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Posts posted by bbender

  1. I hadn't done the socks as snowballs (nor considered them G2SS-prohibited explosive devices!!), but several times I've told the Scouts, in all seriousness, that we're going to very very carefully do "origami" paper folding to create winter decorations to hang on trees, and then I very very seriously describe how they need to take the five pieces of paper that they are being handed and that they need to very very carefully fold and bend those sheets - just so - to create this round image of which I don't describe.


    I say, OK, make them, keep them with you, right at your place. We'll collect them and hang them on the tree.


    The hard part is keeping them making their snowballs before someone tosses one, because once that happens . . . it's all over!


    Great fun.

  2. Echoing and expanding on AKdenleader, assuming that your Tigers have the participation of "adult partners", between that Parent Participation and the facts that (1) Tiger isn't that hard to complete, and (2) they are actually pretty easy to lead since they like to have fun and do stuff and haven't become cynical like third graders, Den Leader of a Tiger Den should be a pretty easy job. (No, I know that in the real world not every Tiger has an Adult Partner participate every time just as in the real world your Den of 8 Wolf Scouts might need more than DL plus ADL because they didn't magically become self-motivating over the summer between 1st & 2nd Grade, but generally the result is you would have more parents in a Tiger Den Meeting and less demanding stuff to do)


    So, to split the Den and get another Den Leader, some tips would be:


    1) Identify those who appear to be the "best assistant" prospects, start at the top (asking that person to be the "other Den Leader") and agree with that prospective new Den Leader that he/she will get more of the top assistant prospects.

    -- Yeah, bad for you, but better than the Den of 14!

    -- We did this with a split recently, leading our new Pack chair to wonder if we were playing a Fantasy Football Draft version of Leader Assignments! But it worked!!


    2) Show the prospective new Den Leader what you're using for Den Meeting Plans, and confirm that you'll share ideas with him or her so that for special stuff (e.g., go see its) you all can work together, but divide yer dens up when needed.

    -- This is one of the ways that the off the shelf Den Meeting Plans at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/DenLeaderResources/DenandPackMeetingResourceGuide/TigerDenPlans.aspx can really really come in handy.

    -- I actually did a "Den Leader Recruitment / Training" on the fly before our first Tiger Den Meeting this year where I was Provisional Tiger Leader, just by handing every attending parent a copy of the Meeting One Plan, the code of conduct example, and a scrapbook template (similar to the one in the Wolf or Bear plan), and I asked each parent "would you lead ___ (opening, code talk, scrapbook, game . . . )", so that I ended up just handing it off to the Parents who got it done.


    3) (especially if you are lax in requiring adult partners in Tiger den meetings) Get the Pack to commit to an "Every Parent Leads" rule (example at http://atlanta631.mypack.us/aboutus'>http://atlanta631.mypack.us/aboutus includes the concepts of helping run two den meetings plus taking on a Pack Committee Role of some sort).


    4) While we've never imposed this rule, and it probably isn't supported by any official BSA policy other than the facts that (a) if you have no Den Leaders you'll have no Den, (b) if you have no Den, you'll have no Cub Scouting, and © if you have one Den Leader volunteer and 14 kids, that Den Leader will un-volunteer, so (d) see points (a) and (b), we have an answer to an FAQ about what happens if there aren't enough Den Leaders when we form up that reads: "Also: if there are not enough Den Leaders and Assistants, it might be necessary to turn away Scouts, based on an inverse volunteering scale (the less a Parent has volunteered to help, the less likely the Scout will have a space in a Den for example, if 14 third graders want to be in Scouts, but only 1 Den Leader steps up, that Den Leader can set a limit, maybe 10, and the 4 Scouts whose parents have the least volunteer commitment will not be able to participate, because we cannot ask the willing Den Leader to have a Den that is too large to function)."

    -- As I say, we've never enforced it, but we have noted this to "pre den leader" gaggles of parents in order to induce volunteers to come forward.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    I'll do my part if you'll do yours!



  3. "they'll learn how to use an axe, saw and hatchet!" ====> Yeah, and then when they do that as first year Boy Scouts, then tell them that when they go to Philmont, they'll learn to throw a tomahawk!!


    One of the amusing things I've experienced in doing this with Cubs is that there will (a) always be someone who talks about how experienced he is with a knife on account of experience with his dad or whatever, and (b) always be someone who is really nervous and shakey when opening and closing the pocketknife.


    The amusing part: often it is the same person who was talking about all his experience.


    I always sit in a corner of the room or space, and I set up my knife guy so he has his back to the "the others" and they can't see him sweat and shake! ;^)

  4. Key thing is to check with your den leader to see how the Den will operate (will they follow the meeting plans, will they alter and do things in a different way).


    While of course BSA would want you to buy the book, note that you can get it all on line. Here's a link to the Wolf Plans:




    If they are following the Guide, you can see there what they will do. Of course, from time to time, something may not get done in the meeting, and so the Den Leader may need to call it out for home assignment catch up.


    I suspect your Den Leader may be in touch with you about how you can help (at meetings and otherwise), and so since you're interested in tracking the advancement through the meetings and what needs to be done at home, you might volunteer to help in that tracking role! ;^)

  5. And there is a letter/email template here (scroll down):




    (sorry, can't make this one hot link)


    Now, somewhere on the www.scouting.org site they were supposed to post these in Word (so that as a "template" they could be, uh, copied and . . . used), but for the life of me I cannot find where those landed.

    -- I fear that they were pulled.

    -- If you can locate those, please post!


    Of course, with a decent adobe viewer you can copy text out of the pdf and edit away to fit what you're doing.


    These letters are written from the point of view of both (or either) as you see fit:

    (1) here's what we just did, and here's what we're doing next; and

    (2) here's our plan for the year (and here's where this fits in).


    They've got reminders also about "what you gotta do at home" if you're following the Guide, and then as you change from that, you can adjust to fit what you're doing.

  6. I'm not aware of any list yet floating round in the internets, though from time to time there have been postings about items that well, uh, aren't as well coordinated as they could be (and I've seen some of those myself).

    -- Of course, the standard for drafting Cub Scout stuff is "Do Your Best", right? ;^)


    I do suspect that once this wave of training is over and the Fall Camp O Ree is done, I'm going to try to do a thorough sweep of sites like these for commentary and do a full review of the Guide to help locate those sorts of things, as well as possible improvements.

    -- I'm sorta interested in the process and getting it as good as it can be.


    If you got some ideas or spot stuff and wanna share, post away or lemme know and it will get me going . . .



    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council



  7. While we don't have a fancy name like SWAT team (and I fear we might scare some people if we used that term -- we already have to make it clear in School Talks that the uniform doesn't mean that we're police or immigration!), here's what we're doing in terms of training tailored to local units:


    Internally, we're calling it a "live and local" phase of Cub Leader Training, by asking units when they reorganize if they can all gather their interested parents and potential leaders, and we'll do a streamlined training/intro there, to give them what they need. The idea follows the "all Scouting is local" theme by taking training to the Unit, at their Pack meeting location (often also where the Dens meet), with their own unique dynamics/roles, seeing the opportunities/challenges there, and conducting training for them there and for them tied to where they are and what they're doing.


    This fits in with the concept of how trainers compete with, or coordinate with, the on line training resource. We want live training to be vital, on point, address the particular circumstances of a unit, because online training is always gonna be more generic. Because all Scouting is Local, and every Pack is different and needs different things, they need that insight.


    We've done a few of these so far, and have another coming up Saturday at a Pack/Den Meeting location.

    -- Most have been structured as "parent picnics", and we have an allocated group to lead the kids who come in games and such, and cook hotdogs and serve picnic fare for all.

    -- The "training intro" is a methods based orientation to the program derived from the official syllabus, in this order:

    1. Ideals of Scouting (opening ceremony, brief intro, Bobcat overview and game)

    2. How a Den Works (including intro to the Guide)

    3. fun Activities to do (including some really easy ones that are "show up and have fun")

    -- here we interject YPT, so that whoever shows up is "leader eligible" if/when they fill out the application

    4. then a Uniform intro (tailored to the Pack)

    5. an Advancement overview (and how it really is stuff ya wanna be teaching yer kids)

    6. brief commentary on "home and neighborhood" because that's where most of it happens, leading to

    7. Family Involvement, because isn't that awesome stuff and if we all pitch in we can make it happen.

    -- here we interject detail on the resources available, including key local stuff.

    -- if it hasn't come up yet (and it usually does pretty early) we get into how one pays for it, budgets, plans.


    Then break for hot dogs or whatever. That's about 90 minutes or so, depending on the crowd and questions and how slowly they arrived.

    -- we invite those who are going to be leaders to stay and get full live training. or they can take it on line at home in their jammies. or next week.

    -- and when we do the full training, we do "total leader training" so that Cubmasters, Den Leaders and Committee trained people know what everyone does, and so they can also be effective Pack Trainers who can then pass on the word to others (with the on line version of the CSLPST syllabus, it's a lot easier for a leader to sit at a computer with a handful of folks to answer the inevitable questions that arise in on line training).


    On the "all Scouting is Local" concept, we approach local issues in different ways and different emphasis. For example:


    -- By doing the intro training "locally", we find out what resources and positions they have, who is in attendance, what the gaps are, and emphasize how to make their customized program work without overloading them with "you need to do this" messages (except on key required stuff, like YPT).

    -- So if, for example, they have a great BALOO trained leader who is already organizing the outdoor camping stuff, we don't need to get into that too much, because it will happen.

    -- But if we have a Pack with a bunch of moms who've never been to camp before, we're going to spend a fair bit of time explaining how to take advantage of "prepackaged" Council run camp opportunities (including "day events") that will be easy for them, let them be successful and have fun, "hook" them and their kids and then get them on the path to bigger things.


    -- Or, a start up Pack with, say, 10 "interested" signups is gonna need a lot of emphasis on how to run a fun Den Meeting, so we want them to focus on that.

    -- But in that small Pack, they are not going to need to know too much at all about how a traditional Pack Meeting runs . . . not yet . . . not 'til they're bigger.

    -- Because the traditional Pack meeting of "every Den performs" etc., is sort of, uh, less lively when you have just a den or two.

    -- For them, we emphasize a "Pack Meeting" concept as ways for the Den to have a "fun family day or night".


    Ideally (and we haven't made full progress on this yet, other than me signing up as a Unit Commissioner), a goal is to break down the "silos" that have trainers and commissioners doing their thing in different spheres, so that we have a corps of "trainer/commissioners" or "commissioner/trainers" who can do this service on an ad hoc basis with each unit.


    -- In the past, too often Commissioners would offer a bit of advice . . . but most training commentary was along the lines of "you should go to training".

    -- So Commissioners, having recharter as "job one", would sort of do their recharter thing, and maybe offer reports about how the unit was doing that went . . . somewhere.


    -- Now, since training (at least YPT) is required to be an Adult Leader and recharter, the training and commissioner tasks are chained together, so . . . why not work together?

    -- And, since YPT without some positive "here's how the program works" intro isn't a great intro to the BSA, and fails to help new leaders "get it done", I want to see these new leaders have a better chance of success by giving them this "live and local" training that will help them be a success.


    Now, backing it up one more step (and we didn't get this well integrated, in part because we're slow to deploy commissioners), I would have liked to see a Training Team member and/or assigned Unit Commissioner (a "commissioner/trainer") at School Night for Scouting events, meeting the parents, saying "OK, when is a good time for you? . . . let's pick a date next week and get 'er done" . . . and everyone leaves with a date certain when we're coming back to knock out the training.

    -- It hasn't happened exactly that way, but the parents have been told "here's the upcoming parent picnics".


    One Trainer's thoughts on "live and local" or SWAT training . . .


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    All Training is local . . . (well, some) . . . ?

  8. Camping, camping, camping. Yep, that's the ticket.


    A few years back, we started (in addition to Webelos Encampment in the summer), a tradition that Friday night of the Pack October Campout is "Webelos First Night".


    The concept is that the Webelos come out Friday, and really dig into some camping/cooking skills "by themselves", and the rest of the Pack (usually less experienced campers) come Saturday AM, and the Webelos greet them at our campsite and help them set up, and start teaching the younger ones.

    -- FYI we don't actually turn away other campers from Webelos First Night (those who are well able to camp).

    -- But we don't try to "stretch" anyone into doing too much by making them think they need to get out there Friday night.


    Then we have a joint campout with a Troop (Webelos Winter Camp), where they get to work/cook/hike alongside the Troop Members as provisional members of the various patrols. (Yes, G2SS police: winter, but in Georgia, and our facility has a large cabin with wood burning stove too so nobody gets frozen.)


    Two years ago, after that camping and cooking prep, and some further camping/cooking at January and February events, our "New Scout" Patrol's first Saturday Dinner at their first Camp O Ree was -- I swear I am not making this up -- Honey Glazed Salmon on Cedar Plank!


    And it was awesome.


  9. On the question "When did they divide CSDL Specific leader into individual Wolf and Bear components? At that level, both groups are virtually identical", the answers are:


    -- Only in the On Line CSLPST at www.myscouting.org is there a separate track for training Wolf and Bear Den Leaders (and for Tiger and Webelos too).


    -- In the "live" syllabus, there is a combined Den Leader training for part of the Den Leader training, and then separate modules for Tiger, Wolf/Bear, and Webelos that cover some more common stuff (advancement background, record keeping, field trips, den leader secrets) and some stuff that has differences (advancement details, boy maturity notes).


    Interesting to note that because the Tiger Meetings now follow the same format as Wolf, Bear and Webelos meetings (and in past years Tigers have lost "Search Discover Share", orange Ts as the uniform, Bobcat as the first rank, etc.), the Tiger Den is also arguably about as close to Wolf as Bear is to Wolf:

    -- Tiger and Wolf each have a "fixed path to get the badge" while Bears have to pick and choose (within limits) about which 12 of the 24 achievements to complete.

    -- Effectively, the only program differences between Tiger and Wolf (besides advancement detail and general age/maturity considerations) are that there are more adults in Tiger meetings (adult partners) than are likely in Wolf meetings, and Tigers get yellow beads for their electives while Wolves get Arrow Points.


    So, an objective view could be that there because there is about as much different between Wolf and Bear as there is between Tiger and Wolf, why not break them out separately.

    -- Though I prefer a different objective view in live training to teach 'em together, so that folks can get a better idea of the progression (how it's different from "last year", what to expect in the future), and also have some idea about how to deal with those other ones when they are on Pack Campouts.




    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council


  10. On the topic of transition from adult-led to youth-led and getting Boys and Parents ready for Boy Scout Troops and the Patrol Method, 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:



    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 Lets 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.


    You have NO business talking to or suggesting anything to ANY of the Scouts except through the Senior Patrol Leader, and that only after talking to the Scoutmaster and the Committee Chair. This is very important. Not only do you usurp the Scoutmaster, but you degrade the authority of the shared leadership of the Scouts themselves.


    . . . "


    I just love the line: Put down the Scout and slowly back away.

  11. If I am tracking my Den's achievements, I would likely use one of the existing advancement spreadsheets out there, like the ones you can pull from these sites:






    As noted, you have to enter "boy by boy" anyway, since not every Scout attends every meeting. Plus, because the science of meeting plans is not perfect, it is possible/likely that even if you "follow" a specific meeting plan, you might not get it all done (that day) or you might add something else in, plus you can adjust the sequence as you proceed.

    -- And Bears and Webelos might take a "different path" to the Badge (e.g., swapping in Shavings and Chips for another meeting).


    These speadsheets, if you enter following the protocols, will show you when/whether someone earned the badge.

  12. On the question of "does he really need to complete an adult application", the answer appears to be: yes.


    The Youth Application has a box you check with a note that says "Mark here if the adult partner is not living at the same address; complete and attach an adult application."

    -- Sadly, there is no "Tiger Cub Adult Partner" code for the Adult App.

    -- So I assume you'd put the "code" as "??" and write in "Tiger Cub Adult Partner", maybe with a note that this is the supplement to the Youth App for Jimmy Tiger.


    That said, my understanding is that if an adult would be rejected as a leader, that doesn't affect his ability to participate as a parent, and therefore it does not affect his ability to participate as a Tiger Cub adult partner.


    Especially if that affects the boy's ability to participate, that wouldn't be fair to the boy . . .


    Of course, since you'll be submitting an Adult App and may get the rejection notice, you'll want to address this up front with your Commissioner and Council contacts.

  13. On the two questions, I'll comment a bit:


    First, on Eagle92's note about "why is BnG such a big deal for advancement? Growing up, we got advancement every month in that pack, and last year advancement was given every month with my son's pack", a few comments:

    1) If/when someone earns a rank before Blue & Gold, there is no reason on G*d's green earth not to recognize them early at the Pack Meeting after they earn it. Or, frankly, also at the Den Meeting too. And at a school assembly. It's all good.

    2) That said, it is fair to say that in many (not all, but many) Packs the Blue & Gold Banquet will be more heavily populated with families (and extended families) than other Pack Meetings.

    3) It is a cool thing to be able to recognize the completion of Badge of Rank by the Scouts at that BnG event that is in many (not all, but many) Packs the most heavily populated event.

    4) Note that even if a Scout has be presented with the Badge before the Blue & Gold Banquet, that does not in any way prohibit further recognition at the Blue & Gold Banquet.

    -- When Michael Phelps gets his Gold Medal after drying off at the Olympic Pool, he can still get a Parade when he returns to Philadelphia, and even recognition if he appears at his old Pack's Blue & Gold.

    -- Even though he got the Gold Medal or Wolf Badge at an earlier event.

    5) While we don't want anyone to get a badge they didn't earn, it is a good and nice thing to recognize the Scouts for having accomplished the rank.

    -- That is better in front of a bigger crowd as opposed to saying "yea you other 7 Bears . . . soon you'll get your Badge . . . when you're done".


    So, it is a good and nice thing to have the biggest event include that biggest recognition of rank accomplishment. And that's why I encourage thinking about March for that event.



    On shortridge's note about "Why just two den meetings a month? Except during holiday times, etc., we always had three - one a week, with the pack meeting on the fourth week", sure, and some Dens even met on the fourth week PLUS the Den Meeting, but . . . here's the rub . . . not everyone can meet that schedule, and . . . it's OK.

    -- Kids and families can have an awesome Cub Scout experience on 2 Den Meetings a month. And now the Guide supports that.

    -- Would more meetings be better? Sure. And the Guide supports that too with 30 some meetings in each year, many of which meetings can be spread across two meeting dates. And that's before you really work in all of the Belt Loop and Pin stuff!

    -- But is it good to get more kids involved in a solid Cub Program that has two Den Meetings a Month? Many think so.

    -- So the Guide supports that, to make it a more solid program for those kids.


    YMMV. But gets good mileage in many necks of the woods.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    Mo' Betta Meetings!


  14. One other idea for consideration in Pack Planning is: if your dens aim to complete Rank Advancement by the Blue & Gold Banquet, think carefully about when you really "need" to hold your Blue & Gold Banquet.


    The reason I note this is that for Wolves and Bears (and any Packs that take most of September to form and get on track), there is pressure to get it done by February and some Dens and Families stress about it, either now while planning, or in January/February when trying to get it done "in time".


    It doesn't have to be that way.


    Here's a "Keep it Simple, Make it Fun!" notion: hold your Blue & Gold Banquet in March!


    As near as I can tell, the top reasons for doing the Banquet in February beyond "we've always done it in February" are:

    1) Because "Scouting Anniversary Week" is in February, so the Banquet is a "birthday party" for Scouting.

    2) Because we want the Webelos II Scouts to Cross Over sooner. Or maybe Webelos II Den Leaders want that!


    Let me address reasons why it can be OK to do the Blue & Gold Banquet in March on both counts:


    1) For Birthday watchers, if you do your Blue & Gold Banquet after February 8, you're already doing it after the Birthday of Scouting!

    -- I'm sure that Scouting will forgive you if you did the birthday celebration a few weeks later or even in the next month.

    -- Scouting doesn't pout about things like that. Scouting will be plenty gracious that you even remembered with a belated birthday party. Plus Scouting is kind, helpful, etc., so it knows this helps those Den Leaders and Families.


    2) Not only is March plenty of time to let Webelos II Scouts get into the program before Summer Camp comes around, but if your Troop wants them earlier, consider this:

    -- Go ahead and let them participate with the Boy Scouts in those March Troop Meetings -- just do it as further official visits for Arrow of Light.

    -- There isn't a rule that says you can "make one but only one" visit to a Troop Meeting or Outdoor Activity. So if the Troop wants them, go ahead and make multiple visits!

    -- We did that last year with a Web II who joined in early November and needed to "stay in" Cub Scouts to get AoL. He was a frequent visitor at Troop Meetings post B&G.


    We've done B&G either in late February or mid to late March (our school has Spring Break in early March), and either way worked fine for the Crossovers into Boy Scouts, but late March was MUCH less stressful for Den Leaders and Families.


    And Scouting didn't pout about the late birthday party . . .


    Just food for thought.

  15. A short Den Trip? The Guide to Safe Scouting says probably not required.


    Technically, because the actual policy on local tour permits isn't absolute, and has lots of Council by Council variation, the only hard and fast rule is that a local Tour Permit is required for trips under 500 miles except for when a Tour Permit is not required. Yes, that is confusing, but accurate because of the many exceptions.


    For example, note that the Guide to Safe Scouting (sort of) specifically says "Most short, in-town den trips of a few hours do not require a tour permit; however, it is recommended that dens obtain permission slips from parents." Because it says "most" that sounds like the rule is that a Tour Permit is not required unless it is required. Likely reasons for it being required would probably boil down to (1) your Local Council has issued a rule that any trip away from a regular meeting place requires a Tour Permit, or (2) whoever you meet at your destination knows something about Tour Permits and believes that you should have one and makes you produce it.


    The Guide to Safe Scouting also says "If a unit plans a trip within 500 miles of the home base, it is important that the unit obtain a local tour permit. A national tour permit is required for trips in excess of 500 miles from home or outside the continental United States."

    -- Note that for over 500 miles, the term is "required".

    -- For under 500 miles, the term is "important".


    Filed Tour Permit or not, probably more important is: does the Unit actually follow the "planning checklist" elements of the Tour Permit, like Trained Leaders, Transportation Rules, Pledge of Performance. Or did they just get the paper and put it in the Leader's Folder?


    This is sort of noted in this language from that section: "Tour permits have become recognized by national parks, military institutions, and other organizations as proof that a unit activity has been well planned and organized and is under capable and qualified leadership. These organizations may require the tour permit for entry."

    -- Filed permit or not, following the Planning Checklist rules is key.


    YMMV. Or your Council's mileage or the mileage of your destination may vary.

  16. Live training twice a year . . . oh my. So many questions, so little time.


    Well, we just got done with our second District Training in two weeks . . . this one my first one after seeing the on line resource, and the first one in response to our "takin' it to the streets" offer of "Training: On Line, Live and Local".


    Our Training: On Line, Live and Local concept is: if a handful of parents in a Pack want training and have a time and a place that can work for us, we're bringing it to the people. So on Thursday a Pack's message was: we've got a bunch of new dens forming and some leaders and assistants who will start up next Tuesday could we do a training this weekend if so when and where? Answer: that worked. The Live and Local team just did three hours with 7 of 'em around the tables at a local pool, while their kids swam (lifeguard attended pool for those tracking that G2SS issue, but I had a couple added helpers to keep 'em occupied). And with one pack that has some established practices and traditional activities, we needed less time to ask / tell about the spectrum of some organizational and procedure / policy options, as they've got those (and a long term and year round calendar) in place.


    This syllabus followed the of method based focus (noted in the earlier message), and also Bill Smith's mantra of "either you're a den leader or you're helping den leaders". Here we had 1 Den Leader and 6 assistants and/or interested parents, and so we focused on the Den Meeting, how it will run, and how those other 6 will take roles to help the Den Leader Keep it Simple and Make it Fun and Get 'er Done.


    Now the Den Leader will be taking the whole on line stuff too, and with that done later today and the new Guide (man is she happy to see the Wolf Meeting One plan with ideas all spelled out), we have a Den Leader ready to go and a bunch of assistants who are ready to pitch in and help. And I'm sure the On Line will now "bring it home" to help them out.

  17. SSScout: haven't done the "herb tea and crullers" yet. For us, it's Chicken Biscuits and Coffee, then we have our assigned Pack Activity Coordinators (from our Training Class "Pack Jobs" sign in sheet . . . everybody gets a job!) set out the sandwiches and fruit for lunch. I sure don't think that a solo Balloon Stomp Battle Royale in front of your PC is going to be as much fun as with a bunch of other adult nut cases "playing the game".


    Moosetracker: yep, I think as a result of this, a lot of "basic" training for those who don't dive deep into the program will be done on line. At the same time, even basic classes will need to be better to compete with the on line class: ideally, an attendee says "yah, I took the on line stuff, but THIS was SO MUCH BETTER", and then sends their fellow leaders to the next one, as opposed to "I can't believe it took three hours to cover what is a 50 minute on line class".


    Towards that end, like you (Eagle92) I've continued in live training to combine the different roles and cover all of the material in one session to "train the team together", and now with the separate modules in the On Line Training I'm more committed to continuing that approach. Because while Live Training needs to impart the same (and better) data than the On Line Training, I don't think that the "silo" approach of dividing up the team is the best approach for live training. Especially when the folks who are going to come to a live training that might run 3 hours or more would probably be the ones who are more "into" the overall program and benefit from that breadth of knowledge.


    To this end, and because having done all the different roles I am a firm believer in the Bill Smith admonition that "in Cub Scouting you're either a Den Leader or you're helping support what the Den Leader does" (since Den Leader is the hardest job), and because in our "neck of the woods" there are a lot of Packs that are not much bigger than a Den or two (and many Dens are "mixed" dens with Cub Scouts of multiple ranks to have viable size), and because we recognize that often the Cubmasters and Den Leaders are driving forces in activity planning (as many Committees just don't have the level of program engagement as CM and DL and aren't going to do all of the planning and support like in the On Line Training videos), we "train the team together" by covering all of the topics and information in the Syllabus by focus on the 7 "Methods" (there are 7 in the Leader Book; the Training Syllabus and On Line Training take "Character Connections" out of "Ideals" and make it a separate method).


    1) We start with The Ideals of Scouting (covered nicely in "Intro to Cub Scouting", where we introduce Character Connections),


    2) then a brief intro into The Den (as the basic unit of Cub Scouting),


    3) then The Uniform,


    4) then adding to the uniform, Advancement (we cover common approaches like immediate recognition and records, and briefly cover the rank by rank details),


    5) leading to Activities (and planning),


    6) touching briefly on the focus on Home and Neighborhood Centered,


    7) and ending with Parent Involvement (again echoing Bill Smith's admonition that the best gift for a Cub Scout is . . . get his parents involved!)


    That way, the common stuff that gets covered in the "silos" of separate modules are covered together: everyone gets the same message about the program methods and their roles in those messages, and sees what others are doing too.


    The biggest part is that Parent Involvement part, because having introduced the ideas of Den, Advancement and Activities (how we have fun), we break down the various roles (how we "bring the fun" we've described in the earlier methods):


    -- we start with some of the common concepts, like how to work with adults and kids, and how to bring out the "inner volunteer" in parents;


    -- then to Den Leader, since everyone needs to know how to help at Den Meetings, to support what the Den Leader is doing;


    -- then to Cubmaster/Pack Meetings, which have a lot in common with Den Meeting structure, so we flesh out the differences and reinforce what is similar (and here Den Leaders need to understand how they support what the Cubmaster is doing; Committee Members also need to "get it" since they have an even bigger support role here);


    -- and we end with the Pack Committee roles / pack support roles, which we think are fair game for DLs and CMs to know about, since (1) they need to know what to expect of their Committee folk (they need to know they don't need to "do it all"), and, (2) more urgently, DLs and CMs will often be the ones (especially in small packs and as leadership turns over) who are actually taking on some of the actual working roles like Membership, Advancement, Activities and Communication, and so DLs and CMs ought to know what is involved to do it in a pinch and then have some basic knowledge to turn it over to someone else when they get that willing person.


    Breakouts can be done all at once (DLs on their meetings, CMs on theirs, Committee on Pack Year Plan), but we generally don't because resources are just so much better now compared to the old "here's a blank sheet and some books, now go read them and make a plan" approach.

    -- So for Den and Pack Meeting Plans we pull a plan from the new Guide and "walk through it" since the new Guide has good stuff that intended to work that way.

    -- I actually use Wolf 1 and "do the Bobcat" bit there instead of in the advancement module, and at Den Meeting Closing we give them BSA Bobcat "stickers" after we do Bobcat Tag or Relay or whatever in our mini Den Meeting.

    -- For a Pack Year Plan we present a calendar that shows great local options for what to do when (highlighting the local Council events that are just so darn easy to participate in and fun for the kids), plus we list a bunch of local destinations and overnight destinations for our neck of the woods.


    To wrap up, we cover resources (again, for all, not in silos), and we cover future leader awards just before the "trained" recognition closing ceremony (as in, here's your next step!).


    As the CSLPST training is pretty introductory, this streamlined "total leader training" of the whole Pack team hasn't over-burdened attendees, who always have questions that "cross over" from their "defined role" into other levels and groups and what they do. Plus, the interaction between DLs, CMs and Committee is . . . well, the team needs to know how they are all going to play the game together on the field, so my thought is, let's all get started talking together, rather than in "silos"!


    And for those who just need "one piece" to be trained (like a Committee Person who doesn't want to know how a Den Meeting works), we fully disclose how we do this in our signups, so that if someone has Intro, How We Have Fun, and just needs, say "Pack Committee", we show 'em where they can go get that piece done in a pure breakout format elsewhere (though now that the module is on line, I suspect fewer people with a narrow focus like that will seek live training, since they can get it quickly on line).


    And since the new disc with the Syllabus is PPT, not PDF, it can be customized to fit, say, local stuff. And everything in the Syllabus is covered, just in a different, method-based, train the team together order.


    We're also doing a "lite" version of basic intro training (not official, won't be counted as "trained") in a "takin' it to the streets" approach like Moosetracker notes, where, depending on the Parents attending and the venue (we're setting it up as "family picnics"), we'll cover YPT (full version, so they can be registered), and the "lite" element will be so that they get some fun intro to the game (and not just creepy YPT stuff). I suspect that the "lite" element will be almost improvisation depending on the crowd: brief basics about ideals, uniform and advancement; get "yeah, we'd all like to go there / do that" reactions about "activities" options to "hook" some folks, and a brief walk though of a den meeting (organizing kid/parent games as part of it). Ideally, we get some folks saying: teach us how to lead the game . . . .


    My $0.02. YMMV.


  18. As to why there is both Wolf and Bear den leader training now, I suspect that once one goes the route of separate training for separate rank roles, the logic of "joining" those two has diminished, especially as Tiger has become more like Wolf. There may be as much in common between Wolf and Tiger (e.g., you do all of the 5 or 12 acheivements at your level) as there is between Wolf and Bear (where all of a sudden you have to pick and choose what requirements to do from a bunch of categories).

    -- It used to be that Tiger was much different, with different uniform, meeting plan, motto, etc.


    Of course, if it was up to me, I'd do a single Den Leader module for all levels, and within it highlight the differences so folks could see the progression, as the differences are basically (a) Advancement Details, and (b) some emphasis on the age/maturity aspects of the applicable level (e.g., need more adult help at Tiger, thus the adult partners).

    -- For example, in the Book/Powerpoint syllabus, there is advice to get Webelos Activity Badge Counselors.

    -- that applies just as much to the lower ranks, because it is a good thing to get the best parent resource to lead or teach any subject.


    And, FWIW as to mixed dens, I've seen them at all levels in small packs: Tiger/Wolf, Bear/Webelos, and levels that jump across all ages.

  19. I'm hoping that this year will be the year that we can have a "Camping crossover ceremony", where the Webelos crossing over bring their Backpacks to a Friday night Blue & Gold Banquet, set them up near the "crossover bridge", and once they get their final awards and complete the crossover ceremony, they and the Boy Scouts put on their packs and hike on out to the Troop Campout . . . see ya!

  20. Yeah, neither the Web I / Web II or "Web Den" / "AoL Den" terminology works with the LDS birthday rotation: there, as far as I can tell, you are a Webelos Den and you'll rotate in and out and the Webelos Badge and Arrow of Light would be covered in that 12 month period, no matter when you join (and, I suspect, one might earn the two simulaneously if that's, say, how Fitness or Citizen line up in the program, assuming one didn't accelerate it for an individual).


    And there are "Webelos Dens" that spring up in 5th Grade, and do some of what would be "Web I" or "Web Den" activities, followed and/or interspersed with what would be "Web II" or "AoL Den" or Web: Lap Two" activities.


    So, no one size fits all, since there are different types of Webelos Dens.


    Whatever we call 'em, I just we call em "Scouts" when they leave the Pack . . .

  21. As to the concept that: "only complaint so far is that you have to repeat the Intro ... with each module" and "True ... but I just clicked through the pages until I did all three 'quizzes' ... it went pretty fast that way", I suspect that this is related somewhat to how this, compared to the full Syllabus, is a bit more condensed in most (but not all) places, both literally, and by virtue of the fact that as a pre-packaged speech you'll not have a Trainer saying "let me flesh that point out for you because it is important or because you ought to know what this Council's resources are", and you won't have anyone asking a question about something that doesn't seem fully explained (except for those who hit "pause" and come over here to post a question while they are in the training).


    So, I suspect that for an intended audience of a person who says "my role is Tiger Den Leader and I'm just going to take that", it's probably gonna be no big problem for that person to get that semi-forced "refresher" one year later if they morph into a Cubmaster, Wolf Den Leader or Pack Trainer Role. As noted, one can "click through" a bunch of it and probably be done in about 30 minutes, and even if you dwell on every part you can click and listen to, you're likely done in about an hour.


    So the ones who are (like me) getting tired of the Quiz telling you "That's right! . . . Scouts who read Boy's Life are likely to spend more time in the program than Scouts who don't" while you click madly to move on to the next question are probably those who:

    (1) have multiple functions (e.g., a mixed den or small pack, or one with a less hands on committee) or are curious about each role (more on them below),

    (2) are trainer types (including Pack Trainers) who want to absorb what is within each syllabus to better train and/or promote this tool, or

    (3) are suffering from Obsessive / Compulsive disorders, which may include a good number of those in the "trainer types" category! ;^)


    Initial reactions:

    -- While the On Line version is (for most, but not all, people) less effective than being in a (good) live interactive training, because this is immediately available and shorter than live training, it should reach and help more people faster. Big thumbs up on that.

    -- And I like it also as a great tool for a Pack Trainer who would be uncomfortable "doing a full training" or even a "segment" of CSLPST before a "class", because in most cases they would be more comfortable in a small group doing the "point and click" thing on a screen and then taking questions or supplementing about local resources/practices.

    -- And I like it a lot as a refresher and as an "after live class" review, since even with a great trainer, not everyone is focused on everything every minute and will pick up stuff the second time through.

    -- Plus I think that some items that got mis-emphasized in the CSLPST syllabus are now in line with the actual program.


    I assume various bugs will get fixed (e.g., some stray references to certain "required" Wolf and Bear achievements), as that is just the nature of any beast of a project (and evidently is was a beast based on commentaries about the efforts of SL, DS and others). Though if it were up to me, I would in fact put the "common" items together, and make the "specific" items more accessible. While I noted above that (perhaps intentionally) there is a "refresher" benefit to being forced to click through the intro parts when you take on another role in another year, there is a more current downside to effectively "training the team" who will go out and run program in a Pack: because this format puts leaders in job "silos" for training purposes, it works best if for a Packs that has all jobs filled and getting done just exactly like this training. Or, for many of us, not my Pack, since there are always open slots and weak links. Where a leader is stepping up and wanting to learn more, if that leader has to "click through" and do the quizzes all over again, it will be a very diligent or obsessive Tiger Den Leader who will, for example, take the effort to see "what a Cubmaster does" or "what a Committee Member does" or "how is Wolf different (I'm curious)". My $0.02 is that I think the Pack team works better together if, for example, Den Leaders know what Committee Members are supposed to do (to support den leaders) and vice versa. And if one could gain that knowledge in just a 15 minute or so segment, more of the team would know what the rest of the team can/should do.


    But all in all . . . great to have this tool.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    Total Leader Training: Let's Train the Team Together to Play the Game Together

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