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End of Year w/out Rank complete

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I'm wondering how people handle the end of the year ceremony when there are boys who haven't completed the necessary requirements to earn their rank.

I know you don't just pass them along and give ranks that aren't earned.  But the way that the program is structured, they boys DO move up to the next level regardless of whether they've completed their current rank or not.  It's not clear to me how much of the ceremony is about the earned rank and how much is about "and now, you're a Bear!"  
We have at least one boy, possibly three, moving into our pack this month from a group that sounds like it hasn't done much this year at all.  I'm still waiting on records from the other pack to see whether it's feasible to try to help them complete all their Wolf requirements, but with only two months to go, and the rest of the den done with all of the required beltloops, getting these guys caught up seems like a real long shot.
Trying to figure out where the balance lies between keeping these guys excited to come back for next year and making sure the kids who earn their rank are appropriately recognized.  

Thanks!

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Posted (edited)

@cmd welcome to scouter.com. IMO, the rank advancement and those taking the next trail (Bear) should be separately acknowledged.

Another example, in our pack, the Arrow of LIfe is awarded and then all those Weebs who are crossing over to Boy Scouts are invited to the bridge to cross-over. ..and off they go for their next adventure.  :)

Edited by RememberSchiff
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You should be giving them at least till the end of the school year to finish their rank requirements.  Some units will even extend it till the start of next school year, so they can finish up over the summer.  Most rank requirements say to do with your family or den.

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I think your question...how much of the ceremony is this...or how much of it is that...if a very local thing.  Unit specific.  Typically I think these ceremonies are more parent driven....more for mom kind of thing...and often overdone.

I worked as a scouter when my son was going through the old cub program, so I'm not all that familiar with the new one.  Can't imagine that in this regard it's much different though.  I think it depends on the boy.  Some are big into the patch and earning rank.  Most in my experience are not.  Still, we tried to get them through it.  I'd say that if the guys are close maybe hold a special meeting to help them along...otherwise if they're not, not big deal, they just don't get the patch.  they probably don't care anyway.  We had a couple that didn't earn rank some years...and we had others that "earned" way more arrow points than I'm pretty sure is humanly possible....but we just took him and 'mom' at their word ;)

6 hours ago, cmd said:

Trying to figure out where the balance lies between keeping these guys excited to come back for next year and making sure the kids who earn their rank are appropriately recognized.  

In my experience the excitement comes from the fun in the den meetings and pack meetings, fun with their friends.  Only a very small fraction would quit over not earning rank (like say less than 0.1% to make up a number...as in I never saw a scout that this applied to)

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Since the end of the year is May 31st, is there any way they could finish up by then?  I've seen Cubs ceremonially moved up to the next level, i.e."promoted" or  "graduated," with out earning the previous rank, but working on it still. 

Cub Scouts had some interesting rules under the pre- June 2015 Program that carried over to the June 2015 - December 2016 Program. I think this one is still in effect since the program changes occurred in December 2016. Although June 1st is when they officially move up on paper and can begin working on their next rank ( May 31st is recognized by National as the last day of the school year), if they did not complete the previous rank, they have until August 31st  (last day of the BSA's Program Year) to work on any previous advancement. HOWEVER they cannot work on both old rank and new rank at the same time. One or the other.

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OK this may help.

 

From the Guide to Advancement  https://filestore.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33088.pdf

In the same spirit as “Do Your Best,” if a Cub Scout is close to earning a badge of rank when it is time for him to transition to a new den, the pack committee, in consultation with the den leader and the Cub Scout’s parent or guardian, may allow him a few weeks to complete the badge before going on to the next rank. Earning it will give him added incentive to continue in Scouting and carry on and tackle the next rank. (pp 19)

I know some pack will move everyone up at Blue and Gold, and from your post I am assuming that is what is causing the concern. FYI that is not allowed. Again fromthe Guide to Advancement.

Cub Scouts do not “go back” and work on ranks designed for earlier grade levels, even if missed due to their time of joining. Likewise, Cub Scouts do not “move ahead” to the next rank until the completion of the current school year (or until their next birthday if their chartered organization transitions by age). [emphasis added] (pp 19)

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Wow!  Thanks for all of the responses!  
I feel like this SHOULDN'T be a big deal, but I'm finding that there are lots of things that I can't imagine someone caring about that they really, really do.

I switched packs this year, from one that interprets "end of school year" literally (June 20ish, here!) to one that uses May 31 as the end, and has traditionally done the bridging at the May pack meeting.  So, I was thinking these boys would have 3 months to try to finish everything, if that was something they cared about, and found out just this week that we have just over 2 months between now and the crossover.  Eep.  That means taking a pair of scissors to some of the elective stuff I thought the den was going to get done, too! 

The information about flexibility in deadline is helpful.  My main concern is the Howling at the Moon campfire requirements and camping.  We're trying to get another camping trip lined up for this year, but it would be either late May or June, so after our bridging.  My guess would be that if they don't get the rank patch at the same time the other boys earn it, they won't care two weeks later and just won't earn it, but extending the deadline helps put a "haven't finished it YET" spin on it in the moment instead of feeling like they failed.  And helps me feel like we did our part trying to offer a reasonable path to reach that goal if it's something they care about.   

So, something like the face painting for each rank - that would be tied to the den the child is entering, not the rank earned?  
I'm not sure whether this is exactly the script followed in our pack, but something along these lines http://www.scoutorama.com/ceremony/ceremony_display.cfm?cer_id=24

Thanks!

 

 

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I am not a cubber, so my questions are for my own understanding. Are the bobcat,wolf, bear, etc... ranks or awards? I was also under the impression (from my days as a cub scout) that the dens (bobcat, wolf, etc...) were based on your grade level, and did not require achievement of the previous level. I remember a friend joined our bear den and had never been a cub scout. Has this changed?

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Posted (edited)
11 minutes ago, DuctTape said:

I am not a cubber, so my questions are for my own understanding. Are the bobcat,wolf, bear, etc... ranks or awards? I was also under the impression (from my days as a cub scout) that the dens (bobcat, wolf, etc...) were based on your grade level, and did not require achievement of the previous level. I remember a friend joined our bear den and had never been a cub scout. Has this changed?

I think part of the reason that I'm confused is because they are multiple things and the term Rank seems to be used to mean both the award and which grade den you belong to. 
Boys move up to the next level regardless of whether they complete the previous rank.
 

 

Edited by cmd
clarification

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9 minutes ago, cmd said:

I think part of the reason that I'm confused is because they are multiple things and the term Rank seems to be used to mean both the award and which grade den you belong to. 
Boys move up to the next level regardless of whether they complete the previous rank.

It confused me as a kid as well. In the 70s we didn't make such a fuss about crossing over. The B&G was for songs and skits (one year we had a magician) and happy birthday to scouting. Awards were secondary. If you got rank then, cool. If not, you still had a couple of months. Then regardless, come fall, "poof" you and your buddies were all working on the next rank. But, in retrospect, it would have been really lame if one of us was "held back" because we didn't accomplish everything our book told us to.

Think of this kid-friendly way of summing up the methods of cub scouting:

  • Bobcat is the #1 priority. You want all scouts to sign on to those ideals.
  • Fellowship is #2. You want scouts spend once a week with buddies of the same age/grade and a caring DL.
  • Adventure is #3 priority. You want your scouts to have a fun identity. That's a combination of regiment (Den #) and imagination (Tiger, Wolf, Bear, Webelos).
  • Personal growth is #4. You want scouts to experience accomplishment. This is where rank comes in. It symbolizes that while he was identified with a den, a scout achieved what was expected of scouts in that den.

So if you want to recognize "moving up" you need to address two sets of boys:

  • For scouts who've accomplished all four tasks, congratulate them on meeting personal growth goals (i.e. earning rank) and encourage them to do the same next year (by doing the cool stuff needed to their next rank ASAP).
  • For scouts who don't achieve what was expected (i.e. did not earn rank), congratulate each one for sharing in his den's identity, fellowship, and ideals and encourage him to earn a new rank worthy of his den in the coming year. Let him know that he gets a fresh start, a new book, with new fun things to do, and if he does his very best, fun (and maybe a patch or two) will be had!

Keep it simple. Make it fun.:)

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11 minutes ago, qwazse said:

It confused me as a kid as well. In the 70s we didn't make such a fuss about crossing over.

Agree on the crossing over, that was not even a thing back in the day.  You turned 11 and joined a troop.  Remember was in Webelos, then went to Scouts.  No big deal.  Some guys had earlier birthdays so they wrapped up and left.  

Still recall my first Scout camping trip, and we did not camp as cubs back in the day, was off to the swamp and canoeing about.  Best thing ever.

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2 minutes ago, Jameson76 said:

Agree on the crossing over, that was not even a thing back in the day.  You turned 11 and joined a troop.  Remember was in Webelos, then went to Scouts.  No big deal.  Some guys had earlier birthdays so they wrapped up and left.  

 

Ahh! I remember those good ol days. 

One of the first changes we made when I became Cub Master was simplify the Blue & Gold back to a fun night that only lasted around an hour. We moved the Arrow of light ceremony to the January Pack meeting and the Crossover to the March Pack meeting. I believe in handing out awards as soon as the scouts earn them, so most of the Webelos already had their AOL by January. The 20 minute ceremony was really more of acknowledging their honor and paying tribute to their Cub experience. The pomp and circumstance was really intended to get the younger scouts excited for Webelos. The Crossover was just 10 minutes of OA crossing the Webelos over into their troops.

Barry

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While I was in Cub Scouts from August 1982 - May 1985, moving from Wolf to Bear to Webelos was not a big deal. No ceremony, nothing. Blue and Gold was a party, with some folks getting ranks/awards as earned. And we didn't have entire dens receiving the ranks at the same time; it was in ones and twos. The only big deal was Arrow of Light and Crossover. That was always in May, and a Cross Over ceremony was always immediately after.

Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, I am going to say August 1989 since a lot of changes on the Boy Scout side occurred on that date, Cub Scouts changed. Instead of a 3 year program starting at 3rd grade, with Tiger Cubs being a separate optional program for packs for 2nd graders, Tiger Cubs were incorporated into packs, the grade levels dropped down a year, and Webelos became an 18-24 month program. Literature at the time promoted a February AOL and Cross Over for the Webelos so they can get use to their new troops and get ready for summer camp. Somehow over time, some packs morphed Blue and Gold from party celebrating the BSA's birthday to the event that Cubs MUST earn all their ranks by. And some packs, as well as professionals I found, think that Blue and Gold is when Cubs should move up instead of the end of the school year.

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30 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

 

Sometime in the late 80s or early 90s, I am going to say August 1989 since a lot of changes on the Boy Scout side occurred on that date, Cub Scouts changed. Instead of a 3 year program starting at 3rd grade, with Tiger Cubs being a separate optional program for packs for 2nd graders, Tiger Cubs were incorporated into packs, the grade levels dropped down a year, and Webelos became an 18-24 month program. Literature at the time promoted a February AOL and Cross Over for the Webelos so they can get use to their new troops and get ready for summer camp. Somehow over time, some packs morphed Blue and Gold from party celebrating the BSA's birthday to the event that Cubs MUST earn all their ranks by. And some packs, as well as professionals I found, think that Blue and Gold is when Cubs should move up instead of the end of the school year.

And this leads to a great example of "The law of unintended consequences". Up to this time (1989?), Webelos didn't join troops in one big group, they joined over several months depending a lot of the new scouts birthday. Nature of the design forced the Patrols to work with each scout independently toward their 1st Class skills. This had been the basic model for at least 50 years. Because scouts joined over several months, the patrols were use to teaching the same skills repeatedly over the year. That  naturally forces a balance of the Patrol Method and first class skills over the year with the bulk of the development responsibility on the Patrols, or more to the point the patrol leaders.

Once the Webelos started crossing over in groups,  the natural result was developing the skills of the group at the same time instead of individual scouts. That led to creating and yearly agenda of 1st class requirements based on priority of advancement, not the each new scouts needs. And since each patrol (or NSP) all had scouts from the same crossover group, the responsibility of the Patrol agenda fell on the troop PLC because that was the most efficient approach to new scout skills growth.That means instead of patrol members teaching first-aid over and over all through the year, the skill turned into a troop theme for one month out of the year and taught more at the troop level.

Because of the group crossover, Patrol method was being replaced by the natural efficiency of the troop method. The Patrol Leader's responsibility of monitoring and advising his scouts was being replaced by leadership at a higher level. And since advancement was taking a higher priority over patrol method, leadership requirements were being pushed down to younger ages so that the requirement didn't get in the way of earning rank. Since the group approach for scout advancement was being taken over at the troop level (including adults),  less maturity of the PL was requiring less expected responsibility by the adults. Adults today are probably shocked that all my patrols leaders as a youth had their drivers license. PLs then required a lot more maturity because their responsibilties of the patrol members where a lot greater. 

I came in to the troop program in 1992 and watched this evolving slowly play out. It's easy to see looking back, but the changes were slow enough at the time that many adults never had time to react. Our troop did start reacting around 1995, but the group crossover is a very powerful force to overcome.

Barry

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If I could have a do-over, I would ask that  awards would only be acknowledged briefly. (E.g., at a pack meeting, the Denner for the month might report, "Three guys in our den earned bobcat and four made rank. We had fun at the lake. Johnny tipped my canoe. Thank you.") The only ceremony I'd call for is a passing of the neckers for  "move up" day. I'm envious of these scouts:

https://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2018/03/08/pack-cub-scouts-pass-neckerchief-younger-scouts-advancing-rank/

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