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31 minutes ago, perdidochas said:

I'm not sure that anything can really be done about that at the Cub Scout level. At least locally, that's a time of change for the boys.  As AOL Webelos, they are the top of the Pack.  As 5th grade students, they are in the last year of elementary school.  A lot of parents see that as a good time to stop, and so they don't encourage the boys. That, and being a Boy Scout is a lot more work than Webelos, at least with most parents. My observation is that boys who during Cub Scout Family camps were forced to help their parents set up a camp do better in that transition.  My sons always helped out with setting up camp--even when they were Tigers/Wolves.  Most of the other boys played while their parents set up camp.  Yes, it probably would have been easier for me to set up camp without their "help" but I wasn't doing it for ease, I was doing it for them. 

As a SM (in the day), I preferred a crossover scout with little or no troop preparation because it is easier to teach a scout how not to be scared of the dark than keep a scout bored of the dark interested. I did like scouts who had camped overnight at least one in a tent without their parents.  That is a difficult hurdle for many boys. But other than that, I liked plain slates.

Barry

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I am with Barry on this. I would rather the webelos program be the best webelos program it can be and not attempt to be Boy Scout prep. 

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6 hours ago, Eagledad said:

As a SM (in the day), I preferred a crossover scout with little or no troop preparation because it is easier to teach a scout how not to be scared of the dark than keep a scout bored of the dark interested. I did like scouts who had camped overnight at least one in a tent without their parents.  That is a difficult hurdle for many boys. But other than that, I liked plain slates.

Barry

When I say prepare them for Boy Scouts, I mean the following. Parents are backing away from doing things for the Webelos, and the Webelos are doing it themselves. If they need help, instead of turning to adults, they turn to their den mates.This prepares them to do thing on their own or with their patrol. Instead of parents signing off on advancement, with a few possible exceptions, i.e. the 2 Duty to God adventures, the WDL, Den Chief, or a specified  adult who is the 'counselor" for the adventure is signing off on advancement. This prepares them for working with Sm and MBCs. They develop their own den spirit which simulates patrol spirit. And not only camping in a tent without a parent, but also doing the work, i.e. cooking, KP, pitching tents, etc without parental interference.

On a tangent, if I seem a little negative in my posts, bear with me. Still going through the gamut of emotions on leaving. Especially since I didn't get a chance to tell all of my Scouts good bye. Long story short, after finishing up with the Webelos and telling them good bye, I had to talk to my den chief. Not only  to prep him to take over until they find a new WDL, but also to help him finish up his MBs for Star. Long story short, he's got to make Life this month, and bust butt to get Eagle by late June. That took a while, and the troop finished up the meeting without us.

Plus I have a prior commitment on the new troop's next camp out: backpacking. Considering my last two backpacking trips had to be cancelled due to a bear attack and severe weather, my sons and I have been itching to backpack. And we were planning a family one over Thanksgiving, but that changed too. :( 

So if some of my posts seem negative, especially when dealing with pushy adults, please bear with me.

Now on to something more positive. Boys are impressed with the new troop. While it was "organized chaos" it was better organized chaos than where we came from. With the exception of one special needs Scout, adults didn't intervene at all. The meeting was on backpacking, and  the "adult interference" was actually them asking questions. One of the ASMs hasn't been backpacking before. 

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5 hours ago, DuctTape said:

I am with Barry on this. I would rather the webelos program be the best webelos program it can be and not attempt to be Boy Scout prep. 

What I see has more to do with activity level in Scouting than it does Boy Scout prep.  For example:

- Pack A camps twice a year - camping trips are usually two nights and often at a BSA camp.  The Webelos had a camping trip of their own.  The met weekly.  The leaders put more responsibilty for advancement on the Scouts.

- Pack B is much more laid back.  The pack would have a local overnighter.  Webelos dens met once or twice a month.  Fewer activities, no Webelos camping.  Boys earned all awards together.

I see very different engagement levels from the respective new Scouts.  Scouts from Pack A are there weekly.  The boys jump in, earn Scout and then Tenderfoot quickly.  They go to Summer Camp.  Scouts from Pack B are casual Scouts.  They are more likely to miss meeting, take a year to earn Tenderfoot, and skip Summer Camp.

Both Packs think they are doing the right thing.  Pack A has higher expectations and encourages more involvement.  Pack B is the "laid back" pack - they respect families time.

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Park, I get what you are saying  and agree. My "frustration" comes from webelos who are pushed through, with the focus on "just getting things signed off" so they can join a troop early. If I could change one thing, it would be to eliminate the aol early joining. 11 years old or completed the 5th grade.

I am also not a fan of spring (worse is earlier) cross-overs. I think it is too early for them and they get too little overnight patrol camping before a weeklong(or more) scout camp. I know many will disagree with me on these latter points, and that's ok. I have seen it work well, but that is the exception not the rule.

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I admit I like Webelos to join in the December to February time frame if, stressing IF, they are not forced through the program to get things signed off. Pack my older boys were in was a year round pack, so they work on stuff over the summer. Both the dens had Webelos chomping at the bit to become Boy Scouts. Oldest son's den crossed over in December, Middle son's in January. Part of it was the recharter; it didn't make sense to recharter them for a few months only to have them transfer. And part of it was THEY WERE READY (emphasis). The pack has changed over the years, and the pack has not been as active over the summer as in previous years. They are looking for at a February Cross Over. They group overall is almost finished AOL. Come January, it will be visiting troops, and PWD for the bulk of them. The few who need to make up stuff will be doing so. 

I have found if the Webelos actually do the requirements, instead of being "pencil whipped," and are not forced through the Webelos Program to get into a troop early, a December through March Crossover is very helpful. It gets both the youth, and more importantly the parents, comfortable with the other youth and adults in the troop. It also gives them a chance to save up money for summer camp. I know that when I crossed over May under the old 3 year Cub Scout program, my mom was not comfortable enough with the troop's adults, nor did I have the funds to pay for camp that was about 3 or 4 weeks after Crossover.

But as you all know from this original topic of this thread, and others, I've seen how ill prepared Webelos, and worse ill prepared parents, can turn a troop upside down, hold it hostage, and slowly destroy the troop from the inside. Seen it once with one troop, and seeing it happen again. I am hoping and praying that my talk with my friends will actually influence them to make the changes they say they are now going to do. It will greatly improve the situation for the Scouts. I just wish I did not have to do the drastic action of transferring to a different troop.

On a more positive note, and back on topic.  

My boys are happy with the troop. upset they are missing the backpacking trip, but looking forward to spring trip as they traditionally do 2 per year. Troop meeting reminded me a lot of my troop I grew up in. Looking at last year's schedule, they had a very active year. 

Now a question for the older fogeys on this site. ;)  When did BSA start promoting a Scouting Year based upon a School Year? I ask because the troop we just left based it on a calendar year. The troop we switched to also does it on the calendar year. I do know the old troop has a history dating to the 1940s, and the current one to the 1920s. So I am thinking this was something the troops have always done.  Kinda like those troops that use TRADITIONAL PATROLS, i.e. Mixed aged patrols.

 

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@Eagle94-A1 - I'm glad to hear your sons like the new troop.  That's fantastic.

I fully agree - rushing the boys through too quickly is a big mistake.  Scouts BSA is just another section of the Scouting trail - it's not a destination.

I would also agree - these last spring crossovers are too late.  Boys get into the troop and almost immediately have to decide about Summer Camp. I'd rather see a Dec-March crossover too.

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

Now a question for the older fogeys on this site. ;)  When did BSA start promoting a Scouting Year based upon a School Year? I ask because the troop we just left based it on a calendar year. The troop we switched to also does it on the calendar year. I do know the old troop has a history dating to the 1940s, and the current one to the 1920s. So I am thinking this was something the troops have always done.  Kinda like those troops that use TRADITIONAL PATROLS, i.e. Mixed aged patrols.

 

I don't know the answer to your question, but troop calendars started changing after National introduced the New Scout Patrols (NSP) around 1990.

Before NSPs, most packs moved the Webelos over by age, which resulted in troop receiving one or two crossovers every month over the whole year. Not the whole den once a year. A couple of New Scouts every month fostered the patrols to teach scout skills all year long.

The NSPs intuitively swayed districts to encourage packs to cross their Webelos over in the winter, which forced troops to plan seasonal calendars. Before the NSPs, most troops planned their calendars around more adventure activities like hiking, fishing, backpacking and so on with scouts skills development done more at the patrol level and worked into the adventure activities. After NSPs were introduced, PLCs started planning toward seasonal programs of first class skills like, first-aid, pioneering, or cooking to fit in with getting new scouts up to speed for camping, as well as advancing.

These NSP calendar schedules aren't bad in of themselves, but the unintentional consequences were PLC's taking over the patrols responsibilities of teaching skills to their new patrol mates and troop activities that have less adventure and more advancement. Simply, NSPs quietly and slowly drove troops away from patrol method and adventure. 

Knowing this, a troop can try and resist seasonal programming, but we found it almost impossible. Even though we are a mixed age patrol program, districts still push the winter crossovers, so troops are stuck with receiving most of their new scouts over in a 3 month range. That forces the troops into programs of getting new scouts up to speed for summer camp. That doesn't leave a lot of room for general adventure activities that aren't skills developing activities, at least in the Spring. We do OK because we understand the situation, but troop leaders that don't see it will fall into a seasonal calendar that is basically a first class advancement program. Which is a big killer of the older scouts part of the program. And to add insult to injury, many if not most, troops plan their fall calendar around recruiting, so they have very little calendar for just plain old adventure.

The NSP inadvertently push troop scouting to be less patrol method and more adult run. Troops today are a lot less mature and strive more for advancement. And it's difficult to not fall into those traps because they are the paths of least resistance.

Barry

Edited by Eagledad

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1 hour ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

When did BSA start promoting a Scouting Year based upon a School Year?

Probably the majority of packs use a school year calendar.  Our pack does, as do all the surrounding packs.  They have 3 or 4 pack wide activities during the summer, in addition to CSDC, (bowling, movie night, etc.) but no den meetings or pack meeting. 

I am not aware of any troop in my area that does not use the calendar year.  While we do have Scouts who miss things during the summer due to family vacations, we have a full slate all summer long, including week long summer camps both in and out of state.

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8 minutes ago, Eagledad said:

I don't know the answer to your question, but troop calendars started changing after National introduced the New Scout Patrols (NSP) around 1990.

Before NSPs, most packs moved the Webelos over by age, which resulted in troop receiving one or two crossovers every month over the whole year. Not the whole den once a year. A couple of New Scouts every month fostered the patrols to teach scout skills all year long.

The NSPs intuitively swayed districts to encourage packs to cross their Webelos over in the winter, which forced troops to plan seasonal calendars. Before the NSPs, most troops planned their calendars around more adventure activities like hiking, fishing, backpacking and so on with scouts skills development done more at the patrol level and worked into the adventure activities. After NSPs were introduced, PLCs started planning toward seasonal programs of first class skills like, first-aid, pioneering, or cooking to fit in with getting new scouts up to speed for camping, as well as advancing.

These NSP calendar schedules aren't bad in of themselves, but the unintentional consequences were PLC's taking over the patrols responsibilities of teaching skills to their new patrol mates and troop activities that have less adventure and more advancement. Simply, NSPs quietly and slowly drove troops away from patrol method and adventure. 

Knowing this, a troop can try and resist seasonal programming, but we found it almost impossible. Even though we are a mixed age patrol program, districts still push the winter crossovers, so troops are stuck with receiving most of their new scouts over in a 3 month range. That forces the troops into programs of getting new scouts up to speed for summer camp. That doesn't leave a lot of room for general adventure activities that aren't skills developing activities, at least in the Spring. We do OK because we understand the situation, but troop leaders that don't see it will fall into a seasonal calendar that is basically a first class advancement program. Which is a big killer of the older scouts part of the program. And to add insult to injury, many if not most, troops plan their fall calendar around recruiting, so they have very little calendar for just plain old adventure.

The NSP inadvertently push troop scouting to be less patrol method and more adult run. Troops today are a lot less mature and strive more for advancement. And it's difficult to not fall into those traps because they are the paths of least resistance.

Barry

Agree that too much focus on NS can be a killer.

We run year round (Seabase / Philmont / 2 summer camps summer of 2019) and while we have activities, not formal meetings in the summer, basically June and July.  But during those months we have pre-camp meetings and summer camps.  Our planning runs August to July.  The PLC meets in late April for planning the next 12 months of outings and general calendar.  The PLC meets monthly for planning the next 4 weeks.

For the new scouts we run a parallel program in the spring.  New Scouts with their NS patrols, they do things, and have a specific NS outing.  For that outing we have upped to adventure quotient to get older Scouts to come along.  We also have a regular troop outing that month.  None of our outings are advancement focused, that is a real attendance/interest killer

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Hoo  Boy !  That's  going back a ways.  I would need to dig out my old handbook collection to be sure,  but I think it was in "72 with the whole nightmare " improved scouting"  thing.

I know when I "crossed the bridge" in '69 it was a week before my 11th birthday and everyone in my Webelos den left one at a time when they turned 11.  It made for a steady (ish) flow of new Tenderfeet in the troop, rather than a huge influx once a year.    As others have pointed out ,it made troop guides and NSP unneeded .   Almost all of the scout skills I learned were taught one on one by the older scouts in my patrol. They were some very tough teachers because they understood, if I didn't know my stuff, the Fox patrol would kick our tails on the next campout.   and that meant those Foxes would be the ones eating the apple pie with ice cream that the SPL awarded as the prize.   It's very hard to hide in the back of the class when you are the sole student.  

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On 10/31/2018 at 7:49 PM, shortridge said:

Yet some troops, especially those with packs at the same CO, regard Webelos dens as “theirs” and any attempts to poach their property leads to smackdowns. It’s completely ridiculous, but that’s how people can get.

I chose the BEST troop for my boy back then, not the USUAL troop.  

Its your choice, not theirs. 

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I didn't start with the troop until after the summer, so we were all older. Then we had an entire year before our first boy scout summer camp.

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