Jump to content
Sign in to follow this  
SamanthaG

Just Became New Pack Leader - Advancement Questions

Recommended Posts

Hello,

 

I have a tiger (about to be wolf) Scout and am now the new committee chair for the pack. The pack was starting to be scattered, disorganized and loosing scouts right as we joined, I took up the position to make it the best for all scouts including my son, who loves the whole thing and cant wait to be an Eagle Scout.

 

I started with the new program, however the older dens are having a hard time with the switch. They all have in there head that they need to have everything done by Blue and Gold in February. I am looking at the new leader guide which says Webleos 2 Cross over to Boy scouts in February. (at blue and gold) and that the rest of the pack would rank up in May sometime.

 

Is this correct? My scout office said to do it how we want, but with the new program, our Tigers could not finish everything by February. Especially since the dens only meet once a month and one pack meeting a month.

 

I did convince them to do 2 den meetings and 1 pack meeting a month for the next year, so that will help, but it seems that the program is designed for all but Webelos to finish up about May.

 

I happened to get a leader book printed in 1999 and even it talks about "ranking up" in May.

 

Any one else have issues like this or any advice on best way to approach this to make it easier for those older but also streamline those just coming into scouts.

 

Thanks So Much

Samantha

Pack 111 - Kings Way - Springfield, MO

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have not looked at the finished product of the new program but when looking at the final draft last year and doing some math it sure looked to me like it would take a nearly a whole 9 months at 3 den meeting per month to get through it. Wish I could be more help but my youngest just crossed over under the old program.

 

In my opinion 3 den meetings and one pack a month is a little much for Tigers and most parents. Shouldn't be, but that's just the world we live in.

 

Have you taken training on the new program? If not try to squeeze it in as it is usually only a couple of evenings or a Saturday. Contact your District Training Chair and talk to them and get some advise as well. Go to district round table and get there a little early, lots of people to talk to and I am sure there will be breakout sessions on implementing the new program.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Welcome to the forum.

 

My only recent Cub experience is working with the second year Webelos boys.  The program seems to be quite easy to understand, but maybe it's because it's been 20 years since I did the pins and ribbon thing and now the different units are a bit different.  My boys seem to adjust well with the new program.  The Arrow of Light required units and a couple of electives we are doing are really a lot better at making the Cub to Boy Scout transition than the old program.

 

Sorry I couldn't be more help with the younger programs.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

There is not a requirement to have a rank completed by B&G in February.  At one adventure a month, unless the boys got some done in the previous summer, it is tough.  The usual program year is June 1-May 31 for Cub Scouts, so they have until May to finish their rank requirements.  Stuff they do at Day/Resident Camp over the summer counts for the next rank.

 

For the Webelos, they should try to get the Webelos Award done by the end of their 4th grade year, then maybe work on a couple of electives over the summer.  It is a good idea, though not a hard and fast rule, to cross Arrow of Light den (aka "Webelos II") over to Boy Scouts in Feb or so, that way they can be in a troop for a couple of months before going to summer camp.  However, they can continue to work on AoL until they finish 5th grade, or transfer membership to a Troop.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Samantha!

 

First off, thanks for volunteering.  It sounds like your Pack should be in good hands.  Chisos is absolutely right, to expand on it, here's an article I wrote last year on this topic:

 

Blue and Gold Banquet - Party time!
 
Cub Scouting celebrates its birthday in February of each year.  Everyone knows that to celebrate your birthday, you need to have a party, right?  In Scouting, we call that annual party the Blue and Gold Banquet.  Some Packs have a potluck.  Some Packs go to a banquet hall.  It doesn't matter how you celebrate, just that you do celebrate.

Since we're having a party, who do we invite?  Why, everyone of course.  We invite our Scouts and their immediate families.  We invite grandmas and grandpas.  We invite lots of people.  Since we have so many people there, wouldn't this be a great time to do our advancement ceremony and our Webelos crossover?

In the past, some Packs thought that was a great idea.  I can understand that.  However, that was never an officially recommended thing to do.  Why not?  Well, one reason is that it dilutes the experience for all involved.

Crossover and earning the Arrow of Light are a big deal.  Many of the Scouts have been with the Pack for almost five years, and crossover is to honor their accomplishments and send them on their way to a Troop.  This experience should be all about these boys.  When you combine it with the Blue and Gold, you're taking the focus off of these few boys, and making it about the Cub Scouting program and the rest of the Pack.

What about the rest of the boys?  If you give them their rank in February (remember, this is a birthday party, and the birthday falls in February), what are they going to do the rest of the year?  How do you celebrate their advancement to the next rank?  Remember, they don't move to the next den until the school year ends.

Here is what I think you should do:
  1. Make Blue and Gold a celebration of all things Cub Scouting.  Invite your Pack's alumni, extended family, etc.  Talk about the history of Cub Scouting, the history of your Pack, and show what you've done so far in your scouting year.  Make it fun!
  2. Have Crossover be a separate ceremony.  You can award Arrow of Light at the same time, but make this all about these boys, nobody else.  Strongly encourage the rest of the Pack to attend.  My son is in Karate, and a Black Belt ceremony is a big deal.  By inviting younger Karate students, they see that completing their goals and staying in Karate means that they too will be honored and rewarded.  Scouting is no different.  This should be a serious, solemn ceremony, and younger Scouts can attend and watch.  Maybe have it in a church - kids are more likely to be serious and not goof around because they know that churches are serious places.
  3. At the end of the school year, have a rank ceremony/graduation for the rest of the Pack.  Have a picnic.  Invite new Scouts you recruited in the Spring.  Again, make it a big deal.  It should be serious, but doesn't need to be as solemn as crossover.  I'd focus on ceremony.  Have the dens in full uniform.  March in as dens.  Have all of the boys participate in a flag ceremony.  Honor each boy by name.  Give his rank to his parents.  Shake their hands.  They can present the rank to him.  Then shake his hand.  Do this for each boy, den by den.  Make it a big deal, but make it about these boys.  Don't dilute it by focusing on crossover, departing Webelos, and the birthday of Scouting.
I know this will be a change for many units, but many units are already doing what I've outlined above.  Yes, this means three events instead of one.  Two are ceremonies, and they take some planning but not a lot.  One is a celebration, and probably takes more planning and coordination.  Overall, I think that if your Pack has combined these in the past, you will find that it isn't that hard to separate them as so many other Packs are doing today.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

We started the year with the everyone has their ranks by February goal.   We realized in December that wasn't really going to happen.   December is pretty much a wash for our pack.  We meet once for a regular den meeting and then another time for our Christmas party and then won't meet back up until after the new year.  

 

We just had our rank ceremony last Tuesday.  We still have a few stragglers who still need to earn theirs due to still needing to camp or they started late in the year.   Had 2 join in late February alone.   They are working hard to catch up. 

 

February is also a big wash for our pack as we focus on pinewood derby and blue and gold.   We usually spend at least 2 den meetings working on cars.  We borrow a bunch of tools so everyone who may not have tools at home has an opportunity to work on their cars.

 

My son(Bear) along with some of the other boys in his den who went to day camp this past summer were about 2 steps ahead of everyone else as they worked/completed on requirements at camp.    

 

If you want to get a head, encourage the boys to attend camp so they can work on some of the requirements.   This will free up some time later in the year to work on the electives.   Also encourage everyone in your pack to camp early.  Nothing like being the only one in your den who hasn't camped yet(for whatever reason) to not get your rank with everyone else who you have been with all year long.  Several sad faces last week.  But requirements are requirements.  We offer up about 6 opportunities a year to camp.    

 

I hate to say it but I kind of liked the freedom that the old program had with being able to complete a rank requirement in one or two meetings and then you had more time to plan in some electives thru ought the year.  Instead of hammering away at the rank requirements.   I saw this coming down the line so I transitioned from a den leader to the pack committee and also the district committee. 

 

Also for next year, now you know what to expect and how long each requirement may take so you can plan now and try to have a better eta on when everyone may finish.   Planning is key.

 

Susan

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thank you for taking on this great responsibility.

 

If you do not want to burn out the boys, as others have said, give up on the notion of Ranks by the Blue and Gold.  Just let it be a birthday party for the Scouting movement as intended.  Some packs might double up and run their pinewood derby at this event.

 

In our case, this year we ran a carnival (so the bears could complete a required adventure), here each den and some of the leader groups set up booth games.  It worked out wonderfully, and the Scouts did not miss that advancement did not occur then.

 

Instead, we have converted our upcoming May pack meeting to be more of a Court of Honor to present the rank awards to those that have completed them (and to re-recognize anyone who was able to complete the rank awards earlier).  Ranks should be presented when the Scout(s) complete them, and the Scouts should not have to wait until everyone else in the den (or pack) finishes to be recognized.

 

Best of luck for you and your pack.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Completing ranks by February is not very realistic, assuming that you begin working on your rank advancement in August-September when the school year starts.  That would mean you would have to complete one adventure every month from September thru February (and have the scouts complete the Duty to God adventure outside of meetings).  Our pack/den don't meet during Thanksgiving week or the schools' Christmas break, so much of November, December, and the first week of January are lost.  Also, there is a limited amount of time that you can complete the outdoors-based activity in the September-February time.  

 

Our scouts typically achieve their ranks sometime in April.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I seem to remember the Cub Den of my yoooth  meeting once a week, in somebody's rec room or around the kitchen table, and  a  monthly Pack Meeting, and in the spring/summer, a Cub Scout softball league. The Den meeting might be a trip to the zoo  or a museum, or a  hike/picnic in the park.  But I remember all the parents were involved. Maybe my memory has mellowed, become more "rose colored", but that is what I remember.   Carpooling, making the hotdogs,  cutting up the plywood for the key holders and pen holders we made. My dad had the pen holder on his desk up to when he died.

Now, kids (the parents?) have a lot more choices.  Athletics, sunday school,  after school clubs,  maybe (!) a family trip somewhere. More ways to spend the family 'discretionary income'. Camp gear, hiking shoes or Cox Cable?  

The Cub program has changed a lot over the years.   Maybe the changes reflect more the parents involvement rather than the kids abilities or the culture around them .

Are there really many 7 year olds that don't enjoy finding crawfish under a rock, or getting glue under their fingernails, or seeing a gleam in their mom's eye when they receive  a plywood key holder?  

How "academic"  is the present "official"  program now, compared to the older ones?   What does that really indicate?   Is that cartoon character  Ethan  a better choice of  enthusiast/encourager than Baloo or Akela or  some other classic adventure story character? 

 

I have vivid memories of the CSDC I worked as Nature Pavilion.  Did a bit about "Leave No Trace" where I sent the Cubs out to pick up litter that 'wasn't there' (they found a lot!). All the while, this woman was on her schmart phone declaiming to someone how she would have SO MUCH work waiting for her on Monday, and why couldn't someone else have done this Den Walking "thing", and these little Cubs were such a chore, her boy was no trouble, but the OTHERS.... and she went on.  The other DWs stood and smiled...

Share this post


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
Sign in to follow this  

×