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Happy Days All


Does anyone know if there are any changes to the advancment requirments or a 180 degree shift in the context of the material. If not, I don't think you have much of a problem. When the Boys Scouts changed their books, they looked completely different and the order of the topics changed. However the context of topics and subjects changed very little. If the advancment requirements don't change in the Cub books, I don't think a scout buying the old book this year will have be a big problem. I would suggest that the den leader ask all the scouts in the den get the same book to prevent confusion when trying to instruct or reference from it.



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Thanks for providing the voice of reason, Barry. That's what I should have said rather than getting irritated.


From what I've seen of the Oklahoma responses on this forum, perhaps I should put that great state on my list of future places to live.


At the moment, however, I am content in Wisconsin, as is my wife. We've lived in Michigan (our home state) Illinois, and now Wisconsin.


I do have to admit that the cheese here is very good. Hee-hee.



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Heres my frustration:


What ought to happen:

1) In January or February a detailed, feature article in Scouting announces the changes to the program and breaks them down for leaders. 2) Sometime in March addenda are made available to local training committees so that they may incorporate the program changes into their late-spring courses for leader looking to get a head start on next year. 3) Locally-reproducible flyers are sent to districts for distribution at the May or June Roundtables. CSRTCs are encouraged to make supplemental training on the new program a part of their Cub Roundtables. It is emphasized that units have the option of continuing with the old program for another year or switching to the new, depending on the inventory of books. 4) New books are available at Scout Shops by June. A note makes it clear that Cubs should make sure they are buying the book their unit plans to use for the coming year. 5) At Roundup night and at the major fall training sessions, the new programs are up and running with units having a clear understanding which book they will be using.


What usually happens:

1) A memo is sent in May to Councils announcing that the program change will happen in July. Some professionals pass the info along to their volunteers, some dont. Rumors of the change begin to appear on Internet bulletin boards. 2) Many Packs buy the old books for graduation presents at their May Pack meeting, not aware that there is an option. 3) A four-paragraph article on the changes appears in Scouting. Leaders who have the ability and initiative to research the changes can get accurate information, but misinformation abounds. Most Cub Leaders are still unaware of the changes. 4) The new books ship from Charlotte on Aug 10. For fear of being stuck with inventories of old book, some shops still dont have the books available until weeks later. 5) September den meetings begin with Scouts in the same dens with different books and different requirements. On their own, trainers try to incorporate the new program into the syllabus, but many just teach the old program.


Okay, so maybe not all of this happens, but those of you who have been around awhile know this rings of he truth.


When it comes down to it, Im just an ol carpenter. I have no experience developing or implementing national programs like this. But if it takes me 15 minutes to write a rollout plan that gives everyone the opportunity to get up to speed, why does National insist on releasing program changes in July? Maybe Im missing something and if so, please enlighten me. But they sure seem to be making this more difficult than it needs to be.


Dave, Im not picking on you in the least bit. Bless you for even bothering to keep up with the boards while on vacation. I know you have less to do with this than anyone else at least we volunteers can gripe and moan without fearing for our jobs. Its a shame no one with gold tabs is a member of the forum, but thats neither here nor there.


Whew, maybe a little WD40 on the vent key will help unstick it.

(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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I'm sure Barry would join me in welcoming you down her in God's Country (Oklahoma) anytime you want to come. Just bring some of that cool northern air with you for those summer campouts!!! You may want to live near Watonga where the Watonga Cheese Factory is though. Just as good as any of that old Wisconsin cheese!!!

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Twocubdad (although I like Mr. Dad as a title) I know you're not picking on me and I appreciate your blessings. I truly do. I am on vacation, but the fact of the matter is that I do not consider posting on this board to be part of my job. It's using part of my expertise, true, but I'm not duty bound to answer. I do it because I enjoy it and really feel welcome.


At any rate, my friend (I don't use that term losely,) you're right about the way it should be. I like your roll out plan for the new books. Your gripes are legitmate and I'm about to provide one scenario that hopefully will illuminate why reality differs from what should be.


My answer, by the way has nothing to do with anyone. I'll just illustrate the valid point of advance copies of the books and why it isn't possible . . .


The only tools I have in front of me are the latest issue of ProSpeak (the professional Scouter's newsletter) and a pocket calculator. The intangible tool I have with me is 15 years of experience.



So let's have some fun and make some projections (assumptions.)


As of 3/31/2003, there were 1,498,565 Cub age boys registered in the BSA. The average district (some are bigger and some are smaller) is 1,000 Cub Scouts. That's 1,498 districts. Now I think most districts have at least 5 people on the Cub training staff, but let's say there's an average of 3 just to keep the numbers lower.


That means in order to give all trainers advance copies of the new books we would need to take care of 4,496 trainers with 3 books each. That's 13,487 books!


Now, we should also make sure that all Unit Serving Executives -- what most of you call D.E's, have copies as well. There were 2,434 of those as of 12/31/2002. (Okay, so I have two tools in front of me at home on vacation.) Multiply their number times three books . . . 7,302.


Now we're up to 20,759


I suppose the 311 Scout Executives should have them as well. That's another 933 for a total of 21,692 books.


The Commissioners should have them as well. They're on the front lines and are one of the most important positions in Scouting. Again, my number of commissioners report is at the office -- it really does exist, but lets assume an average pack size of 30. It's less than that, but our numbers will be smaller if we go with 30.


There's 1,498,565 Cub Scouts, divided by 30 equals 49,952 packs. Let's say that we're off the ideal of 1 unit for every 3 unit commissioners, but for fun we'll divide by three and see how many commissioners we owe advance copies of the new book. That would be 16,650 unit commissioners.


So all told, we could use 38,343 advance copites of the new book.


Now who's going to pay for it? Shall we raise the registration fee to $85 or shall we put out a memo and give our best shot to getting the word out?


Please understand that I'm not angry. I am operating under the understanding that there's no reason most leaders have to think of distribution issues and printing issues faced by the national council. As I pointed out, I wear silver shoulder tabs and am a council employee.


TwocubDad, I wouldn't be the least surprised to find that someone with gold loops is lurking on this forum. Your brought up an interesting reality that I have shoved to the back of my mind. Hopefully others are as intuitive -- yes, I could lose my job if I answered incorrectly. I am taking on some liability -- although not much, by being a regular in these forums. Oh well.

Let's just say that I love the scouting where the rubber hits the road. I enjoy inter-acting with the volunteers who are doing what's best for the boys. I respect the heck out of the national and regional offices, but I'l stick to local council operations. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

Bad things happened to Captain Kirk when he left the decks of the Enterprise. I'll stay on deck.



It's who I am.


Wanna buy a belt buckle?



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Dont sweat the small stuff. When it comes time for you to fill out your advancement report no one is going to ask you which book you used. Youll be fine!


Its true that he program has some very specific requirements for the boys to complete. But its equally true that the program recognizes that not everyone can bring those requirements to the boys in the same way. That includes which book you use. Some families cycle the books down to younger children. Those families will be using the old books for quite a few years to come. Den leaders need to be flexible and recognize that what we do here is not cast in stone. There is HUGE flexibility within the program, use that flexibility to make your job more fun then it already is.


Although the introduction of new books is inconvenient for all of us, it is not the first change weve seen and it wont be the last.



As for Captain Kirk, sure he got beat up, imprisoned, transfigured, lobotomized, and god knows what else, but he always did good things in the process. And in the end he was more reliable than a Timex watch, and had more energy than the Eveready Bunny

(This message has been edited by fotoscout)

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The last time the books changed, the Webelos stick with the book they start with. They don't change mid-stream. The use the books and requirements from when they became Webelos.



What I don't understand is why National can't give more advance notice and a solid date of shipping. The new Tiger books a couple of years ago were very late shipping. Why? I hear the line of "things happen". Really? I work in software development & support. If a customer wants this update by August 1st, I do everything to make that happen. If I promise August 1st, then I do it. That's the way most businesses work.


Why doesn't BSA get the new books out in May? Boy Scouts say "be prepared" but National doesn't seem to know what that means.


Ah, yes the 13th point of the Scout law for adults - be flexible.


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Hi All


>>Ah, yes the 13th point of the Scout law for adults - be flexible.>Let's just say that I love the scouting where the rubber hits the road. I enjoy inter-acting with the volunteers who are doing what's best for the boys. I respect the heck out of the national and regional offices, but I'l stick to local council operations. The good, the bad, and the ugly.

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DS --

I'm right there with you on the "where the rubber meets the road" part of Scouting. I gave being Roundup chairman for our district because it really came down to being just an administrative job. My new job with the district is Cub day camp director. It don't get much more hands-on than that.


I appreciated the math, but I didn't suggest providing advanced copies of the books to anyone. The things I suggested are very inexpensive or free: a detailed article in Scouting, updates to the training syllabi, training materials to distribute at Roundtable. National could privide originals to the Councils and they could reproduce the copies they need, spreading the cost across the board.


But the biggest thing they can do is schedule the release date earlier. No cost there. These changes have been in the works for years, right? It's simply a matter of better management to set an earlier release date and sticking to it. And they're telling us that for something as big as a re-write of the entire Cub Scout program, that as of May 1, they can't provide a more accurate date than "in July"? That's insane. I work on projects with a 6-to-8-month time frame. If one of my project managers didn't have a better handle on schedule than that, he needs to reconsider his career choices.

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Let's go back to the Star Trek analogy, only this time we'll move to Scottie. He once said to Geordi, on The Next Generation (or one of the movies, I'm not that big of a Trekkie) "Never tell them how long it really takes!" This is a process we professionals call sand-bagging. If you're sure you can have it by August 1, you say, I think it will be available October 15th.


You can read my previous posts if you like, you'll see that I'm not one one those oily politician type professional scouters. However, things do happen.


Production of printed materials quite often takes longer than it is thought. The wrong color ink in one of the books can cause printers to go back to the blackboard. I know the difficulties in putting together a council calendar and can appreciate the economics of scale in producing a Wolf Book.


I do not disagree with Mr. Dad on the Scouting article, memos, etc. I think that should be done. However, my opinion on that kind of stuff carries less weight than anyone else's. If you want to grouse to the tire about the engine, go ahead, but don't expect an up-rising.


I did the math earlier to show that this is a large organization. I believe that we are led by volunteers and professionals who do have the best interests of the boys at heart -- but we're so big that anything we do will offend someone.


However, and I thank the kind people of Oklahoma and will probably take them up on their hospitality at some point in my career, ask you to follow up on my first rule of administration as it applies to your unit.


My first rule of administration is "Try not to be stupid."


It's a hard rule to enforce on yourself. I usually try to appoint a couple of V.P's of BS and give them permission to slap me if they feel I'm introducing a stupid concept or enforcing a dumb rule.



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I like your WBS, work breakdown structure, however,in todays hypersensitive and correct world, the very first program item would have been this;


1. Draft memo requesting input from volunteers on upcoming revision to CS Books.


Of course the resulting scream could be heard from coast to coast, and, from Dallas to Guam.



In New York, at least in the work place, we are particularly fond of a phase that goes something like this.....Its easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.


Someone from National must have spent time in New York.


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Mr. Man-of-Steele:


Okay, now you are getting into my area of expertise. As a contractor, project scheduling is how I put food on the table. I fully understand the concept of sandbagging or padding, and trust me, "stuff happens" is a thick, thick folder on my desk. This has been the wettest April in recorded history here. Contractors all over the east coast are jumping off buildings. But I digress...


I equate both budgeting and scheduling to an airline pilot calculating the amount of fuel he needs for a flight. You only guess low one time. Telling me Oct. 15 when you think Aug. 1 is realistic doesn't help much when were ordering bunting for the Independence Day party.


At the beginning of these overhaul projects, there needs to be an absolute drop-dead directive from the highest levels of management(Roy, you listening?)that program changes will be ready for public release by Jan. 1 and new books on the shelf by June 1. Then, a roll-out campaign is at least possible. The program managers then need to figure sub-schedules, lead times, contingencies, "aw-shoots," and anything else into the mix to meet those deadlines. Camp school included a really good module on taking the opening date of camp and working backwards to create a critical-path schedule. These folks should consider it.


DS, I'll grant you that probably 80 percent of Cub leaders won't pay a bit of attention to this stuff. They'll show up in September and start working out of whatever book is dropped in front of them. If half their kids have different books with different requirements, no biggie, we'll work around it. And by Christmas, none of it will make a bit of difference to anyone. But until then, and for the 20 percent of us who do try to take planning and training seriously, it would be nice if National at least tried to manage these things professionally.


Foto -- content is a whole 'nother topic. Just based on the little bit in Sctmom's original post though, the changes sound pretty good. I'm a big fan of the 12 Core Values and try to work it into leader training for the our pack and day camp whenever possible. I agree that input from the great unwashed masses would be a nice touch, even if it's largely a PR move. Bob White seems to know some of the people who get asked for input on programs, but to me they seem like the Nielson families who determine TV ratings. Have you ever met one?(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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I read your post and had horror flashbacks of my days in project management. I thought I had successfully blocked it from my memory......but you brought it screaming back. I'll probably have to go back into therapy now!!! We spent so much time bogged down in paperwork (working the project plan) that very little of the project actually got worked on. But I digress. The old, "give me the drop dead date and we'll work backwards to set our plan" idea is what brought the strange voices back into my head again. I've been in the bank data processing business for 22 years now. Our user and our own management would give us an install date. We'd take the date and start working backwards only to discover that our start date should have been 6 months ago. In a case like this, there are two possibilities. You either extend the due date or you add resources. Neither the user or your management is going to be the first to blink on being the guilty party for not being able to deliver and extending the date. That leaves you with adding resources. If you are digging a ditch, adding warm bodies isn't a problem. If you are installing a major rewrite off all your applications and it requires an upgrade in hardware also, adding warm bodies does little more than heat the room up. You need experienced people and the customer you are under contract to thinks they already pay you too much and refuses to let you find additional trained resources. You take the 3rd unwritten project management option of work 12 to 15 hour days, six days a week. This is the reality of project management I lived with for many years. It all looks good on paper until you put the plan into practice and realize that "stuff happens".


Now, I'm not suggesting that you don't have a plan or that you don't give a proposed date of release. I'm also not suggesting that you don't try to meet your dates. In fact, I can only think of one or two instances in the last 22 years that we actually had to move our date, but there was a lot of wailing and knashing of teeth to get us to those dates. The one thing they tend to leave out of project management school is that Murphy's Law is quite alive and well and that you will experience it repeatedly. You learn to pad not in training, but thru experience. And as Scottie told Geordi, they'll think you are a miracle worker when you give it to them under the deadline.

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Jeez --


I think you guys have stumbled on yet another reason I don't want to work for National.


I'm a local guy. We get stuff out as close to when we say we will as we can. Stuff happens, and like everyone has pointed out, you try to budget for it. Sometimes more stuff happens than you're banking on. And sometimes even more stuff comes up.


Al I'm asking for is a little patience and trust. But I'm not asking you to be patient with me, or to trust me. I'm not on the national committee on Cub Scouting (there is one) or on the staff reporting to the National Program Director.



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