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campcrafter

should have waited

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In the other post (thinking of pulling boy from scouting) it was mentioned that many Webelos are too immature to move on to Scouts at 10 1/2. And that the program should be 2 years and not 18 months.

 

I agree!

 

Unfortunately I was told it should be 18 months and to cross the boys over in February or March so they can join the troop and be ready for Summer Camp. BIG MISTAKE!

 

While some boiys will go to summer camp and I am sure do fine - many aren't. Some because of other activities and some just are not ready.

 

I wish we had waited till later to cross over and got them really into the troop in the fall. Some may say they would lose interest over the summer. Actually I think they would build up more excited anticipation. Besides they are use to things slowing down for the summer and picking back up in the fall all during Cub Scouts.

 

What has been your experience?

 

Should Webelos cross early in the year or later?

 

I also think that by losing 6 months the ppressure to complete AOL requirements intensifies and therefore the 2 year Webelos becomes just about advancement and not necessarily fun.

 

CC

 

 

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We in da upper midwest hate the February crossovers, eh? Any troop dat's runnin' an age-appropriate program has their boys out doin' fun stuff campin' in the snow and rain and mud of winter and spring.

 

But throwin' a 10-year-old 5th grader into that as their first campout? Nah. Pretty dumb, eh? Far better to wait until May at least.

 

And in these days of hyper-parented youth, skippin' camp the first year might be best for some kids. If they've never been out of mom's or dad's sight for longer than a couple of hours, they need a bunch of indoor sleepovers and weekends and gettin' comfortable with independence before they get dumped into BSA camp with smelly canvas wall tents filled with spiders.

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Someone with Girl Scout experience help me out, at what age do girls first go to overnight week long camp? And dont they typically do it alone?

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I guess it depends on the boy and your program.

 

Our Pack holds its AOL ceremony mid February but our bridging to Boy Scouts is the first weekend in April. During that 6-8 weeks, most of the Webelos II meet with their troops as vistors instead of holding den meetings.

 

My den just bridged to Webelos II last month. We had our first Den campout this past weekend. The week before we held a den meeting where the adults left the room. We gave the boys a task of selecting 3 menus for the weekend and a patrol name. The Denner came looking for dad after about 10 minutes upset that the others were not following his lead. Asst. Den Leader stepped into the room for 2 minutes and asked them to get along and complete the task. 10 minutes later DL and ADL returned to find they had a vivable menu and a patrol name. One boy volunteered to buy the grub.

 

This weekend we made the boys set up their own tents and sleep with other boys, not their parents. They prepped, cooked and cleaned up the food. They built a box oven on site and cooked pizzas and brownies. Both very tasty I might add. They suggested and held an opening ceremony of flag raising and repeating the Scout Law.

 

During the weekend we asked them to perform all the tasks. A couple of times we had to lend a hand or finish a few details. Had to hold one dad back a few times as he was giving too much help.

 

Did they do everything? Heck no. Did they accomplish most of the tasks and build confidence. You betcha. I only have one year left to get them prepared for Boy Scouts.

 

Our Pack has a fall campout and spring campout. My intention is for them to act like a patrol and build on the successes from this past weekend. They should be ready for a Boy Scout campout without parents by crossover next spring.

 

Summer camp is just a week away from your parents if you have the base skills. Hopefully your Summer Camp runs a Webelos intro program. Ours holds an overnighter in the middle of the summer camp season. The Boy Scouts leave Sat morning. Webelos arrive Sat afternoon. Webelos eat in dining hall, swim in the lake, shoot BB's and archery, and have outdoor games. Webelos attend a campwide bonfire, spend the night, and leave Sunday morning. Sunday afternoon the Boy Scouts arrive for a week of camp.

 

A lot of extra work for the camp staff but the Webelos get a chance to see the camp, experinence the idea of different merit badge classes, eating in the dining hall, waundering around the acreage. A "try it before you buy it". Now when they become Boy Scouts and summer camp is mentioned, they already have been there, done that and can feel confident about going to a known location and doing fun stuff. Parents will have been so can talk knowledgeably about the fun they will have. Lots of the fear factor has been removed.

 

My sons have been going to week long resident camps since they were in 1st grade. They want to go more often and for longer periods. I realize that not all children are raised to be independent. I have been trying to instill that in my kids and my scouts. I expect my scouts to do well in Boy Scouts and camp.

 

As a den leader, you know which kids are likely to be reluctant to go to summer camp on their own. Begin to run your webelos program like a Boy Scout program by assigning tasks to the webelos. Plan time in the program for them to attempt the task. Then come along and help them refine their efforts. Give them the tools to succeed. It will be difficult for you to give away control and difficult for them to take control but in the long run, both of you will be better.

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I don't think that going to summer camp is a major problem for a lot of these guys but I do agree that in some circumstances, cross-over in Feb/March is a poor choice. The last two years I've watched our brand new scouts get all excited about their first camping trip with the troop, only to have a miserable time because they're just not ready to do winter camping the first time out. Last year we had a couple of boys quit right after the first campout and several more swore they'd never go winter camping again. This year, only one quit (so far) but several others didn't go to the next campout even though the weather was much improved - they weren't sure they wanted to camp after the first time. I worry we'll lose these boys too.

 

I've advocated moving cross-over but the idea meets resistance both from the troops (want to bring in all the new boys around the same time; don't want to lose boys to troops who cross over earlier in the year; want boys to have time to bond before summer camp) and from the packs (don't want to run WII program any later into the year; if some troops cross early and others don't, could cause difficulty for dens who cross into multiple troops). Old habits die hard. I think in order for this to work, there has to be a broad consensus in the area, with all packs and troops doing cross-over at about the same time.

 

Lisa'bob

 

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Our experience has been that summer camp is the highlight of the scouting year. Those Webelos that crossover in the spring and attend summer camp with the Troop seem to be the ones that are more likely to stay with the troop.

 

Why? Can't say for sure. It may be that those that are really interested in camping and joining the Troop, sign up for summer camp and stay. It may be that those who are exposed to summer camp, find out early on how much fun scouting can be, bond with the troop and are willing to put up with a rainy weekend outing or a Troop meeting that is less organized than they are used to in Cub Scouts.

 

While we have found a few, 10-11 year olds that are not ready for a week away from home, they are the exception. Most are more than ready and welcome the adventure. It is the parents that are more often not ready to let them go for a week. We are fortunate that our summer camp is only about 40 minutes away and occaisonally a youth sick parent is welcome to come down mid week and join the troop for an evening to see how their son is doing. A higher percentage of our first year summer campers will have a parent stay at camp a few nights as part of the adult contingent. About once every other year we have a new scout that becomes really homesick. In those cases we usually discourage parental contact and encourage the scout to focus on camp activities which usually works. By Wednesday, they are usually over any homesickness.

 

Now having noted the above, I will also add our summer camp has a dining hall, with pretty good food, so first year campers are not faced with the challenge of cooking their own food, which helps with their assimilation to camp.

 

As far when it is appropriate for a child to attend overnight camp, that is a parental decision based on their knowledge of their child. In our area there are church and Y camps that start overnight summer camps at age 8 and there are hundreds of boys and girls that seem to survive that experience.

 

SA

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Around here, most families have already scheduled their kids' summer camps/day camps, etc. before crossover--so it would be unlikely to get a new boy to go to camp with the troop. Is that different elsewhere?

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I am gonna have to ask a few questions here, dont any of the parents of cross-over scouts talk to the troop they are joining BEFORE they cross over? What is the point of having the Webelos visiting troops if the schedule of the troops activities is not discussed? Where is the communication between Pack and Troop? WHy are unprepared ill equiped scouts allowed to go on outings? Couldnt most if not all of the problems so far identified be alleviated with communications?

 

Boys leaving Cubs are going into an organization that may (we hope) be part of their life for the next 7 years or more potentially, shouldnt the parents know whats up with that organization?

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Feb. crossover was a good thing for my son. He had been the only Web I in our Pack. His Web II time was spent helping the Web I learn what they needed. i was the leader for both and he was still the only boy his age. We would work on all his Scout stuff at home.

 

My son went to summer camp last year and began to get homescik about Thursday, but the SM and ASM helped hime through this. It wasn't the first time he had been away from home either. He had attended church camp the summer before. I think it was the fact the Boy Scout summer camp is so much more tiring. He was exhausted and ready to come home by the end of the week. He was also with boys that he didn't know and he was 1 of only 2 first year scouts to attend.

 

I think it all deepends on the boy. Some boys are ready to crossover and some aren't. My opinion is that you don't have to cross all boys over at the same time. Let each move on when he is ready.

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I agree with summer camp being the highlight of the scouting year. It has been my experience that Weblos who cross over and don't go to summer camp, don't last very long in boy scouting.

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One of the saddest thing I saw in Scouting was last year when the Webs didn't cross over until mid May. The boys that crossed over never got the chance to be part of the troop before it was time to go to summer camp. Two boy had real problems, they felt like outsiders. The year before the Webs crossed over late Jan. By summer camp they had already camped with the troop 4 times and felt they were truly a part of the troop, had their patrol set up and knew what was expected out of them.

 

But it also depends on how well the Web leaders have prepared them to move up to Boy Scouts.

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It's no secret to any Troop that they will be receiving New Scouts in the Spring. Part of their program should recognize this, and plan for age appropriate activities in the Spring. Shame on the Troop that drags New Scouts along on activities that they are just not ready for.

 

We bridge our boys in Feb.- March, so that they are ready for camp in July. Even then, some of the boys won't go to camp, and that's OK!!! The boys that do go to camp will have plenty of stories and have the others that did not go excited about camp for the next summer.

 

But MOST IMPORTANTLY, some thought should go into summer camp and the New Scouts. Let's face it..... if you are going to a camp that's 250 miles from home, many of your new scouts won't be going.

 

We are seeing more and more Troops planing two summer camp programs. One high adventure and the other more appropriate for the younger Scouts.

 

It easy for us to focus on summer camp for the older boys. Everyone wants them to have a great experience, ie: a High Adventure activity, but too often it's at the expense of the younger scouts.

 

This is the perfect occasion for you to do Summer Camp at your in-council camp. I am very confident that we will have 100% participation at Summer Camp this year. To do it we'll run two summer camp programs, one out of council and one in council, but everyone will go to camp, and that's what it's all about!!

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I don't have statistics, only rumors of statistics and experience. Boys who cross over in February and assimilate into the troop before summer camp tend to stay in scouts where boys who cross over late tend to not go to summer camp and drop out. My experience has also been that Webelos II's start to get really bored in that last 6 months of the 18 months. There would need to be some real program improvments if it were extended to 2 years instead of 18 months. Our council offers half week Cub and Webelos Resident Camps. Many families don't use them, but the ones who do tend to cross over and stay in Boy Scouts. Woe to the Pack that won't camp. They are setting the stage for boys who won't be interested in camping and won't stay in scouting. It is kind of like handing your child the keys to the car when they turn 16 without ever giving them a driving lesson. It is not a good thing to do. Done right, a cub scout should have had a number of opportunities at camping long before crossing over. Couple that with crossing over in February and you have a boy more than ready for summer camp.

 

Indoor sleepovers? This ain't the Sissy Scouts for crying out loud! ;) Of course, Oklahoma winter camping is usually a tad milder than Beavah's.

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Hi All,

 

Most of this early/not ready seems to me to depend on the Webelos (and cub scout) experience/preparation that has gone on before crossover. We recruit from three packs...one pack camps three or four times annually and encourages boys to do webelos sumer camp. One pack camps once a year "or so" the third hardly ever camps...most of their Webelos have never camped before when they come to boys scouts...

 

We visist these packs, have skill training weekends for their webelos dens and have a side by side troop/webelos dens campout in the fall of the Webelos final cub year (webelosII). The troop actively participates in the woodsmoke weekend for webelos as well as a joint SFF effort with one pack...all trying to avois being 'strangers'. We have handed out a pile of flyers, instruction literature and troop guidelines and expectations on several of our visits so the parents know what is coming down the pike (at them). We also start selling summercamp to the boys and parents early in the fall the webelos II year...complete with signup/deposit dead-lines, cost estimates and equipment lists.

 

All three packs have middle March to late March crossovers...we co-ordinate these crossovers with joint meetings (even before they officially cross)and begin preparations for a NEW SCOUT PATROL TRAINING "SHAKEDOWN" campout in early April. This is usually followed by a District Camporee two to three weeks later.

 

Virginia weather is usually chilly to mild but most of these boys handle it well...Feb crossovers are a bit early March seems to work and by summer our guys have had four or five opportunities to camp...summercamp then becomes something to look forward towards not something to dread.

 

Personally, I think the March crossover time frame helps us get 90-95% of our new scouts locked in to summercamp and scouting and well on their way towards advancing in rank by summertime... and 'tunes them up' for a fall full of canoe adventures and geo caching!

 

my $0.02worth

Anarchist

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I agree that a lot of problems can be avoided through better communication and joint pack/troop efforts. Also I think it is helpful when packs have a good outdoor program to start with, including cub camping.

 

By definition though, cubs do not do winter camping. So while we may do more prep work to get these guys ready (and I think we - meaning the troop my son is now part of and the pack we were part of - really need to beef this up A LOT), truth is still going to be that the first boy scout campout these guys go on will likely also be their first true winter camping experience. To put this in context: last year's March campout it hovered around zero; this year, heat wave, it was in the pre-teens (at least it made it double digits). This is during the day. These were not abberations, it really is cold here that time of year. Others may disagree but I wonder if that's the best set of circumstances under which to introduce boys to boy scouting. Let's face it, most 10-11 year old kids are going to be cold in weather like that, and there's so much else going on/to learn on those first few campouts, and being cold is not likely going to make it a more pleasant experience for these little guys. And if they don't have a good time that first time out? Well some will stick to it but others will not.

 

By the way we came from a pack that holds two pack campouts a year plus at least one webelos-only campout, in addition to joint webelos/troop camps. But again, all of that generally happens in warmer weather.

 

As for program - yes, I agree that moving cross-over to later in the spring would mean that we'd need to work hard to come up with an exciting program in order to keep those webelos II boys happy. But I don't think that's insurmountable.

 

Lisa'bob

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