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Cubby's Cubmaster

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About Cubby's Cubmaster

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    Cincinnati, Ohio
  1. This is going to be an interesting post. I know that we talk (and write here) a lot about leadership and being boy-led. Leadership IS the main reason I have my son in boy scouts and why I encourage him to be in it. As I tell other leaders that prefer adult-led...my son and I don't need to join scouts to go on outings. We do that anyway. A reason I encourage him to be in boy scouts is to learn to lead and work well with others. I firmly believe that Boy Scouting is the best place for training boys to lead. In boy scouts, the crucible for leadership and peer interaction is the patrol. We boy scout leaders spend a lot of time encouraging boy leadership and getting to the ideal (and 'Holy Grail') of a boy-lead troop. My view is that some of the scout skills and methods we use are a bit outdated and not overly useful in the 21st century. Don't get me wrong. I LOVE scout skills. And my enthusiasm for them is contagious. However, how useful really is it to know 10 knots or so, 5 lashings and to be camping in a tent as frequently...to name a few? Now some will say, ABSOLUTELY very useful. But I ask myself, HOW OFTEN do I use scout skills at work and home? Rarely is my answer. Outside of scouting, when was the last time I tied a knot (4 times in last month--same one didn't need to know a taunt-line hitch), a lashing (never), needed to live in a tent (never--and hopefully never!). I realize that scout skills is a tool to get to an end--and we all agree that one of those ends is LEADERSHIP. So, I found it interesting this Saturday morning when my girl scout--whose fraternal twin is a my new boy scout--said, "I'd like to earn an award like by brother". So I looked up Girl Scout awards, she is in 6th grade and can earn the Silver Award. However, while searching for the GSA awards to earn, I found a link I posted below on the NEW GIRL SCOUT LEADERSHIP EXPERIENCE that GSA recently rolled out. Frankly, I was very impressed. It puts the the boy scout leadership training (and adult leadership training, too) I've seen to shame. Rather than focus on self-directed goals (like merit badges) it puts leadership on all the girls. Badges have their place but selecting, leading and doing a service project is the cornerstone of demonstrating leadership. Being an Eagle scout myself, I know that the eagle project is comparable and usually larger than the Girl scout project--depending on scout, troop & council. However, they way that GSA has put leadership as THE focus of their program shows me a lot. Click on the link below. Boys are already behind on standardized tests, going to college, graduating from college, getting into medical school, etc. etc. It won't be long before more boys will be staying at home and girls out working. I think that we and the BSA should take notice and determine if we indeed have a 21st century program that prepares our boys to be future leaders and future bread-winners. The GSA certainly seems to be ready to do that for our girls. Kudos to them. http://www.girlscouts.org/gsle/ Regards, CC
  2. Cubby's Cubmaster

    Classes for Awards

    Not much to add to this post except my own personal experiences with both the Parvuli Dei and the Ad Altare Dei. I earned the AAD as a youth and my son earned PD as a Webelos scout. My AAD was done as a class of 12. The AAD focuses on the sacraments. It was a lot like my CCD preparation for Confirmation. I enjoyed the group discussions in the ADD class and the breakout sessions in small groups. I think it added a lot to my understanding of my faith. I don't think a one-on-one with the AAD counselor would have been as good of a learning experience. This was my experience. As for the PD, we followed the guidelines and I worked with my son directly. Our local catholic church pack ran it as a den program. Given the topics covered, I think it is better to do PD as parent/son. The shared experiences and sharing of faith together were good for both of us. As Stosh says...you're mileage may vary. Regards, CC
  3. Cubby's Cubmaster

    Webelos 2 and Scout at the same time?

    There certainly are a lot of reasons to let him move onto scouts and a lot of reasons to let him stay for his W2 year. My son crossed over last spring. He's have a great time in scouts. He had a great time in cub scouts. All den leaders run things a little different and all boy scout leaders (boys and adults) do things a little bit differently. I think the key is to ask your son what he wants to do. Many boys are in scouts to be with their friends and to have fun. If he 'skips a grade' and his friends don't join boy scouts with him, he might miss them and miss out on the experiences shared with friends. Don't be in a hurry to move him up. While technically it might be possible, I'd recommend you keep him with his grade and his friends. When I was CM, the only time I recommended a cub scout to join scouts before February/March of the 5th grade was if he just moved into town and wanted to join scouts for the first time, at that point, it makes more sense to start as a boy scout than to start as a 5th grade cub scout. Don't expect a perfect scout experience. Many of the things we adults find important are of minor importance to our sons. Being with friends and having fun were the most important things for my son. Also, be careful moving your son to boy scouts too soon. I joined scouting when I was 12 and starting 7th grade and thought it easier for me than scouts that started at age 11 and 6th grade. Now that I am an ASM I see a big difference between 11 and 12 year olds. Waiting until his W2 year is up might make scouting easier and put him in an even better position to learn the more challenging scout skills and take more responsibility on his own for his progress. Good luck. Regards, CC
  4. Cubby's Cubmaster

    When does your troop have a Court of Honor?

    jr56, That is how we did it in cub scouts. We'd bring all scouts of the same rank together to get the award. We'd have the parents behind the scout to hand the rank and get a Mom's pin. I haven't seen that done in boy scouts. But in a large troop it makes sense. I agree that bringing scouts up one at a time when there are 50+ scouts is too time consuming and all get tired quickly. Rank promotion makes a lot of sense. Now for the other awards, in cub scouts we'd put them in a baggy and not talk about them. How would you handle those? Not mention them...or Bring up everyone earning First Aid together then Lifesaving, etc? Kids earning more would get more exercise. ;-) Regards, CC
  5. Cubby's Cubmaster

    How to Encourage Attendance at Courts of Honor?

    To answer a few questions... 1. COH is boy-led but not very exciting. It should be thrown back on the PLC how they want to make it more interesting. 2. Scouts getting awards show up and others do not. 3. Like the COHs, attendance at troop meetings is more common for the newer scouts than older scouts...a common trend. 4. We are a large troop so COHs can take a while. Regards, CC
  6. I've noticed that attendance at Courts of Honor is linked to whether the scout got an award or not. Not surprising. So way less than half the troop might show up for any Court of Honor. My question to the forum is this...how to increase attendance at Courts of Honor? Or is unrealistic to expect scouts not getting an award to attend? Regards, CC
  7. My son joined a troop this year and they had a court of honor in June (lots of new scouts reaching Tenderfoot) September (lots of scouts getting Summer Camp merit badges) March (lots of scouts getting Merit Badge Challenge merit badges) Plus, Eagle Courts of Honor occur when the new Eagle wants so they can be scheduled at various times of year. My question to the forum is this...When does your troop have a Court of Honor? Regards, CC
  8. Cubby's Cubmaster

    Should Troops Limit the Number of New Scouts?

    Great responses! Let me focus the question...if you HAD to restrict the number of new scouts entering your troop, how would you do it? Let me take a stab at an answer, accept W2s from my charter organization's pack first. Next, pick whole dens where there is solid adult leadership and commitment in place. Accept single scouts to round out patrols based on already having friends in the troop or another strong tie-in. Of course, I'd recommend to scouts not joining to join other troops. (In my career as cubmaster, I once had to turn a cub scout to another pack as the Bear den he wanted to join was already at 14 with a stressed out den leader. I really hated doing it and the scout didn't stay with it as he really wanted to be with his friends in our pack. A year later, during fall recruiting, he joined our pack as several openings came and loved it.) Regards, CC
  9. Cubby's Cubmaster

    Can a Troop Be Too Big to Run the Patrol Method?

    Great comments! So Beavah & Stosh (and others that want to chime in)... Would a large troop be more effective using mixed patrols or patrols by school grade? My thoughts are that patrols by school grade would be better as they are have similar interests, similar advancement path and are likely already friends. So when planning outings, it isn't practical to take the whole troop, but there could be a new scout patrol program, middle and older one. So the entire troop meets at a weekly troop program but they are on different outings. I could see such a troop have campouts 2 weekends a month. Thus they could use the same gear over and over and not have 13 chuck boxes, 2 trailers and over-use a campsite. When camping as an entire troop, likely the Troop Method would be used as there wouldn't be enough gear but the duty roster would have patrols rotating through the troop kitchen taking on duties of cooks, clean-up, water, etc. Seems doable and allowing for the Patrol Method to be the primary method. Regards, CC
  10. Building from my related post..."Can a Troop Be Too Big to Run the Patrol Method?"... If a troop is concerned about becoming too big for it's facilities, gear, resources, adult leadership and ability to maintain a quality program, do such troops restrict the number of new scouts allowed to join? If so, how do they select who is in and who is not? (This is a similar issues as the college fraternity 'Rush' selection process.) Regards, CC
  11. Our troop participated in Peterloon last month. (A bi-annual event since 1930 that brings 5000+ scouts from Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky.) Walking through the 5 sub-camps, I noticed some very large troops (80+ scouts). Assuming a patrol has 8 boys, then a troop of 80 could have 10 patrols. 104 scouts would give 13 patrols. Meaning 13 dining flys, 13 chuck boxes, 2-3 troop trailers, etc. Using the 100 yard rule, we'd need 7 or so football fields to have a troop campout! I can see that using the Troop Method would make this easier as food is cooked in one central place and boys camp in tents with no particular patrol makeup. That is how it appeared at Peterloon. While I realize space was tight and this was a special situation, I wonder how those troops function on a regular campout. My question to Scouters Forum is this...at what point does a troop become too big to run the Patrol Method effectively and using the Troop Method is inevitable? Regards, CC
  12. Cubby's Cubmaster

    New advancement coordinator needs help!

    I introduced ScoutTrack to my pack when I moved from another state. Prior to that the cubmaster keep spreadsheet advancement records. And the pack committee chair kept the email list. Needless to say, it was very difficult to keep accurate records. People were left off of emails or old emails didn't get deleted. Advancement ceremonies would be followed by a line of parents saying "My scout didn't get ______ and ______ but they earned it." I've looked into the other programs and ScoutTrack fit our needs best: cost (used to be $45 per year), accessibility (online so every parent can access it), advancement (parents & den leaders enter in advancement; ready made reports to track scout & pack progress; however, it would be better if they interfaced with the BSA for reporting purposes), email list (parents get a password and update their own email, phone addresses, etd.), storage for pack e-files like camping plans, calendar (great tool; sends out reminder emails!, tracking leader training...I could go on. But bottom line, go with an online system so that all can use it and benefit from it...it definately is worth paying $50 per year to do it. Good luck! Cubby's Cubmaster
  13. Cubby's Cubmaster

    Thoughts on Merit Badges from Jambo??

    My 2 nephews ages 14, 12 each earned 9 merit badges at Jambo this year. I was shocked! They decided they'd work their tails off. They got to the merit badge midway when it opened and worked all day every day except the last day they were there. They would have earned 10 each but on the last day they rested and enjoyed the Jambo activities. Go to hand it to them in that they applied themselves...but whew! I attended the 1981 Jambo. I did most of the Jambo activities, earned the 'rocker' patch and never thought about doing the merit badge midway. One reason was I could do merit badges at summer camp or with a troop merit badge counselor--so why waste my time at Jambo doing that. Second reason was there was so much to do...I didn't want to miss it. Before I aged out of scouts, I earned a silver palm so I had no regrets and was glad I did the Jambo activities and not the merit badges. I see from my son's experience (he is an 11 yr old Tenderfoot) that summer camp merit badges are more of a focus than when I was a boy. Some of his friends earned 7 merit badges at summer camp--two earned 8! I never got more than 5 and that was full time work back then, because when I was at summer camp, we cooked for ourselves and had planned troop activities that we didn't want to miss. Back then, most scouts earned 2-4 merit badges during the week. Kids these days don't cook and they don't have much in the way of planned troop activities at summer camp--so I they have more time to work on merit badges. All in all, IMHO I think merit badge and rank requirements are harder these days than when I was a scout. I know the kids have more time at camp (and Jambo if they choose) to earn them. I don't think they are treated differently than I was as a scout as far as fulfilling the requirements--that is, I think the merit badge counselors do their best to ensure the scouts actually do the merit badge work. But seriously, I wonder what their scoutmaster will say when he find out about them earning 9 merit badges at Jambo! YIS, Cubby's Cubmaster
  14. Cubby's Cubmaster

    Cross the entire Pack over

    Hi, Basement Dweller. Our pack has a Move-Up Family Picnic the Thursday before school lets out for the year (usu. the last Thurs of May or first Thurs of June.) The pack provides the grilled meats KNFs,plates & napkins, the pack families brings the sides, desserts, drinks etc. It is one of our most popular events as we play games until past dusk. If the pack runs a surplus we give out neckerchiefs, slides & books. We bring out the pack bridge and have the kids walk across. We also give out leader gifts at this end of the school year event. This year, we advance in rank at the BG Celebration in March and Move Up to the next level by den at the Move Up Picnic in June. Our advancment is over 90%, leader participation at monthly leader meetings is at all time highs and we've got most of our leaders trained and are requiring it for any new leaders. Overall, the Move-Up picnic is part of the program that helps make scouting fun while giving the kids a message that they are no longer tigers but now wolves, no longer wolves but now bears, etc. Hope this helps. Cubby's Cubmaster
  15. Cubby's Cubmaster

    Best AOL & Crossover Ceremonies

    Hi, MNBob. Our pack's ceremony isn't posted online. We don't have a heavy Native American theme to ours. We recognize the boys and give our the AOL patch and Arrow/Plaques. Of note, this year we changed our BG Banquet to a BG Celebration. We charge nothing for it. We dispensed with the dinner and are having desserts. At the beginning of the year, we got DL buy-in to have scouts advance at the BG and not at monthly pack meetings. Thus we are at 92% of the pack getting their advancement for the March BG. We also moved the BG from Feb to Mar so that it would give more time to finish. This worked out well. I expect the pack will continue it next year. I've just about finalized our BG ceremony with our CM for this Friday. I was hoping to get more ideas to share. Please pass along good ideas to share for future BGs. Regards, Cubby's Cubmaster