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Phrogger

Struggling to stay in Scouts

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Sorry, but I have to say that this isn't the 1900's anymore.  While even my generation (I was a Cub Scout in the early to mid 1980's) this might have been true, I have met plenty of excellent female Webelos leaders and Cubmasters since coming back to Scouting 5 years ago.  The Cubmaster who preceeded me was much very much into Scouting and the outdoors, and made a great Cubmaster/Webelos leader.  At one point I asked why we almost never saw her husband at Scouting activities, and she told me it was because he just wasn't very into the outdoors.  Over the past 25-30 years we've made a lot of progress in moving beyond gender stereotypes when it comes to camping/hiking/etc.  If you don't want to take my word for it, go out to Philmont and observe how many female rangers are on staff, and doing as well or better than their male counterparts.  This line is something I'd expect to find in the 1940's Cub Scout handbooks, not on a forum in 2016.

My apologies, I didn't mean to say that women couldn't serve as Webelos Den Leaders, and yes, even Scoutmasters for that fact. If you had read my post correctly ("Webelos is more dad and scout. Moms may be stil involved, but it is still an adult planned and led activity.") you may have noticed that I did not say that women could not serve as Webelos Den leaders.  I have been to Philmont.  I went through my Wood Badge course with two females, one a Cubmaster and the other a Troop Committee Chairperson, both life long friends and respected leaders.   So if my opinion is to you a bit "1940's"  (BTW, I wasn't around until 1962, but I digress)  it is my opinion, as this was what I went through in the late sixties, early seventies, as well as my experances as a Den Leader Coach and Cubmaster in the 1980s,  and I hold that it is an important transition point in a scouts trail.

 

So... To repeat myself, the main point I was making is that the Webelos program is suppose to be a transition program between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts\Adult planned and led to Youth planned and led. too many packs are trying to cram two years into a year and a half, and it looks as if his son's pack cut that even further.  It was quite obvious that by short changing this scout by rushing him from the pack to the troop, he wasn't allowed to make that transition smoothly. 

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So... To repeat myself, the main point I was making is that the Webelos program is suppose to be a transition program between Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts\Adult planned and led to Youth planned and led. too many packs are trying to cram two years into a year and a half, and it looks as if his son's pack cut that even further.  It was quite obvious that by short changing this scout by rushing him from the pack to the troop, he wasn't allowed to make that transition smoothly. 

 

The Webelos Program is vital to a scouts success in the next step and I see that even in my own program.  I have Female Leader and I have mothers, and the mothers that "transition" into leaders never remove their "Mother" hat and really try to coddle the young men.  Again I work with many great female leaders that are stricter than I am but there are also many that shouldn't be leaders.

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Jumping back in to answer a few questions. My son was 10 and 7 months when he crossed, they did Webelos and Arrow of Light in one year, so technically he was eligible. Also, there are no hard age restrictions for the events, but many of the physical activities (similar to those described by Hedgehog) are out of his capability or interest. If it wasn't for his friend in the patrol, I'd consider quitting and trying again when he's 13 or so.

 

To those of you out there with agressive, physical, athletic boys, it's not the same for the less mature, quiet, non-athletic boys. I'm sure some may be tempted to chalk this up to parenting but that's just not the case. I've put him in sports since he was 3 and the other kids just run circles around him. He technically doesn't have a disability, but he's been in physical therapy in school to help build his muscle tone. I don't see him doing a 50-mile anything for a couple years at least. We loved Cub Scouts, like I said before, but the transition has been sudden and hard, and it's just not working right now. And yeah, I'd really like to see a separate transition program for kids between Cubs and Scouts, or at least for the BSA to stop the early crossovers.
 

Edited by Phrogger

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Jumping back in to answer a few questions. My son was 10 and 7 months when he crossed, they did Webelos and Arrow of Light in one year, so technically he was eligible. Also, there are no hard age restrictions for the events, but many of the physical activities (similar to those described by Hedgehog) are out of his capability or interest. If it wasn't for his friend in the patrol, I'd consider quitting and trying again when he's 13 or so.

 

To those of you out there with agressive, physical, athletic boys, it's not the same for the less mature, quiet, non-athletic boys. I'm sure some may be tempted to chalk this up to parenting but that's just not the case. I've put him in sports since he was 3 and the other kids just run circles around him. He technically doesn't have a disability, but he's been in physical therapy in school to help build his muscle tone. I don't see him doing a 50-mile anything for a couple years at least. We loved Cub Scouts, like I said before, but the transition has been sudden and hard, and it's just not working right now. And yeah, I'd really like to see a separate transition program for kids between Cubs and Scouts, or at least for the BSA to stop the early crossovers.

 

Webelos, done right, is that transition.  I agree that a one year program for most kids is too fast of a transition--the year and a half recommended is great.  BSA is the place where immature, quiet, non-athletic boys can excel.  Look for a troop that emphasizes younger scouts more. That, and you might be surprised at what your son is capable of, if he gives things a chance.

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Webelos, done right, is that transition. 

 

Right on the money!

 

In the past, Webelos was the place where, for 1 year, the kids left traditional cub scouting behind, and focused on "you are going to be a boy scout next year, and it's gonna be great!"   It was a safe place to begin the "big boy" theory and most kids really benefited from it.

 

Webelos used to be very distinct from the rest of the pack.  No more arts/crafts.  Add more field trips, more responsibility, begin camping, more freedom.

 

I don't see that in present day Webelos management.   Just more cub scouting, lock-step programming, with just as much over-monitoring by parents and leaders.  

Edited by desertrat77

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By way of contrast, I offer up these small anecdotes from my Webs experience, circa '74, Panama Canal Zone:

 

- Overnight on an island.  Played in the jungle, jumped on big rocks on the beach with no adults present.   Meals:  C-rations, courtesy of Uncle Sam.   Adults started the fire for us, but opening the cans with the P-38 can opener, and heating the food, that was our responsibility.   Adult demonstrated once, and left.   Picky eaters found out quickly that they could go hungry or eat the c-rations.   Truthfully, those rations were pretty darn tasty.

 

- At the end of our Webs year, our den leader had a dance scheduled, and expected each of us Webs to invite a girl to attend.   But a scheduling conflict came up and it was cancelled.  But still--I was ten and working up the courage to invite Cheryl.... :)

 

- Each meeting, the denner led the games and stuff like that.   Not the adults.

 

I could go on and on, but I've already done that.  When I crossed over and attended my first real Boy Scout meeting, it seemed a little scary but completely natural, like I was "home." 

Edited by desertrat77

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Right on the money!

 

In the past, Webelos was the place where, for 1 year, the kids left traditional cub scouting behind, and focused on "you are going to be a boy scout next year, and it's gonna be great!"   It was a safe place to begin the "big boy" theory and most kids really benefited from it.

 

Webelos used to be very distinct from the rest of the pack.  No more arts/crafts.  Add more field trips, more responsibility, begin camping, more freedom.

 

I don't see that in present day Webelos management.   Just more cub scouting, lock-step programming, with just as much over-monitoring by parents and leaders.  

 

Well, I know when I was a WDL (2 1/2 years, two different dens--1 1/2 years with the first den, then straight to a year with the second den), my goal was to make the boys into boy scouts over the year.  I got them outside as much as I could, and had them doing their own cooking as much as I could (had a few helicopter moms and dads). 

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Well, I know when I was a WDL (2 1/2 years, two different dens--1 1/2 years with the first den, then straight to a year with the second den), my goal was to make the boys into boy scouts over the year.  I got them outside as much as I could, and had them doing their own cooking as much as I could (had a few helicopter moms and dads). 

Perdidochas, I realize I was painting with an awfully big brush, and I apologize for my sweeping generalization.  

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Perdidochas, I realize I was painting with an awfully big brush, and I apologize for my sweeping generalization.  

 

I was actually just expanding on what you have said, with my personal example. I agree with you. 

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I don't see that in present day Webelos management.   Just more cub scouting, lock-step programming, with just as much over-monitoring by parents and leaders.  

 

i think you are exactly right with this.  Based on my experience and what i've seen....The "typical" WEBELOS DL doesn't know the 1st thing about troop life and the patrol method.  It's only natural that they would continue marching on continuing the same old Cub program.  The training just isn't there.... and by then they certainly aren't reading the handbooks!

 

Even if they are former scouts, odds are really great that they don't have a good handle on this transition idea and many my not really even know or remember the patrol method, and they certainly aren't sitting around spending lots of time pondering these issues like we do here. 

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They have mixed age patrols, but he does have one friend from his cub den in his patrol. They haven't been specifically excluded per se, but I think most of the trips and activities have been skewed towards the older boys.

 

The transition is tough enough without having  to do the "sink or swim" method of learning.

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One big point is being missed in all the previous.  

Boys join Scouts on reputation.  

What are Scouts known for?  What does the boy expect?  And what is delivered?

If the Troop culture is "get up and get going", older Scouts doing their thing,  high adventure stuff, don't let these "kiddies" hold us back,  yeah, the younger Scouts are going to be disappointed and drop out.  They have, indeed , been left behind, sold a bill of goods, not had the reputation fulfilled.

 

If the Troop culture is one of " here, let me show you how to do", "here, share my adventure,  I understand you might not be able to hike 10  miles in one shot, I will wait for you.", " Scouting is worth while, let me help you up this rock".  then, that young Scout will have the inclination to stick around.  

 

Go back to the previous post that mentioned the Scout Leader acting as the "older brother" to the younger Scout.  Repeat that .

If the culture is one of "Keep up or Drop out", yeah, some will stick it, but not those that need to stay .

 

How to convince the Adult Leaders (could we invent a better term for the Boy Scout Troop Adult? Maybe Advocate? I dunknow...) to counsel their Scouts to BE that BIG BROTHER to the younger Scouts.... 

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Edited by SSScout
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Jumping back in to answer a few questions. My son was 10 and 7 months when he crossed, they did Webelos and Arrow of Light in one year, so technically he was eligible. Also, there are no hard age restrictions for the events, but many of the physical activities (similar to those described by Hedgehog) are out of his capability or interest. If it wasn't for his friend in the patrol, I'd consider quitting and trying again when he's 13 or so.

 

To those of you out there with agressive, physical, athletic boys, it's not the same for the less mature, quiet, non-athletic boys. I'm sure some may be tempted to chalk this up to parenting but that's just not the case. I've put him in sports since he was 3 and the other kids just run circles around him. He technically doesn't have a disability, but he's been in physical therapy in school to help build his muscle tone. I don't see him doing a 50-mile anything for a couple years at least. We loved Cub Scouts, like I said before, but the transition has been sudden and hard, and it's just not working right now. And yeah, I'd really like to see a separate transition program for kids between Cubs and Scouts, or at least for the BSA to stop the early crossovers.

 

 

 

My son was the same age - August Birthday, 5th Grade and March crossover.  I wouldn't have put him down then as the atheletic type.  He did summer camp and struggled through the 5 mile hike.  That summer we did some hiking and kayaking while on vacation in Maine.  The one trail was a 1,000 foot assent over less than a mile, including rock scrambles.  Going up was hard, going back down was worse.  We did a 7 mile (each way) backpacking trek with his best friend.  He was on the verge of tears several time on the way in.  I told him that Scouts couldn't be more difficult than what we did that summer.  I was wrong - at least for one 6 mile hike across boulder fields, up steep mountains, across ridges where you had to scramble from boulder to boulder and up rock walls that you had to climb carefully.  I could see the exhaustion, the fear and the challenge taking its toll.  I was there with him (and the other guys in from his den).  When he finished the hike and reached the top, I was able to see the sense of accomplishment and to hear it in his three words, "I did it."  Fast forward three years, at 14 he is the most accomplished hiker, camper, backpacker, etc. in the troop.  He had to push his limits to realize what he can accomplish.

 

Would the transition have been easier if his Webelos 2 experience included more hiking and camping -- yes.  However, I think the solution is that the boys and the adults in the Troop need to design the program to accomodate the new guys.  Last year, our first three outings after the guys crossed over were an orienteering camp out (with an afternoon hike or mountain bike ride), a horseback riding campout (with a 1 hour guided trail ride followed by a hike)) and a day trip boating on a lake.  We had our new guys join us on those activities.  We do short hikes on every campout ad sometimes just hike on weekends.  Even our backpacking trips usually have a second option to join the group on Saturday and do a shorter hike.  

 

It is about Troop culture.

 

At summer camp, I got reports from the PLs about who was homesick or having problems.  I asked them if I needed to do anything and their answer was, "no, I think they were OK after I talked to them and helped them...."  @@Stosh 's rule #1 - Take Care of Your Boys

 

So on a hike at the end of the last school year, one of the new guys was lagging behind.  My son and I noticed at the same time.  He turned to me and said, "I got this, Dad."  Three minutes later, the new guy is holding my son's hiking staff, talking to my son and unknowingly picking up his pace to catch up to the group.  A servant leader's job is to make sure the group succeeds, every member of the group.

Edited by Hedgehog

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My son was the same age - August Birthday, 5th Grade and March crossover.

Technically mine crossed in 4th grade, May. This year he is a full Boy Scout in 5th grade. I'm encouraged by your son's success story. But did he like Scouts? Did he ask to quit? That's my scenario right now. I'm trying to gauge how hard to push. Scouting just doesn't seem fun for him anymore. I understand the value of the program. But if the boy isn't having fun, where is the motivation to stay?

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