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UncleP

Push for Coed Scouting

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I keep seeing this quote and I need to clarify. I never said move the second webelo year into boy scouts or change any of the rules about parents going with their son. I just said have the webelos meet with the troop.

 

I agree that having parents with more ideas and doing a better job would be great, but most webelo parents are burned out and don't understand what boy scouts is about. So moving the webelo den near a troop helps train the parents, it shows the webelos what their future might hold, and it gives the webelos a way to ease into boy scouts, not just one day we're at cub scouts and the next we're into boy scouts.

 

There's a big range of maturity coming in from webelos. Some kids are ready when they're ten and some don't seem to get it until they're 12. As much as I'd like to see a simple rule about what new scouts can do, the cub scout to boy scout transition can be a shock and I've seen it drive kids away. The point is, lessen that shock.

 

There's a few big assumptions here. 

  • Webelos/Troop Relations: I agree that there should be more Webelos/Troop activities, BUT that has to be part of the Webelos DL outreach; not something you burden the troop leaders with. Afterall, it is technically the Webelos program. Now, a smart troop would already be reaching out to the Webelos in their area on a regular basis and not just during recruiting season.

     

  • Webelos Parent Burn Out: I'd say that's about the same for every CS parent. But who is to say that the troop you are about to burden with 4th and 5th graders (Webelos) can 1) handle the additional training/babysitting, and 2) don't already rely on said Webelos parents to refresh THEIR burned out parents. 

     

  • Webelos to Scouts Shock: In my experience this has more to do with helicopter parenting than anything. Parents that let kids do their own thing, rather than constant hovering, usually have kids that adapt well to troop life.

 

Needless to say, I don't think that's the answer.  If the BSA really wants a "seamless transition" then Cubs and Boy Scouts needs to be one unit so the Scout is not leaving one unit and joining another.  But of course that would be a big change and there would be a lot of resistance to it... and I am not necessarily advocating that.

 

They'd have to change their own membership model. COs would have to give up their ownership and the BSA would either have to take ownership of the units OR convince COs to consolidate units. Now that I think about it, the whole DE compensation model would need to be revamped too. Don't districts and councils get evaluated on how many units they create/keep alive?

 

All that being said (I know, I keep repeating myself), the adult burnout issue still needs to be addressed. I've said many times here, I personally would start by taking the Tigers out of the Cub program. Tiger age Scouts don't have the reading skills or behavior discipline that helps Pack Meetings run faster and smoother. They basically still have the maturity of toddlers.

 

And yet BSA goes the other way and introduces Lions. ;)

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And yet BSA goes the other way and introduces Lions. ;)

 

Someone please correct me if I'm wrong... isn't Lions really just going back to how things were a couple decades ago? In my area, Tigers used to be Kindergarten age. 

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Someone please correct me if I'm wrong... isn't Lions really just going back to how things were a couple decades ago? In my area, Tigers used to be Kindergarten age. 

 

As much as abhor citing Wikipedia, here's what they said. Assuming they are correct, not sure Tigers were ever Kindergarten.

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As much as abhor citing Wikipedia, here's what they said. Assuming they are correct, not sure Tigers were ever Kindergarten.

 

Guess my council was going off-script back then. :) I joined in 1st grade and my brother signed up at the same time, when he was in Kindergarten. He was a Tiger, didn't wear a blue uniform shirt, just a simple orange Tiger Scout shirt and orange hat. 

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As much as abhor citing Wikipedia, here's what they said. Assuming they are correct, not sure Tigers were ever Kindergarten.

 

Wiki's correct.  Tigers were originally 2nd grade; at that time, Wolf was 3rd, Bear was 4th, and Webelos was 5th (one-year program).

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I cannot help but notice that this thread has gradually stopped being about "Push for coed Scouting" (or "coed Scouting" at all) and has morphed into... well, several things, we've had discussions of the changing nature of the merit badge program (including a delightful diversion into calf-birthing), other aspects of "traditional" Scouting vs. however you define what it is we have now, Webelos-to-Scout transition, etc.  These "new" subjects have one thing in common, which is that they belong under "Open Discussion" and/or other sections of the forum, but not under Issues and Politics, which is where we are now.

 

So if you all want to continue this sort of hodgepodge thread here (as opposed to letting this one scroll down the list and open new discussions elsewhere) I suppose I could go through and try to split out most of the last few days' posts into a new thread in Open Discussion.  (It's just an idea, because it would take some time.)  And then if someone has anything new and different to say about "coed Scouting", you could start another thread on that, preferably under Issues and Politics, because those discussions always get "political".

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...  If the BSA really wants a "seamless transition" then Cubs and Boy Scouts needs to be one unit so the Scout is not leaving one unit and joining another.  But of course that would be a big change and there would be a lot of resistance to it. ...

No, if BSA really wants a seamless transition, then inculcate an expectation that Boy Scouts and Venturers will be den leaders, not den chiefs. We would have to operate something like this ...

  • Any troop/crew who does not field at least one leader for every 10 cub youth would be considered a failed troop (seriously: net zero on the JTE matrix).
  • The summer camp focus of the troop is one week to themselves (half the patrols before the cubs' week of camp, the other half after) and one week running camp for cubs.
  • In this context we can begin to have a co-ed emphasis. A male and female den leader would team up to operate the den. Segregating and integrating as necessary according to the cultural norms put down by the the SM in conjunction with the CO.
  • The SM covers the entire unit. (So, yes, @@NJCubScouter, they most likely will be a unit, but it won't be because they have the same number on their sleeve. It will because the troop is defined by it training youth to run the cub program.)
  • In practical terms, Cubmasters and Crew Advisiors would report to the SM (I know half the audience his hovering over the down-vote if they haven't started to do so already.)

Involved moms and dads could call themselves den hosts. But their responsibilities would be mainly providing space and, possibly, driving kids. That's right, get mom out of the room from the minute they call the kid a lion.

 

Don't like it? Then toss it and quit pining for seamless transitions because that's what parents have been asking not to have for 8 decades. Why change now?

 

BTW, even with a seamless transition, I don't think we'd avoid that lost of 1st year scouts. Even if we're providing a continuum for the youth, life in this US is throwing down discreet changes. I figure you'd get the same loss, just spread evenly over a couple of years.

Edited by qwazse

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seemless transition has made Webelos into Cub Scouts II and Boy Scouts into Cub Scouts III ...another anti-adventure concept.

 

Remember when Cub Scouts started in third grade as Wolves, then Bears (4th), then Lions (5th) with Webelos just a few months in 5th grade. We learned the Scout Oath, Law, Salute, and square knot and it was over the bridge to the next adventure. No transition. Today Weebs even need to transition into a Boy Scout uniform beforehand. :rolleyes: 

 

Okay I get that National would be too embarrassed to return to what worked in the past. So let's try the sports approach - tryouts for Boy Scouts. If a kid (boy or girl) can demonstrate all Scout rank skills over a weekend campout without crying or calling parents, the kid is a Boy Scout. :cool:

 

Another $0.02

  • Upvote 1

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I cannot help but notice that this thread has gradually stopped being about "Push for coed Scouting" (or "coed Scouting" at all) and has morphed into... well, several things, 

 

From what I have seen that pretty much describes most threads here after page 5. ;)

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All that being said (I know, I keep repeating myself), the adult burnout issue still needs to be addressed. I've said many times here, I personally would start by taking the Tigers out of the Cub program. Tiger age Scouts don't have the reading skills or behavior discipline that helps Pack Meetings run faster and smoother. They basically still have the maturity of toddlers.

 

Just as important, the first grade year is typically a chaotic year for parents because that is the first year all programs like sports, church, and school change from toddler to elementary mature activities. They are hit by the multiple programs to register the kids just in the first week of school. Overwhelmed Parents are why Tigers has such a low crossover to bears. When National change the Tiger program in 2000 to require a parent for each scout attend four meetings a month, we predicted a higher dropout in Tigers and a sudden drop in troop membership in five years. It wasn't hard to predict, but it sure had people scratching their heads as it happened. Give the parents a year to get used to their more complicated lifestyle, then they can consider Scouts at an age where parents aren't required for every meeting.

 

I fully agree.  Hugely agree.  Now, we are adding Kindergarten Lion cubs.  It just creates more problems.  Cub scouts at 5.5 to 6 years is just too much.  K & 1st grade are too young to get meaningful scouting results and adding them lowers the maturity of the whole program.  Plus BSA makes the biggest impact in the Boy Scout years, but families are burnt out on scouting before they get there.  

Edited by fred johnson

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Back in the day......  :)   Pre-school was not offered, we just played outside with our friends.  Kindergarten was not offered, we just played outside with our friends.  I was in school for 20 years and got a Master's degree.  The added years before grade school are just for those parents who want free daycare while they both work.  The lack of those first to years did not hold any of us back from doing well in life.  What I did learn those early years was, it was a lot more fun playing outside with our friends than it was sitting in school.

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One of the struggles with cub scouts is most den leaders are figuring it out about a week in front of their scouts whereas in boy scouts the adults tend to have years of experience. So while the DLs are trying to keep their heads above water the SMs already know how something is going to play out because they've seen it a dozen times before.

 

Better training for DLs might help but training is not a strength in the BSA. The only thing that works is seeing it done right.

 

For all the comments about too much cub scouts. I agree. My son and I took 2 years off in the middle. I was waiting for boy scouts.

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For all the comments about too much cub scouts. I agree. My son and I took 2 years off in the middle. I was waiting for boy scouts.

 

I'm a huge scouting advocate, but when I talk with parents ... if they ask about whether their son is ready and will get something out of it ... I advise wait for 2nd grade or 3rd grade.  I think my son would have got just as much value IF NOT MORE if I just took my son on my own out once a week to do something like walk or go to the zoo.  The value was parent/child.  The structure of scouts added little.  

Edited by fred johnson

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One of the struggles with cub scouts is most den leaders are figuring it out about a week in front of their scouts whereas in boy scouts the adults tend to have years of experience. So while the DLs are trying to keep their heads above water the SMs already know how something is going to play out because they've seen it a dozen times before.

 

Better training for DLs might help but training is not a strength in the BSA. The only thing that works is seeing it done right.

 

For all the comments about too much cub scouts. I agree. My son and I took 2 years off in the middle. I was waiting for boy scouts.

 

Program Guides, meetings in a box, calendars mapped to the requirements by rank, by month. All of these things are tools that have been created that parents can use to deliver their program if they want.

 

Most parents are in the same boat. They are thrust in to Cub Scouts with little to no clue on who the program works, what the badges mean, etc. HOWEVER, spending time online, digging through a few forums, asking questions of other DLs and making use of the tools available give those parents who really care to look all they need to develop and manage a decent Den program.

 

I agree better training could be had. BSA took their old training modules and, for some reason, broke them up in to MORE modules rather than fewer. Sure they take the same amount of time, but who wants to click through 19 courses that take 4 hours when it could be 5 courses. Mentally you see 19 and go "Holy Cow!!!"

 

Still, the resources are there if parents care to invest the time to make it work. It's the same for the mom who is thrust in to coaching her son's soccer team or the dad who has to coach his daughter's volleyball team. If you REALLY care you can make it work. The rest is just excuses IMHO.

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I think my son would have got just as much value IF NOT MORE if I just took my son on my own out once a week to do something like walk or go to the zoo.  The value was parent/child.  The structure of scouts added little.  

This is how we did our Tiger program. We asked dens to meet twice a month where ever they wanted and we gave them suggestions like the zoo, fire station, and places appealing to tiger families looking for an easy afternoon. We also gave them the pack meeting as a choice, but not a requirement because we wanted their time to be more of a parent son time than scout time. We tried hard to help the parents not feel pulled by the program. We had a 97 percent crossover rate to Bears.

 

Barry

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