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SlowDerbyRacer

Balancing Scouting With Other Activities?

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I'm curious to hear how other dens/packs balance kids would have other activities which conflict with scout events. I'm thinking specifically about things like sports, religious ed, etc. Some of those things just can't be missed. For example I'd never tell a Wolf Scout he shouldn't go to his religious ed classes in his First Communion year when they conflict with regularly scheduled scout meetings. But he also needs to be there a certain minimum amount to be a scout. How have you all handled situations like this? And is there a point where you draw the line?

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I have a number of boys in my pack that also play sports. I have worked with the den leaders to make sure each one has a published schedule of what is being accomplished at each meeting. If boys miss one here or there they know what to make up with their family outside of a meeting. If, at the end of the year, they did not complete the sections missed on their own they simply do not earn their rank. I still consider them scouts and keep them on the charter (unless they ask to be removed) but I also layout the idea that this is not a "everyone gets a medal and cookie" program and the requirements must be met to the best of the boys ability based on the view of their parents and the den lead.

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My son swims year round. His swim club offers multiple practices per week where they do not need to attend all of them. For example one level has 4 pactices a week with an expectation that they will be at 3 practices. Another level has 5 practices with the expectation he will be at 4. So we can pick which practices to attend based upon the the cub schedule. If there are actual conflicts he would need to pick which one he can go to. He did skip a camping trip because it conflicted with the first practice of the season, he also showed up late for a camping trip because he had a race that morning.

 

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We work closely with our CO's calendar to avoid religious ed conflicts

Most of our meetings are on Fridays. Not usually sports conflicts then it seems

We've had lots of boys show up late or even leave mid camping trip for sports to return after the game.

Den leaders work their schedules as much as practical around known events

 

In the end I don't worry about it all that much as CM. If a boy or parent chooses sports over scouts, then that's the way it is.

unfortunately that's the way it is more than I would like

but I am not aware of any time when scouts was chosen over sports.

I'm not a sports guy so I just don't get that.......

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Both my sons are in scouts and in various sports year round...mainly baseball. My oldest is in 8th grade and has been in scouts since he was a Tiger and he plays competitive baseball. It's a juggle during the main part of the season (spring). We have had times where one parent has taken him to baseball practice and the other went to scouts to make sure we knew what was going on and sign him up for anything that needed signed up for. By his age, it seems like most of the sports kids have left scouts. The ones that are left have parents that are very involved with both activities and think they both are important in my opinion. We've also had the "change uniforms in the car between practice and scouts" and he has arrived late at camp due to a baseball tournament, but overall it has worked out okay.

 

My husband is also the den leader for our younger son's Bear den. I posted this as a separate thread but I have heart burn when people miss if I fear they will not do it what they missed at home. I always e-mail out what was missed and ask those parents to complete what we missed at home. Right now, I would say about 50% of them are on top of and get it done, and others I don't hear back from. I guess this is normal. It is going to come down to what the kids want to do and what the parents are willing to do.

 

How long do the religious ed classes meet? In Scouts we never meet on Sundays or Wednesdays because that is church time here. If it is at another time, I would just go ahead with the den meetings and make sure they know what is being missed. It is impossible to change the calendar for everyone.

 

I tried to do that this fall to accomodate several kids playing two different sports and for 6 weeks we alternated two different days. It did not work...the kids I was trying to accommodate did not come on the days I had planned for them to not have a conflict anyway. I won't do that again unless it affects over half the kids (we change meetings due to school night events for example.)

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Maturity and character development is dependent on making choices. My boys (Boy Scout level) make their own calendars and set their own activities. If there are conflicts with other programs they are aware of them and make the adjustments. If the boys made arrangements around all of their schedules, there would be no room for scouts. So it's up to them to make it work.

 

On the Cub level, to a certain extent the same hold true. I always say, Church Family and School take priority and it's up to the parents to figure out whether they want their boy in Cub Scouting. If they do, they'll find the time.

 

Stosh

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With regards to the second grade boy who has religious ed classes this year I think a conversation with the parents is in order. Most probably the classes are required, but there will be a definite end to them. In some larger churches there might even be a choice of nights. Parents could cover the items you are covering and commit to making the field trips and activities that scout can come to. Otherwise, if it is a permanent conflict with religious ed, perhaps there is another den or pack that meets on a different day.

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Each year I have a complete schedule of events, activities and achievements we'll be working on drafted by August. This is made available to all my den's scouts and their parents. We have a few that play sports, they come when they can and work at home on what they miss. Normally by November/December those sports are over with (football mainly) and they pick back up with us. Granted, a few boys did not like trying to do both and dropped out before re-charter but we have a few that balance both well.

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We offer opportunities to participate in activities, not obligations.

 

Boys and their parents are free to decide when they will participate in Cub Scout activities.

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Parents and Scouts balance the different activities if they want to, at least most of the time. There are some sports coaches (especially at the high school level) who make it extremely difficult for their team members to do anything else, but most of the time the other activities become an excuse for parents who do not really see the value in Scouting and do not want to devote the additional time to getting their sons to Scouting activities and any additional time that is required.

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