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guick age question

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im new to cub scouting, although im a 21 yr. old eagle scout and currently an asst. scmstr. the troop i work with recently revived its cub pack, and i'm working as webelos one den leader. i have a homeschooled boy in my den but he is only 8. i know the age req. for boy scouts depends on completing the fifth grade. this kid is in the fourth grade in his homeschooling. i can see it maybe being a problem when he crosses over, but i'm not sure on the technicalities. should we keep him in webelos one or put him in the bear den?

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wblsman, welcome to the forum.


This boy belongs in a Bear den! Although the boy in question is academically advanced, he still is an 8 year old boy and belongs in a Bear den. He needs to interact with other boys his own age, in order to grow his own social skills.


You may get some static from the parents, as they worry about their son being "bored". Assure them that the Bear program is especially great for accomodating boys who are academically advanced. Since he only needs to complete 12 of 24 requirements, that leaves the other 12 requirements, plus numerous electives, open to him to work on at his own pace. There's no way he'll be bored!


You can also explain, if necessary, that the program in Cub Scouting is specifically designed to challenge the typical boy with age appropriate activities in all areas: physical, intellectual, social, academic. Tiger for boys 6-7 years old, Wolf for boys 7-8 years old, Bear for boys 8-9 years old, and Webelos for boys 9-11 years old. This age-appropriate program, developed over 50 years, is one of the great strengths of Cub Scouting.


Good luck, us parents can be really bears to deal with!

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First of all, welcome. Second, please use capital letters where appropriate. Three, troops do not "own" packs. Packs and Troops may share a Charter Organization. Fourth, Cub Scouts uses age and grade (school) level to determine the proper program level for the youth. Therefore, a 10 year old first grader and a one year old fourth grader may both be in the Webelos program.


(CubsrGr8, you beat my post by 3 seconds! It is important to note that I addressed the requirements. Common sense may also be used. An eight year old fourth grader has the choice to belong to either a den of his age based peers, i.e. Bears, or his grade based peers, i.e. Webelos. The individual makeup of the boy would determine which level would suit him best.)


For Boys Scouts, the joining requirements look at age, grade level and Cub Scout program completion. If a youth completes the AOL requirements, he may join a Boy Scout troop regardless of age.

(This message has been edited by acco40)

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This boy isn't that far out of sequence. He's 8 now and will presumably turn 9 sometime during the Scout year. Web I's are usually 9 when they start and turn 10 sometime during the year. Essentially, he's skipped ahead one year of school and has joined the program based on his grade in school.


I usually recommend to parents that Scouts follow the program according to grade, not age. In my opinion, there is greater advantage to being in Scouts with his friends and classmates The boys almost always have one or two Scout buddies in class with them. I think it promotes greater comraderie and positive peer pressure. Since this boy is home schooled, that may or may not be a factor. And honestly, this is backwards from the usual situation where a boy has been held back a grade or simply started school late.


One thing you didn't mention is whether or not the boy has just recently joined the pack as a Webelos or if he's come through the program. If he's already been through as a Bear, he's not likely interested in repeating it.


But I don't think that was Wblsman's question. I think what he was asking is how will this affect the boy at crossover time. The requirements to be a Boy Scout are to be 11-years-old (actually, I've always been told it was 10 1/2, but I'm reading this from an application), have completed the 5th grade or the Arrow of Light. So year from February, your guy will be eligible only if he completes the Arrow of Light. Now that I'm reading this, my own son, who won't be 11 until April and won't complete the 5th grade until June, is in the same boat.


That's the technical answer. The better question is what's best for the Scout. That needs to be discussed with his parents, possibly involving the future Scoutmaster.

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Twocubdad covered everything I was going to cover as I was writing in my head while I was reading in my head. The only things I would add relate to the joining requirements for Boy Scouts:


To join a troop a kid needs to:


Be 11 years old or have completed the 5th grade or have earned the Arrow of Light.


Meeting any one of the conditions above qualifies.


It's also the parent's call whether their son should be in a Bear Den or a Webelos Den.


Twocubdad -- you're not going nuts. For a while the joining age for Boy Scouts was 10 1/2, but it changed back to 11 a few years back.



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So just for the sake of argument, DS, what do we do with boys who don't complete the AOL and don't turn 11 until after school is out. Am I supposed to move them back into the Webelos I den when their buddies crossover in February?


Actually, this is more than just for the sake of argument. I've got three newly recruited Webelos IIs for whom AOL is a long shot. They turn 11 in April, May and September of next year. Their dens will crossover at the end of February.


I can't imagine that standing down for a few months waiting for their 11th birthday will do much for their enthusiasm for Scouting or help our Webelos-to-Boy Scout transition rates.


In the old days, you joined the troop on your 11th birthday, regardless of when it was. But that was before the shift to a grade based/school year Cub Scout program. My understanding was that the 10 1/2 minimum age was the accommodate the idea of crossing Webelos over in the Feb/March time frame in order to get them acclimated to Boy Scouts before heading off to summer camp. Seemed like a reasonable thing. Why the change?(This message has been edited by Twocubdad)

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Jeez -- I thought I was agreeing with you and it seems you're looking for an argument.


Actually, nothing says the den has to graduate together, and it appears in the case you mentioned that they can't.


No, don't roll the boys back to Webelos I -- just have them work toward the Arrow of Light until they either complete 5th grade (at the conclusion of the school year they attend 5th grade -- or about May/June of 2004 -- including the kid whose birthday is in September. Once they're done with the 5th grade, they can be Boy Scouts regardless of age.


If they can finish the Arrow of Light, they can also become Boy Scouts regardless of age.


Cub Scouts can (not must) become Boy Scouts once they have completed the fifth grade OR turn 11 years old OR earn the Arrow of Light.


The joining requirements do not say, Done with the fifth grade AND completed the Arrow of Light AND turn 11 years old.


They also don't say the den has to graduate at the same time. If, for some reason, a boy isn't elgible to join with the rest of his den, let him continue working on the Arrow of Light with his Webelos Leader or parent and wait until one of the three conditions applies.


If I'm missing something, please let me know, but Cub Scouting is pretty flexible in these areas.



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DS, I'm going to disagree with you about it being the parents' decision as to whether this boy belongs in a Bear or Webelos den. Doesn't that program leave that decision to the Cubmaster? I'm not comfortable leaving the decision to parents who usually are unfamiliar with the age appropriate activities developed specifically for each rank in Cub Scouting.


If he remains in a Webelos 1 den this year, what happens next year when he earns his AOL as a 9 year old? Is he ready to cross over into a troop? Not likely. How many troops are ready to modify their program for a 9 year old? Not many.


Given that the boy is homeschooled (so he does not have classroom buddies), given that wblsman doesn't provide any additional background information, I err on the side of caution and say again, this boy belongs in a Bear den.


Hey! I'm a poet and I didn't even know it but my feet show it - they're long fellows! :)


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It's the convention in this neck of the woods, with my pack and, to my knowledge, every pack in our district but one, that the Webelos II dens fold at crossover in February or March. Adios, see ya later, invite me to your Eagle COH, goodbye. It will come as a surprise to many Webelos II den leaders -- myself included -- to learn that they are responsible for providing a den program to one or two remaining boys until they meet one of the membership criterium. Hmmmmmm......


That's a result of the most common practice here that the dens follow the boys, with the leaders (almost always parents) tracking along with the boys from Tigers to Webelos. I only know of one unit in our district that has permanent dens and leaders and the boys move from den to den every year.


Not looking for an argument, just trying to understand the full depth and breadth of the program. Okay, I guess I did say "for the sake of argument" but I really meant "as a point of clarification." You haven't been hanging out with FOG, have you, Dave?



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I have run into this exact same issue in my son's troop and patrol. In June (2 months after my son joined), a boy joined who to my observation clearly had behavior and "maturity" problems and he was showing his lack of social skills by picking on the other boys in his patrol, all of whom are bigger than he is and anywhere from 6 to 18 months older. (My son was the only other boy in his "year" joining the troop in the spring, so they stuck both of them in the new-scout patrol that had been formed a year earlier.) To my knowledge, this boy does not suffer from any of the alphabet-soup conditions or any learning or other disability.


In chatting with his father (an ASM) I learned that this boy was 10 and a half years old (now approaching 11) and was never in the Cub Scouts. The ASM saw my sort of puzzled look that silently said "So what is he doing here?" and explained that the boy (and all his siblings) are home-schooled and that he had completed the fifth grade. I further gleaned (without interrogating the guy) that the boy has "completed the fifth grade" basically because his parents have decided that he has. Apparently this is permissible under the law of our state. If this boy was not home-schooled, he would have missed the age cutoff in any school district in this state and would NOW be in the fifth grade, and would have his first opportunity to join when he turns 11, which I am guessing will be somewhere in the December-February area.


The attitude I take is, what's the rush. I don't think anybody does their child any favors by pushing them into a Boy Scout troop based on a "technicality." My son joined a troop about 2 weeks short of 11-and-a-half, when he earned his Arrow of Light, and I think he has made the transition well. I really don't think that would have been the case a year earlier.

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NJ wrote:


"I further gleaned (without interrogating the guy) that the boy has "completed the fifth grade" basically because his parents have decided that he has. Apparently this is permissible under the law of our state."


It sounds to me like the boy you're referring to does meet the joining requirements of the BSA. If he were 10 1/2 years old, but had the Arrow of Light he could cross over immediately, etc.


Unless the rules have changed significantly, there is nothing in writing in a national publication that dictates when Webelos cross over (other than the requirements to join a troop) or whether it has to be done by den or by individual. The joining requirements are based on individual -- age, grade completion, or badge of rank.


I'm not a big fan of home schooling when there are other alternatives, but my opinion is that if the state respects it, we should too.


As to age requirements in joining a particular Scouting program, they are clearly spelled out on the inside front cover of each program's application.


As to the legal applications of grade for home schooled kids, NJ is far more qualified to attest than I am.



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DS and NJ -


so y'all know, some homeschooled kids are ahead of their same-age public school peers, some are behind, some are even-steven. (Hmm, much like the kids that are still in school...) In public school the grade advancements are based on time-in-grade, for practical purposes. Homeschool parents who use published, graded curricula very often do find that their kids get ahead of their ages. The fact is that there just isn't that much work in a "typical" elementary school year. At home you're not waiting for other kids to catch up - or for the teacher to have time to come help you. You also are not spending time waiting for a drink, the bathroom, in the hallway, in the lunch line, your turn for library, to go out for recess. Nor are you socializing when you are supposed to be working - because as a homeschooler, your social time will be REAL social time- scouts, or park day, or 4 H - rather than whispers squeezed in between the glances of the teacher. School time is school time (well, unless you're an unschooler in which case all time is school time...)


Most of the people I know that homeschool do so because either 1) their religious beliefs were not honored in public schools, and/or 2) their children were identified as having some sort of problem in public school, and they got tired of the alphabet labeling game (ADD, ADHD, MBD, low IQ, OCD, Aspergers....) None of the families I've met are especially well-off...most are close to poverty level or below. That makes the findings in the article below even more remarkable, if true for their study group as well....in short, it says that homeschoolers are much more likely than their public school peers to go to college, vote, volunteer, be politically active, read books, go to church, attribute success to hard work rather than luck, and report being happy.


So, DS, why would you only support homeschooling when there is no other alternative? Personally, I'm grateful that homeschooling is legal in EVERY STATE IN THE US.


For more on homeschoolers - http://www.washtimes.com/culture/20031022-092314-2522r.htm

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