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LeCastor

"The Icing On the Cake!"

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I think this article from Scouting magazine is best summed up with the last three sentences:

 

"Advancement will follow if you do it right. If you’re having fun and you’re training and you’re outdoors and you use the patrol method, all those patches will come. When they do, it’s the icing on the cake!" [emphasis is mine]

 

http://scoutingmagazine.org/2014/10/troop-78-focuses-adventure-advancement/

 

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When I was a Web DL, I worked on all the pins and patches throughout the year. I always tried to incorporate some fun stuff with it. All went fine and dandy until at a Pack meeting when the awards were being handed out, the CM asked one of my boys what he did to earn his Readyman pin. The poor little guy just stood there and did the deer-in-the-headlight thingy. He had no idea. I then said, "What did you do for first aid?" He piped up and went on until the CM interrupted him. The next guy was getting the Communicator pin and the CM did the same thing, asked him what he did to earn that pin. He, too, had no idea. Then I asked, "What about the flashlights in the dark?" He went on and on about sending messages with the flashlights, the flags, etc. and all the neat games that went along with it. Again he had to be interrupted to go on with the ceremony. Needless to say, the CM never again asked any of my boys what they did to earn their pins because I really don't think any of them really knew because I never announced why were were playing all the games and doing all the fun stuff. Obviously they weren't doing any of it to get pins, I just kept track of that in the background. :)

 

Stosh

 

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I mentioned on another thread that a parent took me to task for not giving her son--who rarely shows up for anything--a bunch of badges like the other Scouts. Well, if you're not having fun with your patrol mates, camping and hiking, you're probably not going to earn Tenderfoot, 2nd or 1st Class...

 

There's nothing quite like seeing a Scout's face when he realizes he has completed a requirement while out camping...when he wasn't even trying to check the boxes. :cool:

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When I was a Web DL, I worked on all the pins and patches throughout the year. I always tried to incorporate some fun stuff with it. All went fine and dandy until at a Pack meeting when the awards were being handed out, the CM asked one of my boys what he did to earn his Readyman pin. The poor little guy just stood there and did the deer-in-the-headlight thingy. He had no idea. I then said, "What did you do for first aid?" He piped up and went on until the CM interrupted him. The next guy was getting the Communicator pin and the CM did the same thing, asked him what he did to earn that pin. He, too, had no idea. Then I asked, "What about the flashlights in the dark?" He went on and on about sending messages with the flashlights, the flags, etc. and all the neat games that went along with it. Again he had to be interrupted to go on with the ceremony. Needless to say, the CM never again asked any of my boys what they did to earn their pins because I really don't think any of them really knew because I never announced why were were playing all the games and doing all the fun stuff. Obviously they weren't doing any of it to get pins, I just kept track of that in the background. :)

 

Stosh

 

I understand the point you're making, and agree with it to a point.... but something is missing. Why then bother at all with the patch or pin? I've seen this happen a few times now with my boy. Strikes me that the award is meaningless. Sure they are getting the lesson and having fun.... Priorities B and A! but for the sake of the award, it seems to me very similar to a pencil whip situation.... a give me.

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There's nothing quite like seeing a Scout's face when he realizes he has completed a requirement while out camping...when he wasn't even trying to check the boxes. :cool:

 

And the next piece of the equation is completed.... in my thinking anyway. the follow-up in the book.... see what we did! All bookwork doesn't have to be a drag!

 

Then the last piece that my pack struggles with.....

Once they have the patch or pin, what good is it if they never wear their uniform to show it.... or some nice old lady points to a pin and asks about it?

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I understand the point you're making, and agree with it to a point.... but something is missing. Why then bother at all with the patch or pin? I've seen this happen a few times now with my boy. Strikes me that the award is meaningless. Sure they are getting the lesson and having fun.... Priorities B and A! but for the sake of the award, it seems to me very similar to a pencil whip situation.... a give me.

 

I guess it all goes back to the idea that when all is said and done, the patches and pins are all going to go into a memory box that will sit in the back of the closet until one day he pulls it out and realizes that he has a pin and can't for the life of him remember what it was for. Kinda the same reason why mom's pin up crappy artwork on the refrigerator and dad has a dead animal den in the basement. These are all little bits and pieces of memories that tell us who we were and who we have become over the years. I have a large bin in the garage of all the patches and pins, neckers and slides, and memorabilia of just scouting stuff I've accumulated over the years. It means something to someone, me. :)

 

It's kinda like what's the sense of having an Ordeal sash once you have a Brotherhood sash, or then again what's the purpose of either of them once one has a Vigil sash. What a waste of time and money...... maybe....

 

Take a few minutes and have a cup of coffee with someone who's house has burned to the ground. Everything that told them who they were and why they are important is gone.

 

You'll understand when the Mrs. pulls an old pin out of your junk drawer and asks why you're saving this old pin thingy. You will take it from her and gently put it back in the drawer and say, "I got that back when I was a Cub Scout." You don't have to know why. That part isn't important.

 

Stosh

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Yeah maybe true....

I actually did get to experience what you suggest.... but it wasn't a fire, it was a flood during a hurricane. Went over to a friend's house the next day, he was in shock. Lost just about everything.

 

Regardless, I still contend that the pin or patch that reminds of a story or a personal accomplishment...."Yeah, I got that when I was in cub scouts. the Den Leader took us up.... and me and my friend Jimmy climbed down in....... Boy, did I learn my lesson!"

 

that one will mean much more than the other one he picks up and says... "yeah, I got that when I was a cub scout. I know that much, but I have no idea when or where or what it was for."

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One activity I did from time to time as part of troop meetings was to have boys practice throwing one end of a rope to a boy who needed to be "rescued." the boy then needed to tie the rope around himself and the other boys in the patrol would pull him in over the floor. This was run as an interpatrol contest and as a relay race so each boy had to tie the knot and get pulled in.

 

Comes a snowshoe hike we had going into a winter wilderness of snow, 20 degree temperatures and twenty mile an hour wind with drifting snow. We were on a forest service road with a steep dropoff and deep snow.

 

We took a break, and I discovered we were short a boy who was on his first Scout outing. Oy!

 

After looking around a bit, I spotted him down that steep slope below the road. There was several feet of powder snow and the boy was floundering around and couldn;t help himself.

 

I gave the oldest boy a rope and told him it was up to him to rescue the boy.

 

 

He threw the rope down with several Scouts holding the other end, but the trapped boy couldn;t help himself.

 

So the older Scout more or less rapelled down the slope on the rope, and tied a bowline around the boy, how was pulled up. That was repeated for the older boy too, who couldn;t get back up through the deep snow on his own.

 

I thought that was a neat example of the utility of troop practice sessions!

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That's a great example of a practical skill practiced at a meeting!

I'm still at the cub level, and I really wish that even at the cub level, that the achievements were much more centered around activities such as this. Good, practical use, outdoor and life skills.

 

I do recognize a bid difference in our dens when doing the flag ceremony. We rotate responsibilities for flags at the pack mtgs through the dens. My son's DL, currently 1st year WEBELOS, ran through the full indoor flag ceremony at every den meeting for most of their Wolf year and a good bit of the Bear year. Now, even though they still don't show the level of respect I'd like to see with regard to not goofing off, etc.... they still are way ahead of all the other dens when it comes to the basics.... which side of the room, how to cross the flags, etc....

 

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For Cub Scouts I like to practice what to do in a fire.

 

The basic idea is to 1) stay low to avoid smoke 2) to identify the nearest exit not affected by the fire and 3) try to get everyone out while you head for the exit.

 

The "fire" is parents waving some cut up red paper to block one or more exits.

 

My experience is that boys get REALLY involved in this! The first few times they all jump up and head for the exit --- of course I tell them they are all dead from smoke inhalation.

 

Then they start to get the idea, and solve the problem well after a few trials.

 

The only real trouble I had was this was a boy who went over to a window and backhanded the window, breaking the window and cutting himself pretty well.

 

 

Since I was PREPARED, I had a first aid kit available and had the boys hand bandaged up. However, someone called the fire department and they showed up with a fire truck, took off the bandage I had put on and put on one of their own.

 

Well ---- I imagine that was an exciting night for those boys!

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