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bbender

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About bbender

  • Rank
    Junior Member
  • Birthday 03/01/1958

Profile Information

  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Atlanta, GA
  • Occupation
    Wizard
  • Interests
    Outdoors, Service, Training, Program Development, Unit Service (helpful), Efficiency in Program Delivery (Keep It Simple, Make It Fun ... not Keep It Complicated, Make Everything Hard, or KICMEH)
  • Biography
    Cub in Bethel Park, PA; Scout in StL (OA, S-F Ranch Staff); Tiger DL 03-04 in ATL; CM starting in 05; Trainer and writer of Den Program ideas starting in 06; support to PCC 2009-2010; 411 Task Force, 2011-2015
  1. Exciting Pack Programs

    I think that's the key, and for those Packs without a current production staff able to put on really super pack meetings that families really like, I wonder: why struggle to put on pack meetings when you get more fun (for less production effort) out of hands on fun activities with families -- maybe even just weekend activities that more family can attend. More thoughts about that are in this thought piece posted at a page called "Why Pack Meetings?", or "Minimize Meetings, Accentuate Activities". Now, for those who say "but we do pack meetings and everyone likes them", that's great! Keep doing what works for you. As noted in the piece, it’s not a binary choice between “do monthly pack meetings” or “no more pack meetings ever”. If your Pack Meeting every month is a fun Pack Party … keep on keepin’ on! But if you don’t have “meetings” or Pack Parties, and your Pack just goes places to do active hands on fun stuff and programs that Scouts and families like … that is just fine! But I do see a lot of pack leaders struggle to put on pack meeting program because they think it's required when ... there is a better way.
  2. Streamlined Cub Scout Adventure Plans

    FYI, those plans don't change currently announced Requirements ... and they actually help reflect some of the nuance (and maddening number changes) of the 11/30/16 revisions to requirements, so they're a bit more in sync with "current" than what's in the Guides. Of course, as The Latin Scot notes, one need not use the Guides at all, and that's cool.
  3. Streamlined Cub Scout Adventure Plans

    True that, and this optional resource doesn't mean a den can't do the three meetings in the Guide or more. That said, for some busy families, the options of either (a) do the three meetings in the guide, or (b) pick up the 2017 addenda and use the Handbooks to make up a meeting or activity, are, for some, challenging. FYI, that site has options: on that site are also annotated versions of the plans that "tag" the Guide's three meetings to (1) flag what's changed as of 11/30/16, and (2) confirm (where not evident) what you can do if you want if you don't want to do the Guide activity. Because some people do think "if it's in the Guide, I have to do it"!
  4. Streamlined Cub Scout Adventure Plans

    Super ideas and observations there ... On that, yeah, if you don't use the Leader Guides to guide how to do meetings for the Adventures, you're probably not going to need to look at this either. But, if the reason why you don't use the Guide is either that there too much fluff and filler (and you know how to add your own) or they are out of sync with the revised requirements, then this might be useful. Again, the primary emphasis of this is for a model to have extended time on weekends, an afternoon/evening for Cub Family experience, not "get it done in an hour". And the reasons for only the Required Adventures are not nefarious, but include: (1) everyone (that tries to complete the Rank) does the Required ones, (2) usually, a reason to select an elective is there is likely a leader, parent or other resource who is already knowledgeable about it, and can deliver it in a meaningful way, and (3) fewer changes were made to elective requirements in the 11/30/16 changes, so the Guides are not as out of sync.
  5. Streamlined Cub Scout Adventure Plans

    Thanks for your note ... because this is really geared to working in Adventure advancement work when a Den gets out and about (camping, hiking, field trips with family), my belief is that it isn't "check the box", but it is a way to get the Advancement method done with more fun and with greater clarity than the current "three meeting model" of the Guides -- guides that had extra items already, and are out of sync with current requirements. And what I've heard from Dens who have come up with this on their own is that this sort of program works for them, is more fun, more memorable to Scouts, enjoyed more by families. Because when we get Cub families out and about doing camping, hiking, field trips, hands on stuff ... they get more out of it. And if you eyeball the individual plans and the comments on changes made, you'll see that the advice and structure is not to go for the minimum in the Advancement requirements -- the plans don't "hide the ball" or make up extra steps, but encourage the active, hands on, outdoors options. For example, in Wolf "Call of the Wild", it doesn't say "hey, great news, now you can just 'attend an outdoor activity', and it doesn't tell you how long you have to be outdoors!". Instead, it pitches that the best option is that Scouts participate in a pack camp out. The comments to the 11/30/16 changes in that Plan includes the plea "Please don’t fail to do camping!" (I've previously posted on that change, and it's been sent as a suggestion to Irving.) And, hey, if someone just looks at the 11/30/16 requirements, and nothing more, they can "check the box" pretty easy in Wolf "Call of the Wild" without the extras in any Adventure plan, even this Streamlined guide: "hey kids, go outdoors for a few minutes and play as your 'outdoor activity' (1), and after that, come in and we'll talk about weather stuff (2), recite the Outdoor Code and talk about LNT and fire (3), talk about natural disaster and germs (4), plus tie a couple knows (5), and then the badge is done". Like you, I hope they don't do it that way. But I don't think the "three meeting model" is essential to delivery of quality program.
  6. Long months since last post, but let me share something that might be useful for for the following Packs: (1) those that are Early Adopters for girl packs and dens this spring, but struggle when they look at doing 18 to 20 Den Leader Guide meetings between now and the end of the school year (program year) to earn a Rank – including some fired up dens who are probably willing to get together on weekends, but will find the “three meeting model” of the Guides hard to adapt; and (2) other dens that are just struggling to earn a Rank this year, whether due to late start or the normal struggles of overworked millennial parents trying to do den program and Advancement; and (3) those den leaders that want a more streamlined, helpful and efficient plan to deliver Cub Scout advancement Adventures without using the “three meeting model” in the Den Leader Guides – Guides that still references out of date requirements. See the "Streamlined" Cub Scout Adventure Plans at www.southfultonscouting.com/node/3797 where the Tiger, Wolf and Bear plans are attached (Webelos and Arrow of Light to follow). These new "Streamlined" Adventure Plans take the essential elements of the Adventure Plans for Required Adventures in the Guide (other than family faith adventures, which are most often done at home), and simplify the delivery of Adventures in these ways: convert the "three meeting model" of the official Den Leader Guides (which is too many meetings), and show how to get it all done in one (somewhat longer) session-- an easy way to do the Adventure in a session that is ideal for weekend activity (tips are included about how to stretch to two sessions if you choose to have short after school or evening meetings), reflect the changed requirements announced on 11/30/16, which dropped (or made optional) many requirements, and changed them around, and excise the excess! In the official Den Leader Guides there's lots of filler activities to fill three meetings per Adventure, but you don't need to do all of those to complete the Adventure. Note: don't get me wrong ... lots of those extra activities are great and fun and impart important ideas, but because they aren't essential to Advancement, these Streamlined plans don't mandate those specifics in program delivery -- Den Leaders and helpers should use their resources (including the Guides, but also what is available where you do your Adventures) to mix in fun as they know best. These new "Streamlined" Adventure Plans should help Dens deliver Handbook Adventures at campouts and other weekend activities – and get more parent participation. Plus allow Dens that got a late start to "catch up" in an easier way. If you like, please use and share. If not, would love the feedback, or just ignore this like other idle campfire chatter ...
  7. Plan for culture change as new cubmaster

    Whether I posted it here or just on Scouts-L, I've long decried the fact that KISMIF seems to be given lip service, while KICMEH (Keep It Complicated, Make Everything Hard), pronounced "Kick Me", becomes the way the program is handed down to be run. To that end, because I'm always concerned when I witness how hard it is to get leaders, but then I get more concerned when I hear the District Exec or Pack Leader or Commissioner (or BSA materials) say to a new recruit that dens meet every week, packs meet once a month, plus you have a pack planning meeting and an activity and don't forget roundtable and take time for training and prepare for your weekly meetings plus pack meeting ... whew, that's a lot for your new den leader ... I've put together two pieces to help re-think what we ask leaders to do. See this "Lighten Leader Loads" piece at http://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/3596, mostly focused on the Den Leader. That if you increase the ratio of fun to activities (meetings), you're better off than having more meetings that are less fun. PDF with images is here. The more radical idea -- but one whose time may be here -- is this "Why Pack Meetings?" piece at http://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/3597, which asks: if Pack Meetings are boring and hard to put on successfully, why are we doing them? Or "why are pack meetings still a thing?" PDF with images including Dilbert is here. Now, for those who have just awesome bang up well done Cub Scouting's Got Talent! standing ovation Pack Meetings ... good on ya! Keep it up. But ... if it is easier and funner to go fun places and do fun things ... do that! My $0.02. YMMV.
  8. My view is that RT is an anachronism ... a throwback to olden days when announcements had to be made in person or with handouts, since nobody wanted to put fliers in the mail. I see it as an agrarian model, where everyone came to market once a month to get the news, swap stories and then go back out to the farm. When I came along, RT was usually just a flyer dump and platform announcement du jour for DEs, sometimes with a Cub RT persons saying "this is what you need to do next month because it's in the 'Program Helps' book". (Me: "no, thanks, I've got a plan already"). What I still find funny is that when someone on the Council staff tells the DE to let the District know about something, they don't say "get the word out to your District", but "announce this at Roundtable", as if that's the only way to get the word out. ("Communication" is not a function of a District, BTW). During my accidental tour of duty as a District Commissioner in a District with no roundtable commissioner, we ultimately came up with some different "types" of RT nights: 1. “Program Roundtables†with a specific program that is planned, promoted and produced that is (hopefully) interesting, hands on and desired by leaders -- or if leaders, on hearing of what the program is, don’t want it, they can stay home … if the DE wanted to have a program mainly on popcorn sales, fine ... advertised as such, those not involved didn't feel a need to show up. Even when programs were put on based on perceived "demand" (like "we need a live YPT class") attendance was spotty. If we got no volunteer to do a Program, then we held what we advertised as: 2. “Casual Open Question Time Roundtableâ€, advertised as such on the calendar for those who want/need to get information face to face in a "shoot the breeze" type format. A few of those were good ... but most were not widely attended. 3. We never got around to doing it (nobody volunteered), but we also suggested “On the Road Roundtableâ€, where a Unit invites a Roundtable to visit their Pack or Troop Meeting and observe. … to actually “see how the game is playedâ€, which might be better than “hearing how the game is playedâ€. Bottom Line: except for maybe two die hard true believers (one of whom might be told to attend by his church) and District volunteers (like the Day Camp director who was told by his Day Camp Camp School to go "announce at Roundtable"), very few young leaders attend, leaving RT to a generation older than me ... young leaders get their information from other sources. Granted, if we shut down the weekly District News eBlasts from our Website and changed it to "announcements will only be at RT" we might get more attendance, but that just seems backwards to me ... if RT is a "unit service" function and part of providing information of use to units, I'd rather find effective ways to provide information and be of service.
  9. Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader

    Post Away Sherry ... and credit goes to people like you and posters here and elsewhere, 'cause I just gather ideas along the trail ...
  10. Uh, on "is it a rank" or "is it an award" ... well, uh, actually: it is a Rank. Though "generically" a "Rank" is also an "award" ... but it is a Rank. To support that, see this page: https://cubscouts.org/library/welcome-to-bear-cub-scouting/, which sadly also has a stray reference to "Wolf" at "a Bear must first earn his Bobcat rank. After completing the requirements for Bobcat he may go on to complete the requirements for the Wolf rank and the many electives that are offered for his rank", likely copied, and missed by the proofreaders. And when a Bear level Scout opens up the Bear Handbook, Ethan is there to say, among other things: "... As you work on your Bear rank, ... " See also https://cubscouts.org/library/cub-scout-ages-and-ranks/, and https://cubscouts.org/library/advancement/.
  11. My $0.02: On "1. Would the new scout be expected to complete all of the past requirements in order to earn the rank badge?" === > To earn the rank badge, yeah, gotta complete the requirements. Either the handbook ones or the 11/30/16 version, or mix and match as ya like. The 11/30/16 versions will be easier, mostly. Of course, advancement is just a "method", not a requirement. He can still be a Cub Scout and just have fun / do activities / get loops. No need for anxiety here. On "2. If yes, who's responsibility is it to catch the scout up? the parent? the den leader?" === > Parent. You signed up for Den Leader to lead the Bear activities once ... your job is not to repeat it every time someone comes through. You can if you want to, or for part of it. I mean, sometimes activities you may already be doing (spring camping, hikes, field trips) might easily tie into ways you can help ... ... if you want. If the Parent is really keen on doing all the "catch up" activities ... they can do them all on their own, on Pack campouts / day events, etc. But they can also chill out and not stress about it ... have fun, get some loops, have some laughs. On "3. If he just did the remainder of the requirements that we have left with us, would he be eligible for the Bear Rank Badge?" === > Nope. If he didn't all all Six Required (whichever ones ... recall that the 11/30/16 version made Grin & Bear It an elective (but you can mix and match, it's OK) plus one elective, he didn't "earn the rank". But he gets all the loops! On "4. Would it be best for him to just concentrate on earning his Bobcat and then be ready to go as a Weblos I?" === > Nope, but it isn't an "either 'go bust it for bear' or 'just wait fer Webelos'" type of situation here: the best situation would be have him earn Bobcat (easy peasy, really ...) .. and do your Bear activities. so he gets a Rank Patch for Bobcat, and let him load up on whatever loops you're doing for the rest of the year ... ... any any other awards you might start that he can finish. Hope that helps!
  12. Cub Scout Recruitment Night Ideas

    On "How well have 'meet the teacher' events worked", the answers are: sometimes great, sometimes so so, sort of like all methods. Factors that make it great are: it's the very first day of the school year, so you're more likely not to have parents already committed to other after school signups. you can do "one on one" chats with parents, so that you connect with what they care about (e.g., if you get the sense the parent or kid is into the outdoors, play up those parts of your program; if they seem to be worried about that, play up less worrisome activities, like museum trips or pinewood derby). I noted kids ... since in our neck of the woods, usually kids are in tow ... so you can recruit them at the same time, by playing up what they like. We usually get a sense of what kids are like in a few seconds, so that the wild child is one you're probably seeing on being out in the woods and staying up late around a campfire, but the kid clinging to mom or dad you'll probably sell on doing things with mom and dad and sisters and brothers that are not scary. in doing "one on one", you can get a sense of who might be a leader or assistant. it's easy to do ... any parent who "likes the program" can "sell it" to other parents coming to meet and greet. Yeah, if your school is up for it, you can set up promo items, starting with photos/videos, all the way up to hands on stuff to do like Pinewood Derby tracks, or a tent, or even an outside portable campfire pit for s'mores ... if you don't ask, they can't say "yes". And if you've already cut a deal to make the School Admin's life better, they might say yes more (e.g., "our guys can raise and lower your flag every day" was a selling point, and a "win/win" for kids and admins). I know of two of our most successful packs that have in several years picked up most of their new members on the meet and greet days using that method ... one of which doesn't even have a cattle call sign up event at all ...
  13. Anybody had an attempted coup of the pack committee?

    I agree with the DuctTape advice of "Focus on your den", since the kids there are the number one priority. If you are ambitious and want to change the Pack leadership, yes, there are ways, but ... you will be taking on more. Sometimes it's really worth it ... as to whether it is, the question would probably include whether you have a group of other families shut out who want to engage in a shared leadership open pack. If so, there are ways to look into it, though it might or might not be: Roundtable (depends on quality and approach of participants -- some might have a "stay in your lane" approach, others might have a "why can't we all get along" approach), Unit Commissioner (depends on if you have one, and the same quality approach as above), District Executive (can at least tell you who the Chartered Org Rep is) Search the https://beascout.scouting.org/ site: it might reveal who your Chartered Org Rep is ... and neighboring packs. It is super sad that folks get like this. Sometimes I use this book to help understand that narrow controlling mindset. Years ago we had a controlling person like that for whom I wanted to acquire a First Edition of the book to present as a "retirement present" to help exit the person from a role, but we decided to just use the tried and true "plaque 'em and sack 'em" approach instead.
  14. Cub Scout Recruitment Night Ideas

    Since this popped up, I'll share our Recruiting Tools page, at www.southfultonscouting.com/node/2518, which has a page on Sign Up Events. And then I'll circle back to harvest ideas from this thread ... Over time I'd seen the huge emphasis on Sign Up Nights as (in the minds of some) the alpha and omega (beginning and end) of Recruiting, and I've tried to put that event into context ... As noted on that main page, "Recruiting Needs to be Much More than School Sign Up Nights and Buzz Ups. Successful and Sustainable Recruiting is a Process ... the Pack Leader's Guide to Recruiting describes these six steps: Make a Calendar of Fun Activities that families like Recruit More Leaders and Helpers - one by one, find folks who can help your unit out Let People Know! Let Families and Organizations Know your Pack Fun Event Plan. (Families join Packs that do things ... Boys join Troops that Go Places ... let them know what you're doing ... there are many ways) School and Community Events -- Show your School and Community the Fun of Cub Scouting. Once you've laid that foundation, have Sign Up Events: School Sign Up Night and Fun Events Too! More Fun Events. Keep expanding and extending your Calendar of Fun Events … that’s what makes families join! Hope this helps.
  15. Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader

    In another thread about Lightening Leader Loads and (essentially) asking "Pack Meetings? How is this still a Thing?", SSScout noted some issues in recruiting help, which is right on point with an RT presentation I'm making tonight. Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader (apologies to Paul Simon) There must be fifty ways To lure a leader You ask the whole Pack, Jack Every woman and man, Stan You don't need to be coy, Roy Not just one, two or three … Every new one’s a plus, Gus At Pack meetings, don’t discuss much Do a â€one on one†plea, Lee Every new leader is key I've attached the piece below, but it stems from a page I have called "Nuts and Bolts of Leader Organizing and Recruiting", which is a sub-topic of "Recruiting Leaders -- Turning Parents into Helpers, and Helpers into Leaders". Lots of resources there, but I've attached a pdf of the Fifty Ways to Lure a Leader piece here too. FiftyWaystoLureaLeader_1.pdf
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