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Everything posted by bbender

  1. For us, the summertime activity has been Webelos Camp (for those who were Bears or Webelos I Scouts) or Wolf/Bear Camp (for those who were Tigers or Wolves), and our Council has a great 3 night program for each (plus one 5 night session for Webelos). Best event ever for the kids. And to overlap a bit with the long thread running about transition from Webelos to Scouts, whether the Boy Scout program offers enough, whether kids/families even "like" camping (because if they don't, maybe they don't wanna be Boy Scouts) . . . these programs are awesome. Each year, there will be k
  2. Our Scout Shop has lots of "unofficial" patches that have phrases like "Scout Spirit" or "Good Turn" or that sort of thing. As Cubmaster (and now as trainer), I would keep some of those in my "Cheer Box", so that when some Scout did something above and beyond at a campout or meeting, they might get that extra something to highlight it. Many kids don't care . . . and, yeah, let's not do it for the patch or bauble . . . but it's really the celebration of doing good that's important. Congrats for having a good Scout there!
  3. "I've been asking for a den chief for my Webelos for 3 months" ===> sad. Sad especially because if you have a small troop you're connected with, they probably want new members (and here they are missing a chance to recruit). And if the Troop is large, they probably have more boys anxious to advance to Eagle, and need more "Positions of Responsibility" for advancement than can be found in Troop Elections (and selections), so Den Chief is made for them.
  4. I try to pitch it (the Boy Scout Program) as very different (so as to avoid the "leader burnout" concern of "oh dear G*d I don't want to continue as a Den Leader for this kid until he Eagles out") and, because the kids are different at those ages, it is better for them than continuing a cub scout style adult run program. I probably fall victim to saying it's better, but I say it as this is where the real magic of challenge and leadership development occur. -- And I can probably get away with it, since I'm still the Pack Trainer and own (and operate) my own "Cheer Box"! ;^) So,
  5. Official role or not, awesome idea to coach the DL who could use the most help. And to coach them in the way they will be most receptive to. And depending on Pack people and skills, sometimes CM is also the Pack Trainer (in effect, if not in charter title). When I was a CM, I likewise went from Den Meeting to Den Meeting, as our Dens all meet after school and the school did not like me throwing pencils into the ceiling. As part of that, I would also be the emergency backup den leader (for the inevitable "I got a flat tire" or "I'm stuck at work" call, which, for one DL who was
  6. Yeah, we also hand out the belt loops and activity pins in Den Meetings. They get to go home and say "I earned this today". (Actually, since it is right after school, they can also show off to the kids in after school care). As I've posted elsewhere, one can still "recognize" them at the Pack Meetings. Just because Michael Phelps got his Gold Medal at the Olympic pool just after drying off doesn't mean you can't recognize him at the Pack Meeting when he comes home to Baltimore. (Plus, there is less downtime as one handles the bling). On the topic of who cares about the presentati
  7. Here's your strength: 7 kids. 7 kids who want to have fun and program. Build on that strength: focus on having good program for those 7 kids. To make it easy, take advantage of easy options (like District and Council activities at camps), and get the kids doing fun stuff. If that happens, the rest can come into place. If they have fun, it will be easier to raise funds for more ambitious program, recruit leaders, etc. You'll also attract more of their friends. Now, a problem you'll have in planning your meetings (which may be part of the problem) is that most
  8. Let me chime in with some observations from this neck of the woods on these keys to keeping Webelos, and transitioning them to Troops, and echo several of the points raised: -- "hands on" stuff in Den Meetings: get out of the classroom and classroom mentality (or if you're in a classroom, get in the science lab and do fun stuff, safely of course), get out and about, get dirty (like under the car hood), do fun nutty stuff (not silly craftsman stuff, but cool stuff like marshmallow shooters). Of course, that goes for earlier years too. -- camping, hiking, outdoors: we have a "Webel
  9. For myself, I like the idea of doing training at Roundtable (since RT events should impart knowledge and skills), but whether one should make that the program (or part of the program) would depend heavily on whether your existing RT program is working. If it ain't broke, don't fix it. The downside to offering the sessions would be that some will decide not to attend on account of "having the training already", though many (hopefully, most, given the spirit of Roundtable) would likely attend as trainers, or at least "helpers" who can chime in with the stories and tricks that are oft
  10. Eagle92: As a budgeting tool, let me direct you to the Leader Training Page at http://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/1066, and if you scroll down, you will find a Generic Pack Annual Budget Template Spreadsheet that you can open and copy and adjust and adapt to your Local Financial Conditions. For example, you could put elements in or out of the "Pack Dues (or Pack Fundraiser Funded)" portion of the budget, and put them into "Paid by Families". FWIW, and YMMV, my Pack has paid for Handbooks and Advancement Supplies and Pinewood Derby and Blue and Gold, in order to ensure that
  11. Obviously a well meaning, if somewhat stubbornly dyslexic and inattentive CC, who in training wrote down the acronym "KIDMUR" instead of "KISMIF", and now thinks that we should Keep it Difficult, Make Up Rules.
  12. Also expensive, but fun, and in your neck of the woods, is Space Camp in Huntsville, Alabama. See http://www.spacecamp.com/ and http://www.spacecamp.com/details.php?cat=Groups&program=New+Horizons. Agreed on the lock in concept . . . kids having fun is the adventure. Depending on your set-up and weather, you might also be able to have tents pitched outside, since if it is too cold you can come into the gym or whatever space you might use for the "lock in". Also, on the concept of cabins (more rare at Scout Camps, though some might have them), lots of State Parks have cabins, a
  13. With the caveats that All Scouting is Local, and Big Packs and Small Packs are gonna be different, and Use your Resources no matter the size of your pack (including dealing out parts of jobs to those who can take them on, and finding others to pick up the leftover parts . . . but know that some Cubmasters and/or Committee Chairs might have skills in these areas and like to do them by their own selves because they are good at this), we describe the Membership Chair "idea" in the following ways, some of which are paperwork (because it must be done by someone) and some of which are program (to in
  14. Agreed, it is all situational. Back from our Mountaintop in North Georgia, where it was cold Friday night (into the upper 20's), and then . . . the rain came Saturday. A light rain, but it just didn't stop. Boy Scouts planned a hike with a stop for lunch to use new backpacking stoves. Cold, wet, grim . . . and windy on the top of the mountain. I ran a "sag wagon" service for some of the Webelos Parents (and their kids) who wanted to bail out of the hike halfway. The rest completed the circuit, and came back cold and wet. Many learned (in the normal way, from failure!) abo
  15. Another Georgian here, and another with Webelos Winter Camp held in conjunction with our Boy Scout Troop (our third annual is coming up this weekend). We have held this at a State Park that has a "Pioneer Camp" that is all alone, and one with a large Cabin with a loft that has a wood burning stove. Most Webelos (and Boy Scouts) will tent it and/or do the adirondaks (with tarps over the front), but some do retreat to the warmth of the Cabin, so . . . all has worked out well, and it has actually fired up many of the Webelos to want to go do more with Boy Scouts.
  16. Especially for anyone already using Packmaster as an advancement and recharter tool, Soar is awesome. But, yeah, ya gotta be sure you don't have admin types trying to "edit" your members/roster, since the next Packmaster download wipes those changes out. But that's just a matter of making sure the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. And we really really love the auto-sorting into Dens when the Cub Pack get reorganized every August, as people come and go. There's always someone "new" coming in a week or three after school comes back, and then those who do the "oh, never mind,
  17. I have heard that Scoutlander is liked, and is free. See http://www.scoutlander.com/PublicSite/home.aspx (We use SOAR, with Packmaster, but it's not free, just worth it for our pack of 70 or so). I think there are some general guidelines, and you might find them through this unofficial site: http://www.escouting.net/. Generally, keep private stuff private (names, addresses of Scouts and Families), behind "password protected" pages. There is more, and it likely will evolve.
  18. From my perspective (that leaders can contribute "some of a job" according to his/her abilities and available time, even if other parts of the oh-fficial job description aren't covered), if the Pack has nobody in the Pack Trainer role now, your skills definitely fit a good part of what the Pack Trainer can do. I say what the Pack Trainer "can" do, because depending on Pack Trainer abilities and available commitments, the Pack Trainer can do several roles -- and the job can be split among several people to fit these roles -- hopefully your CM and CC feel the same way, and welcome anyone
  19. She Who Must Be Obeyed, I assume. (Am I right, Dear?)
  20. I agree with DwS . . . sounds like you're on the right track if you get to know them and draw them in. My sense has always been that first year parents (at whatever level) are always sitting back, sitting on their hands, assuming that "someone else" is supposed to take the lead. With Tigers, it's worse, since unless you have a parent who has an older son in the Pack, they're all new and all sit back. It's almost like some of them are in "kidshock": OMG, I'm a parent! I have responsibilities! That's actually one of the ways to draw them in: get to know them as fellow paren
  21. Camp O Ree at night is what we're doing in a month, based on Scout excitement over the idea (one of our Scouts had done it in another Council). We're going with a Saturday night Relief of (Siege of) Mafeking theme (see http://usscouts.org/usscouts/reliefofmafeking.asp). We're going to be offering work Friday and Saturday towards some of the historic merit badges (tracking and signaling will come in handy during the siege). As folks arrive Friday night, we may offer as part of that late night activity an assortment of other wide games, and maybe a spoof merit badge in Zombie Survival. F
  22. What does the ACM do? The answer, my friend, is blowin' in the wind . . . -- Because all Scouting is Local, and most Packs are pretty transitory (as Leaders "cross over" with their kids). So the role is defined based on what you and other leaders communicate (or what you let it become if you don't set out your deal or your boundaries). And based on the strength and qualities of other leaders. Often the tendency is to think the new guy will do what the old guy did . . . maybe that works, but not always. Your skills may not be his; the holes in Pack job needs may be different.
  23. bbender


    While the big Kahuna is the CSE, there is also the very amorphous and perhaps vast group of BSA illuminati in various and sundry roles, those who decide things and sit on undisclosed committees, also known as TPTB -- The Powers That Be ;^)
  24. You could lose the new 5th Graders if you cross over early, because then you're leaving them behind, separated from their friends who join a Troop. This assumes that you don't apply a liberal right to allow "repeat visiting" by those non-AoL guys from the crossover point to the earlier of turning 11 or the end of 5th Grade. Thus, getting AoL allows earlier joining up with the rest of the guys, and avoids, for example, any G2SS literalist saying that, for example, they can't participate in Camp O Rees because they are still Cub Scouts.
  25. Looking at the original two options (No. 1 being "hang out" with the Den, but no Webelos or AoL option, and No. 2 being drop back to the Web I's and get Webelos Badge, maybe later AoL) let me echo and detail how to handle the third option IF they are actually interested in earning Webelos and AoL and "sticking with" the current Web II guys so that they can cross over before the end of 5th Grade: -- Put them in your Web II Den and do what you'd planned with your Web II guys. No "backtracking" on your Web II Den plan. No added duties on the Web II Den Leader. I assume that they will pick
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