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fred johnson

Cub Scouts Lasts Too Long

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But the older boy is still in Boy Scouts? Doesn't sound that bad. I took off two years from cub scouts with my son because the kids in his den were making it miserable for everyone else. I never did cub scouts as a kid, so I didn't mind.

 

If the older boy is having fun then the younger will likely want to join a troop when he's old enough.

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Would going to a UK/international model help?

 

UK has Beavers (6-8), Cubs (8-10.5) and Scouts (10.5-14) with the Beaver colony, Cub pack and Scout troop all under one group (which may or may not be sponsored by an outside body like a church or school).  If needed a group might have multiple colonies or multiple packs finding names to differentiate them like 1st Anytown "Tuesday pack" and "Thursday pack" or 2nd Heresville "Red colony" and "Blue colony." 

 

It would be hard to switch to a group model, even James West couldn't pull it off.  I'd suggest creating "Younger Scout Groups" (need a better name) using the existing pack as a base.  Creating a Group with packs and troops might disrupt existing relationships where the feeder pack and receiving troop have different sponsors and unit numbers and sometimes the CO has packs and troops with completely different numbers.

 

So let's look at hypothetical Anytown Pack 45 sponsored by the Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration ("Don't fail me now") Church.  Pack 45 now forms the nucleus of Younger Scout Group 45.  Pack 45 contains Cubs in grades 3,4, and 5 (no change to Feb. bridge date).  Newly formed Beaver Colony 45 (OK, it doesn't have to be a Beaver Colony) in the Younger Scout Group contains grades 1&2.  If needed a Kindergarten mom/dad & me program like Lions would be started.  This would be under the group but separate from the Pack and Colony.

 

The pack leadership includes CMs, ACMs, DLs, and ADLs as needed.  The pack committee would be dissolved and there would be no colony committee, instead there would be a Group Committee* under the group chairman to handle finance/fundraising, recharter, policy/oversight and other paperwork.  Why?  Too much overhead in having two committees, plus it promotes the link between Pack and Colony.  Beaver leaders get brown loops, revive "scouter red" for the group leadership.

 

Separate the activity progression: Beavers is more family camp oriented, Cubs is more Webelos Woods/den camping oriented.

Beavers do matchbox races, Cubs do pinewood Derby ending 5 straight years of Pinewood derby.  Or have Beavers do Pinewood and Cubs do Blast Cars.

 

The monotony is broken, program becomes more age appropriate.

 

 

*=based on my experience doing membership outreach as Jewish Committee chairman and trying to restart a failed pack (really a Tiger den that folded over the summer before starting Wolf year) at a local synagogue.  Requiring a cubmaster, committee chair, two committee members, a COR (CC or one of the MCs) and a den leader for 6 tigers is already overkill.  Requiring a full committee for a nascent Beaver Colony would be absurd.

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I don't doubt that, but that too could be an indirect function of parental apathy.  At the cub level, scouting requires heavy parent involvement.  Not many 1st-3rd graders are full of self motivated initiative.  Often parent encouragement and a slight push is necessary.  With an oldest kid, a "I don't want to go to the pack meeting tonight" is often rejected by mom & dad.  But a few years later with kids 2,3, or 4, a parent is less likely to hold the line.

 

And to clarify, I'm not advocating forcing a kid to do scouting.  My example above is more about the sometimes necessary push of encouragement.  I see a clear line between force and push/encourage.

No question there.  My involvement is precisely why my son has fun with it.  Good daddy time.  I see it with the parents that sit in the back on their phones..... the kids just don't get the same experience....

 

Yeah, I agree.  I would have waited for wolf or bear to get my sons involved.  there is no program loss.  the only challenge is most boys join when Tigers.  And, if you don't get critical mass, then whole grades fail in a pack.  So, my delaying would have just helped cause more problems.  

 

I would not switch packs though.  IMHO, scouting is best when with friends.  Friends for elementary grades are mainly school classmates.  So as long as the pack is mostly "okay", the pack associated with school is more important than finding the best pack.

Yep, no program loss at all.  Well maybe now with the new one a bit, I'm not sure..... but Safe bet it wouldn't be a big deal.

 

Also agreed about the friends.....I guess my perspective is a bit different, since we went with the pack at our church, while son goes to a local government school.  So a great chunk of the boys are from the parish school, a few from other schools in the area, and only a couple from son's school.  So the pack at school might have been a better choice for us....

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Would going to a UK/international model help?

 

UK has Beavers (6-8), Cubs (8-10.5) and Scouts (10.5-14) with the Beaver colony, Cub pack and Scout troop all under one group (which may or may not be sponsored by an outside body like a church or school).  If needed a group might have multiple colonies or multiple packs finding names to differentiate them like 1st Anytown "Tuesday pack" and "Thursday pack" or 2nd Heresville "Red colony" and "Blue colony." 

 

It would be hard to switch to a group model, even James West couldn't pull it off.  I'd suggest creating "Younger Scout Groups" (need a better name) using the existing pack as a base.  Creating a Group with packs and troops might disrupt existing relationships where the feeder pack and receiving troop have different sponsors and unit numbers and sometimes the CO has packs and troops with completely different numbers.

 

So let's look at hypothetical Anytown Pack 45 sponsored by the Our Lady of Blessed Acceleration ("Don't fail me now") Church.  Pack 45 now forms the nucleus of Younger Scout Group 45.  Pack 45 contains Cubs in grades 3,4, and 5 (no change to Feb. bridge date).  Newly formed Beaver Colony 45 (OK, it doesn't have to be a Beaver Colony) in the Younger Scout Group contains grades 1&2.  If needed a Kindergarten mom/dad & me program like Lions would be started.  This would be under the group but separate from the Pack and Colony.

 

The pack leadership includes CMs, ACMs, DLs, and ADLs as needed.  The pack committee would be dissolved and there would be no colony committee, instead there would be a Group Committee* under the group chairman to handle finance/fundraising, recharter, policy/oversight and other paperwork.  Why?  Too much overhead in having two committees, plus it promotes the link between Pack and Colony.  Beaver leaders get brown loops, revive "scouter red" for the group leadership.

 

Separate the activity progression: Beavers is more family camp oriented, Cubs is more Webelos Woods/den camping oriented.

Beavers do matchbox races, Cubs do pinewood Derby ending 5 straight years of Pinewood derby.  Or have Beavers do Pinewood and Cubs do Blast Cars.

 

The monotony is broken, program becomes more age appropriate.

 

 

*=based on my experience doing membership outreach as Jewish Committee chairman and trying to restart a failed pack (really a Tiger den that folded over the summer before starting Wolf year) at a local synagogue.  Requiring a cubmaster, committee chair, two committee members, a COR (CC or one of the MCs) and a den leader for 6 tigers is already overkill.  Requiring a full committee for a nascent Beaver Colony would be absurd.

I like the one shared committee/unit idea

Not so sure about the beavers thing though

 

Even though it's different, it would almost certainly be "similar" in at least some ways  

 

Just as the similarities abound in the old system between tiger, wolf, bear, and WEB

it just gets old.

Pretty sure we talked about a lot of the same stuff.... yeah, maybe a little more advanced each year, but still it gets BORING to the boys.

And I'm already seeing that my son will be bored with the early stuff in scouts since he's already done it in Bears and WEBELOS.... 

 

I'm almost tempted to change my earlier comment about waiting to start my son Bear or 1st year WEB... to waiting until he can join a troop.

But I do recognize that friends are what will hold him in scouting, and if those bonds aren't formed, they may not by the time he's 10 or 11.  He'd prefer to hang with his non scout friends from earlier.... So Bear is probably about right if you ask me.

 

SO

I would like to see your one committee approach

skip the beavers

cubs starts round about 3rd or 4th grade as in your proposal... focusing on a mix of family camping stuff, pinewood derby and the like, and only a little intro to Boy Scouts.

 

Yep, I think it wold be solid

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Would going to a UK/international model help?

I think it's an interesting idea. What you are describing is splitting a cub pack into two units under a single committee. One of the challenges with doing pack level events, is designing activities that are age appropriate for both a 6 year old and a 10 year old. Not always easy.

 

I also think splitting boy scouts into scouts (10.4-14) and venturers (14-17) might help some of the boredom issues that older scouts have.

 

Didn't the UK used to have a model much more like what the US uses not that long ago? And they switched to the current system? How did the transition go?

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@@blw2 and @@Rick_in_CA

 

I've based my ideas on following the old newsgroup uk.rec.scouting and escouts.org.uk among others to see who scouting is conducted in other English speaking countries. 

 

While I know traditionally cubs did not begin until 3rd grade/8 years old, I'm not quite ready to eliminate 1st and 2nd graders from our program.  More and more organized activities compete for kids’ time and if you don't hook them early you may not hook them at all.  We are very bad at recruiting middle schoolers directly into boy scouts and I'm not sure how easy it would be to recruit 8 year olds into cubs off the street.

 

I've looked at how the Brits do cub scouts. @@Cambridgeskip can correct me if I’m wrong.  They've modified the badge system over the years, but they still preserve the structure of the "six:" six cubs of mixed age with a senior cub appointed as "sixer" and a "seconder" as his assistant.  All sixes meet together in the pack hall for the pack night, participating in activities as members of the six or members of the pack.  There are no adult "six leaders" just a cub leader and assistants for the entire pack.  Their camping style is closer to den/patrol camping than family camp.  Culturally, this may or may not work in the US.  I’ve even seen some posts from UK Scouters indicating parents’ lack of trust in sending scouts off to camp with younger, non-parent leaders.

Edited by 00Eagle

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@@blw2 and @@Rick_in_CA

 

I've based my ideas on following the old newsgroup uk.rec.scouting and escouts.org.uk among others to see who scouting is conducted in other English speaking countries. 

 

While I know traditionally cubs did not begin until 3rd grade/8 years old, I'm not quite ready to eliminate 1st and 2nd graders from our program.  More and more organized activities compete for kids’ time and if you don't hook them early you may not hook them at all.  We are very bad at recruiting middle schoolers directly into boy scouts and I'm not sure how easy it would be to recruit 8 year olds into cubs off the street.

 

I've looked at how the Brits do cub scouts. @@Cambridgeskip can correct me if I’m wrong.  They've modified the badge system over the years, but they still preserve the structure of the "six:" six cubs of mixed age with a senior cub appointed as "sixer" and a "seconder" as his assistant.  All sixes meet together in the pack hall for the pack night, participating in activities as members of the six or members of the pack.  There are no adult "six leaders" just a cub leader and assistants for the entire pack.  Their camping style is closer to den/patrol camping than family camp.  Culturally, this may or may not work in the US.  I’ve even seen some posts from UK Scouters indicating parents’ lack of trust in sending scouts off to camp with younger, non-parent leaders.

 

Broadly that's about right. A standard pack size would be 15-30 cubs with 3-6 sixes. And yes each 6 has a sixer and a seconder. There is such a thing as senior sixer but it's generally a honorary position to mark out an outstanding sixer.

 

The issue re younger leaders - it's not so much the issue being non parent leaders, that in itself is fine, if there is an issue it's normally age itself. I was 23 when I took on the CSL (what you would call Cub master) role and yes I think there was some initial mistrust which is took a year or so to shake off. I passed it on to a 19 year old student when I moved to scouts and we did have an initial problem with parents continuing to come to me with queries about cubs and it took some "house training" to get them to go to her first time.

 

If you want to see what British cubs looks like there's a load of old photos from 2006-9 on our group website. Alas they are all shuffled up out of order because of the way software stripped them off a different site to transfer them over!

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Thanks for chiming in @@Cambridgeskip!

 

By the way, if you happen to bump in to an American scouter with Wood Badge beads studying at the University of Cambridge, he's a friend of mine.  I think he's helping out with explorers and I forgot the group number, might be 13th.

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Oh yeah, I should add I'm not tied in any way to the name "Beavers."  It started in Canada and the UK adopted it next.  Australians use "Joeys" while NZ uses "Keas."   Call it what ever you like, even "Tigers and Wolves."

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I've always wished bsa would piolit a seasonal option for cub scouts just like youth sports. An entire generation of new parents see youth activities run in a seasonal time frame with a start date and an end date, fall and spring. Then they join cub scouts and the start day is 7 years old and end date is 10 years old... Years or commitment vs a more flexible time commitment.

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I've always wished bsa would piolit a seasonal option for cub scouts just like youth sports. An entire generation of new parents see youth activities run in a seasonal time frame with a start date and an end date, fall and spring. Then they join cub scouts and the start day is 7 years old and end date is 10 years old... Years or commitment vs a more flexible time commitment.

 

In many ways it is already seasonal.  Nowhere does it say you need to start at 7 and finish at 10.  There are currently 5 distinct "seasons".  You can start in season 1 (Tiger), skip season 2 (Wolf) and pick up again at season 3 (Bear).  There are no prerequisites to any rank or year.  A kid can come and go as he pleases.  And most packs take summers off from formal advancement activities.

 

And regarding your youth sports comparison and desire for more flexible time commitments, I'd argue scouting is already far more flexible.  In sports, try missing a bunch of practices and see where that gets you.  If a scout misses a bunch of den meetings, he'll get the same opportunity to participate when he does finally show up.

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Hear sports seem to be year round.

 

What I have done to keep my boy interested.  They are Webelos 2's so they are bored with following the program.  It really gets boring for them by the time they are Webelos.  So what I do is start encorporating Scouting activities into the patrols.  For instance the boys love pioneering projects, camping with them planning everything, trail riding (not-mountain biking that isn't allowed :) ), and building things like hiking sticks.   It is amazing what activity pins you can cover on a short hike.

 

Even with all of that, it is a constant battle with sports to compete for their time.

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How good a relationship do you have with the troop, and how much work is left to get AOL?  If they are only waiting for the 6 months since completing 4th grade,  see if the troop will let them visit meetibgs and go camping. Son's troop has an open door policy, and Webelos can go on any trip allowable by BSA. We had 2 Webelos do hiking while the troop worked on backpacking and hiking.

 

Another thing if they are chomping at the bit. Cross them over as soon as they are 10.5 or in December.

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