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MollieDuke

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Everything posted by MollieDuke

  1. We did Cub Survivor once during summer. We had a trail set up and each den went out at intervals. They had to follow a trail map (and they went with an adult and Scout guide). At each station, they had to read the card, follow the directions, and there was an adult judge there to ensure they did the activity. Then, if they finished, they got a card with stickers on it....The most stickers competed in the final event. We had several groups get all the stickers. The final event was a "Quick Recall" like HiQ or an Academic Contest with all questions coming from Cub literature and their handbooks. Eventually, we had one winner and that winning group got to eat first. We made homemade ice cream that year, so they were excited to be first at that ice cream. I also seem to remember that some of the trail activites were "square knot tying", "lashing three staves together", "using your scout neckerchief in a first aid situation", adn stuff like that. The kids loved it and it gave them a chance to interact with the Boy Scouts as well. It was overall one of the best summertime activities we'd ever done.
  2. We had an Honor Guard in the Cub Pack my son was in years ago. They had a former service man who had been in charge of these things in the service work with specifically chosen boys who even travelled and gave ceremonies to people like visiting dignitaries and such. They were always in demand. They were sharp, accurate, and serious. They wore the traditional white gloves and complete/correct uniform of the Cub Scouts in blue. The oldest boy my son's year was a whopping 9 years old. It CAN be done, correctly and with the reverence it deserves. Don't do it by halves. Do it, teach it, reinforce it, then move out of the way and prepare to be amazed!
  3. When I lived elsewhere, the Webelo's all crossed over at the Blue/Gold banquet in February by coordinating with our local Troops. It was done with much pomp and circumstance with all the local troops attending as we did not feed directly into a specific troop. Everyone could choose the troop that fit them best and we had a huge turn out. The younger boys were in attendance, and it was a big deal to them to see the boys come out all decked out from the BSA as well. While I know the requirement does not say hold 'em till February, I felt that this was the best run system I'd ever seen the reality was it was purely functional for all the groups involved. That said, I am not advocating holding 'em till February, but more coordinating with the groups they enter to make it functional for all. This plus a hearty send off makes for a memorable event. My son, now an Eagle Scout and JASM, still says it was one of the best things about being a Webelo. He knew the date of Crossover, he knew he wanted his AoL by that date, and even as a youngster, he knew enough of what was coming to look forward to it. Just my experience, here. MollieD.
  4. I have THREE rules. Yep, only three. The experts say no more than five, but I've reduced mine to THREE. They are: Show the following: Respect, Responsibility, Safety That seems to cover it. I have the kids make a list of things that fall under each of the three and then when they misbehave, I ask which one they broke. That follows with what was the better choice, how to make ammends, etc. Works very well and takes little time. My initial meetings always revolved around getting procedures established. Examples are: 1. How do you wish them to enter the meeting? (show, model, and practice) 2. How do you wish them to play once entering (free play usually gets out of hand) 3. Where should their books be placed for checking off requirements done? 4. Who should take dues and attendance? Any number of things could fit here, but I usually had my boys do this: Come into the room walking. Bring book and dues directly to Mr. XX at his table. Mr. XX will check your marked pages for activities you've completed and ask you about them to ensure they are correctly recorded. He will mark you present and paid. Then, you may go to the pre-opening activity (generally provided by my den chief). At precisely 6pm, the sign goes up, and boys will sit. All eyes on me. We begin with our youth leaders doing pledge and promise, and all that. They sit, then we discuss the activity of the evening. Let's say it was secret codes, we talk about them, do them, try to create them, whatever is on the agenda. Then, we close by forming a friendship circle from which they are dismissed to form a line at Mr. XX's table where they retrieve their books and wait for parents to come get them. I stand at the door ensuring none get out w/o a parent. Sometimes, we do this for two or three meetings till they really learn it. It's worth it to have a small activity and reinforce the procedure instead of doing it in the reverse. Believe me, they do this at school and expect it. Makes you life so much easier in the long run.
  5. I like the idea of adding badge requirements to Star and Life (just to ensure some time management), but I'd add Cooking required for the FIRST CLASS badge. I feel that cooking is an essential thing just as a pullup or sit up or those hurry case first aids. You do part of it anyhow, so let's just finish it and be able to actually COOK dinner instead of eating pop tarts as I've seen from boys before.
  6. At summer camp, our counselor makes the participants mobilize to look for "little Annie" who is a rescue dummy we use for lots of stuff. They place "Annie" in a secret location and must search/sweep to find this dummy. Our home TROOP, however, got a dose of reality when we were at a local park one day having an outing. There was a terribly distraught mother who noticed we were scouts and came to request help finding her lost 4 year old son. He'd wandered off and we had to mobilize on the spot to help sweep the park to find him. As it turned out, he'd just gone to an air conditioned building to cool off, so it was ok, but the scouts present learned a very valuable lesson in being prepared at all times. When you wear the badge, you may be asked to perform the skill at a moment's notice, so you'd best learn it right the first time.
  7. When I had my dens, I had approximately 15 boys with 1 assistant leader and a den chief. We had our denner take role on a clipboard each meeting while our assistant denner took the dues, counted the money and checked off each boy that paid. Our boys were required to bring books each and every meeting with all new requirements met marked with a small torn piece of paper as a page marker. While they did their pre-opening, opening, and pledge, I went through each book and wrote what they did on thier sheet in my notebook I made with a page for each boy from the advancement record book from BSA. All this took about 5 minutes. YES it took time to teach them. YES it took time to teach the parents. YES it had to be retaught for awhile, but in the end I figured out it saved me TONS of time in the long run. I started this as wolf scouts and continued this until Webelos II ended. Occasionally, a boy forgot a book,but it was rare because they knew they would have requirements signed off each meeting, so they brought it. Ensure the expectation is clearly communicated to boys AND ESPECIALLY parents. Boys are used to hearing expectations at school. They know what they are and what they mean. Parents, however, sometimes need re-teaching and often. Eventually, they all learn. Don't do ANYTHING your boys can be doing for you or themselves. Makes your life so much easier and makes them so much more independent.
  8. I think Barry has a good point in the way boys are brought into a troop. Funny, I'd never thought of it before. I can certainly see how entering a troop in various times of the year 2-3 at a time instead of the mass exodus from Cubs in the early quarter of the year would lesson the "advancement dragon" as I see it. There would be less competition as boys would be fewer in number and the "need" to grow as a large group would be gone. It's amazing how much that cleared things up for me in my own experience. Also, that would give more individual needed time with each boy to teach a skill correctly and well. Isn't that interesting. (or at least it is to me) Maybe quality control isn't in place at MY place because there is such a push to advance a group at a time or because of a time limit (before the next herd comes through from Cubs--heaven forbid we have a couple of boys still in "first year" when the newbies come in.....). I plan to explore that theory as a possibility. It's amazing how well that theory fits my group. Thanks bunches, Barry, and to all who replied. It really opened my eyes. MollieD.
  9. I have a friend from college who teaches in WV and was sharing with him this thread. He said that in a recent piece of literature they were discussing at his school, approximately 16% of WV students graduate from college straight from High School with their 4 year degree. Even assuming this percentage could be slightly flawed, the statistics seem quite low to me. I know that in some urban areas, the graduation rate is approximately 80% from high school, and in our area it is said to be approx. 92%. Makes me wonder why the laziness of students. Hearing these comments, though, has made me realize that it is NOT pervasive and that I DO need to stick to my guns on making sure each boy actually does the work. I had no doubt on that last part, however. I am glad that there are sections of the country where students are not wishing for a free ride and that they are learning to study and learn instead of how to get around the system. Restores my faith. Thanks to all that responded and keep 'em coming if you like. I find this terribly interesting.
  10. Good dialogue so far. I have to agree with Herms, though, in that we are teaching our country's youth to be average. I hosted exchange students in the past from different countries and they are shocked to see how "easy US schools are" and "how little discipline there is here" and similar comments. Additionally, I have been asked to serve as CC for the remainder of the year (until I move in March, actually), and having done this in the past for two other units, I am not satisfied with the QC of this unit. I am discussing it, but frankly, they feel that since I'm merely placeholding until the CC recovers from an illness, that my opinions don't matter much. I also see it in summer camp where kids don't get the REAL feel for a badge, but the SM wants them signed off as was said in the discussion "Because it's easier". I wish we didn't have a quality we didn't have to control, but it seems as if mediocre is good enough for many so I guess we actually do. Just my 2 cents. Mollie :-)
  11. I forgot to include my own basic geographic area which is very southern Ohio/northern KY area. I am moving soon, though, which is why I thought to include basic geographic area. I will be writing things for youth from all areas, and was curious as to what others' experiences were and where. Thanks to those who pointed that out to me. :-)
  12. I spun this from another thread because I like the term Quality Control. I think this is the missing link in Scouting Advancement. I have many co-workers in Scouting that do exactly as in the initial thread "Well, I'll just mark it off" for whatever reason. We need a quality standard to shoot for whether that is tying a knot correctly 8/10 times or whatever. We SHOULDN'T have to have QC because a scout is "trustworthy", but it seems like that is going down the drain fast. How can we promote Quality Control within Scouting without having to mandate it? How can we get parents to realize that it's not a race to Eagle or the boys to realize that quality COUNTS! I wish all leaders could have the guts to say "That's not quite good enough, Scott. Practice it and try again next week." because like the initial post said, if it were a basketball camp, that probably wouldn't happen. Also, during summer camp, why do we have all these 6th graders come for first aid merit badge and leave completed? Can they remember all that basic first aid well enough to recreate it properly if the LEADER was the one in trouble? I really feel quality control is KEY and is going down the drain in many cases which directly affects our image as an organization as well as many other things. Thoughts on that BESIDES "do better"? Just wondering.
  13. I've worked in Scouting over 20 years. In that time, both in Scouting and in school, I see changes I don't like. Most of these involve attitude of both parents and boys. Now, I'm wondering if it's prevalent or just locality. Please address these based on your locality as I'm curious about what's going on in cities, rural areas, central US, Western Seaboard, etc. My experience I wish to discuss is purely those boys who believe it's ok to quit school at 16 and test for the GED (which they believe stands for "good enough diploma"--no kidding). They feel that No Child Left Behind means they are "entitled" to a diploma just from attending school (no work required). They tell me that they "deserve" to advance in scouting because they "attend" (which sometimes means once every quarter at least). Then, on the flip side, I have those boys whose parents are pushing their sons through both school and Scouts by being obnoxious or pushy, or occasionally downright lying about what their boy does and blaming the school/scout leaders if their little darling isn't number ONE all the time. Now, I work both in schools and scouting and realize there are those wonderful kids, wonderful parents, and those doing it well and correctly. I just want to discuss those listed above to see if it's just my very isolated, rural area that is producing all this above or is it pervasive across the US as more of a movement. Example: One of my "boys" in scouting does nothing at school or scouts using ADHD as his "excuse". He says he can't concentrate long enough to do anything d/t his "disability". YET, he can tell me his highest HALO score, how long he sat at one time to gain said score, and how many times a day he plays it. Sounds like a dichotomy to me. I asked him one time if he were more interested in school/scouts as in HALO could he do better and he truthfully said "No. I just don't want to do that stuff, and I DO want to do HALO." I guess that's the attitude I'm concerned about. The "I don't choose to XXX" and you'd best make it ok for me to have this attitude. Anyone else there having similar experience and your efforts to change it are appreciated. I'm trying to really understand this so I can begin to work with it both at school and scouts. Thanks, adn remember to include your basic geographic area in your response. I'm just curious. MollieD.
  14. I work with behavior disability students. These are the kids with no veil of acceptablility and thus do whatever/whenever. I will give you some really good advice that was given to me by a mentor: 1. Kids only hear 5 words at a time. If you don't want them to talk, simply say "Don't talk" in a very firm voice. 2. Make sure you teach and spell out expectations including rules. Make sure you only have 5 rules or less. My classroom has THREE only. My poster says "At all times we will have: Respect, Responsibility, and Safety." Then, I explain what each includes but are not limited to...... 3. Teach and RETEACH each behavior BEFORE anything else in the scout manual. Example: If you want them to come into the room and sit a certain way (like alphabetically), show them, have them leave the room and come in correctly. Each time they DO NOT do that, re-teach it. Eventually they either learn it, or become so bored with the constant correction, they do it so they can just move on. 4. Make certain you NEVER fail in consistency. If you say "Don't Talk!" Make sure they are silent before you begin talking. They cannot leave their seat without permission, cannot touch others, no spitting, hitting, or whatever. I have one student who blurts obscense words a lot. I've learned with this boy that just saying "OK" and moving on to the lesson is best with this boy. Without the attention called to his behavior, it's over quicker. Finding what works best with EACH child is good. 5. Finally, they often must move or interact with each other in active ways. There must be the discipline in place before they can move around. Marching small boys is always easier than saying let's go into the gym. We line up and march (and I do highschoolers). They must stay arm's length from each other at all times, stay silent, and if they do this well, they get a reward (usually a minute out pass which allows them one minute out of class early). NO FOOD/DRINK EVER!!!! I never gave my cub scouts food or drinks. They were allowed water breaks only. Then, the meeting becomes about the meeting not the food. I had cubs who were not happy with this arrangement, so I told the parents to feed them prior to leaving the car or not at all. Then, if they complained they were hungry, I just reminded them they were told to eat/snack PRIOR to the meeting which was not my time. We had food at two Pack Meetings per year. The first one and the Christmas one ONLY. Worked great! For really problem children, making their parents stay is usually not enough. Most parents are bringing "Bobby" because they don't want to deal with them at home anyhow. Baby sitting for free is always a good deal, plus they hope you can control little "Bobby" and teach him something. IF you involve parents, you also invite them to have opinions on how you run the meeting with their child. Sometimes, that is worse. Calling them to come get their child when they feel they are having free babysitting is all it takes in my experience. It's much like kicking a kid out of class. Once the audience is gone, the allure of the misbehavior is also gone. Add to that bugging mom to come back early when she feels she's free of little "Bobby's" behavior won't cut it for long. If you can also invite the Cubmaster to attend your meetings until you can teach and reteach, that is a good source of additional discipline. Have the Cubmaster be nearby, but not in the meeting. Then, when "Bobby" misbehaves, send him from the room immediately with a firm, but quiet "Bobby, since you've chosen to misbehave (break rule #XX, whatever) you must go sit with Mr. Doe for a time out. Once the others see that "Bobby" is no longer getting a free pass to be "cute" they'll not wish to leave either. After awhile, Mr. Doe will no longer be needed. I also find that stickers work well. IF a child is doing well in using perfect behavior, I simply move to that child, place a sticker on their desk/shirt/hand and move away. I never state why. At the end of class, I say, "Those with stickers were doing XX well, and may now leave class FIRST." Then, even in high school, my students all crave that sticker so they get some type of reward. BY not stating the behavior I am seeking that day, they know they must deliver ALL of them since they don't know which one I'll chooose that day. BD kids are really hard, time consuming, and will wear you OUT. Be sure to have capable assistants and don't be afraid to ask for more. SOmetiems it does take a village.
  15. In the troop I work with AND in the Crew I work with, we require the BOOK be present. Not so much that we NEED that book, but so we can review the dates for discrepancies or errors and make sure that these dates match MY records (I'm advancement chair for both). We don't want these boys coming up for Eagle and finding out at that time there were errors. Everyone present checks the book, satisfies themselves it is acceptable and filled out correctly since it is THE "blue card" of rank advancement. We will not do a BOR w/o this book, but the boys are told in advance to be sure to bring the book, and the parents are reminded as well. We have one scout who actually brought his a week early for me to keep b/c he knew the next week he'd be coming from soccer practice and was afraid he'd forget. It's all in the initial expectations, and it would seem that you need to revisit your expectations where assumptions had been before. I tell people all the time, if it's not in WRITING it doesn't happen and that includes what to do in a BOR for my crew. They have a written policy for just about everything. Makes everyone's life much easier from the get go. What should you do for your boy now? I've actually requested some district help for a BOR before. We had several older committee members in one troop I worked with and they were all very frail one winter. It was time for a boy's BOR and they were just frankly too ill to come for like, two months. I asked my DE for district assistance, and he helped me out by finding people to sit for the BOR. We had me and the CC and that was all we had, so he found as I remember two more people in our area that I had no knowledge of at that time. It's been a few years ago, but I remember contacting the DE over it so this fella could finish his BOR. The older members have since been very proactive in finding younger members (mostly family members), but it made a point. The point? Sometimes it takes lemons to make lemonade.
  16. I agree with communications. I no longer feel it should be Eagle required either. I also agree with Mark, you can't beat a good resume for catching an employers eye. In our little rural area here, the SMs pretty much let the boys take whatever whenever and I think that is bad. OR they take them to camp/merit badge college only and you see a bunch of boys that look like they duplicated each other's stuff. Wonder if we listed some of our more innovative ideas for the badges we do if we could learn from each other ways to punch them up a bit? I also do genealogy, and you talk about a DRY book. WOW! Once I'm done with these kids, though they can't wait to see what's coming next. They just hate the book. I wish my son had Mark for PM. Maybe then, he'd have done better. We did have him use his job as the budgeting tool, but that was MY idea. The first counselor actually told him to just use $5 a week because the math was easier. Talk about dull! Mollie.
  17. Oopsie.....yep, I meant Native American, because believe me, we have a lot of the other types. My son loves his percussion. He's even got African Tribal Drums. I looked on Crazy Crow. I'd forgotten about that site. Their stuff looks pretty neat. He's looking to drum with OA and stuff and so I'll probably have to spill the beans to see what type he needs. Thanks guys for the replies and for noticing I'd forgotten to put Native American in the type of drums...........:-) MollieD.
  18. John, I think you're right on as far as why the Crew failed at first. It was not focused on the youth's interests, but tried to get youth interested in IT. Now, they're trying to revitalize it more the reverse, which is great.
  19. I am looking for a place to order either drums or kits for drums. My son is a percussionist and I want to get him one (or a kit to make one) for Christmas. (yes I'm thinking ahead here). Thoughts? Thanks, MollieD.
  20. What is your favorite/least favorite MB to counsel (or to take if you're a scout)? My favorite is Theatre. I think I like it b/c when the boys come for that one, they are really interested or they wouldn't be there. My least favorite is Citizen/World. Mostly b/c the boys that generally come to me are way too young to really understand it. There should be like a pre-test to see if you're ready for some of these things. My son's favorite was photography or climbing and his least favorite was Personal Management. I think the P.Management was his least, though, because he went through three counselors before he got finished. They all kept quitting on him. Finally the local bank manager took over and it's much better now.
  21. WOW!! That was very liberating taking the survey. My Eagle son and I both did it. We felt so liberated although it may never go anywhere. My biggest problem is like John said......grade/age appropriateness. I have boys who are in 10th grade working like 6th graders, yet, I've had 6th graders trying to do Citizen/World and can't get their limited life experience around it to get it done well. I think some MBs should come with a grade/age requirement....I know I'll get shot for saying that, but I'm so tired of having a boy come to me complaining about not understanding the work. My response is generally to have them wait, but thier SMs usually call and complain about that as well. My other big problems are boys not being organized, boys coming with stuff printed off the internet and not knowing what the heck is even IN what they printed, and plagarizing stuff off the internet or out of a book. (My response to that is always "A Scout is Trustworthy", but again it gets met with a lot of flack.) I had one problem with a boy who wanted to always print from the internet and when he printed off his map of his local area from online, he printed the wrong city/state adn didn't even notice it. When I made him do it over, his mother called and **** ed me out over it. He eventually went to another counselor because I was "too hard on him". Whatever! There needs to be more rigidity in the guidelines and less loopholes.
  22. Coming from a small troop area, lots of the troops within, say, an hour from each other here camp together. In fact, they do a rather round robin thing where they each "host" an event. Example: T#xx is going to camp at "The Campground" and they, as host of the event, provide one new scout activity (up through 1st class requirements), one older boy activity, and one type of merit badge or advanced activity. As I remember, learning to fly fish was huge one year. The host troop is then exempt from planning and providing for the next campout and the attending troops reciprocate by doing the next one. They generally are very well attended, the patrol method works well b/c even with small amounts of boys, there are usually three to four troops who can work as patrols within this arrangement. Older boys get activities geared to them as do younger boys, and two deep leadership is less of a problem. Of course, it takes some planning, but it's usually done by email until about two weeks prior to the event and then, the leaders meet along the road somehwere at a restaurant and hash out the hard details. It's been a real lifesaver around here for small rural troops like ours.
  23. I am writing this for a friend of mine. There had been a Venturing Crew in his area that went inactive due to no membership. He is considering re-activating it. Now, they told him he'd have to get five youth and obviously the adults, but when we CHARTERED ours, they had to have five non-dual registered youth (meaning pay full price). IF you reactivate an inactive crew, what are the rules on this and how many NEWBIES that are not already Boy/Girl Scouts do you need? Thanks, MollieD.
  24. I tell my parents that BSA is about the journey. Boys typically don't dress alike, listen to the same music, take the same high school classes or end up in the same jobs. Why would we want to create a cookie cutter environment in scouting for them??? It is about each boy being a respected, contributing, independent community member eventually and finding out who HE is in relation to his environment, not having his environment created for him. This is our troop's philosophy and if that is what they want, great. If not, bye bye. It's that simple. If the parents want a cookie cutter environment, they'll just be a problem within our troop's philosophy anyway and make everyone miserable including the new boy. I find many parents are afraid to let their son go to an independent boy led troop because they don't feel their son is ready for that, so I also have them talk to the troop guide, the New Scout ASM, and at least one boy and/or parent that just left New Scout Patrol. This generally makes them more comfortable. We also have a parent's meeting with all new parents the very first meeting which is required during which we discuss the differences between BSA and Cubs and why they are NOT in Webelos III. That generally helps make it all clear as well.
  25. Our troop has made a "unique" award called the Minimalist Award. We are working toward a non-trailer style camping unit with the trailer only going on large trips and scout camp where we are self sufficient. We encourage ground cloth/sleeping bag camping (although one boy came to the last one last fall with just a bedroll type thing), and we tend to use easy meals like you'd use to hike the Appalachian Trail or something. We also are encouraging our patrols to research and find things to make their lives simpler. We put the patrols together for dishwashing with one patrol heating the wash water, one the rinse water, and one the final rinse water with their camp stoves approximately. So far, we have cut out extra large backpacks, large tents, and all that stuff. We still have some hold outs, but with the addition to the new fun award, it's getting smaller and smaller. The boys get a kick out learning to pare down from each other. NOt sure what we'll do when they all get it down to a real minimal event. I guess we'll switch to a fun cooking award or somthing like that.
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