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Everything posted by SlowDerbyRacer

  1. I almost mentioned dodgeball, but was posting during a meeting and had to cut it short. Dodgeball should be a required rite of passage - right up there with learning to swim and ride a bike.
  2. How do you disagree with a sporting event played by a den? Please share the rest of the story. Is soccer or kickball against someone's religion? About the only sports I could legitimately see someone complain about are those with full contact - tackle football, rugby, etc. Sounds like you might a have a future problem parent on your hands if they have issues with something this early and this benign.
  3. ^^^^^ This. And excellent use of "old coot."
  4. I want to take a slightly different slant on our traditional recruiting related discussions. Most seem to focus recruiting tactics, retention concerns, general decline in scouting interest, etc. And I just saw another post which mentioned declining numbers. Whenever I see complaints like that I want to ask - how big is your area you are drawing from? Are you competing with other packs? To me I wonder if many of the problems are quality of program driven, or if it's because there are too few kids to draw from. In my case our local pack pretty much aligns with our elementary school. That's our territory and we're successful. I can't imagine trying to run a pack with a target area any smaller than that. But I suspect there might be other packs that tie to a church, for example. In that case, they "territory" is the congregation, but they're also competing with all the local school packs. In those cases maybe the competition is just too stiff and the pack is fighting a losing battle to stay afloat? What do you all see as your territory? Is it the right size? What do think the ideal is?
  5. I see posts like this occasionally and they often share common complaints - poor leadership, little support from district, infighting among leaders, etc. In all cases I advise looking at things from the scout perspective and find your solutions there. In my opinion, the committee, district, and all the other "stuff" associated with supporting scouting is usually superfluous. You can provide kids with a tremendous scouting experience with nothing more than the rank book to guide you. That can be at the den level. If you can pull enough dens together for a quality pack, then great, but reality is dens drive the scouting experience. While far from ideal, you can have a great den within a weak pack. My suggestion is to start focusing on the kids' experiences and let the success build out, rather than trying to improve top down. Training and rules are nice, but frankly still less important than a kid focused group just working through the book activities.
  6. I agree with blw2 here. AOL is now really just another rank. Top Award is currently is a misnomer. "Final Award" might be a more accurate term under the new program. And I disagree with JasonG172 about it being akin to a 17 year old joining and becoming Eagle. Eagle is a cumulative accomplishment. AOL currently has nothing that is cumulative. There are no prerequisites to it under the current standards.
  7. I'm going to call you out on a technicality here. You treat Tiger and "Cub" (I assume Wolf & Bear together) as 2 distinct groups. Tigers are cub scouts and shouldn't be treated as a lesser class. I see comments like yours frequently and it dates back to when Tiger Cubs were first formed ~30 years ago. Back then they were a true distinct class with different uniforms, different meeting structures, etc. Today they should be fully integrated into the pack. It's especially the case with the new program where the adventure loop model is consistent from Tiger through Bear. The only concessions made to their younger age (that I can think of at the moment) are the requirement that they have a parent partner and they can't do the STEM program.
  8. I agree with you on the Wolf. The other thing that stands out to me about the Wolf is the duplication across adventures. Just a cursory look found the following examples: - At least 2 cases of doing skits/campfire programs - At least two cases of reciting the Outdoor Code - At least two cases of drawing a neighborhood map.
  9. Thanks for this link. It'll be good to show one of our den leaders who always waits until the end of year to award the rank badges so all the scouts "can earn it together." That always irked me.
  10. Let's look at this seasonal question a different way. As I stated above kids are able to drop in and out as they wish over the course of their 5 cub years. But I'll acknowledge, as @@ProScouter06 alluded to, that many don't do that nor are they even aware it's a viable option. I suspect part of the reason is the structure of cub scouts. Under the long established system, if a kid misses a rank, for any reason, it can never be earned. Kids can't go back. Contrast that with boy scouts which has no set time constraints for each rank. I'm sure many kids don't join or rejoin cub scouts because they think they missed something important. Plus it probably bothers some kids who will always have a gap on their uniform where that missed rank badge would go. In the sports comparison, if a kid misses a season of soccer, it isn't broadcast loudly on his jersey when he does come back. I'm not sure I yet have a solution or even if I think the current system should be changed, but it might be something that warrants more conversation.
  11. In many ways it is already seasonal. Nowhere does it say you need to start at 7 and finish at 10. There are currently 5 distinct "seasons". You can start in season 1 (Tiger), skip season 2 (Wolf) and pick up again at season 3 (Bear). There are no prerequisites to any rank or year. A kid can come and go as he pleases. And most packs take summers off from formal advancement activities. And regarding your youth sports comparison and desire for more flexible time commitments, I'd argue scouting is already far more flexible. In sports, try missing a bunch of practices and see where that gets you. If a scout misses a bunch of den meetings, he'll get the same opportunity to participate when he does finally show up.
  12. I think you draw the the line at 2 attempts, definitely no more than 3. At some point there needs to be the expectation that kids will make the effort and/or commitment to attend events if scouting is a priority. It's perfectly ok for kids to prioritize other things (sports, music, family time, etc), but they need to recognize the pack can't rearrange for them. There's nothing wrong with participating when you can and just not earning the rank. Scouting does not have to be about earning rank and checking off requirements.
  13. We've done both approaches. Some things have a "with your den" requirement which essentially requires a repeat. Now there will come a point where you can't rearrange everything for a small number of kids and they may just need to lose out. In your example, since there was a date change, I think you should repeat as a courtesy. One approach might be having a special meeting for just those who missed the first time around. We've done that before.
  14. Not really. You could theoretically do all your Webelos and AOL requirements and electives intermixed throughout year one. (Or at least most of the AOL requirements - I don't have the book nearby to check but maybe the Duty to God requirement might need to be done in year 2 - unsure) . And then all year 2 would need to be is the 6 months of active den participation (and I think some other ancillary requirements like child protection or other.)
  15. My own personal jury is still out on this one. Part of the reason is we may not be using the same definition of discipline. I'm both a coach and cub leader and I've yet to find a consistently good way to drive and reinforce proper behaviors in a scouting environment (help & suggestions welcome). Granted my experience on the sports side is much more extensive. A practice/game is a very different setting than a meeting/camp out. For example, I'm not a yeller on the sports field but can still use my voice to convey urgency, expectations, dissatisfaction, and to motivate. And at times a whistle is an effective tool. But with scouts we're often in a more controlled environment and I don't feel I can often use the same tools. And I feel scouts has more problem kids than sports. Or perhaps I should more accurately say more problem behaviors. I'm thinking specifically of cases were kids lack focus and self control. It sure is prevalent in our pack with a few kids. On a sports field the behavior would not be tolerated, but as scouting is generally more accepting, we need to do more to manage through it. Part of my conflict is I don't think my personal style on a sports field works in a scout setting. I like to encourage energy and enthusiasm, call it a "let's go get 'em" approach. And when necessary, I don't know how or why, I can quickly bring a team back under control for a serious coaching point or other calmer activity. In scouting I find once the kids get the energy level up it becomes a runaway freight train and all control is lost.
  16. Well it's only anecdotal evidence, but in our school and pack there is a subgroup of 4 now 2nd graders that all have a similar profile - are good friends, same neighborhood, same interests and generally the same activities. Three of the boys started scouts last year as Tigers. The 4th didn't start at the beginning because the family wasn't familiar with it, but by October last year mom, dad, and kid were all saying they'd sign up the following year. That was the consistent chorus through about mid-summer. When it was time to start the scout year again, kids 1,2, & 3 were all in. Kid #4 never joined because the parents were concerned with conflicting activities in the fall. In my mind, had that kid started as a Tiger, he'd still be a scout.
  17. And one more thing - sales pitch is the operative expression. Your tenant is a business person trying to make money off the dreams of parents and kids.
  18. I am as pro sports as it gets, but if you factor in any possibility of a sports scholarship into your justification for participating as a kid, you are as backwards as it it gets and part of the problems that are raised in this thread and in debates all across the country.
  19. In the interest of time I'll comment on just this piece for now. I disagree 100%. If you wait the decision has already been made. And it's not just sports, it could be any other potentially conflicting activity. If a kid can't join scouts until say 3rd grade, the issue becomes "Johnny you can't do scouts because already have x, y, & z." By recruiting early, you at least can get in the door with some you might not have otherwise seen if the start was later.
  20. And I'll take a stab at a more serious answer too. I like that the CS program has defined standards. That's what allows it to be consistently recognized (unlike the GS which I commented about doesn't seem to stand for much beyond cookies to many). Regarding the new program, I say let's give it a chance. It needs at least a year or two for some best practices to be developed and shared. At least initially I think the renewed emphasis on more traditional scoutcraft is a good thing.
  21. And I rarely hear any comments about the Girls Scouts beyond selling cookies. I have no idea what they do or stand for.
  22. A few posts have directly or indirectly question the value of sports in society from a few perspectives - as a profession, from what it contributes society, as an entertainment outlet. Sure those can be debated, but it veers from the what I think was the original question (or at least an early tangent) and that is the value of youth sports participation - not sports professions. Just because a kid is unlikely to be a college or professional athlete doesn't mean there isn't much to be gained from participation as a youth. The same argument could be said about tons of other things - odds are the kid won't be a renowned physicist so why take science every day in school or the kid can't draw a stick figure so what's the value in required art?
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