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Cubmaster's got a WHISTLE!

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I have been less than happy with my younger son's pack this year, under a new Cubmaster who came in last March, after the CM for the previous 7 years left when his last son crossed over.


I've been trying to be charitable, trying to give him the benefit of the doubt, sure that I would get used to the new man's way of doing things.


Then . . . at last week's meeting (a Christmas caroling practice for tomorrow's pack meeting), he really got my goat. The man has a whistle--like a coach or referee would use--that he blasts to get the boys' attention!


EXCUUUSE ME! Whatever happened to the Scout sign? I'm certain our boys are so unruly that he has to resort to this ear-shattered solution to obtaining order!


Am I just overly sensitive, or do I have a valid gripe?




P.S. I'm not the only disgruntled parent. At our last pack meeting (held at a laser tag emporium, despite my pointing out that it violated the GTSS) at least two other parents commented to me that "this isn't like my friend's son's pack is run," and "this isn't anything like the packs we had in West Virginia." One parent was miffed that our pack didn't participate in the district's Cub Scout Healthy Hike, or even mention that it was happening. I was appalled that the American flag was propped up in a corner during the meeting (there was no flag ceremony, so I don't know what it was even brought along).


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I agree...the whistle has to go. This should be brought up at the next committee meeting. He will be doing the scouts a greater service teaching the silent response to the scout sign. I found that one of the best attention devices is do nothing...stand there with your sign in the air and wait. Nothing proceeds until there is complete quiet. And, please don't get in the habit of shouting SIGNS UP - that's almost as bad as a whistle.


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I have an offical BSA whistle. Usually wear it suspended from my pocket button too. What do I as a cubmaster use it for? Sports events, relay races, parade drill, and falling the boys in when they are spread out over a large area. Otherwise scout sign does the trick all the time.


The other stuff described-lazer tag?? Whats up with that??

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You could keep tryin to fix each problem as it comes up... sounds like you have plenty already in progress. But what really needs to happen is the Cubmaster needs to go get proper BSA training and also visit other Pack's meetings to see how it should be done. If he is unwilling then start looking for a replacement Cubmaster who can do it right. Among the parents there may be a few dads that are Eagle Scouts... ask them to get involved and help your Pack Committee start making the right choices.

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Hi All


Great Question. I worked a little different. If the cubs are unruly to the point that I need a whistle or hold my sign up until my arm turns blue, I use that as a flag than probably it was me doing something wrong. Every time I had problems with scouts like this, I changed my program because boys hate to miss anything fun. I learned what boys liked and didnt like. I created little tricks like moving most of the announcements, that bore the daylight out of the boys, to a newsletter. I might take one announcement and entertain the boys like roll out on roller blades to announce our annual roller skating party. I did a Tool Time skit to announce the Pinewood derby, things fun or funny like that. Surely there is a ham in the pack.


Right off the bat, I can say that scouts arent much into singing unless the songs are funny, fun or gross. You probably need to make Christmas Carols a little more fun someway or another. Usually scouts like to watch their parents, that is what I found helped in singing at pack meetings.


I also dont like using the scout sign as a method of controlling behavior. Now I know that all of us adults put up the sign to get attention, but sometimes we hold the sign up a little longer than we should or put it up a little too often. What happens is the scouts learn to hate it and think of it as symbol of behavoir control like a paddle. That is not it's intention. Instead with cubs, I created actions where they could yell, scream, jump up and down or what ever when I gave the action. It was anything from holding my nose, throwing a neckerchief in the air or hold my arms strait out. The idea is if the arms werent strait out in the air, then they basically had to be quiet. Every 15 minutes or so as the scouts started to get a little edgy on the more boring part of the program, I put my arm up to let them vent. When I put them down, they were quiet and I could continued with the regularly scheduled program. I had 90 or more cubs, so there where times when things could get a little long.


I used my sign to get their attention and that usually worked. Usually its only a couple guys who may be talking and just dont see the sign. I would then politely with a smile call their name and they would give me attention.


Where this becomes important is when your son becomes a leader in the troop. If he remembers the sign being used to beat down the scouts, he will use it that way as well. I always told my SPLs that the sign is used to get attention, not punish bad behavoir. If he needs to hold the sign more than 15 seconds to get attention, then he needs to use another type leadership skill to control the group. You want you sons to learn those skills anyways because the scout sign doesnt usually work outside of scouting.


Hope that helps a little.




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We were given whistles at our district day camp this past summer. We were also given instructions as to when to use them. We were only to use the whistle in a true emergency. If you heard a whistle you knew there was a major problem and that the "folks in charge" were on their way along with our day camp nurse. I think that was the best possible use of them. We didn't even use them for the boys playing soccer for their loops.


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As a fairly new cubmaster myself here is what I found works for my pack. Rubber Chickens! ... Yes, full sized rubber flexible dangly chickens. The cubs LOVE them. I have a Rubbermaid box filled with little knick-knacks stuff you accumulate over the years with kids of your own. The kind of stuff that just builds up till you have mountains of it and need to weed it out, rubber frogs, plastic toys, happy meal stuff, etc. As my pack meeting progresses the dens which continue to behave in an appropriate manner or are the quickest to quiet down when ears up sign is given are awarded a chicken. At meetings end a tally of chickens is taken and what den (or dens in case of a tie) has the most chickens gets a trip to the "cubby box". All the chickens get returned for the next pack meeting. The cubs have responded so well to this that some people from my pack were talking about it and I was approached by another cub master to borrow my chickens while he waited for his to arrive via mail order. He tells me it went as well for his pack as it has been working for mine. Now if I could only find the "rubber chicken" to keep my parents as quiet as my cubs.



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I'd be less concerned about the whistle (it has it's uses - mostly for outdoor games) and the laser tag (has been debated ad naseum in this and other forums) than I would be for the disrespect shown to the flag. THAT has got to stop. Our sons will learn respect - or not - for the symbols of our country from us and long before they cross over into Scouts.


The flag should be in a stand (or hung on a wall) and displayed priminently. Flag stands don't have to be fancy or expensive and can be easily and quickly made from scraps of lumber and PVC or plywood. Please volunteer to make one for the next Pack meeting!

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Try information:


1. The whistle is for emergency situations, examples are found in most of the Scouting literature.


2. The Scout Sign is used to get attention/quiet, examples found in most of the Scout books.


3. To use the whistle when the Scout Sign is indicated is to confuse the communications and delay help when it is really needed. We all would agree on that, especially if it were our son that was in trouble.


As part of one Pack meeting, your Den could emphasize the Cub Scout sign, what it looks like and its' meaning with a big poster. Then do a simple skit to show how it works, such as, Unruly Boys at a Den Meeting; you know the routine. Then involve the whole Pack by using it in a game. Play Simon Says; instead use the Sign as Simon. If the leader holds up four fingers instead of two, then the person is out. Example, Scout Sign, "take two steps forward; good". None Scout Sign "take four steps backward: wrong and you are out" Last one standing wins a whistle (Note for Pack: the whistle is for emergency situations only!). Lead a cheer- blow a whistle and everyone yells loudly, "Emergency!". Hold up the Scout Sign and everyone gets quiet. End of Skit and hopefully the wrong use of the whistle by anyone in the future.


The American flag issue; that could be a whole column. The flag itself is not sacred but the symbolism that our Flag holds, gives me and I hope others, a sense of reverence and strength of character that we can speak forcibly anytime that it is shown disrespect. I personally know people that have given their lives for our Nation and most likely you have too, just so that we may know peace. Their blood is represented as part of that flag and we should honor their memory through proper respect of it. That is the reason for flag etiquette, so that you will know that it is not just a formality.


If you don't know others that have died for our country, I encourage you to visit any war memorial to begin to understand the enormous number of sacrifices that have been given for us today.

(This message has been edited by Fuzzy Bear)

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As I read through all the posts on this topic, I was looking for one which expressed the Cub Scout spirit and how it should apply to this situation. I believe Kalquest has the right idea. Not that we should all go out and get rubber chickens, but that he has put the Cub Scout spirit to very good use and considers how his actions and how he handles his pack will affect the boys of the pack.


I recently stepped down as Cubmaster in my pack and the one thing I learned over the past 4 years is that boys like to play and be silly - so go with that. Get their attention with silliness, jokes, costumes, games, etc. (when appropriate - a ceremony for awarding an Arrow of Light would probably not be the time).


Positive reinforcement, rather than negative should generally be your focus.


The way I always did it was with Laughy-Taffy. Incase you are unaware; Laughy-Taffy is candy with 2 jokes written on the back of the wrapper. Those cubs who are "doing their best" get Laughy-Taffys in my pack.


Now I know this information doesn't help a disgruntled parent or leader who is already aware of this. I think the offer to have a Cubmaster who has not been properly trained to attend training is an excellent idea. Remember, be positive - just as you would for the boys. Perhaps evmori has the right idea, if presented in the right way.


P.S. - As I am sure many are aware, a well-thought out, well-prepared pack meeting with lots of energy and fun generally does not have many problems with discipline.



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