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End of Year w/out Rank complete

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It would be nice if there were the possibility of some flexibility in that regard, as some people were interpreting it, especially as girls begin joining this year.  
Our pack currently looks like it may be forming a girls 4th & 5th grade Webelos Den - it would be really nice if they had the option of working on the Webelos rank together.  I don't think we'll have enough of either grade to separate them.  

Really, it would be nice if they could offer a two year range of ages for all the ranks.  
We have several packs in our area, and there's a pretty obvious pattern of people joining the pack that makes sense for their neighborhood & schedule, then realizing there are only one or two boys in their grade, and they move to a different pack.  Then we get more kids wanting to join, who learn there aren't any others their age, then go to the other pack.  Then repeat a couple more times for that grade.  Meanwhile, the next grade, we're the receiving pack and end up absorbing the kids from the neighboring one.  
If we had the option of just including the lone Wolf or two in with the Tigers AND having them actually working toward beltloops at meetings, then they might stick around long enough to still be part of the pack when other kids their age are looking to join.  

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10 hours ago, cmd said:

It would be nice if there were the possibility of some flexibility in that regard, as some people were interpreting it, especially as girls begin joining this year.  
Our pack currently looks like it may be forming a girls 4th & 5th grade Webelos Den - it would be really nice if they had the option of working on the Webelos rank together.  I don't think we'll have enough of either grade to separate them.  

I think under the current rules you can combine them into a single den - at least that is the rule for early adopter dens. Not sure if that is still in place in the fall.

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11 hours ago, Hawkwin said:

I think under the current rules you can combine them into a single den - at least that is the rule for early adopter dens. Not sure if that is still in place in the fall.

Even if they meet as a single den, though, they can still only earn the awards designated for their grade, right?  

I can understand not wanting kids rushing through and thinking they should be able to complete Arrow of Light and move up to Boy Scouts ahead of schedule, or having kids working on things that are far too easy for them, but it would make the logistics of a multi-grade den so much easier if there were flexibility for kids to earn recognitions designed for their grade or one grade higher.  Or their own grade plus one lower.  It just makes no sense for everyone in the den to do the same activities and some of them to earn a beltloop and others not.  I can see how to explain it to the older kids - it makes sense they aren't getting one because the work didn't stretch them the way that it did younger kids.  But explaining to younger kids who participated right alongside the older ones why the older kids are receiving an award for something the younger ones just did for fun, that seems trickier.  

I'm hopeful that the addition of girls will mean that enough packs are suddenly dealing with mixed-age dens that the program will become a little more in tune with that scenario, whether those dens are boys or girls.

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1 minute ago, cmd said:

Even if they meet as a single den, though, they can still only earn the awards designated for their grade, right?  

Yes. There is some overlap for the ranks but it would require some extra work on the part of the den leader to make it work well.

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14 minutes ago, Hawkwin said:

Yes. There is some overlap for the ranks but it would require some extra work on the part of the den leader to make it work well.

There's really surprisingly little overlap.  When I was looking at trying to incorporate our one Bear into a den of Wolves this fall, it looked like there was actually more overlap between the Bear and Tiger activities.  I think they must have been trying to avoid kids doing the same activities two years in a row so they spaced similar topics a couple of years apart.

I also feel bad that I didn't realize that in the beginning.  Last year when the Tigers were picking an elective to work on, I told them not to worry too much because they had many years of cub scouts ahead of them and would get to pick again next year.  Then found out that it would be years before there was another chance for, say, an astronomy achievement.  I just assumed there would be harder, but similar, options in the other ranks.  Oops.

 

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On 3/22/2018 at 11:17 PM, cmd said:

There's really surprisingly little overlap. 

 

Refer here  for a great resource that show's common themes and similar requirements.

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I'll start this post by saying that my Pack has a rank award policy that probably influences my somewhat lax attitude on completed requirements. That policy is to award all ranks, regardless of level of completion, at Blue and Gold in March each year. Almost no one has everything done by then, so literally everyone is awarded rank without finished reqs. In light of that, maybe I'm more relaxed in how I run my Den in this regard, too. 

My goal is and always will be to get my scouts to rank completion by June. I have a small Den, and it's not too hard to get there. In cases where it's not going to happen, there are extenuating circumstances. For example I have one scout with divorced parents who are heavily divided on scouting in general and one of the parents goes out of their way to actually keep the boy away from scout activities. I can already see some areas where he likely won't be able to finish some requirements. By sheer bad luck, a bunch of our planned spring activities for knocking out some outdoor requirements nearly all fall on weekends when the problematic parent has the kid.

I'm not going to pull his already-awarded rank in June or August if he missed some requirements. And I'm not even going to make a big deal about it with the parents, at least not this year. If we're still in this predicament in Bear or Webelo year, we'll deal with it then. 

My view on Cub Scouting generally is it's all about fun, first and foremost. There will be a time for the heavy-duty record-keeping, the attention to every detail of every requirement, when they get to the troop. And I'll for sure be trying to instill some of that attention to detail in the Webelo years at the latest. But for now, I take more of a Den approach than an individual approach to advancement. I know that's not "by the book" but it's what I think is best for my Den at the moment, given our own circumstances and also the way our Pack currently works. 

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@FireStone, as a cub who always wondered if some of his awards were "railroaded" trough, I will say this with all due respect. Your pack's approach stinks.

It is far better to know that you didn't accomplish something than spend a life wondering if someone pulled some strings for you instead of sitting down and showing you when an how you completed each step in the book.

Even the "do your best" standard for each requirement wrankles. Son #2, great at soccer and swimming, was terrible at catching a ball. We tried a couple of tosses back and forth, and there were one or two where you could say the ball landed in his hands, maybe. And one or two throws back that came in my general direction. I called "you did your best" and signed off. He picks on me to this day about it. He would have rather we spent weeks wearing our shoulders raw until he was fit for the major leagues.

That kid in a divided house ... do you think a fake award covers for his unenthusiastic parent? Does it help his parent like scouting more? When he gets to Boy Scouts and can't make rank quickly, possibly on account of his situation, will he be able to stick around? Or, will he think identity must be predicated on accomplishment because he never heard "You didn't earn Wolf this year, but that's okay. Please be a Bear with us next year, start fresh, and try to make that rank. No matter what, you are still one of us!"

Your pack can do better for a boy than confound accomplishment with identity.

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12 hours ago, FireStone said:

I'll start this post by saying that my Pack has a rank award policy that probably influences my somewhat lax attitude on completed requirements. That policy is to award all ranks, regardless of level of completion, at Blue and Gold in March each year. Almost no one has everything done by then, so literally everyone is awarded rank without finished reqs. In light of that, maybe I'm more relaxed in how I run my Den in this regard, too. 

My goal is and always will be to get my scouts to rank completion by June. I have a small Den, and it's not too hard to get there. In cases where it's not going to happen, there are extenuating circumstances. For example I have one scout with divorced parents who are heavily divided on scouting in general and one of the parents goes out of their way to actually keep the boy away from scout activities. I can already see some areas where he likely won't be able to finish some requirements. By sheer bad luck, a bunch of our planned spring activities for knocking out some outdoor requirements nearly all fall on weekends when the problematic parent has the kid.

I'm not going to pull his already-awarded rank in June or August if he missed some requirements. And I'm not even going to make a big deal about it with the parents, at least not this year. If we're still in this predicament in Bear or Webelo year, we'll deal with it then. 

My view on Cub Scouting generally is it's all about fun, first and foremost. There will be a time for the heavy-duty record-keeping, the attention to every detail of every requirement, when they get to the troop. And I'll for sure be trying to instill some of that attention to detail in the Webelo years at the latest. But for now, I take more of a Den approach than an individual approach to advancement. I know that's not "by the book" but it's what I think is best for my Den at the moment, given our own circumstances and also the way our Pack currently works. 

Might as well hand out participation trophy's while your at it.

Not sure why you would just award Rank without it being completed.  They will be in for a world of shock when they age out of Boy Scouts without getting their Eagle, because no one handed them a rank each year

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13 hours ago, FireStone said:

I'll start this post by saying that my Pack has a rank award policy that probably influences my somewhat lax attitude on completed requirements. That policy is to award all ranks, regardless of level of completion, at Blue and Gold in March each year. Almost no one has everything done by then, so literally everyone is awarded rank without finished reqs. In light of that, maybe I'm more relaxed in how I run my Den in this regard, too. ..

My view on Cub Scouting generally is it's all about fun, first and foremost. There will be a time for the heavy-duty record-keeping, the attention to every detail of every requirement, when they get to the troop. And I'll for sure be trying to instill some of that attention to detail in the Webelo years at the latest. But for now, I take more of a Den approach than an individual approach to advancement. I know that's not "by the book" but it's what I think is best for my Den at the moment, given our own circumstances and also the way our Pack currently works. 

1) As others have commented, your pack is doing it wrong, way wrong, and it is hurting the boys. They know they have not earned their ranks. Their parents know they have not earned their ranks, and when they become Boy Scouts and must master the skills to advance, they and their parents will have an extremely hard time adjusting. I predict 1/2 of those crossing over will quit within a year. Why I say that? There is a pack locally that is lax with their advancement policies, and that is happening. The pack's Webelos are not prepared for Boy Scouts, and the parents are constantly hovering trying to get their kids advancement they have not earned.

All because of the precedent set by the Cub Scout pack and their lax policies. And they are not as lax as your packs either.3

2) What are you teaching your Cub Scouts if you allow short cuts? How can they be proud of wearing rank they have not truly earned?

3) Why can't folks just follow policy?

 

 

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.@FireStone thanks for sharing the perspective.  I'm inferring that this is a pretty ingrained pack policy done with the best of intentions.

I had to stop a similar policy in our pack when I became Cubmaster.  I got no push back for the others.

I felt that awarding ranks early robs the boys of a sense of accomplishment.  They know they didn't earn it.  When I was a scout, I was very proud of my rank.  I'm sure the boys still like their badge, but they know what's going on and that they didn't really earn it.

What we did was two things:

1) moved the big dinner to the end of the year.  It became a late May/early June event.  It focused on celebrating the year and the boys move to the next level.

2) awarded ranks when they were earned.  Dens often completed them together, but not always.  We'd see dens where half would earn it one month, the rest the next.

The face paint ceremony that is often associated with rank became part of the graduation process and that end of year dinner.  

We found this a very successful approach.  Boys earned rank, boys got recognized, boys got face painted.  Win win.

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I know my Pack's policy stinks, and it will be brought up at the next committee meeting and I'll be pushing to change it. I'm a Tiger Den Leader, so this is my first go-around with B&G and this mid-year rank award method. I was trying to keep an open mind about it but now having gone through it, I don't get it. Frankly there is a lot I don't get about B&G, but one thing at a time...

I'm probably a perfect case study for exactly why the policy stinks. I admit I have a somewhat lax attitude about requirement completion, and it's likely compounded by the overall lax Pack advancement policy. It it can affect leadership opinions on advancement, surely it will trickle down to the scouts. 

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I actually think that this pack is operating so far outside of the way the program is designed, that it might not be having the effect on the boys that everyone is suggesting.  It seems like it has gone all the way past "being handed a rank you don't deserve" to just being handed a piece of fabric to put on your shirt to identify how old you are.  It's lost all connection to being an earned rank, so probably bears the same weight to the boys as getting a different colored neckerchief. 
And I'm guessing that if this has been going on for a while, the troops in your area must be used to starting things off with a speech about "This isn't cub scouts anymore.  In Boy Scouts you have to EARN your ranks."  Boys can join Boy Scouts without ever having been a cubscout at all, or having been one and never earning any rank, so having a pack that doesn't adequately prepare kids for Boy Scouts shouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker.

That said, I don't understand what to appeal is to do it this way.  It sounds like after you hand out the rank patches, you do finish out the year working out of the same handbook you started in the fall and try to fulfill the requirements for something the kids already have been given.  That seems pointless to me.  To the kids' perspective are they just earning beltloops and unaware of the connection between some of them and the rank?  Are the beltloops being honestly earned?  That would be something that you can do as "just" a den leader, despite the overall pack culture. 

Normally, I would think that at some point the kids would notice that the handbook says one thing and they are doing another - but with the current requirements already not matching the handbook, one more thing that doesn't line up will hardly be noticed.

 

 

 

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9 hours ago, ParkMan said:

The face paint ceremony that is often associated with rank became part of the graduation process and that end of year dinner.  

We found this a very successful approach.  Boys earned rank, boys got recognized, boys got face painted.  Win win.

ParkMan,
Would you be willing to share the script you used for the face painting?

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10 hours ago, cmd said:

I actually think that this pack is operating so far outside of the way the program is designed, that it might not be having the effect on the boys that everyone is suggesting.  It seems like it has gone all the way past "being handed a rank you don't deserve" to just being handed a piece of fabric to put on your shirt to identify how old you are.  It's lost all connection to being an earned rank, so probably bears the same weight to the boys as getting a different colored neckerchief. 
And I'm guessing that if this has been going on for a while, the troops in your area must be used to starting things off with a speech about "This isn't cub scouts anymore.  In Boy Scouts you have to EARN your ranks."  Boys can join Boy Scouts without ever having been a cubscout at all, or having been one and never earning any rank, so having a pack that doesn't adequately prepare kids for Boy Scouts shouldn't necessarily be a deal breaker.

That said, I don't understand what to appeal is to do it this way.  It sounds like after you hand out the rank patches, you do finish out the year working out of the same handbook you started in the fall and try to fulfill the requirements for something the kids already have been given.  That seems pointless to me.  To the kids' perspective are they just earning beltloops and unaware of the connection between some of them and the rank?  Are the beltloops being honestly earned?  That would be something that you can do as "just" a den leader, despite the overall pack culture. 

Normally, I would think that at some point the kids would notice that the handbook says one thing and they are doing another - but with the current requirements already not matching the handbook, one more thing that doesn't line up will hardly be noticed.

 

 

 

I have seen the same thing happen with individual dens in a pack; boys who seem to 'earn' every rank with very little attendance and participation, or who 'complete' every requirement for a Webelos activity pin in 30 - 45 minutes.  They then move on to the troop and flounder, unable to move past the initial Scout rank in over a year.  They do not seem to understand how they were able to get credit for an award in Cubs while not completing all of the requirements, but cannot do so in a troop where Mom or Dad are not the ones who sign off on requirements.

While I can understand that a Den Leader may not want a child to 'stand out' by not being called up with the rest of the boys for rank advancement, that is far better in the long run than having that Scout quit a year later because he is no longer being automatically recognized with everyone else.

One of the things we now do to help alleviate the issue of 'everyone got their rank tonight except me', is to award that rank at the next Pack meeting after it is earned, rather than a mass award at the end of the year.  When they are all called up at the same time, everyone notices the boy whose name is not called for advancement.  When rank is awarded as soon as earned, that does not happen.

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