Jump to content

Participate in an outdoor flag ceremony

Recommended Posts

Wolf Requirement 2f states: participate in an outdoor flag ceremony. We just got back from camp. We attended six outdoor flag ceremonies. Is attending a flag ceremony and saluting the flag the same as participating? Or does participation imply being part of the color guard?

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 42
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

Top Posters In This Topic

Popular Posts

Okay, apparently sarcasm isn't working, so let me get to the point:   ARE YOU KIDDING! And as E92 would add, yes I'm screaming because this is REDICULOUS! Geez, people, do we have no standards any

A few years ago, I made the mistake of suggesting to a DE that Cub Scout Day camp could use better flag ceremonies. You guessed it, I was put in charge.   We had one of the program sessions for tw

I know I am late to the party, but considering I was looking for advice I assume some others mght come here for the same and I felt something had to be said.   Scouts is about the boys, no you or yo

Posted Images

Participating is participating. Isn't it?

The boys who stand and salute are participating in the ceremony as much as are the boys who have the honor of handling the colors.


If you have time and access to a flag pole (or are handy to lash one up quick) a practice ceremony can be fun for Cub Scouts. A smaller flag is a good choice for little hands attached to short arms. It's a low pressure way to introduce them to handling the colors. With a small group it can be a fun activity that all boys can have a role in, yet still be imbued with the proper sense of seriousness and decorum. With a big group... maybe not.


(This message has been edited by Callooh! Callay!)

Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's the Local Option again. It is up to the passing/signing off authority.

Of course, this can be done anywhere an outdoor flagpole presents itself. American Legion, school yard, hockey game, soccer pitch, baseball field, Forth of July picnic. You can arrange it many ways. Here's one opportunity:


At our CSDC, it means "participate", not just "watch".

To that end, we erected three flag poles: US, State, and Camp. (Pioneering chance for the Boy Scout helpers!) That meant that other than the first day's flag ceremony (done by staff), each flag ceremony needed at least four(Cubs) times three (flags) Cubs. And maybe one to call the commands or read the history (see below). Alot of the Cubs had already passed that requirement, so they could pass on the opportunity. Therefore,after Monday's ScoutSkill Pavilion about Flag courtesy and folding, each Den could field 12 or 13 Cubs to do the ceremonies.

From a local Troop, we borrowed a collection of reproduction historic American flags (13 star, 15 star, 34 star, 48 star, and 50 star) so each day we read a short history of that flag as it was presented and raised.

Here was the schedule:

Monday morn, Staff does it with a 50 star flag. American flag, then state, then camp. Smartly done, Staff practiced this the day before at least once(!). Monday eve, Den one does the retrieval. The 13 star flag is displayed and mentioned. Camp flag, State flag and lastly US flag is lowered and folded. CG marches (walks? strolls? they are Cubs...) off the field.

Tuesday morn, Den two does the honors (three flags) and the 15 star is flown and spoken of. Tuesday eve, Den three lowers the flags.

Weds. morn, 34 star (Civil War time), Den four. Weds. eve., Den five.

Thursday morn, 48 stars, Den six. Thursday eve, Den seven.

Friday morn, 50 star (did you know it was designed by an Ohio art student?), Den eight. Friday eve, Den nine collects the flags. And, before the final lowering, we try to arrange a retirement by fire of some worn and torn flags. Needs another Den to help with that. This too, is an "outdoor flag ceremony".


Now, mind you, these are Cub Scouts, doing this with only alittle rehearsal (usually at lunch time) and with ALOT of adult or Scout coaching and help with ropes and knots and such.

But it is worth it when "the plan comes together".

Fewer Cubs? Less than nine or ten Dens? Adjust accordingly.


Tips: Make sure the pulleys run freely and rope is not too big for the sheave. DONOT use twisted rope, use braided. DONOT try to have Cubs tie flag on to rope loops, Use clips:Color code the clips: Blue carabiner for the UP end , red for the DOWN end. Tie clips on tight and tar tape over knots for security. Duct tape falls off and gets gooey, tar tape (also called friction tape) is more permanent. Consider using a string between the clips to prevent the EMBARASSING occurance of the rope falling and running up the pole without a flag attached (then you have to drop the pole to retrieve the rope!). Flags may not be all the same size, so clips need to be "adjustable".


But to my mind, "participate" means "participate".


PM me for the scripts, if you like.


MiF KiS YiS(This message has been edited by SSScout)

Link to post
Share on other sites

At our Cub Scout Day Camp one of our activities the first day will be for each den to participate in an outdoor flag ceremony by doing an outdoor flag ceremony. A flagpole is conveniently available, so groups of three or four Scouts practice running the flag up and down the pole.


Folding the flag is part of the practice. Most Scouts regard it as a fun activity.

Link to post
Share on other sites

I consider "participating in a flag ceremony" and "participating in a color guard during a flag ceremony" to be two different things.


At our pack meets that we are lucky enough to have outside with the firepit and flag pole - it is easy to see who has participated:


The scouts who stand at attention when "scout's attention" is called by the Color guard announcer. THose same scouts also salute when the flag is raised and say the pledge. They drop their salute at the call of "two", and stand at attention until the color guard departs from the flag pole. They then relax .


Scouts who are not participating are those who end up standing/ sitting beside their parents, who are yaking away, who are running around...etc while not saluting, paying attention to or observing the ceremony.


Participating in a flag ceremony is not the same as being a part of the color guard itself.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Keep in mind that the completion criteria for Cub Scouts is to "Do Your Best".


I believe that after 6 outdoor flag ceremonies the achievement can be considered completed by the 2nd grade Wolf Cubs that attended camp.



Link to post
Share on other sites

Besides Cub Scout Day Camp. a visit to a fire station or police department is often an opportunity to practice an outdoor flag ceremony since a flag pole is usually available.


Also, an outdoor flag ceremony needn't involve running a flag up a flag pole.


My personal bias is to give credit when a Cub Scout has had an active role of some kind in a flag ceremony. My experience is that most boys are eager to have that kind of experience and would be disappointed if they didn't get it.


But if that's not the standard other units have, that's fine.


I'm guessing that might be because Den Leaders don't have much in the way of flag ceremony skills and are reluctant to put those skimpy skills on display?

Link to post
Share on other sites

Okay, apparently sarcasm isn't working, so let me get to the point:


ARE YOU KIDDING! And as E92 would add, yes I'm screaming because this is REDICULOUS! Geez, people, do we have no standards any more?


How flippin' hard is it to find a flag pole and spend one den meeting letting the boys run the flag up and down? And if you can't find a flag pole (really?) buy a 10' closet rod at Lowe's and make one. Or throw a rope over a tree limb. Why do you suppose the requirement stipulates an OUTDOOR ceremony? What's the difference between indoors and outdoors? Hmm? It's the physical skill of clipping on a flag right side up, raising it without letting go of the halyard then tying it off. Then reversing the process and folding the flag.


Now that you've done what you volunteered to do and TAUGHT THE BOYS A SKILL, then for the next couple meetings you let the Scouts take turns serving on the color guard until everyone completes the requirement. Depending on your den size, if one group raises the flag and another lowers it you can complete the requirement in one meeting. Or what the heck, you do two or three flag ceremonies in one meeting! If you're going to shave the requirement that close, nothing stipulates where, when, how often or in front of whom a ceremony has to take place.


Calling standing there and watching "participation" is flat out dishonest and is the beginning of all the problems we have with advancement. It teaches the boys that the requirements don't really matter -- that we can pretend the requirements say any dang thing we want them to. Participate means stand there and watch, active mean be registered and serve means wear a patch on your sleeve.


And kids understand and pay attention to this crap. They know sitting in the stands watching a ball game isn't "participation." They watched, they didn't participate. No one gets a varsity letters by watching a ballgame. But apparently we present Scout badges for it.


You guys who want to complain about what "national" is doing to the advancement program, well here -- look in this mirror.



(And Howarthe, please don't take this personally. You asked a reasonable question. I can't believe the reponses. Thanks to SSScout for a real answer.)

  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

Sorry Twocub, but Requirement 2F does NOT state - Teach the Cub Scout how to run a flag up and down a pole. It says only - Participate in an outdoor flag ceremony.


Those that are actually there, at the flag ceremony (not watching a video), are indeed participating in the ceremony. They are (usually) standing in some kind of formation, they are standing at attention, saluting when appropriate, reciting the Pledge/Promise/Law/etc, and then being dismissed.


That is definitely "participating".


There are other Requirements in Wolf Achievement 2 (Your Flag) that deal with teaching the Wolf Cub skills such as how to raise a US flag on a flagpole, and how to fold a flag.


Requirement 2F - specifically - does not.


Now, does it make sense to combine Wolf Requirements - 2A, 2C, 2E, and 2G, along with Requirement 2F? Certainly it does.


However it is not necessary, or required, to do so.



Link to post
Share on other sites

A few years ago, I made the mistake of suggesting to a DE that Cub Scout Day camp could use better flag ceremonies. You guessed it, I was put in charge.


We had one of the program sessions for two days be about the flag and flag skills. I went to american Legion and they gave me about 50 used flags, mostly good enough for burning, which we did. The decent ones were used for folding and handling. I used a 20 ft. paint pole with a pulley attached to the top as a flagpole and the scouts all practiced flag ceremonies. It was very well received and I was told that the end of camp survey showed it to be very popular.


Flag ceremonies don't need to be extravagant and can be done anywhere. The boys love it and frankly, standing there with the scout salute isn't really participating.



  • Upvote 1
Link to post
Share on other sites

It was very common in the beginnng years of our pack for the Wolf den leader to be challenged by this requirement. We didn't have indoor flags, let alone an outdoor flag pole. (And most adults reading the requirement don't think the boys will enjoy it as much as boys end up enjoying it.) Wolf leaders start the wolf badge with the start of the academic year and we were way into the cold weather before we got to that requirement.


As time when on, we made an indoor flag set, and an outdoor flag pole (portable.) At pack campouts we learned to use the rope over a limb. A few den leaders coordinated with the school janitor to raise the flag before school (an early morning).


We became more familiar with the opportunities at the council level day camp to address this requirement. (If your boys are not picked for flag ceremony do it again during the lunch break!)


Many wolf den leaders are beginning volunteers figuring it out as they go along. Scouts is a learning experience for more than just the boys.

Link to post
Share on other sites

The Local Option....


One can "interpret" the written requirements however one wants, but the Scout will know whether or not he has fulfilled them. Yes, he wants the badge/patch. Yes, he wants the recognition. But he also wants the knowledge and skill.

If the "participation" only requires standing and watching others clip, haul,unclip, fold and walk ceremoniously, then that's easy. Tell the boys how to do it and sign it off at the dinner table.

Yes, the boy will "do his best" , but at what? Give them the opportunities. That's the unwritten part of the Law of the Pack, you know. That's the line that was left out by that unnamed, too tired secretary so long ago.


The Cub Scout follows Akela,

The Pack helps the Cub Scout grow.

The Cub helps the Pack GO.

((The parent helps the Pack go, too)).

The Cub Scout gives good will.


Oh, the results of that oversight. If only....

But luckily, most parents see the gap and provide the missing words, at least in their mind's ear.


In the case before our etribunal, I think the need is to provide opportunities for the Cubs to DO flag ceremonies OUTDOORS. This involves adults becoming knowledgeable about flag lore, history, ettiquette and the physics of poles, ropes and clips and pulleys. Yep, school flagpoles , fire depts, camps, Isaac Walton League , baseball games, CSDCs, backyards, all can be used.

Usually, some ex-Scout dad or ex-military mom will see the need and step up. But how about the not so experienced parent? Point them in the direction of the Wolf or Bear book, which repeats much of the US Flag code as to how to display and fold and take care of the flags of our nation and state. Or contact the DE, or Commissioner, or Council an they can recommend an experienced person who can pass on the needed lore and knowledge.

But don't short change the boy and leave him thinking even this can be had by osmosis. What, after all is he absorbing, by watching, rather than doing?


By the way, when yo go into your local hardware store and see the display of US flags, ask them about your STATE flag? Bet they haven't a clue about how to get them to sell to you.

Link to post
Share on other sites

An idea to consider - no one says a color guard consists of 3 people (or four if one is calling the commands). You have a pole, a flag and seven Cub Scouts? One carries the flag, and the other six march in rows of two behind him as the guards.


When unfolding the flag before raising it (or folding again after lowering), the 'extra' guards stand along the side of the flag with their hands under the flag as it is unfolded/folded.


This way the whole den can participate without having to run the flag up and down multiple times.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...