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Everything posted by aveline

  1. This sounds exactly like the membership organization I chose many years ago when GS wasn't really "my thing". We called it 4-H. It's still around, isn't it? Suited us very well, my older sister the book-worm, and my younger brother who is a professional stunt man included! Any family who wants a club that morphs to fit small groups and even individuals would do well to start or join a like-minded club. I'm not being sarcastic, I'm pointing out an organization that already does this and no one seems to be mentioning. I even went to 4-H camp and loved it...cabin camping - boys on one side and girls on the other with a few shared activities for older scouts...something for almost everyone! (I was in a club with my sister and her friends - friends of mine moved from GS to form another club and my brother had a different type of club that emphasized the outdoors and started as all boys but had both boys & girls before long) Where I live now was once a vibrant 4H community and there's nothing here to show for it, which disappoints me but not enough to revive it singlehandedly. I have 2 sons and they've had great experiences as Cubs (as have I as first a den leader and now a pack CC) and my older is faring well in his troop. I'm fine with the status quo of boys-only and co-ed Venturing. I think that makes very reasonable accommodations for everyone. When my fellow leaders who have older daughters saw what our WeBeLos scouts do, they and their GS daughters wanted to participate, too. Our Webelos Skills volunteer is a Troop leader and an Eagle Scout who himself has daughters and no sons. He held similar classes for the GS Troop those sisters were in because he wanted to impart the same skills to those like-minded girls who wanted them! Everyone wins and no one disparages anyone else. We can all play together even if it's not actually together...who knows, some of those girls (who left GS after earning "Silver") may become Venture scouts - their brothers are still in Scouting, with active parents. But, if BSA does make the move to include girls from year one in all programs, then they don't owe any other organization the benefit of their decision-making process to do so. Their members, yes. The GSA, no. Nor Cooperative Extension, the Fireside Girls, Junior Achievement or anyone else. My background is in membership organization management and a Board needs to do what's right for the organization as the top priority. Sure, that means change and sure there's no one change that will ever make EVERYONE happy under the BSA umbrella. But nice try GSUSA, no one is being "sneaky". I'm a progressive woman and if the BSA DID make decisions based on what GSUSA wanted, I'd be rather upset! Am I the only one here who DOESN'T think they're about to open membership to girls?? In my experience nothing happens quickly in the BSA (10 year "pilot" just to see if Kindergarten boys should join?? Painfully slow and kinda insulting to boys when girls are already Daisies, no? I appreciate the painstaking effort to make the program age-appropriate but it's not the right pace for our current world - how do you go from THAT to a snap decision to include girls??) Frankly, BOTH organizations need to focus on their own missions and build their memberships accordingly. Yes to all who say that more minorities or other populations should be embraced. I can see it in my own Pack and I want us to do better, but it's a bit of a culture-thing (Boy Scouts more likely than Cubs so that may help us in our approach). I value diversity and our pack does so well in that area that we have a very successful International Night pack meeting every year. I'll keep an eye on this in the news and in these forums as it's an interesting topic. I just don't think it's a change we're likely to see in the near future.
  2. Is there an existing event you could move to this time & location? Make it easy on the adults...? My older son was in a huge year of cubs throughout - we had three dens in our school since his Tiger year (more than half the boys in the grade!). When it came time for the 28-30 Bears to do their traditional Rain Gutter Regatta, we could see it would be tough to invite all the boys to one backyard (traditional location). So, we moved it to the front of the school on a Friday in the spring when the PTO (our CO) sold ice cream. We knew others would be sticking around for the ice cream and that drew more attention. Most of the Bears participated and it's been done that way since. It sounds like a fun idea to have something others can participate in, as well. If you make extra trimarans, it's easy enough to invite others to race each other or take on cubs, etc. Use the school in your marketing - ask for your event to be read in the announcements (maybe your older cubs can write the announcement and read it). Have the boys wear their uniforms or pack t shirts that day (we do t shirt for regatta and uniforms the day of our evening Open House/recruitment night). It helps when boys hear from boys and then talk it up themselves at home! (I should add that we live in a small enough town that kids don't take a bus, so you're either picked up after school or in the after-care program & that may make it easier for us logistically.)
  3. Ooops, I'm sorry - I was replying to the replies and missed the point of the original post! We didn't have the Lions perform a skit, but if they choose to do one they can (Dens all do skits at our B&G). Without a patch or scarf, they didn't "move up" as the Cubs did but we did have leaders call their names just as the other dens so they could cross the stage. We incorporate the Lions into pack meetings just as we always did with younger siblings & sisters who attend. They don't participate in the flag ceremonies like cubs but the rest of the program they do. They get PWD kits to make and race like everyone else (our District Derby for the winners had Lions race with Tigers, it seems - both years are sent to race). Often, we arrange our pack meetings into stations so the boys rotate through activities around the room and we mix the groups by age where it's possible. The Lions who didn't camp this year still came to eat and run around with the others because our Camp Out (in the local park) is THEIR moving up ceremony. When it gets dark, we give them each their own lantern (from 5Below, but they love it) and they have a procession around the park while the older scouts form an arch with their arms when they return to the pavilion. An older scout sometimes says a few words & the CM presides but it's informal and quite KISMIF. The dads who didn't stay over both said they wished they had and they will next year - but sometimes the parents and the children need to see for themselves before they're "sold". And what's in their tent in future years but that 5Below lantern. My now Webelos son treasures his and he was our first year of Seekers (now Lions) I hope that helps you, OP!
  4. Scouting is fun and social, which is why we joined in the first place and part of why we're in it still...and increasingly "in" with larger roles as adult leaders. This "Fun with a Purpose" is work for leaders and work for scouts, as they grow from boys into not just men but the men we wish them to become. No one in K is ready for the responsibilities that an older Cub can shoulder, let alone that of teens. Same can be said for the activities, but it's not hard to include the littlest ones. Before we had the Lions pilot, we created our own K scouts group - we had to name it "Seekers" and couldn't call it Cub Scouts, but it was adapted from the Learning for Life BSA program and we carefully chose how it would be run and how the two groups would come together. Between our two packs in town, our leaders and some really strong scouts all came from Seekers. Starting in 1st grade hurts our program as the boys are too involved with sports and other activities by then - starting in K when many families are new to the various programs and activities means that we can more easily show them the value of participating in Scouts. And, part of that value, as we see it, comes from the younger boys following the lead of the older Cubs and that the older Cubs can have the early experience of leadership and being such a role model. During Webelos & AOL years, our boys lead a pack meeting where they show the others (including younger siblings and sisters) knots, lashings, first aid, etc. That they know - and can teach - these skills is something the parents understand that they can't get from travel soccer and piano lessons. (We're so lucky that our Webelos get the skills from Boy Scout leaders and Scouts during many practices over the fall and winter months!!) Our Lions seem to have a good Pack experience - from the PWD to the service projects and our overnight in the park! Count us in as FOR the Lions program...even though it may need to evolve over time.
  5. You sound accomplished and dynamic! Like someone who will give back as much as or more than he's received - Best wishes to you as you do so!
  6. How sad and terrible but also how touching. My condolences.
  7. If the patrol method is working in cubs, then that's a good work-around. We tried something similar but Tiger year for my little guy was a bust. Tiger year for my older son was our start in scouting and we had lots of recruits that year so the Committee Chair sat the leaders down together and we went through the list and carved out two dens. It was a little painful but necessary - we soon became three dens of up to 11 boys each! (Cubs took on a life of its own in that grade, over half the boys my son's grade were in the pack) Through attrition we still had 25 boys get AOL at the end and most went on to the two troops in town. Now my younger son finished Bear year in a den of 11 while the other den has 9, but our pack has a more serious Scout focus in Webs/AOL (meeting almost weekly for months to do outdoor skills, etc) so we may be losing more boys who play travel teams, etc. We'll see what happens in September but I hope we still have two healthy dens! We have between 8-10 per den in most years. It's not ideal, I'd say 6-8 works better. But, it's hard enough to have leaders step up and sometimes cubs move away or move into other activities so we don't see 8-10 as a problem.
  8. That's a real thing, isn't it?!? I grew up in the NY suburbs and didn't hear this until college in MD. When I married, I moved to NJ (still NYC area) and much closer to the GSP than the Turnpike. I guess I'd say I'm exit 11. Nice to meet you!
  9. aveline

    Using the book

    The den I lead was the last year to use the old books. I led the den with two other moms & we'd meet to go over both books and plan the meetings from there. We read more as the boys matured and learned to do the reading parts over snack time. Generally it was an adult reading and it wasn't the highlight of the meetings, but it worked. Another leader would sit the boys on the floor in a circle and read with them. It may depend on the "personality" of your den. The religious and youth protection information was always assigned reading for parents to do at home until our Webelos year, when we did more with the religious requirements as a den.
  10. To quote Continental Congressman John Dickenson in 1776, "It's somewhere between New York and Pennsylvania" (but only because I like that line, clearly you know exactly where to find NJ!)
  11. We sold just over $4,000 in popcorn (in a pack that could once run all events on popcorn money - it's dwindled greatly over the past five years). We added Fun Pasta company fundraiser this year and that took in $1,000 for our pack. We raised dues to $110 (from $100 for the past decade or more), and we charge as little as we can for events - $20/family for B&G (hot buffet dinner), $5 Raingutter Regatta (Bear year only), Camp out/Cook out is free. We ask families to bring food to certain events (desserts for B&G, PWD and Holiday meeting) and used to ask for water but now only bring a few jugs to refill the reusable water bottles we ask everyone to bring. We looked at first aid kits and other ideas to raise money but in the end, one mom liked the pasta her friend was selling in another town and she offered to run this - so that wins! I'm pretty sure we'll do popcorn & pasta again! The trouble you may find with another fundraiser is that you start the year with popcorn and then it's the holidays - you don't want to sell anything during those months...we have Scouting for Food in March/April so we don't want to do a FR then, either and usually FOS in April or May. That really just leaves February for any true selling. For our group, anyway - it's something to think about. I agree with others who stick with the popcorn to support the Council and the unit! *edited to correct dues amount.
  12. I'm not new to Scouts, but just finding this great site and forums! I'm a Pack CC in NJ (yes! NJ!), a former den leader and a mom of both a Scout-rank Scout and a Webelos. No Lions when we started so we created Seekers for Kindergarten boys (based on the Scouting for Life program) and now we're trying out the Lions Not getting boys involved from K was holding us back a bit...everything else starts in K! I wish I were a talented graphic artist - I wanted to create an eye-catching page to summarize our pack's great year and couldn't find a decent template, let alone one for infographics. Yes, the projects and awards stand on their own merits, but I wanted a way to convey the spirit of the past year. Not to mention, the great things to come... Best wishes to all - see you around!
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