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Mom2Scouts06

Webelos To Troop

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I don't think we're setting them up for failure, it's more like a gradual progression from spoon feeding them to having them cook for themselves. Webelos Scouting in my view is the critical phase in the transition; this should be where the boys learn that they need to take at least some of the initiative for managing their own advancement.

 

Boys that have been through Cub Scouting at least have a better understanding of how the advancement process works, meet the reuirement, get the badge. Webelos is the perfect opportunity to get them in the habit of planning what they need to do to get to where they want to be (presumably AOL) then doing it. If they have a little help from the adults, that's fine, but it should not be like Tigers-Wolves-Bears where its all planned out for them, they just walk into the meeting, do an activity and get their book signed.

 

Regards,

 

DWS

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Of course I was only kidding when I said it was setting them up for failure! I wholeheartedly believe in the Scouting program or my husband and I would not be as involved in it as leaders like we are!

 

In our den it is definitely not show up and get your book signed. They have to work hard outside of the den meetings to get what they need accomplished. I am not saying we don't give them guidelines as far as what to work on to achieve the Webelos Badge and AOL but the work they do themselves and have to bring it in to show to get their book signed off on.

 

We have a few boys who have decided they want to try to earn every Activity Pin before earning their AOL and are working on it on their own outside of den meetings...which is Awesome!

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Yeah it kinda opens your eyes a bit about what we should be gearing them towards when they are Webelos so they aren't totally in the dark when they get to Troop! We don't want them to be disenchanted with Troop because that is where the fun begins (in most cases, lol!)

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Mom2Scouts, I apologize if anything I wrote came across as diminishing what you do in your program in any way. I recall being very annoyed with some boy scout leader types who assumed that, as a webelos leader, I spoon fed everything to our boys. It was definitely not my intent to turn around and cause that same sort of annoyance to you (or others).

 

All I was trying to say is that it isn't only the completion end of things that requires a great deal more out of the boys in a troop - it is also the independent decision to seek out opportunities (you have to know they exist before you can take advantage of them) and then to begin things, that requires so much more personal initiative. I think that's where a lot of the frustration comes from because, naturally, most 5th graders have limited experience with really behaving in self-directed ways. At most, they might be used to being aimed in the right direction and then set loose. Part of the difference in boy scouting is also that they have to select the direction to aim in, themselves.

 

This is all something I have come to better understand in the last 5 1/2 years since my son and most of his den joined a troop. Knowing what I do now about where the usual stumbling blocks seem to be for most of our troop's first year scouts, I think I would emphasize this point more to the boys if I were to serve as a webelos den leader again in the future.

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Don't worry LisaBob...I did not feel like you were condeming our program in anway. I am just glad to be informed of needing to prepare the boys more because we have never really honestly thought about it! You gave some very good points that I will be passing along to my WDL husband! He has been wanting to find ways to prepare them more for the Cross Over process and you have given us a great starting point...

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I am going to paly Devil's Advocate here, but I HAVE seen some Webelos dens spoon feeding, and have seen a few new scouts get frustrated over how a boy-run troop is done. BUT 99.99999999999% it is the parents, esp. the CS leaders that crossover, that have the hardest time. Usually the boys adapt and overcome. But the former CS leader, after years of being trained to be incharge, plan, etc, has much to " unlearn" as Yoda would say. They usually get it in a few months, but I have seen some adults not get it, and they and their sons drop out of Scouting all together.

 

Hopefully when oldest is a BS I will remember me saying this now, and that I be able to make the transitioning between CS leader ( i'll still have 2 in CS) and BS leader alot easier. ;)

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Fortunately my husband will have some great Troop leaders to help him out. He actually commented to me after their first Webelos/Troop campout how nice it was to not have to do everything! The boys started their own fire, cooked their own dinner, slept at a seperate campsite etc!

 

He will still get plenty of time to "Be Large and In Charge" because he will also be our youngest sons Webelos I Den Leader next year. LOL!

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Yes it is definitely hard on many parents. After such a long time of making sure everything runs smoothly so that the boys can just arrive and have fun in cub scouts, the somewhat more chaotic nature of boy scouts can be a real shocker. And as adults, most of us are probably accustomed to having things be organized - or stepping in to provide organization when it is lacking. It is tough to stand back and watch as the boys struggle with things, or to provide quiet and steadfast support when YOUR boy comes home with complaints about things (some of which might be valid, but it is often part of his experience to figure out how to address or resolve these).

 

It was especially hard for me to know where the line was between appropriate adult involvement, and too much or too little involvement. Too much and you undermine the whole idea of youth leadership and limit the boys' opportunities for personal growth and self confidence. Too little and some of the younger guys may reach the limit of their frustration capacity and quit. It helps if there are seasoned adults in the troop who you trust and feel comfortable approaching when you aren't sure where the line is.

 

You know the other thing that I think was tricky is the dynamic between much older boys and the new scouts. Most webelos are used to being the "big kids" in their pack and in their school. Maybe some have older siblings, but few are used to running around with teen agers for a whole weekend. This is a real big adjustment for some guys - esp. those who are the oldest sibling or only child in their families. It is worth asking the troops what they do to manage the wide range of ages in their troop. For example, do they have age-based patrols? A "new scout" patrol? Do they try to integrate the new boys into existing mixed age patrols? How do they help the new guys learn basic skills while still keeping the interest of older guys who know those skills already?

 

There are advantages and disadvantages to different approaches (and many other threads discuss these). But I think the important thing is to get a good sense of whether the troop has some kind of plan for incorporating the new guys into the mix, or whether they give you a blank look.

 

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This thread so far covered a lot of different topics from recruitment to advancement differences.

 

Without seeing the way the troops recruit the boys its hard to comment on what goes on.

 

Recruitment is hard as you have to provide a nice atmosphere for both the boy and the parents.

 

In the local council I'm with about 60% of the 3rd grade cubs continue to the the Webelos program. Only 35% of the cubs cross over to a troop. But for some reason half of these boys then drop out after summer camp. Its not that summer camp is mean or awful, it just causes boys to quit. Even with new scouts from Middle School recruitment the biggest loss is right after summer camp.

 

Over the years I've heard many excuses, explanations and stories from boys and parents.

 

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my advice - visit as many different troops as possible have the boys discuss with their parents and then let each boy pick out his own couple of troops he is interested in and go camping with those to make final choice.

 

we went with the troop our pack feeds and the boys were miserable. we then went to search out another troop and found one and the boys are having a blast. But we had to deal with a lot of headaches and issues before we switched and with getting everything transferred over!

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Our pack has 2 brand new WLs. They just got started in Nov. when we decided to split the first and second year boys. We have had a lot of problems with our 2nd year WLs and I have just about given up trying to help them. I don't think they are properly preparing the boys for BS. They like the spoon fed method of leading. After reading these suggestions I'm going to work with the new WLs to come up with a transition plan that will not repeat the mistakes the current leaders are making. Would this help prepare the boys for BS? The first year of Webelos work in Den meetings to earn the pins required for Webelos badge. During the Spring and summer let the boys pick the pins the group works on. In the fall of the second year work on scout skills like fire building, knots, building tents, camping, hiking, etc... during den meetings. In order to earn AOL have all remaining pin work be chosen by the boys on an individual basis and completed at home. We could try to find parents with those skills to act as MB type counselors. Or does someone have a transition plan they would like to share?

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A few things about the new WDLs.

 

1) Get them to training ASAP.

2) get them an excellent scout to be DC to help out and let the WDLs see first what a knowledgable scout can do

3) Try and arrange a meeting with the troop affiliated with your pack. Doesn't need to be formal, cna be a cookout or anything, that way it lets the SM and WDLs know each other, and lets the SM discuss the BS program and how webelos get thet transition rolling

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