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Jackdaws

Do you go by the age 7 or 1st grade rule for Tigers?

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Just curious to see if you follow the must be 7 or in the 1st grade rule.  We have a new Tiger scout who just turned 6 back in August  yet he is in the 1st grade.  

 

Please bear with me as this might be rambling.

 

Reason I bring this up is, I had a little run in with his mother this weekend while doing our camping 101 trip.  At our local council camp there are wooden platforms with tubular frames to support the canvas tents they use for Boy Scout summer camp. 

 

Our CM specifically told everyone Friday night that the platforms are strictly off limits.  I had to tell several boys several times to get off the platforms.   The Tiger in question was repeatedly told about 5 times in about a 10-15 min. span to get off the platform and to definitely not swing on the poles.  I warned him that if he does it again, he is done and will have to go sit down.  Well he did it again and so I told him to go and sit at his tent.  Not 5 min. later his mom comes up to me and asks if I made her son go sit down by himself, I said yes I did as he was repeatedly warned to not be on the platforms.  She then starts in with "If you have a problem with my child then you need to come to me!"  I told her that I had asked him several times to follow instructions to not be on it.  She claims that he told her that I made  him go sit down and he was over there for 40 min. I said that was not true as it hadn't been but about 5 min. I had another adult standing there the whole time while I was warning him and when she approached me.  The mom said he shouldn't have been sent to sit by himself as he isn't that old.  She said "he JUST turned 6 and he shouldn't be left alone."  I told her that I thought she would be over near the tent, she actually was in the "kitchen" which is not even 20 yards from their tent.  The said platform he was playing on was a good 40 yards away from the kitchen.  So I naturally got defensive and said he was not following safety instructions and I asked that he sit down.  There are consequences to your actions.   The other adult who was with me started on the mom and said that she was rude to my child (apparently while I was away from the site assisting another district with part of their camporee.)  The other adult said that when the mom said that we were Troop 123(not real#'s) that my son corrected her and said it was Pack 123.  She supposedly said for my son to stop sassing her.  She of course denies this.  The two ladies argue about it for a min. finally I said "Sorry if you feel like you don't like that I made your child sit down but he was asked repeatedly to not swing/play on the platform.  And it looks like you said something to my child and I said something to yours so lets just leave it be and move on.  If you don't like it then you need to speak with the CM"  Well of course she went running to him.  I told him what happened and that I apologized(half heartedly just to get her to go away) but I was not going to take any crap from this lady.  I have invested a lot of time and money volunteering for this pack and that as the BALOO my name was on that tour permit and if something gets damaged I have to answer for it.   If she can't take someone getting on to her child who according to her is young and can't be left alone (even though there were almost 30 people within 30 yards of him) then maybe she isn't ready for Cub Scouts.  She is a elementary school teacher so she should know what her son is and isn't capable of following.  If you feel that your child is too young then he should be at  your hip at all times.  Plus I am sure that she disciplines her students and makes them sit out of activities w/o consulting the child's parents.  So how should this be any different?  She didn't like my son's response, did I tell her that she should have spoken to me about it 1st?  Nope. 

 

I feel that he is too young to actually be in scouts.  Yes, he maybe in the 1st grade but just barely.   I spent the rest of my weekend ticked off about it.   I still am somewhat. 

 

I am sure some of you will say it was wrong for me to make a child go sit down by himself.  I had no clue that he was THAT young.  I could tell that he was really small.  But I just don't think he is ready to go camping like that.  Maybe my only consolation is that they have now completed the camping requirement and hopefully won't go on anymore.  But I doubt that will be the case.  This mom seems like she would be one to make him go just to spite me.  

 

If you made it this far, thanks for letting me vent.  And I appreciate any information on how to handle this situation or to keep it from happening again. 

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Well, there are quite a few issues here, and clearly any of us here on the forum can only give general advice, as we will miss some of the specifics of your situation.

 

First, Thank you for being a volunteer.  BALOO and the other training you have taken has certianly taken much of your time, so as a Scouter, I thank you for that.

 

Second, other than as the BALOO parent, If you specified that you have a specific role in the Pack, I missed it.  The other parent may not realize the importance of the BALOO training to the unit, nor your role in leadership for the camping event.  Thus she may have through she was talking parent to parent.  While I personally welcome any adult who non-physically helps to correct my Children's actions when I am busy with pack or district things; I know most parents are not as generous and become defensive.  Being a formal pack leader may have provided more credibility to your leadership role - or maybe not.

 

Third, If it had been easy to do so, it might have been a good idea to send the Scout to mom with the direction to explain why he needed to stay with mom.  Her son is a Tiger cub, and for reasons like this, we ask adult partners and their Tiger Den scouts to stay together at all times when on a Scout activity.  Is 40 to 20 yards staying together - normally I would think so, but in this case it does not seem to have been close enough.

 

Fourth - as a safety issue, I do not think you were out of line.  This was not as simple as the scout not listening to you the implicationns for injury or damage were real.

 

We (although you may not be) are unaware of any other mitigating circumstances this Scout may have (ADHD, or other issues, etc.), so this behavior may not be out of character for him, and while Mom knows that and as a defense mechanism has given him a lot of latitude when she thinks she can; this was not one of those cases and the mom may need to better understand it.

 

To answer the original question - no 6 year old, Tiger Scouts are pretty normal.  The age and maturity is why we ask that parents are their adult partners for these types of activities.  In my pack, my general experience has been that, on the whole, the 6 year old tigers are consistently better behaved than my 9-10 year old Webelos.

 

As long as the Scout was within eyesite of the Adults, having him sit by himself was probably a good idea, but I probably would have immediately went to the Mom to let her know where her child was, and why.  By going to her first, before her son went to her, you might have even been able to get her support.

 

As the cubmaster for my pack, I could not always be right there or stop what I was doing if my son was misbehaving (and he would - boys are boys).  I made it clear to the other leaders (and my son) that I would support them if they needed to give him a time out.  As long as it was not physical and was in view of others - I did not have a problem with that.

 

This is a great place to vent.  Better to us with our words of encouragement than to the Scout or his mom, creating drama in the unit.

Edited by gumbymaster
  • Upvote 1

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As a parent, I cannot relate. Any time my kids got "yelled at" (their terms), I told them to go to the "offending adult", thank them for the discipline, promise they will try to be more respectful the next time, and let them know that as soon as they aren't paying attention to the rules next time to please "yell' or "time out" again as necessary. :p

 

But I understand that new parents are often learning how to handle these situations. You'll be working together for a long time. Dig deep and figure out how to love one another.

Edited by qwazse
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We are a grade level pack. With the only exceptions when a cub is held back in school. If they have met the Cub Scout rank requirements and kept up in scouting by doing their best they advance on. Provides them with a success in life.

 

In the case of this tiger & mom, maybe a gentle reminder to all kids about the good things from the campout and some areas the leaders need to see improvement on at the next would be good to deliver soon to all the boys.

"Great job keeping the campsite clean and cooperating at games/skills, as a group we need all of you scouts to keep up that good work and work on listening to the leaders and following the rules of the camp, so we can continue to go back"

 

I would also invite all tiger parents to attend the next baloo training so they can gain the knowledge of why Cub Scout camping is different from family camping.

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1) the boys were told to stay off the platforms.

 

He didn't.

 

2) the parent was to be watching their son.

 

They didn't.

 

3) doesn't appear that either of them listened very well.

 

4) maybe next time both get time-out.

 

I would explain very nicely that as their son progresses through scouting the activities will become more and more challenging and that if they don't learn at a young age to follow directions, they could be opening themselves up to serious problems.  Especially when it comes to fire, rock climbing, whitewater canoeing, knives, axes, saws, rifles shotguns and bows, aka "the fun stuff".  If their son can't figure this out he will not be able to participate safely and the time will come when he will have to drop out of scouts and you don't want that for any boy.

 

At that point I would enlist the parent to "help" with their son's discipline awareness to make sure he stays safe.

 

Another thing one may wish to learn is how to "yell" at kids silently.  "THE LOOK" always works for me.  Yes, I'm a guy but I've learned from some of the best females out there how this works.  It will silently strike fear right down to the bone if necessary.  Then when the appropriate fear (aka terror) has been instilled, talking quietly to the child usually does the trick.  You don't need to yell, you have their attention.  In this situation I would gently ask him why he thought it a good idea to be on the platforms when he was told to stay off.  Put the explanation on him.  If he says, he doesn't know, then a few minutes sitting on a stump might be helpful for him to think it through better.  Even a 6 year old can figure this one out.  No parent can ever come back at you for yelling at their child and as long as you just used THE LOOK, the marks you leave can't been seen.  :)

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I don't think your issue really has anything to do with the age of the young man. If he is in the first grade, he is the proper age to be a Tiger - and there doesn't seem to be an issue here of skipping a grade or starting school early or anything like that. If he turned 6 in August of the year he started first grade, that is the "right" age to be in first grade. My oldest child also turned 6 in August of the year she started first grade. In fact, in my school district the kids start kindergarten if they turn 5 by Sept. 30 of that year, which means they can actually still be 5 in the FIRST grade, for almost a month. So in my school district, depending on when in August the boy turned 6, he would still be older than about 10-15 percent of the other kids in his class. When I was in school, the "deadline" was December 31, so you could have a first grader who didn't turn 6 until almost halfway through the school year.

 

It may well be that this young man is not "ready" to be in a group such as Tigers, but that is a problem that the BSA has created by having a program for first graders. When I was a Tiger parent and Cub Scout leader, I saw a number of Tigers who were not "ready", especially at the beginning of the "Tiger year." I'm not sure my son (now an Eagle Scout) was ready then. But that's the program, and the kids (and their parents and leaders) almost all get through the initial bumps in the road.

 

As for the specific issues of dealing with this young man and his mother, I will leave that for others to comment on.

 

P.S. To answer the first question you asked (and the question in the topic title), my son's former pack is a "grade level" pack. In fact all packs I am aware of are "grade level" packs. I know that LDS packs are "age level" but they don't have Tigers anyway.

Edited by NJCubScouter
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In answer to your first question, our Pack has been grade level for as long as I have known about it.  So school year determines eligibility and den level.

 

You could easily get the behavior you described from scout and mother at almost any age so I don't think that would make any difference.

 

My view is that if I'm an adult in a group of kids I will do what I think is best regarding discipline when either I am specifically one of the leaders or if the parent is not around, I extend that to any kid I see if I think it's a matter of safety or something getting broken.

 

If someone objects to your providing discipline for their child the only logical response is to say OK and let the matter drop. You are never going to convince the parent that you're right and they're wrong, and at least for me I'm not really going to change my behavior.  If I thought it was a good idea to say something the first time than I'll probably do it the same way the next time, and again there's no point in telling someone that or arguing about it --- It's going to happen or not, and wasting time, energy, and aggravation arguing about it ahead of time doesn't do anyone any good.

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Yep, grade level here.

I find that in itself a little bit sticky when it comes time for a troop.  my son as an example, would not qualify to join a troop when we cross if he had not earned the AOL.  We have one relatively inactive boy on our roster that will not have earned his AOL and so he's fallen into this trap.

 

The discipline thing is something I've struggled with too.  

I support what you did, but would have likely suggested a slightly different approach.... depending on what your role or position is.

 

Regardless, One thing is for sure, most responsible parents I know would support you for what you did. (unless perhaps if the kid wandered off to someplace completely away from everyone..... we can't see your camp's layout)

 

The parent is supposed to be there.  I as CM or Den Leader, or whatever really shouldn't be put into the position of doing that.  I probably would have reminded him a couple times as you did, then looked for the parent personally, only issuing a timeout or whatever if the parent was nowhere to be found..... but some folks, my wife for example, have no problem disciplining other people's kids... just as you did.

 

My son's den leader is the same as me.  Something he and I have discussed a few times is that in hindsight, what we should have done is to establish much clearer expectations and boundaries early on.  Expectations of the kids to behave an mind.... and expectation to the parents that they are to be in attendance and they are to keep their kids inline.  I think we both agree that we should have started doing exactly what you did with that boy early on, instead of throwing up our hands.

We generally don't have much of a problem, but I think what we have is a little less than ideal because of our mistakes.

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Everybody is spot on IMHO. My oldest was one of those 5 year old Tigers due to his birthday. 

 

And yes it gets tricky when it's time to Cross Over. My son was age 10 years 3 months and X days old when he Crossed Over.

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Everybody is spot on IMHO. My oldest was one of those 5 year old Tigers due to his birthday.

I knew a number of kids in that situation. My son was on the opposite end of the year, because his birthday was less than 2 weeks after the cutoff for school. He was always one of the 2 or 3 oldest kids in his class. So when he was a Webelos 2 he had the opposite issue. Crossover was going to be in March but he turned 11 the previous October, so he could have joined a troop then, with or without the Arrow of Light. We told him he had the choice of earning AOL at an accelerated rate and becoming a Boy Scout in October, or not earning it at all, or waiting and crossing over in March with everybody else. He chose to wait. (Of course it turned out that when he was 17 and 11 months, he could have used those extra 5 months, but I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference anyway.)

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We are a grade level pack.

The kid in question was given several warnings. Therefor being told to go sit down is a reasonable instruction. I usually tell the kids they need to find their parent and be by their side. (Very sternly with raised eyebrow).

If climbing on the platforms and bars is a violation of camp policy then they could have been asked to leave the campout.

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I knew a number of kids in that situation. My son was on the opposite end of the year, because his birthday was less than 2 weeks after the cutoff for school. He was always one of the 2 or 3 oldest kids in his class. So when he was a Webelos 2 he had the opposite issue. Crossover was going to be in March but he turned 11 the previous October, so he could have joined a troop then, with or without the Arrow of Light. We told him he had the choice of earning AOL at an accelerated rate and becoming a Boy Scout in October, or not earning it at all, or waiting and crossing over in March with everybody else. He chose to wait. (Of course it turned out that when he was 17 and 11 months, he could have used those extra 5 months, but I'm sure it wouldn't have made a difference anyway.)

 

Middle son is in a similar situation, i.e. a late birthday. He realized under the new program that he could skip Webelos and go directly to AOL and get into the troop in time for summer camp. He changed his mind when he found out that he would not be joining the patrol his current Boy Scout friends were in, but a different NSP. And his buddies in the Webelos would also be in a different NSP when they moved up.

 

Thankfully he's sticking with his friends.

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First off, thank you for volunteering, try not to let this get you down on that.

 

We are a grade level pack but if someone came to us 7 in K we would take him.  Never had that yet.

 

You were correct in your actions and the parents were incorrect.  Safety first, and you are absolutely able to do what you can to make sure that the boy is safe.  He also was breaking a camp rule so you were right on that page too.  Follow YPT guidelines and you are fine.  As someone who is on the district committee, feel free to engage your District Executive or District Committee member to help calm the parent down if they do not understand what your responsibilities are and theirs.  

 

To emphasize how important safety is, that is the only reason that a YPT guideline can be broken if all else fails.  (e.g. someone injures themselves or is having an immediate health issue)  Obviously, best to take another adult with you even in those situations.

 

It happens to everyone.  I had a boy who thought it was cool to swing an 8 foot stick around at camp and wanted to wander into the woods.  I told him no and took the stick away and told him he needed to stay within eyesight of the camp.  Afterwards, the parent told me how I was completely unreasonable and was going to talk to somebody.  I replied to the parent with our DE on the email and explained how it was for safety reasons but feel free to talk to our DE.  4 years later he is still in our pack.

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I think you could turn this into a teachable moment before the next campout.

Using the Scout Law. If you need to ask a boy more than 3 times to stop doing an off limits behavior they aren't being very Courteous or Obedient. Tigers have a tough time with those words sometimes.

Do you remember the cartoon in Highlights Magazine Goofus & Gallant? You could do something like that - if there is a den chief or 2 or even a few Boy Scouts (say 6th-7th graders) see if they could come do a little skit - maybe the cubs will have the lightbulb moment.

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We go by the first grade 'rule'. I believe the way to interpret this is that any 1st grader regardless of age may join cub scouts. But even if they're not in1st grade for some reason, if they're 7 years old they may join cub scouts anyway.

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