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Cub Scouts 2010 - What would you change?

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If you could tell National about a change in the Cub Scout 2010 program, what would it be?


In Wolf Den meeting 15, you are supposed to earn the Marbles belt loop. In Arrow of Light meeting 15, you are supposed to earn the Marbles belt loop. I know it is not that big of deal, but I would think that you would develop what is basically a set of lesson plans that would not be a duplication of previous years.


I have also found where with just a few small tweaks, you can accomplish more than the meeting plan.


Meeting 11-Making Choices: You can have the Scouts do additional Electives from 2. Be an Actor and make this requirement much more fun. They can make sound effects and a paper bag mask pretty easily.


The other thought that I have is sequencing. It makes more sense to me to put all of the requirements in meetings as you work toward the rank, and then do electives. For the Wolf plan, that would involve doing meeting 11 before meeting 10.


What thoughts have you had?

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Well, thing is...there is a time gap between being a Wolf and Webelos. Boys may not pick up another marble again after being Wolf , if not for the Webelos trying to earn the AOL requirement.


Also think of things in this respect: T-Ball, Coach pitch basebal, boy pitch baseball, High school basesball and pro baseball are a series of higher ranking and higher difficulty / ability in the same sport of baseball.


Marbles for Wolves should be more challenging that it was for Tigers...and more challenging for Webelos than Wolves. Plus skill and ability should be better.



Under the part of mask making electives..It says " You can have the Scouts do additional Electives from 2. Be an Actor and make this requirement much more fun. "


The two key words here are "can" meaning you do not have to....and "fun" which is what you should be aiming and trying to do anyways.


The boys do not have to do something completely different every meeting or campout. There is nothing wrong with repeating something - especially if they have fun with it.



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well I would figure out a way to put a table of contents at the front so you'd know exactly what achievement was being done in what meeting.


and a little bit easier way of rearranging things so that you can make things fit the local cub scout pack's calendar of events.


there are some logical things that cub scouts do, that it would make sense for each pack to be able to arrange so each den is doing similar things each month so they could share outings, events and pack meeting stuff easier. Not themes like they used to be, but themes of what cub scouts DO.


in August or Sept they meet new scouts, so the making friends, cooperation stuff makes sense there, usually packs have a fall campout or hike, so put some outdoors stuff required for rank there, and October if usually safety month (fire safety?) so perhaps do anything safety, first aid at that time. November you have veteran's day nation wide, so it makes sense to do flags and citizenship. December is doing for other and faith requirements. January may be building things for a pinewood derby car and accompanying display stands, as well as other wood working. February is pulling it all together for rank, with some cooking and collections to show off at blue and gold. Then you hit March and April which could be a spring campout so you have Leave no trace, world conservation, geology, plants, birds and animals most ranks have some of that stuff going on May you pull it all togehter with some electives and a big show of acting, puppets, masks, skits, songs, etc that most ranks have. summertime most packs have minimal summertime events anyway--we do swimming and a trip to a museum, science center, etc.


if things were grouped by rank by sort of what they are by type, packs could have all their dens work together more and share and helpe each other.


I'd definitely ADD a bunch more to Webelos stuff--craftsman has stuff to make 2 projects an then it says oh you need to make 2 projects out of wood, 4 out of other materials and a display stand, but you can do those at home with your parents. yeah, I don't really have webelos parents doing woodworking, leather crafts, clay, metal working etc much with their sons.


And all the ranks need better ideas for gathering activities. Each rank has a set of items taht are perfect for gathering, small things that can be done a little at a time, or taken home if not completed, but gives each scout a push to get started on those things with their parents.



I would also double check that the materials have den leaders counting bear electives correctly. it was wrong when first released, unused PARTS of achievements used for rank are not electives, unused achievements not used for rank are electives. those are two different sets of abc's in the book.



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Honestly, I have gotten WAY more out of reading suggestions here and reading the Bugle than I ever did with those meeting plans. They struck me as the driest, simplest, and least fun way of doing the Cub program. I can recommend them as a GUIDE, but I would never tell a new leader to just follow it and nothing else.


Not to criticize BSA, but those meeting guides need a lot more "oomph" in my opinion.

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One of the challenges of putting more "oomph" in the book is the availability of resources in one's area. I.e. I cannot go to a TV station, as the nearest one is about an hour away. The book is there to provide a foundation, and Scouters are encouraged to add to it.


I too have used it as a guide. I too have adjusted the schedule to fit the local events. It's a good foundation, especially for new leaders, but does need to be adapted to.


As to what I would change, I agree a better ToC would be nice. Instead of having each section it's own. Keep that, but add an overview one.

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Eagle you have a point about that. I haven't taken a close look at the Tiger ones, as we are past that point in my family, but I have become very familiar with the Wolf one.


Let me give you a for instance. Wolf meeting #9. It says: "Achievement 5d (Show how to use a hammer). Start five or six nails into a board, then let the kids pound them in and extract them". Hmm...really??? Yeah, that covers the achievement for sure, but couldn't we make just a wee more exciting and fun? For instance, we decided to have a relay race for this. Surely that doesn't take more resources than just plainly pounding the nails and taking them out, right?


Then for Ach 5e (Make a birdhouse, a set of bookends, or something else useful" they just list a set of safety guidelines. Couldn't they have included some sample projects and/or ideas?


I don't mean to put down the work that the BSA folks have done on this, but surely they could have been a little more creative? I don't think that *I* personally would want to be spoon fed a meeting plan down to the minute, but I think they could have done a better job at providing more suggestions, examples, and ideas. Specially for inexperienced and/or not so creative den leaders?

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The biggest thing I disliked going into the year is that it is set up with an implied order. First, you do meeting 1, then you do meeting 2, etc. Things never work that way. I actually took all of the meeting information, even all the optional/elective plans, and put it all into a spreadsheet so I could move around the order, have a column for the actual dates, and even adjust it as we go through the year. For example, there is at least one of the meeting plans for our den that we really wanted to spend two meetings on instead of just one - I was able to just adjust the whole schedule. When we are have a particular date of time for an outdoor activity that corresponds with one of the lesson plans, that is when I want to do it rather than in some set order. For Bear Den we did Ride Right/Bike Safety in relation to a pack bike hike, not in the set pattern of meetings. To expect they will flow exactly in that order just doesn't work.

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Actually I think brand new leaders would LOVE to have a few completely organized meetings with the gathering activity and all parts filled out, even with a suggestion of discusing the upcoming pack meeting or activity. And then as the year progresses and the scouter gets more and more into the program, start leaving some holes, or more choices of things to do. That is how our pack trainer does it, start with a few fully trained meetings, the first one the trainer leads, the second one the trainer starts it and hands it off to the newbie, and then the newbie takes over with a couple of fully planned meetings to use(including pack activities filled in and reminded of) and then a set of guides and suggestions--you can do xyz in these abc ways next.


each rank should have a meeting for teaching and reviewing bobcat at the beginning. most packs get new scouts in August or Sept, plan for spending meeting time on that instead of assuming at other ranks that they already got it at tiger. think of different ways at different agest to teach it and give it as a list to the leaders for a reference. you don't hand off a piece of a paper to a tiger to learn bobcat, most don't read yet. so you turn it into a game or a craft or a repeat after me. but it may be perfectly acceptable to just hand the paper to the webelos scout and remind them to practice it at home.



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On the issue of flexibility (noted by jzweiac, 5yrscouter, drmbear and others), note that at the end of just about every Den Meeting Plan, it says "If youve changed the sequence of den meetings, double-check to make sure you will still advance your boys appropriately and check with the Cubmaster to make sure you stay coordinated with the pack."


Granted, in the early rollout/webinars, there was a wee bit of over-emphasis on "do it in numerical order" but . . . you don't have to do it in order. You should do what works for your local circumstance, conditions, weather, resources (including parents coming to lead events ... I want my EMT mom the day we do first aid, whether or not its in order!).


(FWIW, I interpret the "check with the Cubmaster" concept as just a "be sure you're communicating", as in most cases the Cubmaster will probably just say "thanks for keeping me up to date", but in other cases the Cubmaster might say something like "sounds great ... have you thought about coordinating that with the other Wolf Den too ... they might like to join up with you on that field trip"?)


Now, to help jzweiac, 5yrscouter, drmbear and others ... here is an easy fix that involves no change at all to the books and can make it more easy for Den Leaders to be flexible and put on a funner program (assuming funner is word, which it should be):


-- Have the on-line version of each Den's "Template for Sample Parent Information Letter or E-Mail" posted in Word.


At first it was put up in a pure pdf, then the BSA did have it in word for a few bright shining moments last summer, but at some point it reverted to a "form fill-able" pdf.


So if you actually use the template, your letter would look likes some sort of Den Meeting notes Mad Lib. Or it just isn't used. I suspect the latter.


That way, yeah, when you do the Bike Ride as a Pack event or something at a Campout or work in the Pinewood Derby build a car Meetings or swap out Bear or Webelos activities with ones that work better for your Den and Leaders . . . Den Leaders can show the Den the adjusted cycle of their meetings right in their message to the Den. And not in a Mad Lib.


So: A Scout is Helpful. Wouldn't it be helpful to put that Template up in Word?


My $0.02. YMMV*.


Bert Bender

Pack and District Trainer

South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council

* if permitted and variation forms properly completed


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On other issues, let me comment a bit from review of the plans and training and such:


In the first post, jzweiac notes about Wolf 11-Making Choices: "You can have the Scouts do additional Electives from 2. Be an Actor and make this requirement much more fun. They can make sound effects and a paper bag mask pretty easily."


Agreed, excellent idea. And I think that the "Want More Fun Activities?" boxes that made it in the Guide can be useful, though of course they are just a starting point. For example, that day's plan has a "Want More Fun" box that notes "This meeting is all talk, so, consider how to be active:

-- Option: you can do the acting out with puppets, and have this be a puppet theater day. Make simple paper lunch bag hand puppets with markers/crayons, and string and glue. But be sure that after the theater, everyone discusses the issues seriously.

-- Also, there is nothing wrong with mixing up the Making Choices discussion with some activity, like an obstacle course or game segment. (Complete a section of the course or game, then discuss. Repeat.)"


Years ago, we actually did our "Making Choices" day as a Saturday Bike Ride in a Park. Ride. Talk. Ride. My son's observation that day: "it must be tough to be a parent". Ding! A lesson learned.


Also, as to jzweiac's comments about electives before rank achievements, there is a logic to that, especially for the post-Labor Day starting, every-other-week meeting, February Blue-n-Golding Dens and Packs. With a little adjustment, one could get the Wolf Rank done in 12 meetings, not 14.


Sort of related to that: every meeting after the Rank is earned is, in effect, "Supplemental" whether it has a number or letter. A Den should do what's fun and meaningful and easy for the Leader.


On 5yrscouter's comment about ranks need better ideas for gathering activities, there actually could be a number of "general Den Meeting tips" that could be "Guide-worthy" in the next addition, or as an on line supplement. Games are one idea. Something shorter than a Leader Book / How to Book, but more substantive than "play your den's favorite game".


Momof2cubs, yeah, the Guide is a Guide, and there are lots of different ways to add fun / meaning beyond the two pages or so for each Den Meeting in the Book. That's why I love to point my leaders to places like Baloo's Bugle and sites like this was ways to add fun.


Eagle92, on your comment about " One of the challenges of putting more "oomph" in the book is the availability of resources in one's area. I.e. I cannot go to a TV station, as the nearest one is about an hour away. ... Scouters are encouraged to add to it." I'll note that the Guide actually throws out some alternatives on TV Station days:

-- In the Tiger meeting, it notes: "If transportation is an issue, or if there are no convenient newspaper offices or radio or TV stations in your locale, do your best and consider alternatives where:

You visit a:

Printing/graphics company

Theater projection room

Local science museum

Business with a communications studio

You invite an expert to visit you, such as a:

Community reporter

Ham radio operator"


Then in the Bear Meeting, there is a note that says "Consider also local public access cable or other broadcasters, school or church broadcast facilities, high school or college newspaper offices, or neighborhood newsletters".


Both could be expanded upon, or when you see those options the mind will race (hopefully) to the communications facility that exists in your neck of the woods (like the TV Facility in the Big Box store used for training, or a security camera setup at a store or office or police station).


And yeah, there's lots of ways to improve just about all, and these venues mean so very much for leaders trying to make it fun and special and interesting. Thanks!


My $0.02. YMMV.


Bert Bender

Pack and District Trainer

South Fulton District, Atlanta Area Council


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As a new leader this year I wish someone in my pack would have told me about the Resource Guide. Those first few meetings went ok and the boys had fun but it would have taken a lot of stress away if I'd had the den meetings plans to help me out from the start. I did eventually find them online and I have used several of them. Not always exactly as written, I have added to and taken away as needed to fit our den's needs, but they are a great starting point for someone that is totally new to being a leader.


I have noticed that in the first supplemental meetings plans the wording is a little confusing. For Supplemental Tiger Den Meeting A it encourages Tiger Cubs to participate in the pack's summertime activites and then says "It is recommended that the den (now a Wolf Cub Scout den!) plan an activity or outing at least once a month during the summer so that the den will qualify for the National Den Award." Come summertime my Tigers will be Wolfs and won't be able to work on anything in the Supplemental Tiger Den Meetings but the wording in the guide makes it seem like even though they are Wolves they still work on Tiger activites.

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