Jump to content


  • Content Count

  • Joined

  • Last visited

Posts posted by bbender

  1. As to the term "Arrow of Light Scouts", I actually don't think that exact phrase appears in that page on the PowerPoint -- but the term "Arrow of Light Den" does appear. Same result in the new Training syllabus (I haven't checked to see if it appears in the on line version released yesterday). So the term "Arrow of Light Den" does appear a lot, to refer to the Webelos Scouts who are formerly informally (say THAT three times fast) known as Web IIs and will probably continue to be informally called Web IIs. Now, there is one reference in the new Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide to an Arrow of Light scout, but the inference in that letter template is clearly just to refer to a "Scout in an Arrow of Light Den".


    Now, as to why "Arrow of Light Den" as opposed to formalizing the "Webelos II" den, I suspect the answer is probably based on Advancement Orientation: every other level has a "Rank Name" based on the rank that is the goal of the Den that year, so . . . why not Web IIs too?

    -- Folks commonly refer to "our Wolf Den" as a way to identify the Cub Scouts who are working on the Wolf Badge, instead of "our Cub Scouts who maybe will earn the Wolf Badge later this year". It isn't like we only call them "our Wolf Den" only when they earn the Rank Badge!

    -- So, technically, if you have a two year Webelos track, in the second year as they are working on the Arrow of Light, they are still Webelos Scouts, just as those we refer to as "Wolves" are Cub Scouts, but it may be more "rank relevant" to use the goal of Arrow of Light for that den.

    -- That may be better than either "Webelos: the Sequel" or "Webelos: Lap Two"!


    And, of course, some Webelos Dens don't have a "year one" and "year two" orientation, so the "Web I and II" tags didn't exactly fit there either. For program, those dens can choose some from the Webelos Den Meeting Plans in the new Guide and some from the Arrow of Light Den Meeting Plans, so that they cover all of the required Activity Badges and related requirements for the applicable rank badges.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    You can Call me AL, You can call me AoL, You can Call me Web Two, Just be sure to Call me in time for Dinner


  2. Some thoughts about den signups, how to get volunteers, splitting dens on the original concept of "this will put every den at over 10 kids. Any advice on how to get additional den leaders? How to split dens in 2?":


    -- every year we have about a 15-20% drop-out between "signup" (on the list or survey when school starts) and actual commitment (applications and dues), as folks finally get it together about what they've scheduled their kids to do, or realize the BSA doesn't mean "Baby Sitters of America". So when I see 12 "sign up", experience says that is going to be 8-10. More below for when it isn't and for other numbers and getting the second (or both!) Den Leaders.


    -- we have as part of our Pack Policy an "Every Parent Leads" rule that if you aren't a Den Leader you have to help your Den Leader run two Den Meetings, plus take on some Den or Pack Level role (which can include, say, Derby or Banquet organizing committee). Ultimately, it is up to the Den Leaders to enforce that in the Dens, and for the Pack Chair or Assistant in charge of Recruiting Leaders to enforce that in the Pack. See http://atlanta631.mypack.us/aboutus'>http://atlanta631.mypack.us/aboutus


    -- we also have a policy when we organize that while we'd like to keep dens together, the key thing is that if we have two or more dens at any one level, there has to be an equal allocation of good adult leaders. If 7 kids return to be Wolves with a great DL and 3 assistants and 7 new ones sign up but don't have good leader material, we don't want "the new guys" to be a new den if they won't have sufficient adult leadership, since sometimes those will fail. That doesn't mean new parents are exempt from leadership, but the Pack Chair/Committee will look to see if there is sufficient strength. And usually some movement is OK with existing dens, since every den has kids who are either not really good together or are so good together that they will grow more if one is split into a new den.


    -- so, when we have the "signup" phase like we do now, Pack Leaders and/or Den Level Leaders (either an "assistant chair" to help recruit out of that group of 14-20 families at a rank level, or a current or former Den Leader) will try to (1) line up the right number of Den Leaders, and (2) absent that, beat a variety of drums (email, but mostly calls and visits and chats at back to school socials), to get the right number of Den Leaders to volunteer. Of course, almost everyone says "I'll help (when I can)" . . . which is why our policy is no longer called "Every Parent Helps" but "Every Parent Leads".


    -- Pack Chair and/or Rank Level Assistant Chair and/or existing/past Den Leaders will identify the best "likely suspects" and make direct "asks" to be Den Leader.


    -- If that doesn't work out, sorting it all out sometimes takes putting people in a room (or "virtual room") and saying "OK, here's the 17 families: two of ya have GOT to be a Den Leader . . . you've all said you'll help . . . who will be willing to take all of those commitments to help, and BE the Den Leader". Someone runs down who's already volunteered to "help" and how, and then paints the picture of how with everyone helping, it will all work out.


    -- We also point out that since our Dens meet at the same time and same location, that two dens at the same level can do a lot of stuff together (e.g., planning, openings, closings, games; often rotating from one room to the other so that two parents from different dens might put on different activities: 20 minutes with each den, and then switch).


    -- By that point, we look hard at existing commitments and numbers. Usually, we have one Den Leader at a level, the hard part is the second Den Leader. The approach we take is often based on the actual numbers, and the Rank Level, since Webelos II Dens have more mature kids and can be larger, but Wolves need to be smaller on account of their maturity. So, if one has one Den Leader, 12 possible families, the Den Leader says "I can do 10 kids -- no more!", rather than two smallish dens of 6 (or one of 5), the goal of getting parent commitment may well be to get to 10 (but even at that level, we've ended up with a Den of 12 where there was a trio of "every meeting" assistants). But if with one Den Leader and 16 kids, two possible Dens of 8 (a great number) or 7, the goal is to really really work hard to get to the second Den Leader.


    -- And we do have, but have never actually implemented by forcing anyone out, a concept in our FAQ that "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)." That is immediately followed by: "Can I choose his Den? The only way a Parent can choose which Den your Son is in is by volunteering to be a Den Leader or regular Assistant." Technically, that's about the same as what would happen if there were 8 kids and no Den Leader. No Den Leader, no Den Meetings, no Den, no Scouts.


    As noted, we've never turned someone away, but we have that as a "this is what we'd have to do" if we face that situation. Because just because someone says "I'll be a Den Leader" doesn't mean it is fair to say "now you have to take all 17 signups at the Wolf Level because no one in the other 16 families is willing to be a Den Leader". Do that, and you've got 17 kids and no Den Leader, since she just resigned!!


    YMMV, but we get down the road with this.



    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer



  3. Let me offer my $0.02.


    We do encourage immediate recognition and presentation at the Den Meeting of all but the Rank Badges.


    To do that, our Pack does stock an "advancement box" located in our Chartered Org school that Den Leaders can access in order to, say, have a sufficient stock of Belt Loops or Webelos Activity Badges or the like so that at the conclusion of a Den Meeting, they can give immediate recognition by awarding the item.

    -- We find that this works great.

    -- Instead a Scout of wondering later "why did I get this? I forget what this was for?", they know they did this today.

    -- It results in a lot of "hey look what I did" as they emerge back to parents at the end of a meeting.


    Now, as to the issue of "did you just have the boys stand and be recognized without a presentation", I always compare this to the Olympic games (an event that earns a Gold Medal for Immediate Recognition):

    -- When does an athlete get his gold medal? In most cases, right at the Olympic Venue that same day.

    -- Does that mean, say, that when Eagle Scout Gold Medal Bobsledder Steve Holcomb comes home, we can't recognize him for it? Nah, he gets a huge standing Ovation and everything. Maybe a parade. It's up to us.


    Same then for the Cub Scouts. They might have the Loop on the Belt, the Pin on the Shoulder, the Bead on the infernally difficult to tie plastic thing, the Gold Medal around the neck . . . but now they receive whatever ceremony ya want, plus the adoration and applause of the Pack public.

    -- Another upside for large packs is: less time spent fumbling with all of the baubles and geegaws and less down time pinning them on, etc., fewer tears as items inevitably drop in the crowd, and so on.


    Now, as to inventory and whether the "extras" ya end up with are a waste of time and money, our view is that depends on whether you think your Pack will continue. Yeah, as a result of the odds and ends left over, our Inventory Tackle Box will have extras, but that means that next year if there are 14 Webelos I Scouts, and 3 Fitness Pins in the box, the Advancement Person will stock 11 more for the Den Leaders before they finish Fitness.


    YMMV, but that is the thought behind Den Meeting Immediate Recogntion.


    Bert Bender

    Pack & District Trainer



  4. Our primary communication tool is our website, from which weekly "eBlasts" launch automatically to let families know what is upcoming in the next week and next 30 days, what is "open to signups", and what parts of the website got updated in the last week, with new Announcements highlighted in that eBlast email.

    -- Thank you Soar!

    -- This cuts down on the ping-ping-ping of different emails about different things zip-zip-zipping around the inbox, leaving those for items that are emergency or need more emphasis.

    -- Then, if folks need the detail, they find it on the website, in one place for all, and easily "recreated" the next time you do the event.


    That website also allows for group email lists to be created and updated as the Roster changes (or event leader alters a list), so that emails can be sent just to selected dens (e.g., R U Goin to Webelos Camp), and then selected groups (e.g., the single email address for those who R Goin to Webelos Camp).


    And yet . . .


    . . . we tell Den Leaders over and over that you'll need to figure out how people absorb information. Some don't have email, some have it but don't check it or the website, some check it but don't read it, some read it and don't absorb it, so . . . for critical stuff, we've tried to get each "rank level" to have a communications person who will (a) figure out who absorbs emails and the website, (b) teaches those who haven't figured it out, and © for those who can't/won't, calls them about key stuff that they need to attend to or prints out stuff to put into their hands.


    Related to that, one other problem we have is non-responsiveness from Pack Parents (e.g., are you going to the campout, derby, etc., when the multiple choice answers are "yes", "no" or "maybe"). This problem is also known as "I'm sorry, but my clairvoyance is not reading your telepathy . . . could you please let us know your plans?". That led us to add "Communicate" as one of the three prongs of our "Every Parent Leads" requirement to participate in the Pack.


    Bert Bender

    Pack Trainer


  5. For what it's worth, I think that letting the Scouts in the Den develop their own identity is a great civics and character building lesson, so we always let them (encourage them) to pick a name for themselves.


    Tiger Sharks or Sabre Tooth Tigers is (a) lots more fun than "We're Den 10", (b) easier to bring to life on the Den Flag or Doodle they might design, and © lots more fun to work into a Den Yell.


    That doesn't mean that they get a "Patrol Patch" like a Webelos Den might get when they select a Den Name. And, for what it's worth, never did anyone ask to do that or act like "since we have a name, we have a patrol"), so I don't think this messes anything up for later.


    So, no reason not to . . . and can be lots of fun if they do pick a name they like (we actually once had the "Billy Bob Bears" . . . ).

  6. Not only that, but that guy named "Vacant" is someone I see on a lot of Pack Organization Charts. He (or she, not sure which) must be really really busy. Sometimes I'll see "Vacant" handling multiple jobs like "Treasurer", "Den Leader", "Activities Coordinator", "Assistant Cubmaster" and more, all in one Pack! ;^)


    Seriously, since our Pack Website is on Soar and generates a Roster from Troopmaster, we have a couple of "dummy" names, like one with the last name of "You Can", first name of "Do This", so that the name appears in the Roster as "You Can, Do This" (in whichever roles are vacant), with contact information running back to the Pack Trainer!

  7. On the question of Pinewood Derby Car Building Den Meeting Plans, and their location among the "Supplemental" Meetings (Tiger, Wolf, Bear) and/or "after" the Badge is earned (Webelos), some thoughts:


    This may be a recognition that it might be a tad bit more difficult for every Den to make a Den Meeting out of the Pinewood Derby Car Work.


    -- For some Den Leaders, they may not have the tools to do this effectively.

    -- For others, they might have a Pack or District tradition of "weekend event" Car Prep (at a local hardware store or other location, or on site when Dads bring in tools to help other families shape their cars).

    -- For others, this may be the key "at home" / "hands on" family participation job.


    So, for my money, this may be an OK placement, since if Pinewood Derby Building was included in the early meetings, it would appear to be more "mandated", and that might create difficulty with some Dens and Den Leaders who might find car cutting to be a difficult Den Meeting activity.

    -- Obviously, for some it is easy, and YMMV (Your Mileage May Vary).


    I should also note that the Guide does give a few prompts about possibly bringing car cutting up into the "Rank" meetings, and this is a great example of the concept that you can shift Meetings around, just so long as you get the "Rank Work" done by your Pack's Banquet Date or the date you set to try to finish your rank work.:


    -- For Wolves, when you do Meeting 9 "Tools for Fixing and Building", where Achievement 5e is "Make a birdhouse, a set of bookends, or something else useful", the "Preparation and Materials Needed" notes that "A pinewood derby car is useful, right?" . . . so, maybe you work the cars into this Achievement rather than as an elective?


    -- For Bears, note that Bear Den Meeting 6 includes a note that if youre having a pinewood derby, you might drop Achievement 20: Sawdust and Nails and instead do Achievement 21: Build a Model with pinewood derby car construction.


    And, frankly, the Tiger Rank is pretty easy to accomplish by February (so adding a "Supplemental" meeting is easier), and for Webelos, many of them may well "know the drill" by that point in their Cub Scout careers, and won't feel the need for a Den Meeting to do this . . . not all, but some.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    Which way to the Hardware Store? I don't have Woodworking tools!!

  8. This requirement was definitely a topic of conversation this afternoon in Dallas after the news broke . . . not discussion as in "why", more in "how" to implement, plus record-keeping issues, etc.


    And speaking of "is it official or not" -- here's good news revealed today -- a new feature of (or alongside) the monthly training updates on scouting.org will be a "rumor control" element, to quash those pesky BSA training myths and confirm what is really out there!

    -- Of course, a month is like 7.5 rumor cycles last I checked, but this is a great start! ;^)


  9. As to the source, while it didn't hot link in the gaucho post, here it is again: http://www.doubleknot.com/openrosters/DocDownload.aspx?id=78969.


    As to not much advance warning, yeah, though the "trip ups" right now would be new leader applications that are coming in next week (or impending recharters) . . . for most who re-charter on a calendar year, it seems like this is effectively 6+ months advance notice.


    Definately a topic of concern is new leader signup (e.g. new Cub Leaders at School Nights for Scouting) and what, exactly, one is gonna need to "connect the dots" between Leader, Application and Proof of Training, since while a lot of folks may be taking the training on line, lots of them won't be on line plus with access to a printer to "prove it" pending a BSA number that you can't get until you're registered which you can't get until you show proof of YPT which means you can't get a BSA number . . . more to come, I'm sure!


    Also curious about how many "Committee Members" will not be renewed since they haven't done the training so why pay the $15 for them?

    -- Which is not to say that it isn't important to encourage, cajole, etc., but . . . if the Congressional Budget Office was "scoring" this bill, it might have a $$ impact!

  10. On the referenced DE's note that "there is 'more' material in the printed guide (or DVD that can be purchased) than what can be downloaded but he wasn't specific as to what that included", let me offer two points:


    1) As far as has been seen or announced, there is no DVD that goes with the new Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide.

    -- There will be one for Cub Scout Leader Position-Specific Training, DVD to be released in July. The assumption is that the DVD will replicate the "on line" version of Cub Scout Leader Position-Specific Training that is to be on www.myscouting.org as of June 20.

    -- But no DVD for the Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide.


    2) As far as anyone has seen so far, and post if you see it differently, there isn't anything in the printed guide that isn't in the online guide at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/DenLeaderResources/DenandPackMeetingResourceGuide.aspx.

    -- Frankly, most of the "Den Meeting Plans" and "Pack Meeting Plans" even have the Guide's page numbers.


    But the intro Pages 1-20 are there, but in different format.


    The Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide intro sections, which include an "Overview of Cub Scouting", are at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/DenLeaderResources/DenandPackMeetingResourceGuide/Overview.aspx, and, that takes us through these parts of the Guide (this is from the Table of Contents in the Guide -- pages 1-6 are either Table of Contents or empty): The Guide sections found there are Introduction, in the Guide at Page 7; Overview of Cub Scouting at Page 8; Purposes of Cub Scouting at Page 8; The Methods of Cub Scouting at Page 8; Cub Scouts: A Positive Place at Page 9; Delivering the Cub Scout Program at Page 9; Responsibilities to the Boys at Page 9; Den Leader Responsibilities at Page 9; Cubmaster Responsibilities at Page 10; Role of Training at Page 10; Why the Method Underlying the Resource Guide Works at Page 10; Awards Cub Scouts Can Earn at Page 10.


    And at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/DenLeaderResources.aspx, sections covering Den Meeting Introduction at Page 14 of the Guide; Den Leader Responsibilities at Page 14; and Den Meetings and Den Meeting Plans at Page 14.


    Then at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/DenLeaderResources/DenandPackMeetingResourceGuide/HelpfulHints.aspx, and you'll find Helpful Hints for Den Leaders from page 16 of the Guide. The next section is Tiger Cub Den Meeting Plans 20.


    Plus, the printed Guide can't "hot link" the Resources, Forms and Applications, like http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/Forms.aspx does.


    So, as to "there is 'more' material in the printed guide (or DVD that can be purchased) than what can be downloaded but he wasn't specific as to what that included", count that as "Myth: Busted". And if ya find something missing, email program.content@scouting.org and insist they link it!



    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council


  11. Back from the Atlanta "Campout of the Century", so catching up on this thread . . .


    On the concept that "there [are] 16 meeting plans and assumed that the rank was completed with the 16th meeting, not earlier", yeah, that's the case in most, if not all. Essentially, if you look at it objectively, those "elective" meetings are just as "supplemental" as the Tiger, Wolf and Bear "Supplemental" meetings, as they are not essential to earn the Rank.

    -- So do what is most fun for you and your Den.

    -- And do things that either you, or a willing volunteer, find easy to lead that will be fun for the Scouts.

    -- Under the Guide, Rank Badge is earned at Meeting 8 for Tiger, 11 for Wolf, 12 or 13 for Bear, 8 for Webelos if you're doing a Web I/WebII program, and for Arrow of Light, 10, but often that really depends on the Troop visits, etc., that are "prompted" in the Guide, but ya have to work that out for yourself (since here, all Scouting is local).


    On "I did not know there was a webinar", FYI, I think that they were supposed to continue running these until interest ran out, but I see from the site at https://www.kintera.org/AutoGen/Register/Register.asp?ievent=423114&en=8qIOLWOsEbJMIRPsGdKKJNPrEeJWI3NyEbIJLROxEkKZIdK that the sessions this week are full. Suggest anyone check back to see if they add more (more are definitely on track for later this summer), and/or email program.content@scouting.org to find out. In the meantime, the powerpoint from the session is linked at http://www.scouting.org/scoutsource/CubScouts/Leaders/NewDeliveryMethod/Resources.aspx, and it is pretty substantive.


    On "Is the new delivery program the EDGE", I don't think it has anything at all to do with that.


    On "or is it the fact that you now work through a specific guide each week, rather then figure out what you want to do on your own", that's one way to state it, though I would caution that nobody think this is what you "have to do". Rather, where before there was either little guidance about what to do, or it was in a less usable format that wasn't very advancement-related, now there is a meeting program that you have, ready to roll, with less need to research to come up with an advancement related program. Makes it easy for a new Den Leader, or an experienced Den Leader who ran out of time for the normal "One Hour A Week" of planning! ;^) Or CPCC has it right: "the new delivery method has basically all your den meetings planned out for you. It says that it is flexible and you can move them around, so you probably can plan your own instead of working off of them". And that is right. There are lots of ways to teach the advancement activities and make it fun, and this is one way: not the only way. Keep it Simple, Make it Fun. This attempts both, but isn't the only way.


    As to "In some ways this will make the planning easer for the den leader. In others it will stretch your skills to have to lead something you don't feel comfortable in", well, I guess that latter point is true, but I suspect the alternative was to just toss it to be done at home where it might or might not get done well. My approach (and a good one, I think, for those who may worry that this takes "family involvement" out), is that if you have something that's not a topic you feel comfortable leading . . . find someone who is and induce them to help lead that meeting. Historically, we would talk to parents (or take surveys and then talk to them), and maybe find out who knew about knots or tools or trees, and if we summoned the courage to ask them to help, we'd say, see the handbook, and then there is a Program Helps guide and a How To book, and a Leader Book, and there's like stuff on the internet about how to teach this. Now, at least, there is a basic (usually) 2 page handout for a lot of these topics that newbie non-leaders can use as a guide for what they cover and/or we can use it as Den Leaders trying to lead an activity that isn't yet in our sweet spot of teaching. It should be easier for someone to now say "oh, I can do THAT!"


    On Pack Meetings and the concept that "the webinar did not explain how to make the core values fun and exciting", I think that was beyond what they were trying to do in 1 hour, but in mine I think they referenced that you can/should add stuff that's fun and can help with the theme, as the Guide doesn't attempt to "be all" for that (and since, unlike Den Meetings, Scouts will see "that" meeting return 5 times, I am sure the idea is to find lots of stuff to use in those rotations). So I hope that Roundtables and Baloo's Bugle and others will add to the elements in the Guide and, in fact, present (as they do now) great ways to bring the themes to life, as there are lots of super ways to have silly pack meeting fun, and pull out of that the big idea that might shine the light. So Pack Meetings shouldn't be all preachy (I hope), but fun and inspiring, a game with a purpose, as BP said.


    I hope we all agree and let TPTB (the powers that be) know that past Program Helps should be made readily available, so that folks can browse those and pick the best stuff they like and can do, and use those and rotate ideas as they like. It has been a great resource (though for me, like others, not one we "followed", but one we used to pick stuff we could add to what we had otherwise planned).



    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council


  12. I can follow up with more on one of my favorite topics: what is required to be done, and what is not required, and how that ties into our goal of Keep it Simple, Make it Fun.


    Now, as to how your Pack will determine to run itself, and whether Pack Committees can or should mandate what resources Den Leaders and Cubmasters will use to make up the program of their respective Den Meetings and Pack Meetings, I think it would be really really unusual for many Pack Committees to get too intrusive with that (especially a "vote" that might be interpreted as a ban on use of specific program resources).


    -- I suspect most Committees would want to be sure that the Den and Pack Leaders have access to resources to help them do their roles, and that would include the new Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide.


    Note that on the entry page to the Den and Pack Meeting Resource Guide linked above, it says "The Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide is designed to help prepare you for your den and pack meetings and to provide you with the tools necessary to advance your boys along the Cub Scout advancement trail while having fun."


    -- Designed to help. Provide you with tools. Having Fun.


    Now, it is true that the Pack does need to coordinate certain activities, but coordination doesn't necessarily mean lock-step in everything.


    -- Pack Meetings are the obvious item where all must be on the same page. Each Cubmaster will need to be sure to spice up Pack meetings with your own particular songs, skits, stories, games and fun, and coordinate that with Den Leaders and others who have a meeting role, which will tie into the "prepare for upcoming Pack events" part of Den Meetings.


    -- Beyond that (beyond the "be sure you're coordinating with the upcoming Pack events"), in Den Meetings, depending on how & where you meet, what Den Leaders choose to do in any specific meeting wouldn't seem to me to have to be in any sort of "lock step" with either other Dens or the Guide. They should communicate about what they are doing so that all are informed. But it would appear to be less simple and less fun if good ideas and program are stifled to serve the purpose of unnecessary uniformity.


    Bottom line: I would assume every Committee would want to take the position of advising Den Leaders and Cubmasters: "Be sure you've taken a look at the new Guide, and here's a link to it. It seems like a lot of this can make it easier as you create the program you lead for our Scouts, and it will help them with advancement in fun ways. It also looks this these will help you get more parents to come and help lead parts of your meetings (in their areas of interest). Let us know how we can support you in all that you do! Thanks."


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer



  13. It seems to me that parental signoff on an Achievement isn't necessarily the same thing as the Scout didn't do it. Sometimes. Not always.


    Are there parents who "pencil whip" the book? Sure. Might a Den Leader? Yep. Might this one? Yep. But it is more plausible that a Den Leader has the knowledge and ability to (a) cover the achievement separately with his younger son, and/or (b) within the meeting context, supplement the Bear work with corresponding Wolf work (doesn't line up as well as Wolf and Tiger, but it can be done with enough planning, as "mixed" dens find they need to do that).


    As to pencil whipping, we had one family do that with my Bear Den years ago (turned in for 111 electives before the last meeting). Now, that meant a couple of things:


    (1) Scout got a couple of handfuls of Arrow Points at the last Pack Meeting that year, and


    (2) in taking the report from the family I congratulated them on their prodigious achievements, and asked that since they are really good at this, we really want to get you more involved next year with the rest of the Den.


    -- Now, I didn't criticize them, or say "oh no he didn't", and there was no Committee ad hoc Court of Inquiry.

    -- Though maybe there was some eye contact that said, uh, let's be sure we're doing this right, folks. ;^)

    -- But a family is allowed to confirm completion of achievements, and it is possible . . . and it is a family program (putting aside Webelos leaders greater role).


    Suggestion for what is in large part a Den Leader issue about playing nice in the Pack: though I see you're currently the Wolf leader and would have to adjust, IF the guy runs good den meetings, is it possible to have him next lead the Den in which his younger son is (or should be) a member, and find someone else for his older son's den?

    -- While he might be eager to bring along a younger son to an older son's den meeting, with most ambitious parents the reverse will not be true!

    -- 'course, if he doesn't run good den meetings, then . . . move on!

    (I note this because I've seen some Den Leaders who are awful at communicating, leader meetings, etc., but they are On Fire when the meeting starts. We just "work around" the flaws by lining up the right assistants to support. Kids love 'em. Parents love and/or tolerate.)


    We also instituted our "Every Parent Leads" program around the time of that "pencil whipper", to have parents come in and lead activities at a couple of den meetings in areas of their interest. In part we used it for "relief" for Den Leaders with multiple Cubs, so that they could participate in "their other son's" den meetings on certain days . . .


  14. On the topic of "Who thinks that the course led specific training will survive the introduction of the on-line specific training?"


    I do. And I say that as a trainer, and at the same time I hope that everybody takes the on line training when they have a chance.


    But I believe that in person training will survive, and thrive by being better:

    -- No longer will Trainers have a monopoly where Leaders "have to sit through" a training in order to get trained, so Trainers are going to have to be better, more creative, in making those visual and participatory "muscle memory" connections (I mean, it's hard to teach a Den Leader how to lead songs or stomp balloons in an on line class!).

    -- And I suspect Trainers will get come clues and cues about how to deliver training from seeing the on line versions (knowing what to add and highlight).


    [And by the way -- and this bouquet comes from someone who has been very critical of some past on line trainings -- the new Den Leader and Cubmaster Fast Start trainings are terrific and practical. Kudos to the creators.]


    One of the ways that Live Training will get better is the "takin' it to the streets" model noted by Lisabob. Training comes off so much better when it isn't just abstract, but can also deal with the real live and local issues that affect a unit. Nothing is worse than when you spend time too much discussing things that a Pack's leaders have already mastered, but not enough on what they need to develop (e.g., some may have great outdoor monthly events, but trouble pulling off good Den Meetings; or vice versa).


    On the topic of when online "you cannot get the discussion that comes out of doing it in person", that's true to a point. But I guess it depends on who's at your training. You might get immediate live answers in person, and that's terrific -- especially if the answers are right and helpful (though sometimes in a small group you might get an answer that isn't completely correct)! But with forums like this, I bet we start to see folks posting questions about what they are learning right when they are in their on line classes, and -- who knows -- getting dozens of answers before they log off that on line training.

    -- Again, we hope those on line answers are right, and helpful. Caveat Scouter!

    -- (But these forums do serve a great purpose to supplement that on line stuff).


  15. Let me chime in on a theme that popped up in the thread, while noting first (1) gee whiz Hovering DL Dad, let your son go to Den Meetings, and (2) while yer at it Hovering DL Dad, come on to some more Pack events! And let me note also that, even so, I agree that "it is entirely possible that the boy worked on his Tiger and Wolf requirements with his father AT HOME, or on the side at the den meetings for his older brother".

    -- This is especially true for a Den Leader parent, who would have more knowledge of the program.


    However, the thing I wanted to comment on is whether "advancement at home" is or will be prohibited under the so-called "new delivery method" set out in the new Den & Pack Meeting Resource Guide. Guess what (this will be a relief to those who are concerned about there being too much shift from family focus to den focus): advancement at home is just as OK under the new delivery method as it is now.


    What? Let me explain: while the Guide makes Den Meeting planning for meetings easier by providing advancement centered meeting plans, and therefore makes advancement easier because more can get done in den meetings, it does not also shift all signoffs to ONLY the Den Leader (let's leave out Webelos for this discussion).


    Just because more CAN be signed off by Den participation does not mean that home participation is no longer desired or permitted. Home participation is not just limited to what the Guide doles out as home assignments either (nor, for that matter, to when a Scout is absent from a den meeting activity). In the ideal world, there would be plenty of home participation (but the Guide is a reflection that, as many of us have seen, there hasn't been enough home participation for a variety of reasons). Hopefully the new Guide won't cause there to be less parent participation, especially by us leader types saying "you can't do that" at home!


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

  16. On the question "For those of you who have the printed copy: Is there any differnece between it and the online .pdf files?", from a quick sample, it sure looks like "the same thing".


    -- The on-line pdf version shows paging consistent with the printed copy.


    -- For example, Webelos Meeting One is "Page 258".


    So far, I haven't found any piece that is missing. For example, the "Template for Sample Parent Information Letter or E-Mail" is there, and in a pdf format that -- at least with my Adobe Reader 9 -- allows you to copy the text, so that it is easier for you to tailor and communicate with that tool (e.g., to set up your meeting schedule, note who your "special guest" and "parent helpers/activity leaders" will be, etc.).


    So, yes, your new Den Leader should smile away. Whatever BSA scoutstuff revenue is lost from on-line use of the Guide will be made up big time on the back end as Den Leaders succeed and then buy more stuff down the road! ;^)

  17. From creating a budget for our Pack, and thinking through the choices, we created a budget spreadsheet for planning purposes that addresses some of those variables, and I've recently posted a generic version of that at http://www.southfultonscouting.com/node/1066 (scroll down to the bottom for the spreadsheet attachment, and if ya like it, save it to yer system).


    Now, your mileage may vary, as besides the basic Unit, Youth and Leader Registration fees, Packs may choose to "centrally fund" certain items, or make those "family assessments" to be reimbursed or paid directly. For example:

    -- Boy's Life (we build it in to be sure all get this).

    -- Leader Costs (registration and some supplies -- we build this in so as not to further impose on leader volunteers)

    -- Handbooks (we build it in to be sure they have it from day 1)

    -- Advancement Supplies (we budget for it, including estimates of Activity Badges and Belt Loops; so far no one has "armored up" too much on belt loops to blow the budget, but we do reserve the right to require an added contribution if that gets out of hand)

    -- T Shirts (1 per Scout and Leader)

    -- Banquet and Derby Costs

    -- Admin Costs (Packmaster, Soar Website, Photo Site)

    -- Special items (e.g., nice "Arrow Plaques" for our AoL guys)


    So you could take from, or add to, what you pay for, and adjust accordingly on that spreadsheet based on your demographics (and taxes, etc.).

  18. Great observations, Akdenldr.


    On the question of earning 12 in one year, and 8 in the next, in two meetings a month, and whether that process is "rushed, compressed, and superficial", actually . . . though it depends on a variety of factors, generally I agree.

    -- But that is NOT the same thing as saying that presenting the meeting plans covering 20 activity badges is wrong.


    Let me explain . . . It depends on what you and your Den will do, and when.


    Frankly, I don't expect that most Dens will do all 20 Activity Badges in Den Meetings, and certainly not on a 2x a month only during the school year program calendar. The reasons are:

    -- Many (perhaps most) Dens will elect to take a more relaxed approach that Arrow of Light is good enough, and beyond that, do what's in your "sweet spot" of fun.

    -- I suspect that many (I wish most) Webelos will have the chance to do a Summer Encampment, and some activities will be done then.

    -- Many (I hope most) Webelos will do weekend camping and/or day hikes with Troops, and in the course knock out some of the nature/outdoor stuff.

    -- And many Webelos Dens will meet more often (e.g., into the summer, perhaps more than 2x a month). So the material is there for them.


    Myself, when I adapted Fast Tracks into Meeting Plans for my Pack and District (and then shared beyond like here), I punched in more meetings (to take a more leisurely pace in some) . . . on this idea, let me give this note to all: there is no reason on this earth why you can't take a single den meeting plan and spread it out over 2 or more meetings. And this note: you should spread it over more than one meeting if the boys are captivated and are into it!


    Plus, beyond what ya gotta have for Webelos and Arrow of Light, everything else is gravy, optional -- not required, no mandate. In my take on the program, I wrote "follow the exact order only if that order makes sense for you and your Den" and "the Supplemental Meetings are random and you pick how many and which you would like to do, in whatever order you choose". I don't think there is anything in the official Guide that will contradict that -- for example, I think there are "after the meeting" notes that make it clear that you need to check what sequence of meeting you'll be using (for example, to line up with the schedule of an Activity Badge Counselor). As I've noted here and/or elsewhere, except for compliance with rank requirements as written, and safety rules, where the Guide says "do this in/as Meeting X", you should add the following phrase: "if that works for you and your Den"!


    As far as "boys earning the AOL and crossing over into Boyscouts unprepared", as to the "the "know" tasks of Law, oath, etc.", I believe these pop up in several of the "Webelos" and "Arrow of Light" meeting plans. Now, as to "joining the preteen / teen boy world of boyscouts" this also doesn't assume that the Den crosses en masse into a single Troop (though some might), and this Guide doesn't make a Troop visit either a "Den Meeting" or a "Pack Meeting" (though, as noted above, you could do some of the activities in conjunction with a Troop visit, just be sure not to inappropriately count, like Outdoorsman Camping and AoL outdoor visit), but the Guide sure sprinkles in the reminders during the AoL meetings to set those interactions up.

    -- Frankly, we've benefitted from "multiple" events during the Webelos Year.

    -- Some of our new Scouts had three overnight campouts with our Troop during their Webelos year, which has been GREAT for integration of those guys into the Troop.

    -- (Just because the requirement is do "one" visit to an outdoor event, doesn't mean you can't do more than one, or visit multiple Troops and pick what works for you!).


    Last, on the topic of "a matrix that allows for coordination for activities for achievements across the ranks would be helpful. I didn't see that", yep, other than using the Table of Contents for each, and laying them alongside each other, there is no overall matrix. I should note that because we have lots of "mixed dens" / small packs in my neck of the woods -- e.g., Tiger + Wolf, Wolf + Bear + Web, Tiger + Web, (a) I've started to work on that matrix, but (b) just in trying to figure out the possible permutations of mixed dens, I get Gumby Cranial Syndrome ("my brain hurts", for those who follow M. Python), however © now that we see the Guide, I am intent to create some "paths" that will, effectively, offer that sort of matrix.


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council




  19. The Guide is not a "2010 only" (or 2010-2011 only) Guide.


    From what I can see, what got "rolled out" last August as the "Cub Scouts 2010" program has morphed on the scouting.org pages into the more generic (and not going "out of date" in 8 months!) "new Cub Scout Program" (though those references appear to be gone now) and/or the equally generic but more technical "new delivery method" (and I just googled that one, and that page now says "oops" . . . gone).


    I would guess that some or all of the "Cub Scouts 2010" page will likewise fall away, since it is just this now: Cub Scouts.



  20. Small pack? It's quality, not quantity! (Someday you may look back and think of these as "the good old days" when life was simpler than 10+ dens and over 75 boys . . . ).


    Keep it Simple. Make it Fun.


    As to fun program, you're basically a den plus, so . . . focus on fun den meetings. As to what programs to use, I've looked hard at the (awfully named) "Delivery System Manual", and . . . all due respect . . . I really think we can do better as a Scouting institution (I say this as someone who trains parapros and leaders of many smaller packs . . . frankly, our "fun n flexible fast tracks" came out of that process of "keeping it simple, making it fun" for leaders that might have otherwise turned to that DSM).


    If I was leader of a Tiger/Wolf Den, I bet I could use the new Guide that's dropping into stores now, and (generally) follow the Wolf plans, adding in (1) Tiger requirements where they overlap, and (2) likely a few Tiger meetings where nothing in Wolf corresponds. One of my plans once I get my hands on the new Guide and confirm what's in and what's out is to create an outline in some detail about how one can "cover it" in mixed dens, and do the regular program (as opposed to a watered down program).


    Bert Bender

    Pack and District Trainer

    South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

    See http://atlanta631.mypack.us/node/1005

  • Create New...