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BigDale

My 1st Cub Scout Day Camp

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OK, I worked my 1st Cub Scout Day Camp.  I handled the Leather Craft table.  (See my other posts if you are interested in leatherworking and scouts).  I have a lot of unique experience with kids since my mom ran a daycare from our home while I was growing up.   We helped out when needed and I treated the (12) kids like little brothers and sisters.  It was good practice for raising my own kids and many of the kids brought their own kids later in life when my mom opened a larger center with 125 kids.   

I've done some leatherworking with girl scout and boy scout troops but It's been a long time since I worked with groups of young boys (and a few girls) and it brought back some memories.  We had a specific project to work on and a bit of information I had to pass on, and their attention span was low.  These kids don't care about where leather comes from and how it's processed.  Why would they?  But just before the 1st session I was handed a sheet of paper with information on Italian leather.  Apparently I was to inform them about this leather and it took me a couple of sessions to figure out why.  The theme was "Passport to Adventure" and I was Italy.  

For me, the best method I've found when working with young kids is to be a performer and treat them as the audience.  But you need to engage them in the "act".  Lots of silliness and audience participation.  And I'm ok playing the "fool" so this works for me.    So after introductions and spending a few minutes just talking about whatever popped up I, I told them it's time to start and flat out said, "OK, we're going to do a leather project today.  But first we have to go over some boring stuff."  Now the important thing about making a statement like this is that whatever you say during the boring part can't be boring.   I felt like I worked out a pretty good routine throughout the day. 

Next was the description of the project and a demo on how to use the tools.  I discovered that it is best not to pass out the tools until just before you turn them loose on the stamping tools.  I showed them samples that looked good with some design and also some that were just random stamping, all over the place.  And as much as it kills me to see random stamping I told them it was totally up to them what they wanted to do.  At this age I think it is important that with any art they should decide what looks good to them.  

Now we cover the rules.  I do this last because they would not remember most of them if I did them earlier.  This is not the time for silliness.  The key is to present the rules and explain the consequences if they are not followed.  Basically, telling them not to use the tools for anything but what they are designed to do, for our project, and if they didn't then I would take the tools away and they wouldn't be able to finish the project.  Keep the list short and sweet.  After I gave them the rules I had them tell them back to me.  Then I hand out the basic tools and turn them loose, while I'm repeating the rules again.  

I was really surprised to see many of the kids put in some actual thought before they started stamping.  But there were also a lot that NEED to stamp on every square micro-millimeter of the leather, front and back.  Even when they say they are done they find a place where one more tiny stamp might fit.

I made a list of some additional things to bring in to the next day camp.  Samples or leather items, additional supplies and such.   

All in all it was a pretty good experience and I look forward to the next one.  But, as I was asking about the next one.  I found out that each district, within the council has their own volunteers.  Silly me, I thought that there was a group of volunteers that moved from district to district until they were all completed.  Like Gypsies moving from town to town.  But nooooo.  It isn't that easy.  I have to WORK to be a volunteer.  

There are 9 more this summer, but only 6 that I can be at.  I want do as many as I can in order to work towards my ultimate goal within the council regarding the leather program (see my other posts).

 

Dale

 

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4 minutes ago, BigDale said:

I discovered that it is best not to pass out the tools until just before you turn them loose on the stamping tools. 

That sounds like a useful thing to discover!  :D

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It was.  The kids can't keep their hands off them.  I would have the same problem though, even at my age.

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Welcome to the craziness that is Cub Scout day camp.

The down-side of cycling through all the districts in your council is that you may be dealing with different volunteers, and sometimes kids from different backgrounds. Some will be more conducive to handicraft learning than others.

The up-side is that you will meet lots of other adults, many of whom will grow to think of you as "the guy" for leatherwork. Hopefully one or two of them will invite you to visit their den or pack. Maybe one will volunteer to help with some other events/camps.

After each activity, if you have the chance, ask the adult leaders for feed back. You could even ask some of the kids what their most favorite and least favorite part of the activity was. 

Enjoy the summer. May it be as rewarding as it is wild!

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4 hours ago, qwazse said:

Welcome to the craziness that is Cub Scout day camp.

The down-side of cycling through all the districts in your council is that you may be dealing with different volunteers, and sometimes kids from different backgrounds. Some will be more conducive to handicraft learning than others.

The up-side is that you will meet lots of other adults, many of whom will grow to think of you as "the guy" for leatherwork. Hopefully one or two of them will invite you to visit their den or pack. Maybe one will volunteer to help with some other events/camps.

After each activity, if you have the chance, ask the adult leaders for feed back. You could even ask some of the kids what their most favorite and least favorite part of the activity was. 

Enjoy the summer. May it be as rewarding as it is wild!

Thanks for the advise.  I have already been asked to do the leatherwork merit badge at next years Expo.  I even get to pick the projects.  Yeah.

After I get all this stuff figured out I am going to go to the monthly roundtable in my district and offer to come to pack/troop meetings for leatherworking activities/merit badge.

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