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Update to Scouts BSA joining requirements


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This is a good change with Packs bridging earlier and earlier.  We had a 5th grader join us in December, and he enjoyed his few months with his Den, but then all of his Den-mates bridged to scouts BSA in February.  He was not able to go with them since he had not earned his AOL and his 11th birthday is not until Aug.

Edited by Tatung42
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Whoopie do!   A 10 year old can join on 1 March instead of in three months when they finish 5th grade.  Is this change a retention issue?

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7 hours ago, 5thGenTexan said:

So... Is "In the Fifth" grade when the last day of 4th grade is held. Or is it after the summer for the first day they actually attend 5th grade classes.

I have always interpreted that to occur when a Scout is promoted to the next grade.  That is, just finished fourth grade, and is a "rising" fifth grader.

Our registrar was fine with that...

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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11 hours ago, PACAN said:

Whoopie do!   A 10 year old can join on 1 March instead of in three months when they finish 5th grade.  Is this change a retention issue?

It won't affect many kids, but patches a hole where before it was actually bad to have a 5th grader try to sign up unless they started at the very beginning of the year. But I can see a goal of trying to recruit 5th graders before they get into middle school

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16 hours ago, Tatung42 said:

This is a good change with Packs bridging earlier and earlier.  We had a 5th grader join us in December, and he enjoyed his few months with his Den, but then all of his Den-mates bridged to scouts BSA in February.  He was not able to go with them since he had not earned his AOL and his 11th birthday is not until Aug.

We had this situation once.  We just left the scout registered as a Webelo II but had him crossover to the troop with his den mates.  We like to have crossover by March so that the newest scouts get a couple of weekend campouts under their belts before summer camp.  First year summer camp can be hard enough because it's usually such a big change for the youngest scouts;  when it's their first ever camp where they're really responsible for themselves it can be overwhelming.

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I hate the marketing "spin" on this. It doesn't open doors to any more young people than previously. Previously, fifth graders could still participate as a Webelos II. That gave them the opportunity to visit the troop along with their parent/guardian on both meetings and activities. Meanwhile they would be learning some basics with other 5th graders.

It gives a 5th grader whose never been in scouting or never engaged in advancement while a Webelos the chance to hang with his/her buddies in case they've crossed over. I guess that's a good thing. In lean years, we might appreciate the opportunity to recruit at the elementary school. Right now, we're swamped with cross-overs as well as one or two new 11 year-olds.

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1 hour ago, DuctTape said:

I don't like it. The change should be "completed the fifth grade" or 11 years old. I agree with eliminating the AOL "early admittance". 

10 year olds are way to young. Provide them with a quality Webelos program and do not push them into a Troop where they will be basically a "Webelos patrol".

BSA sucks at recruitment and keeps thinking changing requirements or ages, etc... will solve it. It usually does the opposite. Older scouts are ok with younger scouts as long as they are not too young. This will exascerbates the frustration of the older scouts.

BSA has no experts with kids advising them obviously. This has been true for a long time.

Ugh I hate this. Is that apparent?

  • Great comment ... Focus on quality Webelos program.
  • Recruiting problems
  • Older scouts ok with younger as long as not too much younger.  

Disagree with BSA not having youth experts.  I'm betting marketing constraints trump good decisions though.  Example being needing more youth members so open the doors t younger ages to get a larger recruitment population.  IMHO, that's been a huge failure point.

This specific requirement joining change seems like just noise; mostly a non-issue.

It could help as some Webelos dens have had trouble that some can cross over and others can't.  It would be nice to see more of an emphasis on the den crossing over.  Unless it's because of incompatibility between den members, I fear focusing on who can cross over when.  Dens should be encouraged to cross at the same time.  Otherwise, individuals are left stranded. 

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2 hours ago, fred8033 said:
  • Great comment ... Focus on quality Webelos program...

It could help as some Webelos dens have had trouble that some can cross over and others can't.  It would be nice to see more of an emphasis on the den crossing over.  Unless it's because of incompatibility between den members, I fear focusing on who can cross over when.  Dens should be encouraged to cross at the same time.  Otherwise, individuals are left stranded. 

 

One of the biggest issues I just recently found out is that since at least 2015, the Webelos Den Leader Book, or whatever it is called, has sections cut and pasted from the Cub Scout Leader Section, specifically how advancement is suppose to work. NONE of the information that was in older Webelos leader literature and training is in it. So instead of telling Wbeelos den leaders they and "activity badge counselor" sign off instead of parents, parents till sign off as it is done.

And another issue I have is training. I admit I hate online training. BUT one of the complaints I am hearing about the online training is that 75%+ of the different den leader trainings is identical, so it is BORING (emphasis)! I know people will have other windows open and multitask.

 

2 hours ago, fred8033 said:

Disagree with BSA not having youth experts. 

BSA may have "experts," but they may not have Scouting experts. Best example is Training. Do not know if they are still in charge, but the  national director of training had a PhD in childhood education, but NO EXPERIENCE in the Scouting program, whether as a Scout or an Adult. And while William "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt did not have a PhD in Childhood education as his doctorate was in pharmacology (DPharm),  he not only had a ton of Scouting expereince from his youth and as a Scouter, but also he experimented with his ideas with an actual  troop to test them out before publishing.

From personal experience with National Supply, I had an expert sales consultant, who had never worked at a Scout summer camp before, try to tell me how the summer camp trading post should operate.  I had 4 years of summer camp experience, working in various areas including helping in the trading post. This person was telling me the layout, inventory to have, hours of operation. NONE OF THEIR IDEAS WOULD HAVE WORKED! (major emphasis). I was able to compromise on some things, and other things I had to do. End of that summer, I was able to prove using various reports that everything the "expert" wanted done did not work. From the number of special food deliveries we needed because we ran out snack items, to going over budget on shipping costs because we did not have enough items in stock, to the times sales occurred ( expert wanted us closed during the day, and open during camp wide activities), Everything they wanted was wrong.

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The den leader signs each Scout’s handbook (Den Leader’s OK) and records progress in the den’s advancement records. The Webelos Scouts also keep track of their own advancement using the Adventure Tracking section in the back of their handbooks, and under the guidance of the den leader, they can also keep a record of their individual progress on a den advancement chart and den doodle. For requirements completed at home, the parent or other caring adult who worked with the Cub Scout on the requirements will notify the den leader, and the den leader will sign off on the requirements.

It’s just not true that the webelos leader book says parents can sign off.

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13 minutes ago, PACAN said:

Anyone seen a statistic on what percentage of AOL scouts crossover each year and how many are still in scouting a year later.

Haven't seen any...anecdotally, ~80% cross over (primarily because their membership is already paid for the year, and there is a good deal of build up to the ceremony, so many go with the flow...)

After a year, I see about 75% stay.  That's an overall 60% staying from AOL until after first year.

Would love to see some stats with more granularity.

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21 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Haven't seen any...anecdotally, ~80% cross over (primarily because their membership is already paid for the year, and there is a good deal of build up to the ceremony, so many go with the flow...)

After a year, I see about 75% stay.  That's an overall 60% staying from AOL until after first year.

Would love to see some stats with more granularity.

This must be local or recent. When I was tracking crossovers 20 years ago, an average of 50% of Webelos crossed over to troops in our council. National average at the time was slightly less than 50%. We did not track AOL because that wasn’t important for us. I can’t remember the average for 1st year scouts dropping out, BUT, 1st year dropouts has been the highest dropout rate of all BSA ages since National has been tracking that data. At least since the 60s.

Barry

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