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Blue and Gold's -- ???

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JillKB's "Blue & Gold Ceremony Question" thread has me thinking... (dangerous, I know, but bear with me>>>>



It seems:

> Blue and Gold's have (almost unanimously) become rank awarding ceremonies

> For W2's they've also become AOL and Crossover ceremonies




Isn't the traditional "value" of the BnG as a celebration of Cubs and their activities, successes, efforts, etc. of the previous year?


Aren't we doing a disservice to everyone involved (and the Program, itself) by forcing mandatory rank completion as a group by an arbitrary date? {Since many programs minimize Program during Summer -- then the"work" season is really Sept. - Feb.}


Don't we lessen the value of each ceremony: Tiger badge, Wolf badge, Bear badge, Webelos badge, AOL, Crossover, etc. by cramming them all into a Sunday afternoon in February? {I assume Bobcat badge ceremonies are more usually conducted at other times - though often in the same mass production style...}


Don't we make Fall/Winter crazy-busy in order to meet the BnG deadline, and minimize the Spring portion of our Program year as "optional"?


Does it HAVE to be this way?




Could BnGs and the entire Program year of Cub Scouts be improved by:


>working with boys to achieve at their own pace

>celebrating boys individually, or as small groups, as they Achieve

>Achievement-valuing the entire 12 month year rather than 1/2 of it for Achievement and 1/2 of it for Electives {or 1/2, 1/4 and 1/4 Summer vacation}


I'm not being critical of people following this route - just trying to understand, and perhaps improve upon the path (for myself - I'm sure there are many Packs quite comfortable with this as is).






(This message has been edited by johndaigler)(This message has been edited by johndaigler)

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Based on your experience of how most Packs treat Blue & Gold, our Pack definetly seems like an anomaly....we don't push for Rank by any magic date, when a boy earns his badge, he gets it at the next Pack meeting in a ceremony of some fashion...We have done 2 Glowing Bobcat ceremonys already this year and have a third one coming during B&G just so the boy who earned Bobcat doesn't get lost in the shuffle of Pinewood Derby (Jan's Pack meeting). Nobody else will have rank by B&G anyway.


AoL/Bridging over has traditionally been in March as its own ceremony (any excuse for cake).


We use B&G as a way to party, show off our Cub Scouting skills and accomplishments (displays, demos, talents), etc. Its a time for grandparents and friends to come and see what the boys have done. We have a meal, put on skits, tell jokes. The boys get whatever awards they happen to have coming to them even if its "just" beads, patches, beltloops, etc.


We do use a candle lighting ceremony to introduce all of the leaders to all of the people present...its pretty impressive to dim the lights, have the Cubmaster light one candle and then one by one the leaders come up and each light another candle....there are words that go with it....over all the effect is pretty impressive...even the boys are impressed....and they are the toughest audience to play to.



Michelle(This message has been edited by msnowman)

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Well, I would say that even starting in Sept, without any rushing or pushing, earning rank by the mid-end of February is very doable.


We don't make rank by B&G a hard & fast rule. It is more of a timeline to shoot for. If some families don't have an end date in sight to work toward they will just never do anything at all.


Remember - Most of the work on rank achievements from Tiger (approx 1/3) thru Bear should be done at home with the family & not at the weekly den meetings. So the boys are already doing electives & other things at their den meetings.


Blue & Gold is supposed to be a party celebrating the birthday of Scouting in the US & the boys achievements in your pack. That includes rank & AOL. And, if the boys are ready to cross over to a Troop, why make them wait until a different time?


We do a rank ceremony whenever the boy has earned rank. We do not hold the boys so they can receive the award together. Most of the time the boys are all finishing up in February. However, we have had some who don't get it together until March, April or even May.


After B&G, the dens are usually busy preparing for our next couple of pack meetings. They are putting together skits, songs, plays, etc for our Showman pack meeting in March. Then they have to create their den vehicle for our April Cardboard Box Car Derby. May is time for outings, fun events & pack grauation. They usually fill out their last electives (bring the # up to 10 to reach bead or award) of the year in May also.


June - August usually have ball games, fishing, bike hikes, camping, picnic's, etc.


So you see, scouting does NOT stop after the B&G!



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Some of our leaders encourage their dens to all get their badge of rank at the B&G since many boys will have grandparents or other relatives attending who don't normally come to a Pack meeting. I encourage my boys to get their badge done by a certain month (but not necessarily Feb.), so we can have a more impressive ceremony and feel like a cohesive group, but I certainly don't require it. When the boys know that everyone else is trying to get done by the deadline, they usually try to finish at the same time. I would never make a boy wait for the rest of the den to catch up, however.


Our Webelos 2 have their Arrow of Light and Crossover ceremony at B&G, because this is the last time we'll see them in Cub Scouts. The crossover isn't the REAL crossover, since that happens at their first Boy Scout meeting in March, but it's nice for our Pack to be able to honor our departing Webelos ouselves.

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Let's face it, if we didn't plan our meeting with some requirements involved some kids would never make rank because some families just don't care. But anyway... I planned out my meetings for the year back in August. I had it so that if a boy came to every meeting the only thing he would have to do at home was the religious part (we are Bears). That's it, just show up to every meeting and you would fulfill your requirements. Pretty easy, plus it all could be done by our end of February Blue and Gold. Now we don't make it mandatory either. BTW our crossover is in March or April.




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  • 2 weeks later...

I always thought the AOL was supposed to be a separate ceremony. We do ours in January, then cross the WebII's at the B&G, and then cross the rest up at a Crossover ceremony in April/May.


We're right now planning our B&G. With the AOL being very solemn and impressive, and the Crossover being so busy with awards and ranking up, we're shooting for a hootenanny type B&G this year. It is supposed to be a birthday party after all, so we're going to spend most of it singing and playing.

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Good thread JD...

Our Pack is finally progressing...we finally moved the B&G to Feb instead of May and moved all other Pack/Scout awards to our monthly Pack meetings. I agree with most others here and we award based on when the boy achieves his award...although this year we have done some pretty awesome ceremonies and the boys intentionally hold off so they can do it together and get the ceremony together.


However, our AOL and Crossover will still be held at the Blue and Gold. We use it as a once a year potluck dinner where all of the FAMILIES of scouts get together and enjoy themselves.


All in all, isn't it toe-may-toe / toe-mah-toe - whether you hold the B&G as a birthday celebration and have a separate awards ceremony or hold the B&G as an award ceremony and have a separate birthday party???. Both are intended to be a celebration of scouting in their own way.


I'm not sure about all of your Pack parents, but our parents tend not to bleed blue and gold and are quickly distracted with scout siblings. The AOL and Crossover tends to be a way for the parents and siblings to focus and see what the "pay off" is all about...IMHO



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Speaking only for my little world:

We have the WEEB II scouts move up at the B&G so they may begin Boy Scouts and have some time working with their patrols prior to summer camp.

A year and a half is more than enough time to complete most all you want in Webelos.


That being said I had to personally bring two last minute boys to a Troop meeting this Monday(for AOL req'mnts) for B&G on Saturday. So I also agree with,

"the(some) boys and their parents would never acheive anything without a deadline" Or words to that effect.

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We do try to have all our cubs earn their rank by the B&G. I think that's important, because the pack meetings kind of go downhill after that. Everything gets crazy towards the end of the school year, and we don't have as good a turnout at the pack meetings in the Spring. But we never do the AOL and crossover at the B&G.


In our pack, we traditionally reserve the March pack meeting for the AOL and Crossover. We don't give out any other awards, because this is such a special, solemn ceremony for the Web. II. We invite the Order of the Arrow to perform the AOL ceremony, and then the Troop welcomes them as they cross the bridge to become Boy Scouts. I can't imagine trying to combine this with the B&G.

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Our Pack used to do the same ... getting all boys to attain their rank and present them at B&G, but it has a negative effect! A lot of parents think that after they earn their ranks ... that's it for Cub Scout for the school year. They simply don't show up for the remaining pack meeting (3 months if you go with school year calendar ... 6 months if you count till the next school year!).


Nowadays, we simply celebrate cub scouting and our Webelos 2! We send the Web 2 off in style and simply have a grand banquet. Web 2 do get their AoL crossover ceremony at the end of Feb as well. We also award pinewood's overall winners as well as the various awards. We recognize our adult leaders and announce new leadership (if applicable ... since recharter started Feb). This year's B&G theme is Olympic. Our CM is having each den to parade in with their den's sign, similar to the Olympic parade. We'll have a former Cub's father who happens to be a Torch bearer during the last Olypmic talks about his experience and shows the torch.


Simply said ... "We're gonna Party!"




ps: to add to other thread ... our B&G is a huge undertaking. For the last two years, we are fortunate to have a father who is a caterer. He organized the feast for 300 folks ... including all logistics. There's usually a small army of parent volunteers!(This message has been edited by OneHour)

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We also give the boys/families the target of completing rank by Blue and Gold. Many do, but a number do not, and we'll present those in March, April, or May, whenever they earn them.


We use the March pack meeting for AoL and crossover.


Oak Tree

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Must be 7 years now, when my oldest was a Tiger, our Pack's Blue & Gold was a pot luck. I started late, kids were running around and parents were wondering what we were doing. The Cub Master tried to give a speech on Cub Scout and the foundings, but it was lost because of an angry mob. Cubmaster was at the end of his time and was burned out and needed others to step up. I for some reason was drafted and I have been involved ever since.


The next year, we moved it to another location, and only had the AOL Ceremony. Big sucess, the kids got to see the ceremony and gave them something to strive for. We would do Rank Awards as they came along. But was really fun to have them at the Cross over pinicn in May.


Then we started pushing to awarding all ranks at B&G, to give parents and kids a deadline. Has worked very well for us. We don't cross over the Webelos that earn the AOL until March or April, depending upon the Troops they are going to join. That way, they get to walk around as the top dogs of Cub Scouting for a month or so.


So basically, like everybody else has said, what ever works for them.

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  • 2 weeks later...

In our Pack, rank advancement is not required for the B&G, but it's certainly encouraged and gives a target date that the Den Leaders can shoot for. We structured our den meetings so the boys could earn their Wolf badge by B&G in February. Most of them made it, some did not. Now, the boys are free to work on their electives and belt loops to their hearts desire.

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  • 2 weeks later...

_____This is my second year as a Den Leader for Cub Scouts. I am very discouraged with our Pack as they require the Scouts to earn rank by the Blue & Gold Ceremony. I am no genious by far, but I can read. I have read the Cub Scout Leader Book & Cub Handbooks. Nowhere did I find that the rank had to be earned by Feb. As a matter of fact all of he Scout handbooks stated that rank sould be earned at the Scout's own pace with encouragement to keep the on track.

______Don't let the Blue & Gold give you an excuse not to interact with the Scouts and parents. If you see a Scout that is well behind the others, pull the parents and Scouts aside and give them help to catch up. It's that simple. If you can't communicate with the parents and Scout, you should think about handing your leadership to someone who can.

______Do we really want to put our Scouts in a position that may cause them to shortcut the Achievements or not even do them just to earn a patch? I am teaching my Scouts to be honest and have integrity. I don't feel this approach to Scouting is going to help me instill these values.

______I do agree with the author of the discussion in which he stated that he starts working on the rank advanements in August. This would work for us too, but we do not have a Summer long program as dictated by Scout policy. The Cub Scout Leader Handbook states that dues are paid for a full year and the Scouts ar ENTITLED to a full year program. I did not read the words, may or if we feel like it.

_______We must remeber that Scouting is a program for kids, not adults. The kids are in their early stages of development and each one progresses at a digfferent rate. I for one don't want to put the pressure on a kid just to get meet a deadline set for the convenience of the adult leaders and parents.

_______Let's get back to the Scouting that has been outlined in all of the manuals. This is too great of a program to do half hearted.

Thanks for any comments or suggestions you have,

Dan Harmon Pack 334 Wolf Den Leader



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