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End of Year w/out Rank complete

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Why not just pass out Eagle medals at their last Blue and Gold and save everyone a lot of time and money?  The boys will appreciate all the time it frees up for video games and they've met the goal of getting a college resume entry without having to deal with dirt and bugs.

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11 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.

 

 

 

This is somewhat like our Pack and was started probably 10-15 years ago.  The Troop we feed keeps the majority of the scouts we transfer and many of those achieve Eagle.  While it “works” I don’t agree that ranks in Cub Scouts should just be handed out to all scouts each year.  The issue I’ve had is with the previous leadership who does not agree.  “Cub Scouts is for fun with families and Boy Scouts is about boy led patrols and earning rank.”  So, as you say, the kids understand and it doesn’t negatively impact the Troop.  (The current Troop leadership was the ones who started the Cub Scout rank policy for our Pack.)

 

The good news is that I’ve been able to softly influence the younger den leaders who have been tracking attendance and following up with parents/scouts to ensure they do their homework if they miss.  Also, my girl dens are ensuring they follow policy.  The last of the old guard leaves this spring so this will be a topic of my annual planning meeting.  I’ll look to add an advancement chair who helps drive this change.  Adventures are not hard, there is no reason we can’t expect those who rank advance complete the requirements.

I actually had fun with my son helping him with the adventures  (while the Pack policy is loose, mine isn’t with my own son).  I think other parents will find value one they start seeing the adventures and working with their scouts as appropriate.

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Posted (edited)
13 hours ago, cmd said:

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

Hi @cmd,

Sure thing - but truth be told, I kinda winged it.  What I would do is something like:

Tigers
Call Tigers to the front of the room.
CM: Tigers, you had a very successful first year as Cub scouts.  <Insert a few fun things the Tiger's did>.  Did you have a fun time?
Tigers: Tigers would generally say yes
CM: I am going to now paint an orange strip on your face in recognition of all you have done this year.  [CM paints each scouts face.]
CM: As you have been great Tiger scouts, I want to hear you best Tiger yell.  Make it loud! [Scouts scream for a bit]
CM: Today you will graduate and become Wolf Scouts.  You will receive a new Wolf neckerchief.  Next year you will go on even more fun adventures as you continue you scouting journey.  I am now going to paint an yellow strip on your face in anticipation of your journey as Wolf scouts.  [CM paints each scouts face.]
CM: Congratulations Scouts. [Everyone claps and scouts sit down]

I then repeated a variation on this for the other scouts.  I tried to make it personal for each den, adding a story or two about their year. 

For the Webelos to AOL Scouts, I would talk about how they would be crossing over to Boy Scouts this next year.  They would get a third mark symbolizing all the Webelos colors.

 

The colors I used were:
Current Tigers: Orange for Tigers/Yellow for Wolves
Current Wolves: Yellow for Wolves/Blue for Bears
Current Bears: Blue for Bears/Green for Webelos
Current Webelos: Green for Webelos, Add red & yellow to complete all the Webelos colors.

 

Edited by ParkMan
accidently hit enter

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2 hours ago, Eagle1993 said:

This is somewhat like our Pack and was started probably 10-15 years ago.  The Troop we feed keeps the majority of the scouts we transfer and many of those achieve Eagle.  While it “works” I don’t agree that ranks in Cub Scouts should just be handed out to all scouts each year.  The issue I’ve had is with the previous leadership who does not agree.  “Cub Scouts is for fun with families and Boy Scouts is about boy led patrols and earning rank.”  So, as you say, the kids understand and it doesn’t negatively impact the Troop.  (The current Troop leadership was the ones who started the Cub Scout rank policy for our Pack.)

Our troop is routinely fed by four different packs.  It's interesting to see the difference in how they prepare the Scouts for Boy Scouts.  The scouts from some packs just jump right in and get it.  The scouts from other packs kinda drift around for a while.

One of the biggest differences I see is in the area of "expectations".  The scouts from some packs attend regularly, camp regularly, participate.  The scouts from other packs are more likely to show intermittently.  Since Boy Scouts is more individually driven, those boys have a much harder adjustment.  You can tell which dens and packs had a leader that really set the right expectations with the boys.

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Posted (edited)
6 hours ago, ParkMan said:

Our troop is routinely fed by four different packs.  It's interesting to see the difference in how they prepare the Scouts for Boy Scouts.  The scouts from some packs just jump right in and get it.  The scouts from other packs kinda drift around for a while.

One of the biggest differences I see is in the area of "expectations".  The scouts from some packs attend regularly, camp regularly, participate.  The scouts from other packs are more likely to show intermittently.  Since Boy Scouts is more individually driven, those boys have a much harder adjustment.  You can tell which dens and packs had a leader that really set the right expectations with the boys.

If I could upvote you 100 times, I would. We have 2 packs feeding us. Over the past few years, from one pack, everyone is staying. (10 for 10) But the other, has a 50% attrition. Out of 9 scouts who crossed over 12 months ago, 5 remain, and several of us are concerned we are going to lose 2 of the 5 still. And of the 3 who crossed over 3 months ago, 1 remains. I bet it would be  lower if I could remember all the folks we lost from the other pack. And the difference is how the awards are earned. One pack makes them work for it, the other doesn't.

Edited by Eagle94-A1
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Posted (edited)

This is one of the major benefits to having a year-round program that advances by age, not by school year. If a boy joins my group when he turns 10 in July, he has until the next July to earn his Webelos and/or his Arrow of Light. When he receives it, however, is entirely based on when he earns it. So, if he completes the requirements for his AofL in April, he earns it in April. I don't wait until there is a bigger group, nor do I put it off for some "special" event like the Blue and Gold - he earns it when he earns it.

Not only does this prevent a boy from feeling left out if he does NOT earn an award (no groups to feel left out of!), but it also prevents the awards themselves from being inflated beyond their worth. The Arrow of Light is an honorable award, but it is NOT the Congressional Medal of Honor - they don't merit nor do they need fanfare nor press coverage nor speeches with balloons and cakes and gifts. That only teaches a boy that he is working for rewards which blind him to the actual meaning of the award

It's important to keep the awards dignified, but low-key. And if a boy doesn't meet the requirements during the time he is with me, I make sure the family is aware of it at least two months in advance - "Mrs. Smith, I just wanted to let you know that due to absenses/laziness/alien abductions/whatever, Filiberto hasn't met the requirements for his Arrow of Light yet. He still has a few months; here is the list of what you can do at home if you want him to earn this award. If not, it's nothing terrible, but he won't be able to finish it in time."

If Filiberto still doesn't finish the requirements in time, he doesn't earn the award. Pure and simple. I have only had this happen once, when I was a new leader, but since then I have been blessed with pretty understanding parents who generally work hard to cooperate in getting the requirements passed off meaningfully. But my position on this is pretty absolute - I refuse to give any boy any award for which he has not completed every requirement as best he can. If you really care about what the boys are becoming rather than what they are merely feeling, you'll find it really strengthens your inner compass - as well as the characters of the boys themselves.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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My pack leadership encourages 100% of the boys making ranks, but last year I had 3 TIgers that quit showing up for meetings, but never dropped, so I didn't put them in for their badge.

This year I have wolves.  Everybody has shown up for most of the meetings & I've plugged mini requirement opportunities in here and there or at least talked about them to plant the seed in their minds about service, the outdoors, etc.  We worked together on a couple of electives, too.  I'm satisfied that the requirements have been met in spirit, if not the letter, by all.

We hand out beltloops at Pack meetings. I'd like to hand out beltloops myself, but if the Den doesn't do an elective together, it doesn't get done. Each year I have encouraged everyone to do an elective at home, and I ask at every meeting if anyone did.  The past two years I've had exactly two Cubs work on one elective on their own, and one was my son.

As always, it comes down to the parents.  I plan a service project on a Saturday and nobody shows because they are all too busy with other (re: important) activities.  A couple parents didn't even get a belt for their boys to wear the loops.  Another wouldn't take their son to a camp, either day or overnight.  You get the idea.

I guess Pack leadership has to make it clear to parents that it's up to them to meet the requirements & keep the focus on the fun and camaraderie & away from the Holy Patch.  We, the Pack provide X, Y & Z opportunities to complete adventures and if you miss that, you're on your own.   How hard is it to take your boy for a walk on a nature trail, or go pick up trash at the park for a half hour?  Heck, how hard is it just to tell the Den Leader "Yup, we did everything, give the boy his badge!" because even that qualifies!

I never got a Wolf badge in the old days because I couldn't swim 25 yards and we weren't liars.  I never expected to be handed the thing otherwise.

 

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