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About AnotherDad

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  1. I am sorry you had that experience, luckily I have never been in a similar situation. The den leaders or parents submitted a list of 5 activities from a list of about 15 requirements and electives. You were guaranteed 3 of the 5, but you didn't know which ones until you arrived. For us, "Earth Rocks" was a geology and rock experimentation activity. Into the Woods / Into the Wild was a combined activity that included a hike, discussion of plants and animals, and even discussion/demonstrations of what plants are edible. We also had a conservation project where the kids planted seeds in a field to promote butterfly habitats. "Build It" was a woodworking activity where the scouts build a catapult-like device to launch things into the air as well as a porcupine project that used nails as hair to let the kids practice using a hammer. Other packs had other requirements and electives. Groups also had either archery or BB-guns, bouldering, and gaga-ball. Overall good time.
  2. One of our council camps held a Webelos Camporee (Webelosree) this past weekend. I thought it went well with about 180 scouts attending. This involved a full day of activities on Saturday, camping Saturday night, and a morning activity on Sunday before closing ceremony at 11:30am. Most of the activities were oriented toward completion of requirements or electives, but some were just for fun. I had a combined group of nine scouts from the Webelos and AOL dens, missing only two from the pack. This was a very efficient and effective way of completing adventures since the activity leaders all had more experience in the topic than I had and most came from scouting backgrounds (which I lack). I chose to only complete electives so that both the Webelos and AOL scouts could participate in the same activities. Three of the Nine kids did not camp out, but still attended the Saturday program. We completed Into the Wild, Into the Woods, Earth Rocks, and Build It. In the evening we also cooked our dinners in foil packets on charcoal and practiced starting fires with ferro rods to complete the Castaway elective we started the week before. If your council or district has an activity like this, I strongly encourage you to take advantage of it. The scouts got a lot out of it without me having to put too much into it. Maybe next year I will volunteer to run one of the activities to help pay it forward. By the way, I love the activities for Webelos and AOL Scouts. This has been a very fun year so far for me and them.
  3. As an update, the activity day went very well. We completed Cast-Iron Chef, Webelos Walkabout, Outdoor Adventurer (Option B), and even got most of Castaway completed. However since I originally posted this I lost most of my Webelos den. One moved away and two dropped out to pursue sports, leaving me with only two. The AOL leader and his son decided they didn't want to come back this year, so I took on both dens (I have a son in each den). Having Webelos and AOL at the activity day made it even better. I had an adult from each den who helped since the activities were slightly different. I already reserved the lodge and having just two scouts would have been no fun, so it was an obvious decision. I asked the parents of the scouts who dropped out if moving to Saturday events influenced their decision and they said no. However I still wonder if this was a factor. None of the AOL scouts dropped out, though one could not make the Saturday event due to Lacrosse practice.
  4. At one camping themes pack meeting I included a station that includes sleeping bags with backpacker style sleeping mat along side a car camping style air mattress so the kids could try them out and see the difference. They had to answer two questions: 1) Which is more comfortable? 2) Which one would you want to carry for a long distance?
  5. Our small pack has struggled with getting parents to volunteer. The Cubmaster has been doing three or four jobs. In May and June we sent out emails and asked for help at the end of year pack meeting. Only one adult stepped up. We really thought that we would not be able to re-charter this year because we didn't have enough adults. Through my travels (BALOO or maybe on this forum) I was given the seed of an idea that ended up working well, so I wanted to share. During our first pack meeting of the school year (tonight), adults were asked to fill out a small name tag to stick to their shirt when they came in. One of the leaders stood at the sign in table to make sure they knew what to do. Then while I was running an activity with the kids, the Cubmaster explained that we were looking for adult volunteers and after covering the rest of the business, she directed the adults to the "Adult Participation Board" that had a bunch of statements (15) on it. They were asked to stick their name tag to one of the statements. Instead of asking for someone to volunteer to be the treasurer, the statement said, "I can do the banking for the Pack". A sample of other statements were, "I can keep track of adult volunteer's training requirements", "I can help organize one Den meeting or activity for my child's group" and "I can lead an outdoor activity such as a hike or nature walk". Anyway, we had 9 adults volunteer and one adult volunteered for multiple positions. They all stuck their name tag sticker to the board. About 75% of the adults volunteered to do something. I am thrilled with these results. I don't fully understand why it worked, but it did!
  6. Not very realistic or desirable in my opinion. I considered this for my own sons, but after two years found that they are somewhat neutral to earning belt loops/pins. As long as they get to participate in recognition events, they seem happy. They would rather run around playing tag on the playground with their den than doing an adult led activity for the sake of earning an elective. It turns out that earning electives was more important to me than it was for them. Another hint for me was that only one other scout in my den completed any of the optional electives on their own, although I encouraged parents and the kids to look in the book and find something that interested them or attend electives at the council center. I even put up the advancement chart at several den meetings so they could put stickers on the new electives they completed. I now find it more valuable to try to repeat certain things with my own boys rather than teach them something new. For example, they "got credit" for tying a square knot and two half-hitches as wolves and bears, but quickly forgot how to do it. So every few months we practice to try to keep these skills fresh. If they can start boy scouts knowing how to setup a tent, tie a few knots, start a fire, cook some food, take care of minor injuries, and work together in a team to plan and implement something (anything) without arguing, I will be a proud dad and den leader.
  7. AnotherDad


    I am using Target Up and Up brand clear portion control snack sized (3.5x6") zip lock bags and trying to keep everything as flat as possible to easily fit in cargo pant side pockets or the outermost pocket of a backpack. There is not too much in each and I have yet to calculate the costs, but I suspect it could not be more than $6 each for the kids ($36 for the den). Bandaids of a few sizes, 3x3 Gauze pad, Wet One packet, Medi-first antiseptic wipe packet, Saftec antibiotic packet, Banana Boat Sunscreen packet, Walgreens bite and sting relief packet, popsicle stick wrapped in medical tape, and an emergency whistle. I carry a second zip lock snack pack that also contains folding scissors, toilet paper, steri-strips, wound seal, Tylenol packet, Advil Packet, Benadryl Pill, Deep Woods Off Packet, and a tick removal key. The rest of the big stuff normally stays in the car. I got quite a list of things to add after BALOO training, but even then it will be one kit for the whole group. Sorry I cant help with the intent of the question which was how to obtain these materials for free. I slightly over funded my HSA account last year and decided to buy this stuff "out of pocket". My cubmaster approaches businesses for donations quite a few times during the year, but I have never done this as a den leader. If I was to attempt something like this I would want to clear it through my CM (or someone else on the pack committee who is involved in this kind of stuff).
  8. I logged into my.Scouting to see if there were any new courses. I recall reading somewhere about new ones being posted. I was a bit surprised to see four positions that had 0% complete for training. These appear to be the same positions that were there before (Den Leader, Cub Master, Pack Committee Member, PC Chair). My Learning tab shows all of the courses I completed last fall, but some of them have a blue "New" box. I am trying to figure out what the expectation is for completing these new courses. It seems crazy that I would have to redo position specific training I just completed 5 months ago, but if that is required I will do it. Can anyone point me to some information that helps understand if this is required.
  9. Thanks for the feedback. @Eagledad I will certainly seek out a local troop to help. I don't know anyone in the troop and I don't think we have any Den Chiefs in the pack, but I think some of the other leaders have older kids in Scouts so they might be able to make the introductions. @ParkMan yes, you read that correctly. I am not sure of all the reasons our pack is different and has dens meet infrequently, but I was told that it was to accommodate families with multiple activities and so that it is less demanding on the leaders. However its not set in stone and I have the freedom to schedule meetings and activities at other locations. I like the idea of having the Webelos involved in the planning. I do all the planning now, but I have read about how the older Scouts operate and it might not be a bad idea to begin transitioning with some small decisions and simple planning and see how it goes. Thank You both for the suggestions. It provides some reinforcement that I am on the right track and there are even more resources out there than I had been considering.
  10. I am looking ahead to Webelos later in the year. Instead of meeting once a month for 60-75 minutes at the local elementary school (our pack norm), I am planning to have all-day (likely Saturday) activities at the local park where we can work on an entire adventure or multiple portions of several adventures all in one day. I reserved a small lodge at the park with the thought that we could do some outdoor cooking, fire starting, first aid, hiking, etc. Does anyone have any experience bringing the kids together for all-day (6+ hours) activities instead of (or in addition to) short den meetings? If so can you offer any advice on how to make this go smoothly, get the buy-in from the parents, and ensure the kids have a great time?
  11. I have noticed my own tendency to want to change how things are done or be critical of some of the other scout leaders. When I completed my training and recognized just how far my pack had deviated from recommended practice, the urge to point all of this out to the other leaders began to strengthen. Then I completed some face-to-face training and had the chance to hear from other leaders who were doing great things and again I had the urge to tell my CM about how everyone else was doing things and suggest that we should try some of them. It takes a conscious effort not to act on these thoughts. I suspect this individual (potential CM) has never been a leader of other volunteers and doesn't know that scorched earth strategies take years to recover from and the amount of work he is taking on is tenfold. If he ever becomes a leader (I hope not), he will start to berate the parents and other volunteers for not doing things his way. As you describe it, I am not sure this situation is recoverable. In the end, the decisions should be centered around what is in the best interest of the kids, including the child he is bringing to the meetings. Happy volunteers (adult leaders) are a necessary part of this program. So please consider what it will take to keep the most number of these adult leaders happy in the long run. This is usually the same decisions that are in the best interest of the most number of kids.
  12. Our pack does not have instructor led training. In Fall 2018 I completed everything online and this took about 6-8 hours split up over a week. I found it a bit tedious in online format, but it worked. I learned quite a bit, including recognizing all of the things the previous den leader did not do (like wear a uniform) and the things our pack does differently than is suggested by training. I then attended BALOO which was maybe 10 hours of instruction and an overnight camp-out at the council camp. I learned a little more about the background behind Leave No Trace and got a lot out of campfire program planning. We also made and cooked the foil packet dinners as a practical demonstration of one of the simple ways to help the kids cook. Out of 10 hours, I think 3 or 4 hours I found useful. The rest was refresher of things I was very familiar with already. I am signed up for "University of Scouting" this spring which is a council led all-day training at the local college. The topics seem interesting and I am looking forward to it (Dutch Oven Cooking, Den Chiefs, Outdoor Program Planning, etc.).
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