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Posts posted by bbender

  1. In our Pack, we've developed a number of policies about this:


    1) As to presentation, after having experienced the tedium of the litany of belt loops and pins and so on for everyone, we have determined that B & G is not for "Baubles and Geegaws": we do Rank Recognition only, and ask Den Leaders to make it a fun and excellent ceremony. We tell them that other elements like Belt Loops and so on should be Den Recognition items. We do (if we have a diligent volunteer) note these extra achievements in the Banquet Program, so mom and dad and Scout can see it.

    -- Now, this is for a Pack of 60 plus, where all of the Baubles and Geegaws would get tedious.

    -- Less of a worry for a small pack.


    2) As to cost, we have a policy of we'll pay for the awards done in a Den Meeting or Pack Event, and families who do extra would need to fund their extra awards. But we have yet to need to apply this policy, in part because many realize that Johnny won't be the center of attention at the B&G by getting a bazillion belt loops.

    -- Agreed that this can get way out of hand, as these are pricey.

    -- It all depends, of course, on what you budget for advancement needs / pack dues / pack fundraiser.


    3) As to "did he ... really?", that is difficult. Truly, many elements can be done and completed, and completed well in a family / team setting, worksheet or not, so we generally don't like to add requirements.

    -- We do want Den Leaders to be in touch with families and get these awarded when earned, and often they use that as an opportunity to ask the family to come teach it to the rest of the Den!


    My $0.02.


  2. From ideas like those offered in this thread, when we did our "after action" planning after our open District Derby a year ago, I put out this option: a district derby that would a pure free for all fun day of racing just line up and race against your buddies until the wheels fall off.


    (for the trophy hunters, I suggested maybe we could do that "every other year").


    Sadly, that didn't get a groundswell of support, though we did add a completely extra "just for fun" track on which we had completely open line up and race against your buddies until the wheels fall off racing, which was a hit. Photos from the event are attached; the fun track is the silver one.


    As to the timed races and check in rules and such, we follow the concept of putting the rules out there front and center from the beginning, so that the more likely response of leaders and parents isn't that "you never told us" but "would you quit sending us emails that link us to the rules! We get it!".


    Another thing we do that cuts down on parental disagreement is that we have Boy Scouts do the check in inspections. We find that Parents are much less likely to argue with boys. And the Scouts do a good job. Scoutmaster advisors just step in if a parent gets out of line, which didn't happen this year to my knowledge in any of the 280 check ins (200 plus for Pack Derbies and another 80 or so for the open District Derby -- we allocate times over Friday night and Saturday for Packs to have their own derbies, since our Pack has the only tracks in the District, making the event into a circus-like Derby Daze).


    Echoing the concept of 5years above about fundraising to buy a new track, we also post a sign at Check In that says: "Everyone Working at Today's Race is a Volunteer / If you Disagree with a Decision Made, Be Ready to Step Up and Take the Place of that Volunteer" (idea courtesy of the SuperTimer folks, where we bought our tracks). I don't know how much that tempered disputes, but those at the front check in sure liked seeing those signs!


    Another idea that I want to deploy next year is a concept of Team Awards, so that the fastest car doesn't mean much, as it is the fastest average time for a Den or Pack that gets your Den or Pack a pennant or other award. Again, courtesy of the SuperTimer guys (whose computers can generate these results quickly), the concept should then cause the gung-ho dads to share their ideas with the others in the Den or Pack, so that they have an incentive to share their ideas with the whole group if they want to win.


    As to other awards and such,

    -- every attendee gets a Patch with button loop that they can put on right away,

    -- we do a "DMV" so they can get Drivers Licenses,

    -- each Pack decides on their own awards for their Pack Derby times (some do trophies, others a hearty handshake, others pick out of a grab bag of donated baubles and geegaws that tend to accumulate over time),

    -- and we have roving Design Judges who issue Certificates suitable for framing that highlight the stunning attribute of each car, while blissfully ignoring whether they actually used a concept like "best use of the color red" earlier in the day!


    One year we had a group of parents who made little ribbons with plastic medals, so that each 1, 2, 3 winner after a heat got a gold, silver or bronze medal, and in later races, a gold, silver or bronze sticker added to it.


    Ideas we hope to deploy next year include:

    -- an additional screen for "sideline interviews" with racers,

    -- using the courtyard field just outside the gym as a multi-Troop campsite so that kids can go see what Boy Scouts do (and Boy Scouts can show them around the campsites and lead them in games and such),

    -- and like several have noted, we'll likely also have a leader race before the District Derby event.


    But I'd still like to have a "just fun racing" day!


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    Derby Circus Master

    Photos at http://pack631.smugmug.com/Other/2011-Pinewood-Derby-Daze/15826387_mnFwE#1187415198_LPfHf


  3. As a post-script, let me copy the first part of an email from the cub-l listserv that we use in our "info" section about crossing over into a Troop to try to make it clear why the messy way works:



    Date: Tue, 06 Nov 2007 03:09:15 -0500

    From: Lorie McGraw

    Subject: crossing over and boring Boy Scouts (was Boy Scout Lists)


    Hello, I have been watching this discussion with some trepidation and finally just had to join in. First of all, let me confess that my name is Lorie and I am a Scoutaholoc (Hi, Lorie!)


    After 12 years in Scouts, starting with Tiger Cubs and moving up through 2 eagle sons, married to the Scoutmaster, Leader in Tiger/Cubs/Webelos, Cub Roundtable, Training Team, Old Boy Scout WoodBadge (one of the last sessions SR330-00 - Fox Patrol), Troop Committee and Webmaster, Associate Editor of American Scouting Digest, Boy Scout Roundtable Commissioner, etc, all I can say to new Webelos moms and Dads is:




    Take a breath.


    Put down the Scout and slowly back away.


    Get a cup of coffee and sit back and observe for at least 2 months. Talk to the other adults. Ask what the plan is. Ask how they do things. Ask to see the annual plan (every troop should have one, even if it is just a general outline). Ask how much interference they allow (if any). Get trained. Go to Roundtable and ask other new parents and olde Scoutmasters how this whole wonderful game of Scouting works.


    Boy Scouts is NOT Cub Scouts and really does not even resemble it much. The highly active planned activities are usually reserved for Camporees. And they should be planned and carried out by the boys. Other activities are smaller in scope and run by the Senior Patrol Leader and the Patrol Leaders (part of the Patrol Leaders Council). THEY are the role model for the younger boys. It is the Boy Scouts. Not the Mommy and Daddy Scouts. Not the Let's Pretend that We Are Scouts or the We Only Camp When It Is Sunny Scouts.


    If you wish to be useful, stay away from your son's Patrol. Let him struggle a bit. They will learn to help him and he will learn to ask for help from the leaders of the Patrol ---- the BOYS, not the adults. He can suggest a game or activity to his Patrol. But 9 times out of 10, the game that we as adults think is cool the boys will not touch.




    1. It is a boy led troop, so let them lead. Don't decide things for them. You may help them see all the important parts of a plan though or suggest an activity if they draw a blank (common) but it is their choice to do it or not. Find opportunities for them and let them make the choice. Yep, yep and nope. You may not suggest an activity to the boys. You may suggest an activity to the Scoutmaster. If he thinks that it fits in with the troop plan he may have you suggest it to the Sr. Patrol Leader (SPL). Or you can meet with the Senior Patrol Leader after a meeting and suggest an activity - but remember that there is likely a plan in place




    4. Things will NOT run smoothly...VERY true! If the meeting looks like controlled chaos, then it is likely running as smoothly as it can. Do NOT judge the efficiency of a troop by the apparent jumble and tumble of boys.




    I couldn't find an archive with the whole link, so if you want a full copy, I can email it to you; just shoot me a personal message.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    Troop Chair too, so: Put down the Scout and slowly back away.


  4. I'll offer that, yeah, it's a parent thing, it's a letting go thing, it's a difficult thing to transition from the safety of Cub Scouting to the messy leadership chaos cauldron of Boy Scouts.


    And it is harder to demonstrate in a few visits why this works, even if you have a relationship in the Cub Scout environment.


    In our Troop's situation, this is the first year where I don't have a kid in the Pack, though I'm still Pack Trainer and have trained all of the leaders (and pinch hit for many when they couldn't do a meeting), and the behind the scenes "prompter" for current Pack Leadership about activities, how to get things done, etc., and we have a very active interface with the Pack through Webelos Winter Camp and other activities, and support from the Troop for Pack activities.


    And where we support Pack activities, those are orderly, neat, adult run, but Troop supported.


    So we have the relationship.


    And yet, that only goes so far.


    Just like Thomas54, we're actually facing word that some of the potential families are concerned because our Troop events are disorganized, it's not the neat little package of a Den or Pack event, and other Troops they know of appear to be more orderly and directed and so that seems more comfortable.


    Now, we do have a "new Scout Patrol" concept, and not the mixed Dens, so that's not the barrier.


    It's just getting across to everyone the concept of the "game". That leadership comes not from doing what the Scoutmaster tells you, but from figuring out what you and the other youth want to do (while the Scoutmaster makes sure the game you make up is played safely and the Chair makes sure that parents are recruited to support the event).


    Failures? Sure. Learning? You bet. Better Leaders as a result? We think so.


    But it is hard to demonstrate in a visit why this works. Real hard.


    Part of me thinks we should do in part of the visits is have some of the older scouts talk about their experiences, how they learned from mistakes, and it's made them better leaders. The other part of me thinks that a Webelos Scout parent will just hear the "failure" part and recoil in horror.


    What we are doing is deploying parents who have relationships with the 5th Grade parents, so that we can anticipate issues and structure and/or counsel accordingly.


  5. On other issues, let me comment a bit from review of the plans and training and such:


    In the first post, jzweiac notes about Wolf 11-Making Choices: "You can have the Scouts do additional Electives from 2. Be an Actor and make this requirement much more fun. They can make sound effects and a paper bag mask pretty easily."


    Agreed, excellent idea. And I think that the "Want More Fun Activities?" boxes that made it in the Guide can be useful, though of course they are just a starting point. For example, that day's plan has a "Want More Fun" box that notes "This meeting is all talk, so, consider how to be active:

    -- Option: you can do the acting out with puppets, and have this be a puppet theater day. Make simple paper lunch bag hand puppets with markers/crayons, and string and glue. But be sure that after the theater, everyone discusses the issues seriously.

    -- Also, there is nothing wrong with mixing up the Making Choices discussion with some activity, like an obstacle course or game segment. (Complete a section of the course or game, then discuss. Repeat.)"


    Years ago, we actually did our "Making Choices" day as a Saturday Bike Ride in a Park. Ride. Talk. Ride. My son's observation that day: "it must be tough to be a parent". Ding! A lesson learned.


    Also, as to jzweiac's comments about electives before rank achievements, there is a logic to that, especially for the post-Labor Day starting, every-other-week meeting, February Blue-n-Golding Dens and Packs. With a little adjustment, one could get the Wolf Rank done in 12 meetings, not 14.


    Sort of related to that: every meeting after the Rank is earned is, in effect, "Supplemental" whether it has a number or letter. A Den should do what's fun and meaningful and easy for the Leader.


    On 5yrscouter's comment about ranks need better ideas for gathering activities, there actually could be a number of "general Den Meeting tips" that could be "Guide-worthy" in the next addition, or as an on line supplement. Games are one idea. Something shorter than a Leader Book / How to Book, but more substantive than "play your den's favorite game".


    Momof2cubs, yeah, the Guide is a Guide, and there are lots of different ways to add fun / meaning beyond the two pages or so for each Den Meeting in the Book. That's why I love to point my leaders to places like Baloo's Bugle and sites like this was ways to add fun.


    Eagle92, on your comment about " One of the challenges of putting more "oomph" in the book is the availability of resources in one's area. I.e. I cannot go to a TV station, as the nearest one is about an hour away. ... Scouters are encouraged to add to it." I'll note that the Guide actually throws out some alternatives on TV Station days:

    -- In the Tiger meeting, it notes: "If transportation is an issue, or if there are no convenient newspaper offices or radio or TV stations in your locale, do your best and consider alternatives where:

    You visit a:

    Printing/graphics company

    Theater projection room

    Local science museum

    Business with a communications studio

    You invite an expert to visit you, such as a:

    Community reporter

    Ham radio operator"


    Then in the Bear Meeting, there is a note that says "Consider also local public access cable or other broadcasters, school or church broadcast facilities, high school or college newspaper offices, or neighborhood newsletters".


    Both could be expanded upon, or when you see those options the mind will race (hopefully) to the communications facility that exists in your neck of the woods (like the TV Facility in the Big Box store used for training, or a security camera setup at a store or office or police station).


    And yeah, there's lots of ways to improve just about all, and these venues mean so very much for leaders trying to make it fun and special and interesting. Thanks!


    My $0.02. YMMV.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council


  6. On the issue of flexibility (noted by jzweiac, 5yrscouter, drmbear and others), note that at the end of just about every Den Meeting Plan, it says "If youve changed the sequence of den meetings, double-check to make sure you will still advance your boys appropriately and check with the Cubmaster to make sure you stay coordinated with the pack."


    Granted, in the early rollout/webinars, there was a wee bit of over-emphasis on "do it in numerical order" but . . . you don't have to do it in order. You should do what works for your local circumstance, conditions, weather, resources (including parents coming to lead events ... I want my EMT mom the day we do first aid, whether or not its in order!).


    (FWIW, I interpret the "check with the Cubmaster" concept as just a "be sure you're communicating", as in most cases the Cubmaster will probably just say "thanks for keeping me up to date", but in other cases the Cubmaster might say something like "sounds great ... have you thought about coordinating that with the other Wolf Den too ... they might like to join up with you on that field trip"?)


    Now, to help jzweiac, 5yrscouter, drmbear and others ... here is an easy fix that involves no change at all to the books and can make it more easy for Den Leaders to be flexible and put on a funner program (assuming funner is word, which it should be):


    -- Have the on-line version of each Den's "Template for Sample Parent Information Letter or E-Mail" posted in Word.


    At first it was put up in a pure pdf, then the BSA did have it in word for a few bright shining moments last summer, but at some point it reverted to a "form fill-able" pdf.


    So if you actually use the template, your letter would look likes some sort of Den Meeting notes Mad Lib. Or it just isn't used. I suspect the latter.


    That way, yeah, when you do the Bike Ride as a Pack event or something at a Campout or work in the Pinewood Derby build a car Meetings or swap out Bear or Webelos activities with ones that work better for your Den and Leaders . . . Den Leaders can show the Den the adjusted cycle of their meetings right in their message to the Den. And not in a Mad Lib.


    So: A Scout is Helpful. Wouldn't it be helpful to put that Template up in Word?


    My $0.02. YMMV*.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    * if permitted and variation forms properly completed


  7. You can also go visit the Camping and High Adventure page in these forums, where there probably have been questions posed like this one (I recall vigorous analysis of the pros and cons of the Alps tents, for example), or you can pose it anew.

  8. I've always suggested in trainings and materials that a Den Leader have a "Cub Tub" (of Tricks and Tools) with items youll use regularly and that allow you to switch to a Plan B activity.


    Because you might need to do that when something falls through (a guest cancels or the DL walks off!)


    Or if you just need to change gears in the meeting or activity.


    You could also call it your Emergency Fun Box.


    I would always have one or two meetings a year when we would just blow off the meeting's plan and do something fun. Sometimes as a reward for the boys, sometimes as a reward (reprieve) for the DL.


    Stuff that could go in the Cub Tub includes: US Flag and Pole, Lengths of Rope, Pencils, Markers, Den Flag/Banner, Den Jobs Chart, Belt Loop Book, Balloons / string, Crayons, Paper, Promise/Law Cards, Advancement Chart, How To Book, Discs, Bean Bags, Paper Lunch Bags, Progress Beads, Candle Jar, Tennis Balls, Index Cards, Den Scrapbook, Badges/Belt Loops, Matches/Lighter, Stopwatch, Scissors, Stapler, Permission Slips, Emergency Snack, disposable camera, Tape Measure, Hole Punch, Tape, First Aid Kit, Word Search Puzzles, Marbles, Washers, Game Supplies, Craft Supplies, Meeting Plans Book, Code of Conduct, Handbook.


    I demo the Cub Tub in three styles: the "office" tub (rectanglular plastic tub from an office supply store), the "Craftsman" tub (a Home Depot 5 gallon bucket), and the "Webelos Outdoorsman" (a large day pack).


    Have fun!


  9. I suspect B&G becomes the high point for recognition because in many Packs the B&G night is the Pack Meeting that gets the greatest attendance from family and extended family.


    That said, whether held in February or April or June, it shouldn't be the "end": there can/should be more stuff to do. And often just pure fun stuff to do, which is easier and better for all.


    And for those who got their Rank Badges at a prior Pack Meeting you can still recognize them at the B&G. They'll just be wearing the Patch, not having it handed to them and their parents. Then they get double recognition. How awesome is that!


    The whole "you must do it in February" aspect of it, however, chafes me (and others): OK, the origin is a birthday celebration, but ... whatever. It's a party, and Cub Scouting isn't there to blow out the cake.


    Plus, Cub Scouting will get over it if you celebrate the birthday late, especially because that takes stress off of Den Leaders who want to see more of their kids earn the Rank badge by the time of the Banquet (even if they award every month along the way). Scouting is very forgiving of late birthdays so long as more people have fun at the party.


    We often do ours in March.


    And I agree wholeheartedly that Packs/Troops should have flexibility to allow crossover early, to get the Web II guys incorporated into new Troops, so if an early B&G is deemed necessary to allow that, so be it.


    But Crossover doesn't have to be at a B&G.


    And here's a radical idea: there probably isn't a rule that Web II's can't "come back" to a Pack event after they cross over. So let 'em cross but invite 'em back.


    So if my Web II's say in December that they're ready and wanna cross and meet the criteria, if that works for them, I'd let 'em. And I'd probably still want them included as special guests at the B&G, since they were part of the Pack in that last year. And they could be great salesmen if they have good news from their Troop experiences.


    So, let 'em cross, and invite 'em back.


    YMMV. But I dunno: keep it simple and make it fun. Or take it easy.


  10. Yes. Crossover is crossing over to a Troop (or "transitioning" to a Troop). Nothing to do with AoL.

    -- You could get AoL and not cross over.

    -- You could cross over (if you meet the age criteria) and not get AoL.


    So, in the circumstance where 9 of 10 are joining a Troop and therefore crossing over, and the 10th has determined not to go to Boy Scouts, then that 10th shouldn't participate in the Crossover Ceremony (I will give a caveat below).

    -- If that chaps the kid or the parents, well, choices have consequences.

    -- If ya wanna do the crossover, you have to intend to join the Troop.

    -- If you're not sure, it's time to decide.

    -- If you pick Troop 1234 now, and switch to Troop 5678 in April, that's fine, but pick one now!


    And, for this circumstance of a Scout who is joining a Troop overseas, I'd suggest all 10 Cross, and the receiving Troop announce that they are standing in for the overseas Troop to accept him in absentia, as all Scouts in all Troops are brothers to all other Scouts in all other Troops.


    (And if/when a Troop can't show up at a Crossover even if not "across the pond", I'd suggest that approach as well, as being best "for the boy").


    My "caveat" on a non-crossover guy "participating" is that we had one guy last year who hadn't put in his 6 months with the Pack, and he stood with his Den as they crossed over, and then he received recognition for his commitment to stay with the Pack and complete his AoL. I think he even said "don't forget about me . . . I'll join you in another month!".




    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    Overheard at Last Crossover: "We're Gonna Need a Bigger Trailer"


  11. And if you do have your Blue & Gold Banquet a bit later, you can still say "Happy Birthday" to Scouting.


    We often have ours in March. Just easier. Keep it Simple.


    Scouting is grown up and mature, and won't be upset by "belated" birthday wishes.


    Especially if it makes it easier for your leaders and more fun for your families.

  12. Yeah, I saw the hog pan deal (aluminum, with like a 3 inch lip) at Scouter's Academy here in 09, and said: I'm in.


    Double them up (one upside down below), and you can almost cook on a lawn (if I was, I'd probably put a few rocks in between the two pans). When I double without insulation, often there is no charring on the grass underneath.


    Ordered mine from www.hardwareworld.com since I didn't have a Tractor Supply nearby.

  13. It all depends on the length of time between when they sign up and when they cross over.


    If you have six months, they can cross with the others.


    Yeah, they'll have what we call "Webelos Tutorial" (Fitness, Citizen), and if your Web II Den camps, knocking out Outdoorsman is a snap. Plus if your Web II Den does Readyman in the 5th Grade Year (something that we like because it makes it easier for those 5th Grade signups, and they can learn that important stuff better later in their Webelos careers), getting to the necessary number of activity badges is very possible for even a moderately diligent Webelos Scout and family.


    Now, if there is less than 6 months and/or they don't get the necessary activity badges, yeah, they'll need to stay back to wrap up the time/badges, but . . . consider having them continue to "visit" with the Troop to stay connected with the (now crossed over) new Boy Scouts.

  14. I forget whether it was here or on Cub Scout Talk, but I recall recently a post about doing Derby "Drive in" movies: cubs made "cars" out of boxes, decorated them, and then used them to watch a "Drive In" movie.


    Could be done before, during or after a Derby.

  15. I'll join in: I've attended too many roundtables that were just the "reading of flyers", which is great for those who don't have email (but that is just 1 leader in our District who sometimes attenda).

    -- I was torn between attending on account of it being "BSA duty" and appearing to endorse such a waste of time.


    Ours are getting much better (though attendance is still very very poor) with actual program ideas and promotion of what is happening in advance, but ...

    ... I think that the need for roundtable is much less today than it was back in a day and age when you could not have instant updates, or, for that matter, find an incredible number of activities by just googling around (and seeing videos of how to do them).


    In olden days, the reading of flyers was needed and those Roundtable sessions were the only place one could engage in conversations like . . . well, like what's on these forums where you have an actual roundtable with contributions of ideas. I think the approach to Roundtable has shifted, by necessity, from "this is where you'll get all the information" to a faint echo of that as information is readily available elsewhere, or Roundtable has to evolve into something else.

    -- And some can't imagine what else that might be.

    -- People have told me they didn't want to put information on the Website "because then people won't come to roundtable". Grr.


    Bottom line, despite the other information sources, everyone seems to say we have to continue Roundtable because . . . well, because we have to have Roundtables.


    If it were up to me, if you're starting with a dead or "flyer reading" Roundtable, I would go with a "Quality over Quantity" approach, and schedule Roundtables every other month, stoke those chock full of program (and, yah, cover two months at once for Pack Meeting ideas), and then expand to every month only when/if the program was overflowing and demand indicated that more was needed.

    -- Or maybe have "expanded basic training" every other month if the DE has to report Roundtables every month.

    -- Have the Roundtable programs be like the best of Pow Wow / University of Scouting sessions, promote what you're going to do on a given night, and follow through so that folks say: that was worth it.


    Related to that, in entering dates for our District Calendar (also on SOAR . . . love it), I was given a School Night For Scouting kickoff date, and the following week a Roundtable Date. Conversation followed:

    -- Me: "aren't we going to just talk about recruiting at the Roundtable in August?"

    -- DE: "yeah".

    -- Me: "so that's the same as the SNFS kickoff meeting?"

    -- DE: "that's right"

    -- Me: "so let's combine them into one meeting, OK?"

    -- DE: "We can't. Council says we have to have two meetings"

    -- Me: "Why are we going to have two poorly attended meetings instead of trying to have one great one?"


    Actually, here's an idea for a conversation starter at a dead roundtable . . . find a topic on these forums, and bring it for discussion. Extra credit for those who do the best Beavah accents!


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    A Winter Wonderland

  16. Best thing about Webelos for those who have adventure and imagination:




    Hopefully the hot link works: Webelos Catapults, if not, google Webelos catapults.


    And I hope the G2SS police don't outlaw those because they are shooting the dads!

  17. And to give the racers their time in the spotlight, we have a special "drivers viewing area" down by the finish line where during the first race, they can each get interviewed by the MC and tell us who they are and the name of their car.

  18. Yeah, we use the Boy Scout Troop as our "Pit Row" for check in and transport of cars to the starting gate, and back. We just don't want the inevitable "bobble and drop" and the agony that will come from that!


    Before we got the computerized timers, in year 1 with 20 racers we had adult judgers, which then meant that we had lots of arguments, including (and it can only be worse today), folks bringing their video cameras to prove that the judges messed it up!


    Second year we had Boy Scouts as the judges.


    Nobody -- no. bo. dy. -- argued with the Boy Scouts!!!


    They don't argue with the computer either (but some don't understand it).

  19. Love the in-car camera idea. I've got to see if we can get a tech-head to do that!


    We've also got on our wish list two camera options: one with live "race coverage" that we can shoot on the big screen, and the other would be a "sideline" reporter who could do interviews with the racers and put them up on another big screen.

  20. We've had these sideshow activities:

    -- DMV: get a photo taken for drivers licenses.

    -- Drive In Movie: on the other side of the gym, we set up a screen and had car themed movies.

    -- Outside Games: we had Boy Scouts lead some outside games in the courtyard just outside the derby, recognizing that Cubs will want to run around.

    -- Design Judging.

    -- Concessions Cafe: A Scout Is Hungry (plus we use proceeds to make the Derby "free" for all who enter).


    In our District, we're the only Pack with a Track, so after our first year, we did a Pack Derby in the morning, with an "all are welcome to compete" District Derby in the afternoon.


    Our track is a SuperTimer system, so for competitive racing it operates on the "lowest overall time" format, with each racer competing 4 times. The first "cycle" of heats is based on how they were entered into the computer (so often kids in the same Pack and Den race against each other) but then the computer shuffles everyone so that the final three cycles of heats are "seeded" (slowest cars in the early heats, fastest cars in the later heats), and the computer algorithm puts each car in each lane one time to avoid any advantage/disadvantage of faster/slower lanes.

    -- This means that "which car came in first" in a given heat is totally computer timed, no need to argue with a referee!

    -- But it does mean that in a larger derby, after the first heat, you're not necessarily racing against your buddies.


    Last year, to avoid what some of us thought to be the unfortunate exodus of our Pack when the rest of the District arrived, we ran our Pack Derby within the District Derby, so that the District Derby was our Pack Derby and also every other Pack's Derby.

    -- we did awards for each Pack Winner and overall District winners.

    -- we had 150 plus race (took about 2.5 hours overall).


    This year, our Pack bought a second track, so this year's derby will have individual "Pack Derbies" on Friday night and Saturday morning on the twin "timed" tracks, followed by another District Derby that welcomes all.

    -- But this year, kids who don't want to be in the timed District Derby can go to the "other track" and have "free for all fun racing" where they line up with their buddies or new friends and race their cars until the wheels fall off.

    -- Yes, we will have track security to keep it in line!


    Also, using a third track we located, when racers are done with their Pack Derby, they can go to that and have the same "free for all fun racing" until the wheels fall off, and they can go to the repair shop if they want to get into the District Derby.


    We will continue the Cafe, Design Judging (probably with a "swami-like" fortune teller-style booth, DMV, Drive In Movie, and Outside Games), plus we're recruiting more Troops, since this can be service and promotion for them.

    -- Ideally we'll have some Philmont guys from our 2010 trek walking around with backpacks to show pictures and tell the story to Cubs and Parents.

    -- Plus we're hoping to have some troops pitch Patrol Campsites out on the courtyard, and get Cubbies/Parents out to see what they do.


    Our experience is that there are always enough kids cheering on others, but that we'd rather be sure the Cubs had some other fun too for when that gets boring.

    -- And I do want to be sure that the Cub familes see "what comes next".


    My $0.02.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    Derby Commissioner

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    Could be epic fun. Could be epic fail!

  21. Or, actually, a Webelo can't earn the Arrow of Light in 4th Grade, unless he is active in his Webelos den for at least least six months since becoming 10 years old, and earn the Webelos badge.


    So a 4th Grader who turned 10 years old at least 6 months before completing 4th Grade could earn the AoL . . .


  22. Excellent, excellent post no. 1, 83Eagle!


    You have summed it up perfectly!


    Yeah, sometimes a lot of argument for argument sake, but not as much as I saw during my brief sojourn on the MyScouting.org forums in late '09, and the emails I see fly by on scout-L are often pretty ugly.


    As to that acromony, we used to advise visitors years ago on a tie-dyed music site: "Do Not Feed The Trolls!!" ;^)

  23. "The event is a big undertaking for a unit as is, without asking them to plan seprate events for BS & for Webelos" ====> True!


    That's why I've asked our District to set in stone that the Fall Camp O Ree will be the same weekend as a Council Cub Adventure Day, and that we'll be at the same camp (but on the other side of the lake, about a mile's hike).


    So, in the morning, off you go Cubbie Dads and Lads, Mas and Pas, Family Campers! Have a nice time at the Cub Event!!


    Then the Boy Scouts can do the rifle and shotgun shooting, sailing, motorboating, water skiing, orienteering, rappelling, paintball (oops, not that), lazer tag (not that either), homemade alchol fueled backpacking stoves (mmm, no more), and tomahawk throwing (OK . . . for now!), and just tell the story about it when the Cubbies come walking back at the end of the day.


    Though in my example of pioneering towers and monkey bridges, the Cubbies could see what the older guys did . . .

  24. I am going to violate one of my personal rules here (must avoid G2SS rules analysis), because the Camp O Ree rule is one that is more than necessary to offer the protection intended.


    Yeah, as moosetracker correctly notes, it is strange Cubs can camp together with Troops on other events, but not at camporees. In fact, from a safety and learning standpoint, there is probably greater safety (ability of other units to advise, consult and/or pitch in during an emergency) if a Cub Pack and/or Webelos Den is camping with a number of other Troops (i.e., a Camp O Ree).

    -- if they are "on their own", yes, they'll be fine, because they'll be trained, prepared and all.

    -- but where there are more eyes working together, there should be greater safety.


    And there are few Cub Leader / Webelos Leader types who cannot, when visiting other campsites (say if they are camping near other Troops at, say, a Camp O Ree), pick up some beneficial learning from others playing the game. Or share their own ideas. Or get a better introduction into the bigger world of this game.


    Plus, it is not unusual for Cub Packs / Webelos Dens to go camping near other Troops at, say, a Council Camp (with or without Troops doing a Camp O Ree), and that proximity doesn't taint the Cubs or Webelos as the actually camp out among Troops.


    Now, as far as I can tell, the safety reason for the "visit only" rule for Webelos at Camp O Ree (why Tigers, Wolves and Bears cannot visit/watch is beyond me from a safety point) is that Boy Scouts doing things at a Camp O Ree may be doing things that are beyond Webelos skills, like ax work, building pioneering towers, and other cool stuff that kudu and Green Bar Bill would like.

    -- I get that.

    -- And I get that some Camp O Rees are probably not good Cub events, like the recent Siege of Mafeking "after dark" Camp O Ree I advised a couple of months ago. For that one, though I'm friends with/trainer of all the Packs here, I said: uh, no, this one is gonna be a tough event, and we gotta draw the line.


    But I don't get a prohibition of attendance / camping at any and all camping events that are, for the Boy Scout Troops, a "Camp O Ree".


    For "transition" and other purposes, I'm leaning towards one "Camp O Ree" a year in my District having a parallel Cub Pack Camping event alongside it, ideally at a Council Camp during a weekend that has a Council "Cub Adventure Day", so that during the Day the Cubs can go do the Cub Adventure stuff (or have their own Cub-level activities), but they can camp alongside their Troops, and/or Troops they never knew, and learn about the game while leaders come and share a cup of coffee and enjoy a selection of cakes, cobblers, pies (sweet and pizza) plus artisanal cheeses at cracker barrel with other adult leaders and SPLs.

    -- Ideally, the cubs will come back from the adventure day and see the pioneering tower and monkey bridge done by the Boy Scouts during the day and say "whoa". Cool.

    -- I'm sure that we can share campfire together, cooking contests and other fellowship in a safe manner!


    I'm leaning towards this because in our neck of the woods we gotta let more of our Units see how other Units "play the game", so that more of our Units get "in the game".

    -- If we can provide this sort of opportunity, more units will play.


    So, might that mean that Cub Packs and/or Webelos Dens are camping in the proximity of a Camp O Ree? Yes. But I don't think it violates a safety concern.


    My $0.02. YMMV.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council


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