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Cubmaster Pete

Multiple Bobcat Ceremonies

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We have had out Bobcat Ceremony for the year in the beginning of October. We do the face paint one. We had new scouts join since then, and they have earned their Bobcat. Would you hold the ceremony again (for one or 2 scouts) or just award them the badge?

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54 minutes ago, Cubmaster Pete said:

We have had out Bobcat Ceremony for the year in the beginning of October. We do the face paint one. We had new scouts join since then, and they have earned their Bobcat. Would you hold the ceremony again (for one or 2 scouts) or just award them the badge?

You're he one responsible for balancing time. You may be looking at your next pack meeting agenda and realize you can do a little more than just have the DL dole out the pins and shake hands, but you don't have time for a full-blown ceremony. You're allowed to improvise and perform the most meaningful parts of the regular routine.

BTW we work with Eagle Scouts to do this for their ceremonies.some ask for big affairs, others want hardly any recognition at all.

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My son's den started up late due to a small number of boys at the Wolf level. He didn't do Tiger, so he did his Bobcat right away as we started on his Wolf requirements. While he was the only one in the ceremony, he loved the fact that there was one, and it greatly increased his enthusiasm for Scouting. Since it's kids just getting into scouts, while it may be hard, lean on others to help you out and let them feel that enthusiasm from the ceremony if at all possible.

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Posted (edited)

Previous packs I have been with would do them monthly at the pack meeting (or perhaps at an activity / event, depending on timing), if there were any new Cub Scouts who had earned Bobcat.  The idea is to make a big fuss over these new members and get them excited about joining your pack and making them feel welcome.  It also serves to encourage the new Scouts to earn their rank.

Are you presenting adventure belt loops and pins at pack meetings?  Is that eating up too much of your time?  The belt loops and pins are intended to be immediate recognition devices and can be presented by Den Leaders at den meetings / activities.  Perhaps this would free up some time at your pack meetings for Bobcat or other rank ceremonies?

Edited by Thunderbird
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What has been said.  The Cubs need to be "recognized" and celebrated.  The Cub Stripes is a nice simple way to do this.

If you are thinking you have not enough time to make the award, perhaps you have a different problem.  Are your ceremonies simple, noteworthy, or are they too ostentatious, and meant for the adults' benefit more than the Cubs?  

I agree with the previous posters, the Bob Cat is important to help the new Cub feel welcome and excited about Scouting. 

See you on the trail...

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Posted (edited)
4 hours ago, Cubmaster Pete said:

What I don't want is one parent saying "Why didn't you do that for my kid" when unfortunately I don't have time to do it....

You prevent this by first emphasizing at your pack meeting presentation just how special the Bobcat patch and mother's pin really are. This is the FIRST RANK* IN ALL OF SCOUTING. This is something huge! That patch represents something important! So make a real, meaningful presentation of the badge - what goes into earning it, what those requirements mean, where they lead, et cetera. Give it real dignity. And then, make that first mother's pin** really significant. Families make Scouting, so use Scouting's little awards to send a big message at that first pack meeting - we know you, and we recognize your efforts. If you make these two awards count, you won't need to add any other fluff to the ceremonies. And if parent here or there complains, just smile and say "we're working to make these meetings as meaningful to our Scouts as we can, and that means simplifying and even standardizing some of our ceremonies to put more focus on the families and less on the theatrics. Thank you for your patience and understanding!"

* Lions not included
** Or father's pin, or whatever the case may be

EDIT: By the way, I don't even know what "the face paint one" is, but I can tell you there doesn't need to be a "ceremony" for the Bobcat rank - the whole pack meeting is a ceremony, really. You present the patch with all due dignity and pomp, and then have the boy put the pin on his mother's hem with all manner of gracious words towards the family, and that's really it. I don't know what other "ceremonies" are going on as far as Bobcats are concerned, but they aren't necessary. Not harmful I'm sure, but not needed either. 

Edited by The Latin Scot

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6 hours ago, Cubmaster Pete said:

What I don't want is one parent saying "Why didn't you do that for my kid" when unfortunately I don't have time to do it....

Parents will complain if you let meetings run long. Speak to the boys (any girls?) directly and let them know that their ceremony is a little less fancy than the one you all did in October, but their achievement is just as significant and that you are very proud of them.

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Posted (edited)
3 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

@The Latin Scot  There are different versions of it, but here is an example of what a face paint Bobcat rank ceremony might be like:

http://www.scoutorama.com/ceremony/ceremony_display.cfm?cer_id=10

 

Thanks for that! I feel, from a pedagogical and practical point of view, it would be better not to use a ceremony like this for a Cub Scout's Bobcat award. At this stage we are only just introducing the child to the idea of Scouting, and we want them to feel that the achievement in and of itself, with the associated badge and mother's pin to represent it, is something meaningful and significant. Adding facepaint and colors and bonus symbols and balloons and all that fluff is rather like gilding the lily if you ask me. Greater accomplishments more worthy of such "ceremonial adornment," such as the Arrow of Light and, further down the road, the Order of the Arrow, will come. But this is the Scout's first award. Let's start them off by letting this award be special on its own, without being tethered to other superfluous activities or rituals. And at all costs avoid feeding them a taste for over-wrought theatrics that will only end up with parents wanting something bigger and fancier with every level. Nip this one in the bud, my friend.

Keep your pack grounded. That's one of the most important roles of a good leader. Make things exciting and fun, but make sure excitement and fun are tools and means to an end - not the goal of Scouting itself. Good luck!

Post Script: please note that many boys this age are extremely averse to any kind of face-painting or other similar attention-drawing activities, especially in front of large crowds. Some parents may like it, but there are many Scouts who will not. Never do anything without FIRST consenting with the boys. Without their complete and total approval, I would withdraw any proposed activities such as this.

Edited by The Latin Scot
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I agree with TLS. Learning the intrinsic value of accomplishments through effort and diligence is made more difficult when we (adults) put more focus on the unecessary extrinsic items. By all means celebrate, and if you do a face-painting be sure it does not "mask" what one is celebrating. I think it might be difficult as there is so much theatrics. This might not be for you, but perhaps at the spring B&G, the cubs could get face-paint for their rank. Keep the face-paint tradition, but move it to a different pack event?

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We have been toying with the idea of doing belt loops and pins at den meetings and only doing rank at pack events, so I think we will go that route. 

It doesn't take a lot of time to do it, and the kids and families enjoy it. I hear what you mean about the face paint, so maybe I will find something different to do.

Thanks for all the replies.

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Whatever Bobcat ceremony you decide to use (painted Bobcat or something else), you should try to give them all the same amount of time and attention.  I do think it's important to try to give them an equivalent ceremony / recognition even if they join later than the big group in October.

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15 hours ago, Thunderbird said:

Whatever Bobcat ceremony you decide to use (painted Bobcat or something else), you should try to give them all the same amount of time and attention.  I do think it's important to try to give them an equivalent ceremony / recognition even if they join later than the big group in October.

This is where I part ways. Kids are different. The do different things and come in at different times. Therefore they deserve different forms of recognition.

It's called prepared for life: Son #1 completed his degree in December; therefore his ceremony was a relatively intimate suit-and-tie dinner. Daughter completed hers in May, therefore it was a grand departmental cap-and-gown affair. Same degree, same size university different time of year. Why should you deny Cubs the privilege of being recognized in a seasonally appropriate fashion?

Think of it in the opposite direction. One could argue that if you don't have a pin-specific ceremony in January, you shouldn't have one in October. In fact, no ceremonies ever. Don't bridge AoL, don't swap neckers from bears to wolves, quick handshakes and applause. Everybody equal and all's fair.

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Posted (edited)

@qwazse  I think you are misunderstanding my point.  I don't mean that the recognition has to be exactly the same in every way.  Of course if you have 30 brand new Bobcats in October but only 1 Bobcat in January, then the time taken for the ceremony will be different even if the ceremonies are otherwise the same.  All I meant was that if you make a big fuss over the Cubs who join in October, then you should make a big fuss over the ones who join later, too.  They are all deserving of recognition regardless of when they join.

Edited by Thunderbird

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