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Posts posted by SlowDerbyRacer

  1. Curious about your approach.  Are the 600 homes a targeted list, or are you papering a neighborhood?  I gotta think there's a more cost effective and efficient way to reach people.  For us our main method is a table at the local schools' Back to School nights.  That hits your target market straight on. 

  2. On 6/20/2018 at 4:07 PM, Fehler said:

    The Arrow of Light is still a Cub Scout award.  The Scout does not need to "prove he has accomplished" anything.  The Cub Scout merely has to "Do His Best".

    While technically true, people need to actually understand what Do Your Best means.  It is not a license to simply pass a kid along.  It does not mean a kid gets to check a box because he tried and didn't succeed the first time.  It actually means do your best.  Showing up and being present on the day a topic is reviewed is not doing one's best is 99.9% of cases.  A kid must make a real effort.

    And I'll turn it back on the leaders - did the leaders do their best in helping a kid grasp the material?

    • Like 1
  3. 15 hours ago, HashTagScouts said:


    Sadly, I have also see several scouts leave when they came from a very active Webelos Den that spent a great deal of time trying to prepare the boys to crossover in February and get to Scout rank as soon as they crossed to the troop.  I attribute it to "Scouting fatigue".  The Boy Scouts didn't feel very different to them in program, and they didn't see a great deal of value in going to summer camp (spending the whole week without my phone/tablet/gaming system?!?!).  By the fall, they leave.  And where in the Cubs they could get away with missing every other meeting and every other weekend activity, they can't do that in Boy Scouts and advance as fast as their peers.

    I'm going to use your Scouting fatigue comment to jump in a slightly different direction because I think that fatigue is only going to get worse with the introduction of the Lion rank.  That's another year of kids doing similar adventures across ranks.  (Ho many police or fire station trips can you take?)  I suspect adding Lion is going to lead to kids burning out well before Soy Scouts.  And it could also lead to kids not joining in the 2nd & 3rd grades - "why should I join, I already missed 2 (3) years?"

    • Like 1
    • Upvote 1
  4. 3 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

    This is 100% right. As a Webelos leader, it's on me to make sure boys are totally prepared for what they are going to encounter in the Boy Scout program. If they haven't earned the rank of Scout within a few weeks of moving on, I can only assume I failed to prepare them somehow. Whenever my boys get close to turning 11, I spend the last few weeks with them preparing for the Scout rank by reviewing the Scouting Adventure adventure and making sure they are comfortable with the requirements. We also visit the 11 year-old patrol frequently so that the boys are familiar with how their meetings are run. 

    Our den has a "patrol" name, flag, patch and shout, and our monthly denner has a number of supervised duties to help the boys gain leadership experience. The whole POINT of Webelos is preparing boys to get a head start with their Boy Scout experience!

    Oh good! Because I really like what you have been saying about Webelos programs, as evident in my previous post above. :)

    Yep, it appears you and I see things along the same lines and operate similarly, CO differences aside. 

    I'll also say I think there is an unintended benefit of the lighter Webelos/AoL requirements.  Because there is less to do, and less of of a time crunch, more time can be spent on certain things.  For example, we are implementing the patrol method and are really trying to let the boys take ownership of it.  And because of the lighter schedule we can allow them to stumble on their own as they find their way.  There's no rush to get something done so we can move on.  It's tough at times to sit back and watch them trip over themselves and seemingly spin their wheels, but they still impress more than they disappoint.  

  5. 5 minutes ago, Terasec said:

    my gripe with AOL requirements and cub scouting in general is a cub can go through 5 yrs of cubs and obtain AOL without ever going camping

    at some point overnight camping should have been a requirement to earn such badge,


    Yep.  I agree with you.  I suspect the change was made to not lock out urban kids or others who may not have access to camping for a variety of reasons.  If they are going to keep the ranks stripped of camping, maybe there are other ways to work in camping.  Perhaps a Camping Chip, much like a the Whittling Chip?

  6. 2 minutes ago, The Latin Scot said:

    Well then it's important for you to know that I AM in an LDS pack, and that's how we do things - standard LDS policy is that boys advance by age, so from 10 to 11 they are Webelos Scouts. The BSA has always been very accomodating to us in that regard; it fits how we run our children's programs, and the BSA has long granted us the right to operate our program in that way. And I never tamper with advancement criteria; if anything I am known for being determinedly orthodox in my expectations. So I would be happy to know what other things "concern" you, as I am confident that I run my program as close to policy as it can possibly be run. But do share if you have questions. ;)

    Nope, you're good.  That's why I made the LDS carve out in my original comment.

    • Thanks 1
  7. On 6/3/2018 at 12:22 PM, Ranman328 said:

    Also of note is that this scout just joined Cub Scouts in October of 2017 and received his Webelos rank at the end of January 2018 three months later.  I was in the first group to go through the new Webelos and AOL program.  The new program started when my Cub Scouts went from Bears to Webelos.  I don't see how they are doing it in three months and providing a quality program for these boys.  I have a few scouts in my Troop from the old program that still don't know how to function as a Patrol and can't recite the Scout Oath, Scout Law, and outdoor code properly.  That just tells me that they were not prepared to become boy scouts. 

    I agree, I was disappointed at the stripped down AoL program as well.  They really need most of the year to prepare for Boy Scouts.  I am seeing way too many boys coming over to Boy Scouts not knowing the basics.

    I agree the new program is light but argue that that's not the reason scouts are joining troops unprepared.  The Scouting Adventure requirement for AoL is virtually identical to the Scout rank in Boy Scouts.  If a scout earns AoL and still joins Boy Scouts unprepared, I put that on the cub leaders for passing along a kid who didn't really meet the AoL requirements as opposed to blaming the thinner rank requirements.  To earn the AoL rank the scout must still "know how to function as a Patrol and can't recite the Scout Oath, Scout Law, and outdoor code properly."


    • Like 1
  8. On 6/3/2018 at 1:51 PM, The Latin Scot said:

    That's why I dislike the idea of a program "year" starting in June or September or whatever. My program is ongoing, with no "beginning or end." The way my CO runs it, boys become Webelos Scouts when they turn 10 and cross over to Boy Scouts at 11. So I don't wait for any specific times to award them any rank - once they complete the requirements, they advance in rank. SO usually, that means 3 - 4 months after their birthday they earn their Webelos rank, and 6 - 8 months after they earn their Arrow of Light. This results in boys earning these ranks throughout the year, and usually there are only a few boys earning rank at any given pack meeting. It makes it much less of a bother to "get it done," because the boys are moving at their own pack, and never feel left out if they don't earn a rank "with all the other boys" because they all earn it at different times anyway.

    Sometimes there are unusual cases. I have had boy join my group a few months after they have turned 10 already, which may mean making choices. If possible, I have them work solely on the Arrow of Light, but if they won't have 6 months to complete the tenure requirement, we just focus on the Webelos rank, and we don't make a big deal about his not being able to complete the AofL. Fortunately, since there isn't any "end of the program year," there are no overwrought Arrow of Light/Crossing-over bonanzas for him to feel left out of, so I never have any boys or parents complaining if the AofL isn't earned. There's also a lot of communication going from the beginning so that it's never a last-minute shock if it doesn't happen - I make plans with families as soon as boys enter the den, so if certain awards can't reasonably be earned, it's something we are all prepared to deal with. 

    It's a very nice, stress-free way to deal with rank advancement in Webelos, and as a result I have never had to deal with any serious parental complaints in the 2 1/2 years I have been doing this. I recommend it to anybody looking for ways to help Cub Scout families - if not the calendar changes, at least the communication part.

    This appears to be in violation of the Guide to Advancement.  No leader, pack, etc can add/delete/change the advancement criteria.  Unless you are an LDS pack which goes by age, you cannot impose restrictions like making a scout wait until he's 10 to join a Webelos den.  You've mentioned other things of concern as well.

  9. There are cases where it may be of value to cross over early.  Take for example a kid who participates in a spring sport like baseball or lacrosse.  If he crosses over at a traditional time, he may run into a bunch of conflicts such as not being able to camp on the weekends that first spring.  If he starts BS in the fall of his 5th grade year, he can get some camping and other pre-reqs done as opposed to essentially waiting a year.

    Another factor to consider is the effect of the stripped down AoL program.  When they eased it up a year or two ago they went way to far in my opinion.  It's not unrealistic for a kid to be done with his AoL requirements before he even starts the 5th grade.  Why just pass time running out the clock in cub scouts if you can get started in boy scouts?

  10. It would be interesting to read momma den leader's version of this.  I agree she is far less than ideal and I'd probably not want her running a den in our pack, but on the other hand, there are some positives.  As bad den leaders go, she's not that bad (note I compared her to bad leaders, not good ones).  She at least takes initiative in doing activities and outings, appears interested in directing the boys toward advancement, and is giving of her time to the boys.  Her issues appear to be around the bureaucracy, formality, and structure of the cub scout program.  From what you've said, and my own limited understanding of the girls' program, she's running it like that.


    It sounds as if there have already been attempts made to coach this leader and it appears she has not been receptive.  If I had a vote, I'd be inclined to let her ride out the year and look to replace her as the den becomes wolves.

    • Upvote 1
  11. Let me clarify: No offsite data back up. Also, no secondary production system. I know a bit about their technical architecture. Not to be pedantic but I will explain it this way:

    • The SB primary system is hosted in one data center. That means all the computers on which the SB application runs, and all of your data, is in one location.
    • SB is in an active-passive configuration. This means that there is a primary system online, which is what you use to access the application and your data. Simply said, the computers on which your application and data sit rely on a single group of computers to stay up and running. If something happens they (BSA) have the option to turn on the back-up system (which is a development environment).
      • So if there is an outage or problem with the main production system it may take a while for BSA to cut over to the secondary system....if at all.
      • You have experienced this if you've ever used myscouting.org. When it is down it takes a while to come back online, and then it is VERY slow.
    • Because this is a single location where the system is hosted, if there is a problem you could lose access to your application and data.
      • If a backhoe cuts the power lines to the data center where this is hosted, you have no access to your system. They cannot turn on the back up system because it is located in the same building.
      • Same for if the backhoe hits the telecommunications lines. No access and it make take days to get restored.
    • Because this is a single location, if there is an act of God (or Rock, if you're an Atheist) and the building in which this system is hosted gets damaged or destroyed, you lose your data.
      • All data is on a storage array on the data center floor. If that gets destroyed you are toast. No data.
      • All the data gets backed up (to tape....yes some folks still use tape). The tapes are stored on site in the same building as the SB system. If the building is destroyed your data back ups (as well as your live data) get destroyed.
      • Back tapes are sent off site every month. If you are lucky you can get your month-old data back once they find a new building to rebuild the entire platform in.

    As a comparison, Minecraft is hosted in the Amazon cloud, has an active-active environment (think: one goes down, the other is up right away), uses more than one data center for both application and data. Cost: $20....once. ;)


    Scoutbook is $10-$40/year. Just sayin'. ;)

    The red gives me the most concern.  Potential of losing years of records that in some cases might not be written down anyplace else if a scout/pack/troop is 100% Scoutbook.  The brown (offsite tapes) makes it more tolerable, but even that is frought with issues.  Unfortunately their approach to handling disaster is more disaster recovery versus a true operational plan B.


    I liken it to the fire department.  They depend on hydrants, but if there's a hydrant issue (main break, frozen, etc) they easily can use water stored in the pump truck.  But using what appears to be the Scoutbook model, they'd first try to fix the water main and wait to fight the fire.

  12. ...and it has not data back up. If the primary hosting site becomes a smoking hole then you lose your data. Until they establish onsite and offsite data back ups or replication, it won't be any good as a tool.


    Really???  No data back up?  Do you have a source for this?  This is a huge deal.

  13. I appreciate both those suggestions, unfortunately we are in northern minnesota and will be completing these adventures in January.  Cold, dark, and snow are the 3 words that come to mind making those suggestions difficult to complete.



    however the birdhouse idea might be workable as its something that can be done inside.


    Northern Minnesota?  Go find some local folks with physical and/or financial challenges (handicapped, elderly , etc) and shovel them out after a storm.

  14. ... Without councils we couldn't function.  ...


    I'd argue otherwise.  I see so much on this board relating to the council and district.  At the end of the day this is kid centric program, and ideally at the boy scout level, a boy led program.  You could deliver 95%+ of scouting with just your local volunteers and the scout book to guide the program.  

  15. Thanks, yeah I figured the most simple/logical route would be the way to go.  I don't like to sugar coat stuff, and quite honestly I've never been a fan of "give a kid something for not trying", like a consolation prize.  


    You didn't earn it, you don't get it.


    These days, that's likely to get you sued (or worse) though, just wanted to see what others might be doing in that situation.


    I'd be hugely disappointed if any den or pack handed out awards for kids who didn't complete the task solely because they didn't want a kid to feel bad.  When the motto is Do Your Best, all integrity in the program is lost for freebie awards. 

  16. Unlike the old program where scouts could mix and match elective items to build up arrow points, the new program requires a scout to fully complete an elective adventure in order to earn the adventure loop.  I see no realistic way for a den to devote enough time to covering all the electives in a year so scouts are left to work individually if they want to earn extra loops beyond what is covered as a den.


    However, it seems as if every elective adventure has at least one requirement with a "with your den" element.  How can scouts complete these requirements if they don't have any control over what is done at den meetings?  It doesn't seem right of the answer is "well, then they just can't earn it."

  17. avoid the temptation to be a baggie pack.

    That's what my pack has always done, since before my time.

    and with the exception of AOL, have never done any sort of ceremony. meaningful or otherwise.....

    call the name, he earned this, that, and the other thing.... hand him the bag, everyone claps


    I was never happy doing that


    The best I have read for larger packs is to do them in mass


    will the following boys come to the front

    when they get there, you say these boys have earned X

    I suppose you could then even elaborate with some sort of ceremony or whatever


    Then do the next group of awards.


    Some boys may get called to the front a few times in the evening if they earned more than one award....


    Just curious, what is it about the baggie approach that you don't like?  At least that way a kid gets called up individually.

  18. Actually the sport was a rowing/crew.  Lots of high school teams were there, it involved racing, time-trials, etc.  The parent in question has a preference for the usual team sports, basketball, football, etc.  I wanted to expose the den to a sport that was relevant to the region I live in, is actually a challenging TEAM sport and requires planning and real effort to be successful.  Not unlike the other "traditional" sports.


    I got some really good feedback from the other parents, the kids had fun, and everyone learned something new.  The cubmaster and all the leadership has been supportive.  But yeah, I'm thinking there may be a disconnect with this particular person.


    That's a pretty weak move by that parent.  It's one thing to have a preference for certain sports, but it's another to be so narrow minded that you can't expose your kid to something out of your own norm.

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