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Monkey Tamer

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  1. Horizon, Those are awesome stories. I want to chime in. I’ve been CM of our Pack for 9.5 years. (My youngest just crossed over in Dec and I’m still here, hoping to find the right replacement.) My oldest is a freshman. Now in High School, they don’t really advertise their affiliation much, and that’s fine. However, a couple years ago, his HS won the state championship in football. Every member of the line and the QB were in and either had already or eventually did Eagle. Did those guys make a big deal about Scouting on a day to day basis? Probably not, but then, did they really miss an opportunity to recruit viable scouts among their classmates? That didn’t stop me from having a couple of them attend a Pack meeting in full uniform under their letter jacket (they took it off when they got to the front all by themselves BTW) and discus what scouting did for them and how they were able to play sports at a high level and still be scouts. I had a Webelos group that was chock full of stud athletes. Many of their parents told me they were not going to go on to the troop. Happy to say, every member of that class except one is still in scouting today. Those stud footballers made a deep impression on my guys. Over the years, I’ve brought in varsity athletes from a variety of different sports to talk to my impressionable Cub Scouts. I particularly aim this at the Webelos who might be hanging on to finish so they can make a clean break at the split. Now, it helps that we’re in a catholic system and the HS guys are well known to the youngsters, but it would still work in other venues. Is scouting cool? Well that has a lot to do with us as the leaders. Local option has been beat to death on these forums lately, but it definitely applies to other things. BSA and scouting may be looked upon by youth and society as uncool, but if the kids are having a blast and have some role models to look to, they may well just blow other people’s impressions off and keep rolling. My job as CM and every CM’s job really, is to make this an adventure. Make it high energy fun and they won’t be worried so much about what other people think. Let them know that they are special and tougher than their classmates. Set the expectation that they can and should help and protect those weaker than themselves or anyone who needs help. Set a good example by proudly wearing the uniform yourself and espousing manliness and a cool demeanor and set the expectation that they are cool, tough, awesome guys who are going to go prove how much better they are than normal kids when they get to Boy Scouts. Let the Boy scouts know that they are considerably tougher, both mentally and physically than a lot of full grown men. I know all this sounds a little brutish. I don’t intend for them to become brutes, but rather heroic figures. Boys WANT to be tough. Most of their heroes are, well, heroes. Society can try to whitewash away, the drive to value toughness in boys, but it’s primal. Boys crave coolness. They crave recognition for achieving things and for being tough. If they think they are studs, they walk a little taller and feel good about themselves. Not all boys are athletically gifted, or in the “cool cliqueâ€, but all boys can be mentally tough, cool characters when the chips are down. They just need people they look up to to set expectations of them and to recognize their efforts. The nerdiest, frailest, goofiest kid out there can rise to the occasion and save the day if he has confidence. He can be the guy who can start the fire in the windiest, wettest conditions and who can figure the best way to make a shelter, or who leads the patrol that always wins all the camp contests. Or maybe just be the kid who is always there to help the newbies when they are overwhelmed. That’s called leadership and it’s just about the coolest thing ever. We just need to help them get there by CM’s keeping them in and SM’s building them up and relying on them.
  2. Hi All, I came back to this forum recently after hearing about the impending decision from National about membership reqs. Not sure what I expected, but I have had my eyes opened to the diversity of thought here among this slice of the scouter community. I can only assume that this is representative of the entire community of scouters at large. I guess I shouldn't have been surprised. It is after all, a very large group and it makes sense that we would all have different viewpoints. I apologize for assuming we were all of a like mind. So as I have read, I have come to realize that even in something I considered fairly straight forward, i.e. Duty to God, there are VASTLY different opinions as to what that means and even to whether that should even be an inherent aspect of Scouting. Mea Culpa. Anyway, While reading one string about the Brits taking it completely out of their charge,http://www.scouter.com/forum/issues-politics/361593-chief-exec-of-uk-scout-association-time-for-a-promise-that-atheists-can-keep, (sorry don't know how to jump yet), I was struck by how ignorant I have been. In one brilliantly crafted reply, a fellow (apologies if the author was, in fact, a woman) named Outdoors boiled the entire issue down to its essence. I began my reply therein, but have come to the conclusion that this issue truly deserves it's own thread. I mean, many, many of us are decidedly on board that religion is actually at the root of many of the problems facing scouting, both locally and as a movement. So, here goes: Ok. I think Outdoors made a very good point that I would like to develop further. “What makes a person a good person comes from within themselves and has nothing to do with whether or not they consider themselves religious" Now, ignoring the part about whether they consider themselves religious, I think it is fascinating to consider this thought. Just think! What makes me good comes from inside me and from no other source. I feel SO good about this! I have always loved the atheist position about how there are no eternal, ultimate Truths and that morality comes from within. i guess i just needed the right presentation to push me over the edge. It really is the most tolerant view one can take. You might call it enlightened even. It is certainly the most liberating way to think and we all know liberty is a good thing, mostly anyway. But Outdoors has verbalized it in the best, most concise way I’ve ever heard it. No gobbledygook philosophical ranting about morality being a construct largely created by oppressive patriarchal religions to sooth the masses, or arcane historical references to conflicting scriptures intentionally left out of canon law that indisputably prove that the early church was a racket. Nope! Just one straightforward, simple fact. All goodness comes from the individual. Ok, there is that nagging little anxiety in the back of my mind. You know, the part about what being a good person means. I mean, if it comes from inside me, then I should be the final arbiter of whether I have it and “am goodâ€. I’m sure that’s what he meant, because that is the best case for a logical argument. By that argument, whatever I am and whatever I do is good as long as I believe myself to be a good person. See how fun this is? With this new freedom, I can really have a good time as long as my inherent sense of morality (from inside me, remember) allows it. I can hunt out of season, because I love hunting and there will be way less pressure without all those other hunters in the woods. I may start sneaking onto golf courses, since I think greens fees are ridiculously high. And all that propriety society intolerantly demands of me is really starting to harsh my mellow, man. Think it’s time to get back in the game, but this time, I’ll have WAY more fun without all those pesky rules about treating girls with respect and all that. The best part of course, is that if anyone decides that my behavior is bad or that I am a bad person for my actions, they will be guilty of forcing their inherent, inside morality on me, which is intolerant and wrong. Now, if that’s not what he means, I suppose those of us who’re good are so by declaration of Outdoors. Which would mean his viewpoint is that which determines the inherent “goodness†of everyone else. Now, this could work, IF he intends his judgment to also come only from inside of him. Hence, he would judge based on whatever is inside of him, those who, by whatever is inside them, are actually good people. Less concise, but still easy enough to be followed. As long as Outdoors is omniscient, everything is cool. Otherwise, we have a little problem. To wit: who is to decide what “good†or “moral†or “ethical†even is? I mean we all agree that there is no ultimate Truth right? That idea is backwards and intolerant. I mean, don’t push your religion down my throat! Unfortunately, without an ultimate Truth of some kind, and excepting the outside chance that Outdoors is actually the Messiah, then there is no such thing as morality; hence either we are ALL good people, because we say so, or nobody is because good doesn’t exist. Either way, if you take this to it’s logical conclusion, everybody deciding their own set of morals will end not in happy, loving cumbaya. It would, by definition, lead to the rule of force. If I am bigger than you, and I want something you have, my inner morality tells me that I am totally within my rights to come and take it. And if you can’t stop me and don’t like it, well that’s the breaks. If you say anything against this, it smacks of intolerance. It’s MY MORALITY remember and you will be guilty of judging me in the most intolerant way. However, if you are stronger than me or have better weapons, then you are within your rights, by inner morality, to stop me and punish me for imposing on you. I will accept that and treat you with all the respect you deserve for your personhood. We are both “good people†by definition. No ultimate Truth needed, remember? That’s cool too. I’m a pretty big guy and have plenty of firepower, so I’ll be alright. Besides, once I enslave half my block, I won’t have to do any pesky lawn care or housework anymore. And there is that chick down the block that I’ve had my eye on… Now, none of you intoleran hate-mongering religious nuts better try and talk me out of it! Peace (if you wish it and whatever you think that means)
  3. Sentinel, This is good. I think we have differences, but its refreshing in a forum setting to be able to discuss these rationally and good-naturedly. I am also a practicing catholic and the priest scandal was not a high point for me either. Actually, it pains me to have brought it up, but I think it is important to learn from the past. Even if it is embarrassing. I agree that pedophiles are just that most of the time. I dont think all Homosexuals are pedophiles and I recognize that all pedophiles are not homosexual. I dont think that Homosexuals have any less self-control as a group than heterosexuals either. But that might not be saying much. How many great men have been brought low because they could not keep their equipment clean? Over and over it happens. Some guy with the entire world by the tail blows the whole thing because of that. Loses his career, family, everything he worked for because he was weak. I dont know how homosexual attraction works either, but if its like normal attraction, its probably pretty powerful. So why mess around with it? None of the homosexuals I know would ever hurt a child. Does that mean there are none out there who would? I think thats pretty naive. In everyones rush to laud this for tolerance and defend gay rights, I think maybe they have gone so far that not only is it an improbability, but an impossibility for them to consider. We do tend to get married to an idea and defend it regardless of what we have to ignore to make it work. Its human nature. I agree that normal YP goes a long way towards mitigating risk. Does it completely eliminate it? Id say there are probably still problems in spite of it. Would there be more problems if the majority of adult leaders werent also repulsed by the idea of same-sex activity? You are right though that the major focus of YP changes will have to be youth-youth. That may become a bigger problem than any of us can anticipate. Not sure your CO is church based, but as a catholic, I assume you are looking towards similar ideas of morality out of your leaders. These things are not trivial. In setting an example for our boys, some things are not ok. If I had a leader who was a womanizer, and made that openly known, Id act to have him removed. Same with other amoral choices. Why is it not ok to recognize homosexuality as not morally straight? Now, I know were all sinners. Do I know what all my leaders do on their own time? Nope. But DADT is kind of the defacto rule there. If they teach the boys good morality and are good examples publically, its all good. But I hope that they are the men (and women) that they purport to be. You say youre liberal, Ive claimed a conservative bent, but that should not matter. Its a big church. BSA is a big tent. Theres room for us to disagree and still both be good members of both. Maybe my first impression was wrong. Perhaps these types of decisions should be made locally and were it not for the culture war that, like it or not, were all involved in, they would be. Unfortunately, I think this thing is going to be used as a wedge to dismantle a lot more of what scouting stands for. Lets see who comes out at the celebration when its announced. If it is relieved parents and scouts who are just glad to finally not have to lie anymore. Ill stand down and accept this. If its a bunch of angry politically charged hate mongers gloating about victory, I guess well know we just got rolled.
  4. Sentinel, sorry about the multiple posts. The goofy thing kept telling me it timed out, so I tried again. Apparently there's no way to retract one once it's posted. Guess I need a little training. I would be much obliged if an administrator would delete all but one itteration. You and Moose both bring up good points, but also missed part of mine. I agree there are kids who joined in Tigers who had no idea and want to finish. That's the toughest question of all and one that could be handled both ways (DADT and the new way). I obviously also get a parent wanting to be involved in his son's life, which could also have been handled and probably was unde DADT. I think little of those types of things are driving this at Nationals. It is a political war and by rolling they are abdicating the high ground on this and everything else. I promise this is only the beginning. As to the rest, well I'm not paranoid, or scared. Nor do I hate anyone. We are all Scout leaders, yet the terms of the argument have already been dictated by others. So much so, that you guys accept their premise that to object to this paints one as a bigot or a homophobe or even a little paranoid. I was not asserting that all or even alarge proportion of homosexuals are bad, or predetermined to prey on our youth, just that it increases the statistical chances in an overall way. The point is that heterosexual folks in close quarters with large numbers of youth of the opposit sex is equally as stupid. Why do we have YP anyway? Why are camps of all stripes segregated by gender? You can say I'm paranoid, or small minded, or even that I hate homosexuals. You can say whatever you like, but it won't change the fact that this policy is mathmatically going to increase risk. Perhaps we can mitigate it with the YP proceedures in place. Perhaps enhanced proceedures are on the horizen. Who knows. But burrying our collective heads to the facts of sexual attraction is not going to make it go away. Ask the Catholic Church how that worked out. They had a problem. A mathmatically minescule number of homosexual priests with access to youth and power caused a tragically huge amount of heartache. The Church componded things by ignoring reality for many years. They didn't even employ YP, because their leaders were celebate and morally superior. So, if the church should have had measures to protect youth from celebate, non-sexual, and holy priests who might have been gay, is it inconcievable to expect that we should expect to have problems with a percentage of the non-celebate, secular, openly sexual homosexuals we are proposing to admit? That's not hate or paranoia. That's just being smart and protective of our youth. YIS
  5. Basementdweller, Im afraid you need a scoutmasters conference for bullying. Just because Sheldonsmom says shes teaching her kids traditional values doesnt give you the right to puff up and impugn her motives. The questions you ask (and the manner you ask them) are intended to put her on the defensive. These classic bullying tactics are exactly how the left is going about tearing down the institutions and traditions of American society. If, as a heterosexual, I am dissatisfied with the rules of some club or associationsay, the local LBGT chapter, or the Gay Pride Parade steering committee, or if as a conservative carnivore I dont like what PETA has to say, know what I do? I act like a MAN and move on. That means I respect their club and their right to run it however they like. I respect it enough that I abide by their membership requirements. If I cannot in good conscience condone the aims, methods, oaths, promises, slogans, mottos etc. (sound familiar?) I move on and find somewhere that Id rather be and where Id find acceptance. I DONT act like a baby and throw a tantrum. I dont demand that that group alter the way they choose, by free association to operate. I DONT viciously attack that group, by which I so want to be accepted, by dragging their name through the mud in the media and surreptitiously threatening all their sources of funding. Free association. Why is that phrase so important? Well, because freedom of association is an implicit foundational right behind first amendment rights of both speech and assembly. This is our organization. If one can abide by the bylaws, welcome. If not, be a grownup and accept it. Go find an organization that you like better, or make one of your own. Why is this so hard? Quite frankly, if someone truly feels that BSA, or any group for that matter is as dastardly as the gay lobby or the atheists have made it out to be, why on earth would they want to become a member of it? Could it be that they have other motives besides the joy of living the oath? What could those motives be? Could it be to destroy from the inside what could not be done from the outside? Of course, they will say this will BSA better and more tolerant and all manner of flowery verbiage, but in reality, BSA stands for traditional values and is at the front of the culture war. So getting in and redirecting that stance could be looked upon as a strategic victory. And dont for an instant believe well all join hands and sing cumbaya afterwards. The virulent anti-traditional values, anti-BSA factions, both within the LBGT camp and in other camps are very vocal and will crow about this from the highest rooftops. This will not end here. Mark my words. I guarantee in the first press conference after the ruling, some tool will utter the words: This is a good start, but we have more work to do. or something to that effect. This will embolden them. They will double down with a passion. The next thing will be admission of atheists. Then all mention of God, Reverence and moral character will have to go. Standing firm against the media onslaught is hard. Following your principles usually is. If you equivocate once, it becomes even harder to stand tall the next time. They will not rest until the BSA is broken down and made back up in whatever form appeases them. Or is no longer a threat. I think individually, a lot of folks might be intent on becoming the first openly gay this or that. Fine. That may not be the worst motive, but it still doesnt seem to pass muster as a proper reason to join a service organization that focusses on achievement and brotherhood and which certainly does not promote sexuality among its youth. The point that one identifies oneself more by sexual preferences than by accomplishments and personal character reeks of having an agenda or trying to use the organization to make some kind of statement. Or perhaps the individual motives are more sinister. Perhaps there are predators out there who would like nothing more than a nice relaxed set of admission standards to clear their path to all those young, innocent boys. Does that seem mean-spirited? Hard hearted? Backwards? Fine. Call me what you will, but ask yourself; is it also improbable? I mean, golly, thats never been a problem before has it? Molesters are never drawn to large assemblies of youth or to youth programs are they? I know plenty of Gay people. Many of whom I would trust with my kids. They're wonderful individuals, but that's not the point here. Would anyone in their right mind house teenage boys and teenage girls in the same tent? How about high school boys and 11 year old girls? Why not? Would that be a YP violation? How about full grown men and teenage boys? Truly whats the difference between a man and a teenage boy other than less ability to employ judgment before acting on sexual impulses? Its a statistics problem. Among adult men, there is a tiny fraction of men who are attracted to children. There is also a slightly larger fraction that is attracted to other males. It stands to reason; among them are some whore attracted to young boys and/or teenage boys, or just young men like our fine strapping 16-18 year old scouts. We assiduously try and ferret out the former, why the hell would we invite the latter in with open arms? If the idea of predators makes you squeamish, try this: imagine tent mates who are both gay. No predation, totally consensual. Even if they were highly discrete and their patrol mates didnt know, do we really want boys sneaking off in the woods for romps during troop activities? Dont think it wont happen. You wouldnt even house teenage girls and boys in the same camp much less the same tent. You wouldnt do that for the same reason. Hormones, availability and poor judgment often lead to bad things. I know weve always had homosexuals in scouting, both in the ranks and in leadership. But DADT tends to subdue openness doesnt it? Act on something and you might get busted will keep some peoples tendencies tightly hidden, and subsequently keep them focused on whatever task is at hand. But if theres no reason to be worried about being outted, one might be free to act a little more boldly. Patrols live together apart from direct supervision. PLs are pretty impressive figures to younger boys. A lot of fresh newbies are intimidated and shy and oh yeah sometimes they face scary and/or uncomfortable situations. In other words, they are vulnerable. Thank goodness this is all being done in the name of tolerance and that we all know a handful of anecdotal examples of truly wonderful gay people. That should be enough to ensure the most pure of intentions will rule the day. I feel a lot better. Truly, even with a fairly strong focus on YP, it still happens. Why would we want to throw gasoline on this smoldering problem? Jeesaloo! How many ways are there to spell disaster?
  6. So? Did you have the discussion as planned? How'd it go?>
  7. All HAIL BEAVAH. For he is wise. It takes a big man to admit to himself when he is wrong and an even bigger one to admit it to all who care to hear. I read the entire post and found my viewpoint shifted several times as well. Having never been overly orthodox in my presentation of the program, I can see the benefit of drive and enthusiasm over dogmatic adhearance to the pantheon of BSA Rules/Regulations/Reccomendations/Suggested delivery meathods...ad infinitem. Where the rubber meets the road is the relationship between the leaders and the scouts. Do the boys care about all this stuff being flung by the monkeys on the committee? Hell no. All they want is someone that they can look up to, who will give them the straight deal and make scouting enjoyable. This Troop had that and is stupid if they let their personal peckadillos blind them to it. The age thing is a canard. They need something to base their intent on and that IS official policy, so Bob's-your-uncle, that's what they will hang their hat on. If the folks involved were old enough to meet the requirement, they would find something else to cling to. officiousness and petulance should never be more important than the core values and unit health. I have had DL's that hated each other. Their kids loved them, so guess what? I don't care. I have had a COR I saw once a year for signatures. Our CC is happy to let me do everything but re-charter. In the minds of our COR, CC and committee, I am the boss. Is this the prescribed way to run a pack? I don't care. I chose every committee member but the treasurer who has been there longer than me. Is that the "right" way to do things? I don't care. All my DL's are full voting members of the committee. They are the rubber meeting the road and I think they should have equal say. Any parent that ventures into our committee meetings may take the floor and voice any opinion or ask any question they like. The Pack is, after all, theirs. OK the CO "owns" it, but the families have more at stake and can leave if they don't like things. The special project coordinators are brought on the committee for the time leading up to their events. They have equal voting rights during their temporary tenure. Again, rubber meets the road. Any of that sound like it's right or official? guess what? I don't care. We get all kinds of different parents move into the Pack every year. Some really young former Eagle dads, some grisled veterans of other Packs and Troops seeing their youngest through the system one more time. I welcome their input, and listen to their ideas. Sometimes I like them and sometimes, not so much. but if they have a good idea I generally listen to it. Sometimes I make up whole new ad-hoc positions on the committee just to make space for somebody who has good ideas and is enthusiastic about making our program better. I could care less about their demographics (young, old, man, woman, purple people eater). That's not what is important. What IS important is do they bring something that will make our Pack better and more enjoyable for the kids. Do I run this correctly? I don't care. Basically, there are four rules I run my pack by. 1) YP and YPT (something that I do care about and make sure is written in stone). 2) GSS for operations (Meetings, camp outs, outings). 3) Do we keep our word to the boys and follow the CS promise? And 4)Is this going to be good for the Pack and the boys. All Rubber-Road items. Everything else is just Bravo Sierra. Is this a good way to run a program? you guessed it. I don't care. I supposed "good" depends on your interpretation. This is mine: We have close to 100% graduation and retention rates. We have had 100% AOL for the last three years. And we're feeding a vibrant healthy troop as 80-90% of our boys are going on to Boy Scouting. I guess the BSA could harp about our Pack not following their bysantine structure. I suppose the COR could fire me for usurping her authority, but Jimmy-Crack-Corn and I DON"T CARE. As long as I'm CM, all Our Pack will focus on is the rubber and the road. I think a lot of other units would be well served to do likewise. Here's to another lost lunch break. Cheers All! Oh. One more thing. I'm 44 and I'd take Mr. Long-in-the-name and his sweet little fiance on my committee any day of the week. And not to just sit around either. You guys kick a$$! Read the posts here and you'll see that there are a lot of over-worked good-hearted people out there trying to keep foundering units alive who would dearly relish someone of your desire and drive to come along and help them provide all that scouting has to offer. Go find one and "Do Your Best". There are a lot of boys out there who deserve what you bring to the table.
  8. SF, NICE! For all the struggles, the personality disputes, the conflicts with other clubs and sports, the thousands of details to manage and the inevitable problems that pop up to derail the best-laid plans, for all the disappointments and heartbreaks that this job can deal you, there is no better paying job on earth when the wages are stories like these. Kudos to you for being flexible and positive enough to change plans on the fly and still hold a good camp-out, and for being a hero to your boys! Good demonstration of the Tom Highway motto: Adapt, Overcome, Improvise! I've often said that I have a secret CM's retirement account. I'll share it with you: I plan on dusting off my old CM shirt and attending every one of my boys' Eagle ceremonies, wherever they are. Looking forward to "retirement" for a good many years. Cheers!
  9. Why thank you. I couldn't think of anything that better described being a CM. Oh sure, "shaper of our youth" sounds nice, in theory,, but it's a little unweildy on a buisness card and "Delusional Madman" was taken. Cheers!
  10. Whew! Thank Goodness they didn't release the PWD speed files! You had me worried AS. ;-)
  11. SF, In essence, that's what we do too. We just happen to call the graduation Cross-over. We do Actual Cross-over for the Webelos in December. And we always have a seperate ceremony for AOL. I drive my Web DL's pretty hard to get it done by November so We can devote proper attention to AOL. I just found out at our Den meeting tonight that one of my son's friends will probably not get his Bear badge. He's missed too many Den meetings. He's on my baseball team, so I plan to urge his dad to try and finish, but I'm not hopefull. Kinda weird that we've been talking about this very situation. I will handle it just like I said I would, but it's a harder deal than when it's someone elses boys your talking about. Ann, hang tough! You can do it. Know that there are others out there grappling with the same issues. And even with years of experience, it's still hard. Cheers all.
  12. "Seriously, Scoutfish, whenever I have tried to ponder why people do the things people do, I find it helpful to visit and spend some time in the primate building at a good zoo to remind myself that basically, we are monkeys. It helps. Really." This looks like my cue! Yes. They (and we) ARE monkeys. parents and boys alike. and If you've been to said primate house, you'll notice that sometimes they throw..., well, stuff. So what to do? I guess you could stay out of the monkey house. OR, you just learn to try and avoid the flying "stuff" and go about your buisness. I think that those of us In scouting have chosen the latter. I've read the posts for a long time. And have held my present position for longer than is probably sane. You know, I think there are two basic types of participant here. The fledgling scouter who is earnestly trying to learn their craft and improve what/how they do, and the grisled veteran who is pretty sure of himself. Often, somebody asks for advice or relates a situation and they are greatly helped by the replies. Sometimes it sets off a firestorm of debate. Those cases still help the newby because they get to see differing approaches to common problems. Sometimes, those debates change the minds of the veterans, or at least make us check our facts, which is a good thing too. I figure anybody getting hacked off or being overbearing is just another monkey flinging something I don't want to get on me. My $.02
  13. SP, Yeah, we still generate all the reports. We don't give anybody anything they didn't earn. What I'm getting at is that I don't specifically hold a seperate ceremony for the Tiger, Wolf or Bear rank award. I mention it at the X-over ceremony (we have a seperate cross-over for Webelos in December), and everybody expects to earn it in the course of the program year, so there's not a need to talley up during the ceremony. It's counter-intuitive I know. All during the year, we make a big deal about every little belt-loop, pin, leave-no-trace etc. Then during the ceremony, we don't go all out about the one award that REALLY matters. But from all the instant recognition all year long, the kids have ample opportunity to be recognized and the high achievers get their fill. Then I try to make ceremony itself very impressive. The kids who earned it, felt like it was all about them achieving rank, but the ones who didn't are probably relieved, because for them, it wasn't specifically pointed out. It might be under-handed and manipulative, but if they all feel good about crossing over, there's a higher chance they are coming back. Which is one of my main jobs. As for the Wolf and Bear programs, I couldn't agree more. My youngest is a Bear right now. His Dl is a good friend and laments the lame stuff he's forced to dish up. He can cover a whole geography or safety lesson (that mirrors what they've learned in school) in 10 minutes flat if they stay under control. Then it's on to fun. We've built water bottle rockets and launched them. Visited the local infantry museum and climbed all over the tanks. Made tool-boxes and burned their names on them. He's getting the program done, but with some common sense, he's zipping through the boring stuff in favor of the fun stuff. Wolves and Bears need "A little less talk and a lot more action." Cheers.
  14. Ann, I have a slightly different take on this issue. I agree with ScoutNut on principle. In an ideal world, everyone would be sufficiently motivated to earn their award as soon as possible and should be awarded the badge when they do. That's the way we did it when I was a kid and it caused us to try and be first. However, early on as CM, I realized that It's not an ideal world. Kids have a lot more scheduled activity and many don't get it done on their own. The new program isn't new to us. We have been driving the DLs to knock out as much as possible in the Den meetings for years. It's taken time, but now we have an environment where 1) the kids are EXPECTED to earn the award and 2) Due to the program being set up to foster that, it is rare for a kid to fulfill the requirements before the last Den meeting. Do we still have kids fall short? Yep. Every so often it happens. Why? usually it's a doofus parent who will not follow through. For the most part, it's not the boys fault. He can't drive himself places. He can't make his parent teach him things. We spoon feed it to the recalcitrant parent and the DL and I both try and get them moving towards the end of the year, but sometimes you just can't make the horse drink. Once in a while, it's the kid who's just un-motivated, but that's less likely to stop him if the parent is on board. (Usually, those kids drop out because they're not having fun) Where does that leave me? Well, My view point is that scouting is good for every kid. Maybe moreso for the ones who haven't developed a sense of responsibility yet or who have un-involved parents or an unsteady home life. I can drive those kids (or their parents) out by making things uncomfortable for them or singling them out, or I can try and minimize the damage by trying to maintain unit cohesion. Hence, we all cross over with our den. Since earning the actual badge is expected, I hand it to them as they mount the bridge. Nobody really notices if a boy didn't get his at the ceremony. We don't ever pencil-whip the award, so the integrety of the rank award is maintained, but the kid doesn't feel left out at the culminating ceremony for the year. The insignia and emblems are important to the boys as they should be. So when little Johnny shows up next year and his rank badge is missing, HE knows and hopefully motivates himself to make sure he doesn't fail another rank, but he's still there. It usually works out that way. You saw my ceremony, but you don't see all the ad-libbing. I'll do a lot of it. It's a balance to make the boys who achieved the rank feel special while making the one boy who didn't also feel special. Or at least not particularly called out. Spend a lot of energy describing the things they accomplished and all the fun they had. Since you are also the DL for this guy, it will be easy to point out something specific that he was involved in and play it up. Like the others have said, we all move to the next rank together, regardless of what we've earned. Hopefully, next year, he comes back because he wants to have all the fun you guys have and will be motivated to pester his mom a little about taking care of rank. Cheers.
  15. Any time. I'm glad to help.
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