or March announced to the CM they were done with the book. From then on they joined my group of Webelos and Bears, doing whatever we were doing. Up until now it has been an interesting learning experience, both rewarding in the respect I have (hopefully) earned from the scouts, and frustrating in planning activities that will teach and enertain the entire group. Which brings me to the purpose of the thread. Compared to some adults and leaders, I know quite a lot about scouting. Compared to a lot of other adults and leaders (who have been involved in scouts since they were kids) I know virtually nothing. I am learning new things all the time and I am pretty sure I have been aggravating some of the forum members here with all my questions and apparent lack of knowledge and terminology. Even after 3 years now in scouting I still feel like I am "new to scouting." Does anyone else feel that way? Comments? Suggestions?
  8. I started to post this yesterday and our power went out when I was almost done. Anyway, I anticipate being the Webelos leader for our pack, if not on paper at least in fact. We will have about 6, maybe a few more, maybe a few less Webelos, depending on how many return and if we pick up any more with Fall roundup. I have not bought a Webelos book yet, nor have I looked at any training online yet. Since there are many experienced scouters here I thought I'd ask here first. What makes a good Webelos program? What should it look like? I don't want to lose these guys, especially the returning scouts. I want to give them the best program possible, within reason and within my abilities. I am also hoping we don't end up with the situation we had at the end of this year, with the tigers and wolves being dumped in my lap along with the bears and webelos. I don't mean that to sound as bad as it does but that is what it seemed to me happened when the tigers and wolves were "done with the book." Luckily we are a small rural program so we only ended up without 10 boys altogether at the end but if it happens again in the coming year I WILL insist that their respective leaders come up with other activities for them instead of having them do whatever my group(s) do. Sorry for the gripe. Open to suggestions on this as well, but my main concern is what the webelos program should look like. As far as that goes, does it matter if it is not a traditional webelos program, as long as the boys have fun and they learn what they are supposed to learn?
  9. I take one part of that to mean what beavah said about who can and cannot pick up the child after an event is over. However, there is another possible consideration. Suppose for whatever reason little Johnny's parents have forbid him from going on a scouting event. Little Johnny desperately wants to go so asks Uncle John to drop him off at the meeting point. Little Johnny gets hurt at the event and Uncle John is not listed on the form. Now what?
  10. Found the name of that other game - falling staffs: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/game/falling_staffs-2169.asp Sctdad, these were the ones I thought about using: The Nutstacker, This Blows, Baby Blockin, A Bit Dicey, Noodling Around, By a Thread, Chop Stack, Face the Cookie, Breakfast Scramble, Defying Gravity, Get Forked, Junk in the Trunk, Oh Nuts, On the Hook, Separation Anxiety I think I ended up dropping some of them though. IIRC, I eliminated Junk in the Trunk, Oh Nuts, and Separation Anxiety. Look for the ones with materials you already have on hand or can obtain easily.
  11. I am afraid our pack is doomed. Our current CM is a one man show when it comes to the paperwork and awards. I am a one man show when it comes to the games and activities. I have recognized this and plan to get the parents MUCH more involved this fall if possible. I am afraid, however, that the current CM will not have anyone trained to take over as CM next spring as far as the paperwork and awards go. We have no CC, Pack Committee, or COR and the CO is content to let the pack run itself. I fear for the packs future after next spring. I may end up having to take over for one year for my son's sake, but unless another parent is willing to step and be CM after that I don't know what will happen. The lack of volunteers is not just apparent in scouting. I am a member of another volunteer organization, and when an event is coming up, it is like pulling teeth to get someone to volunteer to do something. It is also a small club, which contributes to the problem. Even when we were a bigger club, it was always the same group that volunteered for all our events. When this is true in any organization, eventually, that group gets tired of "doing it all." So they stop. The rest of the group can't believe what is happening, and either someone else steps up to take over or the group slowly dies. It is a sad situation.
  12. Ooops again, the links I posted before are a bit messy. Here's the one for the Ping Pong Air Hockey: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/game/ping_pong_air_hockey-519.asp Here's the link for more activities: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/activity_search.asp and here's the link for more games: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/game_search.asp Hope they show up correctly this time. No affiliations, just sharing good resources.
  13. Oops, my mistake Scoutfish, I didn't realize you were already looking at the boy scout trail site. I have found it to be a pretty good resource so far. When you have time, browse through the games and activities sections. There's some good ideas there. I have also used the Anti-gravity tent pole activity, and I also plan to use an activity where the boys are tied together as a group, and must walk from one side of a room/field to the other. I think this an old activity but what is old is new again. Don't be afraid to pull out old jokes, games or activities. Chances are they haven't seen them before.
  14. Our best games over the past year (actually, just since january for all practical purposes): Minute to win it games, but beware. The kids loved them so much they played for the entire meeting (they were having too much fun for us to ask them to stop). Google minute to win it games and you'll get the nbc website that lists all the games, materials needed, video demos, and game play rules. You might also need to change some of the names, which are a bit suggestive. Not sure what this one is called but it was a big hit as well. The CM brought this one. The kids each get one "stick." Our sticks were pre-made lengths of PVC pipe with caps on the end (so when used outside you don't end up bringing dirt and debris back home inside the end of the pipe). Each child holds their "stick" vertically, and a predetermined person (who can also act as a final judge) yells "left" or "right." The scout must let go of their own stick and grab the stick to their left or right depending on what was called. If their new stick hits the floor they are out until the next round. The round continues until one player is left (or the other boys get too bored, whichever comes first). Miniature golf was a big hit (I didn't think so at the time but afterwards my wife told me otherwise). Follow the link here: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/activity/indoor_miniature_golf-1395.asp I cut branches to size even though the site suggested wood dowels. I didn't have time to run by the store and they ended up adding an extra challenge to the game. Each team designed one or more holes for the course, and I brought lots of empty boxes, building blocks, etc for them to use as building materials. I also provided pencils and paper for them to use to design their hole(s). Markers were necessary so they could decorate their "golf balls" and clubs. An evening of touch football when the weather warmed up proved popular, especially since the CM and I were also playing. The boys seemed to get a kick out of that. I haven't tried this one yet but it looks very promising: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/game/ping_pong_air_hockey-519.asp'>http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/game/ping_pong_air_hockey-519.asp Lots more games and activities here: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/cub-scouts/bear-scout-activities.asp and here: http://www.boyscouttrail.com/content/game/ping_pong_air_hockey-519.asp No affiliations and YMMV. Glad to see some enthusiastic leaders stepping up and making scouting fun again.
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