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When did the Schism Occur and How do we fix it?

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"The schism can be seen right here in this thread 7 replies with 4 boy scout leaders blaming cub scout leaders for their losses.


Stop blaming cub scouts for ailments in the boy scout program. Boy scouts shouldn't even need a "prepared" scout. So how could we prepare them wrong? "


I think an unintentional nerve has been struck here.


Most Boys Scout leaders were at one point Webelos Den Leaders so I don't think that "Blame" is what we are doing. My comments come from they heart because this "Schism" caught me by surprise when 7 of 11 Webelos that I crossed over into one Boy Scout Troop or another have since dropped out. I now know why that happened. These boys were not prepared because I didn't take the time to learn my position as I should have, go to Wood Badge or really understand Boy Scouting. I wish I had it to do all over again. I think we are all simply offering advice because we want your Webelos to cross-over into Boy Scouts and stay there - and we have some good suggestions.


There is preparation for going into Boy Scouts. The design of the Webelos program, the training, the support (Den Chiefs, Denners, etc) can get them ready. Problem is, there may not be the best training in the world to tell Webelos Den Leaders how to best utilize these. I took a Webelos to Scout transition class and, although it gave me some insight as to how to visit and interact with Troop, didn't give me some information I needed in how to begin handing over some responsibility to my Webelos to gradually get them ready for the big change once they cross-over. I did it wrong. They should have been prepared and I could have done a better job if I did better homework..


I once heard someone tell me that the HARDEST job in the entire BSA organization is that of Webelos Den Leaders. How true it is. It's tough to find time to breath, let alone go research the best ways to prepare my kids for Boy Scouts. If there is any "blame" - I would suggest that it is due to educational literature that could be improved.


However, I stand by my claim that these 4th and 5th graders are sick and tired of cutting and pasting. That shouldn't be considered an insult to the Den Leader, that's just how these kids feel. They want to be challenged.





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I think part of the problem can be attributed to the fact that WEBELOS are no longer allowed to participate with Troops at camporees. This was a big drawing card & the powers that be decided it wasn't a good idea. I also feel part of the problem is WEBELOS leaders not properly preparing the boys for Boy Scouts & the Troop leaders for not being prepared for the WEBELOS.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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When I attended W.B. almost 2 years ago I did notice that the domonating crowd was S.M. and A.S.M. I as a C.M. was welcomed and the patrol that I was in was all B.S. leaders.I got to know everyone pretty good. I asked the 100,000.00 $ question. What do you see as the biggest problem when the transition comes around. They told me more than I need to hear. I feel the problem lies at the pack level and not so much at the Boy Scout level although in so cases it may. But for the most part I got that the Packs were not properly gearing the kids and the parents for the transition the way they should. I was blind to B.S. as my son was to young but now I see the Schism because my son is now a B.S. and I do everything in my power at the pack level to gear the boys for that moment.

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That is what Webelos Woods is for. Camporee is supposed to be a competition. In the district I used to be in, Webelos were a standard feature at Camporee and we Webelos folks loved getting to camp with a prospective troop. The problem fro mthe BS side was that they often incorporated the Webelos into the patrols and they participated in the competitions. This was bad for any patrol who had really practiced and had any hopes of winning anything. Camporee is for Boy Scouts. Webelos Woods is the acceptable recruitment venue.

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We have done Webelos Woods for eons in my district. I have staffed many. This is nothing more than Webelos III and in no way similar to camporees. I staffed many a camporee before the Webelos ban & the Webelos had a great time! They competed against other Webelos but they participated in the same competitions as the Boy Scouts.


Ed Mori

1 Peter 4:10

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There's going to be a big difference between two programs, when one is for 1st through 5th grades, and one is for 6th through 12th grades. Cub Scouts have leaders doing all the planning, they do family camping, they have monthly pack meetings, they work on belt loops, and so on. Webelos are still in that environment, up until they cross over. There isn't an intermediate state. They go from a pack meeting one month straight into Boy Scout campouts the next. Given that's the way things are organized, I think it's true that the 'schism' occurred in 1930.


That said, I don't really see a schism in our units. All of our dens have den chiefs. A number of the Boy Scouts have younger brothers still in Cub Scouts, and the Boy Scouts are in evidence at pack campouts. The Webelos do get to camp with the troop before they cross over. They know the older boys, and they know, at least in an academic sense, what to expect (e.g. they'll be doing their own cooking, cleaning, etc). Our dropout rates are comparatively low, and the troop has lower dropout rates for boys in their first year in the troop than most of our Cub Scout dens see in any given year. It really helps to have a number of families that span the two units.


Oak Tree

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Schism is a new word for my vocabulary!

I don't think there is as much "Cut and Paste" in Cub Scouting as there used to be.

I hope I don't come off sounding sexist in any way. But from listening to the tales my Mother-in-law tells about her time as a Den Mother and seeing how much more active and "Outdoor Oriented" the female leaders of today are. Things have changed a lot. For the better!!

Sadly it seems even with the decline in Cub Scout membership, over-sized dens seem to becoming the norm. Dens of 12 or even 14 are not unusual in our District.

Dens no longer seem to meet at the Den Leaders home and we have some packs that have multiple over sized Dens meeting at the same place and the same time.

I have to admit to not being a big fan of having everyone crossing over at one time. Many of in fact most of the Troops in our area are small (Under 20 Scouts) Even the big ones are not that big. So having 12 or more young Lads join at once is a lot.

I'm not sure if it's a fact? But it seems that the average age of the Scouts in the Troops is younger than it once was. Having older Scouts that these little guys can look up to and hero worship? was a good thing. 11 year olds joining a Troop of 12 and 13 year olds does impact the program.

Most of the SM's in our Council have been around for a very long time. They tend to be old and set in their ways. Not that this is always a bad thing!! But they really dislike change and some refuse to change.

You wouldn't believe the hue and cry they made when the Council changed from a paper news paper to a electronic e-mailed news report.

Leaders cross over from the pack and are soon informed that "We don't do it that way!!" Very much a case of "My way or the highway."

Many have closed their minds and anything and everything new is just no good!!

New leaders toddle off to training's return to the units with the "Training High" only to be put down and hear the "We don't do it that way" speech!

Of course there are still Cub Scouter's who look upon the Cub Scouts as "My Boy's" and seem to have forgot that Cub Scouting is about preparing the little Lads to become Boy Scouts!

Some are guilty of mollycoddling.

But to be fair I know of SM's who are either guilty of being mollycoddler's or seem to think because they spent time in the SAS that what was good for them is right for 11 year old boy's.

It all started when kids started playing soccer!


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I know that sometimes it is hard to take blame for things that are done without even knowing what you have done. I truely feel that as a CM we have the most important job. Meaning we as cuber's need to prepare our boys in the best way possible for the road ahead.


You are always going to find Troops that just don't fit. And leaders that think that the only way is their's and that way is the old way, and I feel sorry for those type. They will never get a wide diversity of kids. We have many troops in my area and alot do the same thing year after year after year.


When I took over the pack that my wife and I are running now it was in that rut the same thing no punch. The leaders tend to fall into that cookie cutter area and once that happens it is really tough to get out of. It has been four years in the making and things are taking a big change. It has taken time you can't make it happen overnight it will be to much of a shock to all. But it can be done.


I start to talk to my cubs about Eagle Scout at the wolf level and don't stop. We have a feeder Troop that all except the Tigers visit and hang with. If you introduce the boys and the parents to BoyScouts at that early of an age I would think that the Schism just won't happen. I had 13 Webelos brigde last year and 12 are still going strong.


Almost everything that we do in the pack is geared to the B.S. level and if not we try to tie it into it somehow. It also helps that I have a Wolf leader who is an Eagle and a Tiger Leader who is also and the bear den has to fathers that are Eagle Scouts.


I am very concerned about the dropping out issue and always tell my boys that dropping out is not the way to solve a problem because lets face it when a kid drops out nine times out of ten it is not the boys choice it is either the parent or an internal issue at the Pack or Troop level and the ladder two is the likely choice and can always be fixed.


The bottom line is that if you make it interesting and gear it to B.S. so they know what to expect at that early of an age it won't be a shock. I have a round number of 50 kids and 13 Leaders in my pack and out of that 50 2 have dropped out. 1 because of a parent issue and the other moved out of state.

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Let's close the Schism a little. I know most calenders are already set for May. May 12th is "Jamboree On The Trail" sponsored by WOSM. Have your Scouts take your feeder Webelos dens on a day hike. It doesn't have to be long. Throw in a "Trail Cleanup Project". If you camp, invite the Webelos to camp and invite the rest of the Pack to come for the day only.


1. Troop/Pack relations.

2. Boy Scout/ Webelos relations

3. Have the Scouts teach and help the Webelos knock off some of their rank requirements before and after the hike.

4. The Webelos get to see how the Scouts do it.

5. A cool campfire program at dinner.


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Some 30+ years ago, I was a Cub scout. I did well the first year, bobcat wolf and about 10 arrow points. After that, i can't say I enjoyed it as much. and no we did not do a lot of cutting and pasting. We prepared our activites for the upcoming pack meetings, worked on our badges and went on field trips. Although I did not earn bear or AOL, but I stuck with it(my mom was one of the den mothers and most of my friends were in it. My dad is an Eagle, so I sorta thought that was what were supposed to do. They never asked if I wanted not to be in it..lol

We did not camp as a pack,we had pinewood derbies, weekly den meetings and b&g. Our family camped all the time.


5th grade came and we entered middle school. My brother and I got a phone call inviting us to join the troop. We went. We walked over to the school picking up some friends along the way. Not everyone from our den decided to go. I remember being upset that they did not want to be part of the group going to Boy Scouts. To me it was just a natural progression, just as going from grade school to middle school. That first night, met with the scoutmaster, got into patrols, got an application to take home and have my parents sign. I really enjoyed Boy Scouts. We did cool things, went camping, played a lot of games. Evntually I became patrol leader, sPL, elected into OA, philmont, international jamboree etc. eventually i earned my eagle. I had found my niche in Boy Scouts

The two programs are separate, and appearantly always have been, There are ten purpose of cub scouting. The tenth is preperation for boy scouts. If you do the first 9, the tenth should fall into place


FACTS as i understand them

Not all Cub Scouts will become Boy Scouts

Not all Boy Scouts will have been Cub Scouts, yet most will have been

Not everyone who excels at cubs will enjoy Boy Scouts or vice versa


Boys today are way more scheduled than we were back then. Scouts now compete for time with more organized sports leagues, band practices, and a multitude of other activites. My second grader has more homework than I did in middle school! My wife and I had a conversation about a year a go. She was telling me she did not think our son did not want to join BS. I convinced her that it was important for his development. I spoke with my son. Told him about how boy scouts was different He's excited about Boy Scouts now.I think he was just tired of Cub Scouts. His den leaders were not doing what they needed to be doing. They had a den of 13 webelos.I made suggestions, I offered to take half the den. My Offers and suggestions were dismissed as not necessary. No reason to change, i was told by DL and some of the parents

9 of the 13 are crossing over, 5 are coming with me to start a new troop. IMHO, most are not ready to join BS. Thats OK, We can mentor them

We had our first meeting this week. We have older scouts coming in from a nearby troop to serve as instructors and troop guides. We have a campout scheduled in 2 weeks. Going to summer camp this summer

My vision includes a boy led from the start. This is going to be fun


What can we do?

*engage more interaction between the webelos and boy scouts.

Have the boys come in and work with them on the outdoor activitty badges. Get the boys excited about becoming Boy Scouts. I would focus less convincing them to cross over and more on the cool stuff they will be doing when they actually do.

*Have the troops supply trained den chiefs, they are excellent recruiting tools (if they are good with younger kids, a disaster if not)

*Attempt to make transtion as smooth as possible.. This probably what needs the most work. Work with the parents on the differences between the programs. Have them do faststart and/or NLE, they may get the picture.


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I agree Randy.

30+ years back were great times. Come home from school. Little homework. Lots of playing in the woods, fields, park, etc. Maybe Little League practice or game. Very little scheduling. Boys could go out and be boys without someone directing them all over the place. Cub's and Scouts were fun.

And yes Ea., modern day sporting programs have rally taken a toll. We never did Cub's. The oldest always wanted to be at the pool for practice. Could have done meets every Sat. and Sun. His friends talked him into Scouts at 15 1/2. He always was interested but the pool came first, until HS. At least he was focused and had a plan when he joined and managed Eagle out of it. To bad we have Summer League this, Indoor League that, and ooh the Traveling Leagues. Mom and Pop want a sports superstar and scholarship nowadays. Sorry for the hijack.

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In the "other" schism thread on pro's/vol's gwd posted the following list as examples of the things her DE has to contend with while trying to meet his responsibilities. I'd say this list about sums up why there appears to be a divide between Cub Scouters and Boy Scouters too. Thanks, gwd, for making it so clear.


Number One: Volunteer leaders that will not step up to help plan a District event: Day Camp, pinewoodderby, camporees, etc.

Troops that sit back and wait for feeder-packs to supply them with new Scouts each year

Troops/Packs that do not do Scouting for Food

Troops/Packs that do not do any community service projects

Troops/Packs that do not any recruiting other than that provided by the DE

Troop leaders and Pack leaders that have no interaction

Leaders that are better than everyone else because they've been doing it longer

New leaders that have never been given a feeling of being part of the crowd in a district that is largely the "old guard" - especially true in the Boy Scout level



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I still say that it is all because of the cookie cutter. When you get comfortable with something and it works why change it right.




The reason things go stale is because no one takes the bull by the horns and says I am going to change this. We as leaders need to make a differance. Need to see these things that are not right and make them right.When you leave water in a bowl and don't touch it it will evaporate. You need to stir it up a bit.


Sure it is going to be a battle at times what did you expect when you signed up for this. Just because it is a vol. job by no means does it mean that you can sit on your butt and watch the world go by.


I hear talk about Troops that wait for feeder packs (lazy SM & ASM) I hear talk about parents that do not want to get involved (to passive of CM & ACM & CC) It is so simple to sit there and make excusses for things but it is harder to find the answers and correct those things. Leaders lead and follower make excusses.

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A lot of the schism is a result of little or no communications between Cubs and Scouts. What little there is often times is counter-productive.


At round-tables they break into two different groups and except for specialty gatherings i.e. spring camporees where they are to cross over to the new troops, they have very little contact.


We have designed it to have a schism and it's working very well.


The only way that things will change is to do something different. Anything different will draw a different conclusion, but the way we've always done it just isn't working. Try something else!





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